President Obama’s third State of the Union address sounded more like a campaign speech than anything close to a set of solutions to the problems Americans now face. Rather than focus on the mounting debt, now nearing $16 trillion dollars, or any real reform to programs such as Medicare or Social Security, the President used his time to call for more regulation, more spending, and more power for the federal government. Unfortunately, President Obama offered more of the same slogans and rhetorical games, rather than any tangible solution to the challenges that continue to grow under his leadership.
Only a few minutes into the debate, President Obama again fell back on his favorite one-liner, calling for more Americans to pay their “fair share.” He then goes on to blame the private sector for the housing crash in 2008, saying the real problem is that regulators didn’t regulate enough. Of course, the President fails to mention the government’s role in the crisis, while mentioning nothing about reform of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, or any other agency of government. Yes, Mr. President, if only we’d had more government distortion of the marketplace and social engineering we would have been better off.
The President then goes to layout his blueprint for restoring the economy. He says we must focus on bringing manufacturing back to America and reforming the tax code, both of which conservatives have been proposing. However, the President’s plans are much different. His solution to manufacturing lies in getting the government more involved in bailouts and control, as he points to the bailing out of the auto industry as an example of this great success. What happened in Detroit, he says, can happen in Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and even Raleigh. He may have a point, seeing how if things keep going like they are, there will be many more companies in need of a bailout.
When it comes to tax reform, he’s even further off the mark. Should we make it easier to invest in the United States? Well no, of course we have to make companies pay their “fair share” (he did it again), that’s the way to attract business to the US. He even goes further to say that MNC’s should pay a minimum tax? I can hear the new factories opening up as we speak.
The President is quick to take the populist stance toward China, saying his Administration has taken more trade cases against them than anyone else. He uses this as a springboard to call for a new trade commission with new regulations, because of course that’s exactly what we need. So we’re letting China slide on assisting Iran and blocking sanctions against them, but we’re supposed to believe the Administration is really sticking it to them over trade?
When it came to education, the President offered more of the same one size fits all solutions from Washington. He says he is working to model partnerships between the government, the private sector, and community colleges. This sounds promising. Going further, he says the federal government should require states to make every kid stay in school until they’re 18, rather than letting anyone slip out into the workforce. Wow, I couldn’t imagine any possible problems arising from the federal government inserting itself into education even further.
For immigration, we also heard the same tired talking points. Of course he pushes for comprehensive immigration reform, which would mean securing the border, expelling those who have committed crimes, and providing some pathway to citizenship for those who have built a life here, something most Republicans agree with. Immediately, however, the President pivots and recognizes this will probably not happen (in reality because of liberals standing in the way of any real border security), and says that we should go ahead and just pass the part that grants amnesty to those who are here illegally. Of course, this is the same failed position that has led us to where we are to begin with, when we grant amnesty while failing to secure our borders. Although it’s a great campaign line, it is no solution to the problem, because solutions aren’t what the President is interested in.
As if all this wasn’t enough, the President then moves on to make the case for more federal government subsidies for his failed energy policies. After going after big oil (once again, a great campaign slogan) he says that “some technologies don’t pan out, some companies fail,” when referring to government subsidized energy industries. To all of us who have watched our money go down the drain for his clean energy hoax, the word Solyndra was ringing in our heads. The problem is that when the companies the President is talking about fail, it’s our money that has been wasted. He says he won’t walk away from what his Administration has been doing with energy, which is why we need him to walk away from the White House.
The President goes on to call for more fees on financial institutions and more regulation from Washington. He says his new consumer watchdog is looking out for you, because we all know we feeble-minded folk can’t make responsible decisions on our own. Almost in the same sentence he says he wants to cut regulations, he says we must keep these regulations in place because they are protecting us. You know, keeping our water pure and our food safe, because if Republicans had it their way little Susie would be drinking swamp water and eating lead-based saw dust. The President is trying pretty hard, but the American people understand that this is smoke and mirrors, and what Washington is doing is standing in the way, not looking out for them.
After briefly discussing a new initiative to build another agency to look at the financial practices that led to the housing collapse (I wonder if Fannie and Freddie will be on that short list?), President Obama finally gets to the meat of his presentation: The deficit must be solved by raising taxes. With a straight face, he says that millionaires pay less than the middle class, while citing the Buffet rule for further tax increases. In the real world, this means raising capital gains taxes to over 30%. One would think with Obama’s vast private sector experience (does community organizing count?) he would know the difference between income and capital gains taxes, but I digress. So Obama has made his case, that the way to make America “built to last” is to raise taxes. If you don’t support this, you of course don’t support education, healthcare, or energy.
It is a sad fact that with $16 trillion dollars in debt, the unemployment still above 8% after the hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars wasted, the failed ‘clean energy’ initiatives, and runaway entitlement spending, the President’s proposals are the same old failed policies. His philosophy has him grounded in the belief that the solution to every problem must come from straight from Washington. He says that those who tell you America is in decline do not know what they’re talking about. Well, Mr. President, according to the polls that’s the American people, and they are fully aware of what is going on. Thankfully, come November, they will get to let their voices be heard.