Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thank you, and may God bless America

Wherein I shrink the SOTU

Running the State of the Union through Microsoft Word's autosummarize tool and setting summarize to 10 percent, I've reduced it from 5,063 words to 523. That's a reduction of 29,902 characters with spaces to only 3,230.

I copied the speech from the White House. They were kind enough to notate applause in the speech and I deleted 64 of those references.

President Bush:
Mr. Speaker, Vice President Cheney, members of Congress, fellow citizens:

America's economy is the fastest growing of any major industrialized nation. When action was needed, the Congress delivered -- and the nation is grateful.

America's prosperity requires restraining the spending appetite of the federal government. We will help an additional 200,000 workers to get training for a better career, by reforming our job training system and strengthening America's community colleges. America's immigration system is also outdated -- unsuited to the needs of our economy and to the values of our country. Today, more than 45 million Americans receive Social Security benefits, and millions more are nearing retirement -- and for them the system is sound and fiscally strong. Social Security was created decades ago, for a very different era. In today's world, people are living longer and, therefore, drawing benefits longer. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be dramatically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs.

We must pass reforms that solve the financial problems of Social Security once and for all.

Fixing Social Security permanently will require an open, candid review of the options. Former Senator John Breaux suggested discouraging early collection of Social Security benefits. As we fix Social Security, we also have the responsibility to make the system a better deal for younger workers. The goal here is greater security in retirement, so we will set careful guidelines for personal accounts. We'll make sure a personal account cannot be emptied out all at once, but rather paid out over time, as an addition to traditional Social Security benefits. It's time to extend the same security, and choice, and ownership to young Americans.

Government is not the source of these values, but government should never undermine them.

In Afghanistan, an international force is helping provide security. If whole regions of the world remain in despair and grow in hatred, they will be the recruiting grounds for terror, and that terror will stalk America and other free nations for decades. To promote this democracy, I will ask Congress for $350 million to support Palestinian political, economic, and security reforms. The goal of two democratic states, Israel and Palestine, living side by side in peace, is within reach -- and America will help them achieve that goal.

To promote peace and stability in the broader Middle East, the United States will work with our friends in the region to fight the common threat of terror, while we encourage a higher standard of freedom. Our generational commitment to the advance of freedom, especially in the Middle East, is now being tested and honored in Iraq. One of Iraq's leading democracy and human rights advocates is Safia Taleb al-Suhail. The attack on freedom in our world has reaffirmed our confidence in freedom's power to change the world. We are all part of a great venture: To extend the promise of freedom in our country, to renew the values that sustain our liberty, and to spread the peace that freedom brings.

Thank you, and may God bless America.


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