America’s problem: there are no problems

Bill clinton has only success stories for the nation – and thus becomes a problem case himself

"Strong" and "21st century" were the words spoken in the early evening of the 27th. January 1998 were the most likely to set america’s tv speakers vibrating. Bill clinton delivered the traditional annual presidential address, educating his fellow citizens about the rosy outlook for the future "state of the union" and described the united states as the world’s "leading nation" worldwide.

In fact, the numbers – for which, however, the president is less responsible than the booming economy with its high-tech, biotechnology and film industries – speak for themselves and america: while asia has plunged into a deep financial and cultural crisis (see the global economic game) and europe is struggling with unemployment, currency conversion, restructuring problems and the aftermath of the opening of the berlin wall, clinton was able to announce the first balanced budget for the united states in 30 years for 1999. Wo sich vor wenigen jahren noch defizite mit siebenstelligen nullen im budget befanden, so der prasident stolz, gebe es nun nur noch eine null – ohne ziffer vorneweg. Der weg ins neue jahrtausend ist bereitet.

Because of the hard work and high purpose of the american people, these are good times for america. We have more than 14 million new jobs. The lowest unemployment in 24 years. The lowest core inflation in 30 years. Incomes are rising, and we have the highest homeownership in history. The welfare rolls are the lowest in 27 years, and crime has dropped for a record five years in a row. Our leadership in the world is unrivaled. The state of our union is strong.

Us-prasident bill clinton

Die erfolgsergebnisse hat der prasident momentan bitter notig. The new sex scandal involving an intern in the white house, which is above all a media scandal and is dissected in detail for 24 hours on all channels, has deeply scratched clinton’s image. Many observers therefore saw the speech as a touchstone that the congress would use to legitimize the president for his next and last two years in office. But in the republican-majority congress, the democrat’s priorities for the rest of his term may not have made him only friends. With a budget surge, he wanted to maintain the social safety net and the health care system, clinton told the nation. And he even proposed raising the minimum wage in the service sector, which is not very high in the states. Republicans, however, are unlikely to be won over by such plans: they would rather cut taxes and pay off the nation’s long-term debt – and, above all, reduce the size of government (see the report on gingrich). The leader of the republican majority in the senate, trent lott, therefore gave clinton and his compatriots directly after the speech of the president to consider that america "still over-taxed, over-regulated, and over-governed" be.

We must work together, learn together, live together and serve together. On the forge of common enterprise, americans of all backgrounds can hammer out a common identity … With shared values, honest communication and citizen service, we can unite a diverse people in freedom and mutual respect. We are many. We must be one.

Bill clinton

Nevertheless, clinton’s speech may have won back at least some of the people’s trust. He highlighted america’s strengths, invoked traditional family values, and addressed key ies to make the nation fit for the next millennium. Of course, the topic of discussion was always the "information age", the global economy – and the internet. Not only the american citizens – the whole world should be able to do so, according to the president’s intentions, "exploring the far-reaching significance of cyberspace."

But america, of course, needs to have a small edge on the net: hence the clinton-gore administration’s efforts to develop the next-generation internet (internet 2010), which will provide "will be up to ten thousand times faster than today’s network." after all, it is also about exploiting the internet in its function as a marketplace, and america would like to take the leading position in this respect. Clinton sees the only problem with the net in the many dirty things that could be dangerous for children. But also for its solution there was the appropriate "tools".

Throughout history, humankind has had only one place to call home – the planet earth. Beginning this year, 1998, men and women from 16 countries will build a permanent foothold in the heavens – the international space station. With its vast expanses, scientists and engineers will set sail on this uncharted sea of limitless mystery and unlimited potential.

Bill clinton

But cyberspace is not the only "frontier", to be accomplished in the next century. Also the sky above our home planet represents for america (k)a border, and if the earth becomes too small, then one evades simply into the universe. Star trek labors in the pursuit of this old american dream, according to which in the near future life in other biospheres will become possible for young and old alike. How else can we explain the fact that the united states now already has senior citizens (back) in the country? "To the moon" push?

Until the inauguration of new space stations, however, there are still a few small things to be done on earth, too. In addition to the preservation of the social safety net – if one can still speak of a safety net at all with the almost complete elimination of social welfare – the topic of education played an important role in clinton’s speech. "The information age is first and foremost an education age", so the emphasis of the president. The highest priority, therefore, is to make lifelong learning possible, to continue working hard to connect every classroom to the network and to expand the public school system. In addition to the generalities, clinton also promised concrete programs to improve basic education: after balancing the budget, he wants to create 100.000 new teachers to america’s schools and reduce the average class size to 18 students. 5000 new schools are to be built at the same time.

One could almost get the impression that the president no longer knows where to put all the money. Another "gift" clinton has at least announced to humanity: a research fund for the next millennium for "scientific research", especially in the field of health. The worst hostages of mankind – cancer, diabetes, parkinson’s and other diseases – must be defeated. Genetic research and therapy, which is enjoying increasingly rapid success, is expected to make it possible for. In just nine days, for example, the disease gene for parkinson’s was identified last year, and the genes responsible for breast cancer and diabetes were also isolated. Gene chips are expected to "map for the lifelong prevention of disease" . "A child born in 1998", clinton concludes, "could well have been the 22. The twenty-first century."

The last and fundamental goal is to keep the economic engine that ultimately brings money into the country and fills the coffers going. The insistent expansion of free trade is clinton’s goal here. He understands the fear that other countries without environmental regulations could produce more cheaply and that the economy in his own country could suffer as a result. However, it is important to keep in mind the broader context of the case. "100 new trade agreements create 1 million new jobs", said the president. In the long term, the economy and ecology no longer had to be contradictory; america had the capacity to promote both areas and to insist on compliance with standards worldwide. Clinton seemed to have forgotten that it was the united states that prevented a drastic reduction of greenhouse gases at the world summit on environment in kyoto last fall.

America has continued to rise through every age, against every challenge – a people of great works and greater possibilities, who have always found the wisdom and strength to come together as one nation – to widen the circle of opportunity, to deepen the meaning of our freedom, to form that more perfect union. Let that be our gift to the 21st century.

Bill clinton

The president gave the nation and the world many fine words to take with them into the new year and into the distant future. High-tech economy on the one hand, preservation of the welfare state and demands for environmental protection on the other – there is something for everyone in bill clinton’s policy mix, and all projects seem to be equally close to his heart. The speech went from one high point to the next in such a way that the standing ovations of his party colleagues in congress merged into one another and in retrospect it was difficult to discern a focus.

Clinton is tackling all the challenges that have yet to be identified at the same time, and the economic boom even seems to make this possible. Nevertheless, it is uncertain whether the president will survive his second term. Tomorrow, clinton’s political goals will again be overshadowed by the discussion about his character flaws. The most powerful politician in the world was at least unable to explain to his critics how he reconciles the insistence on morality, family values and responsibility that permeates the entire speech with his own private life.

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