The State of the Union speech concluded with a rousing call for change. “America needs a new direction,” the president declaimed. “A change of course which will put the unemployed back to work; increase real income and production; restrain the growth of Federal Government spending; achieve energy independence; and advance the cause of world understanding.”
Actually, the president behind these pledges was Gerald Ford in 1975, but the only aspect of his address that sounds out of date involves his numbers. He worried over a deficit of $30 billion and a national debt of $500 billion – both figures only one-thirtieth of today’s alarming totals. No wonder the public sees politics as a less amusing version of the movie “Groundhog Day” – with our leaders gesturing at the same stubborn problems with no visible effect over the course of 40 years.