President Obama’s State of the Union address was a re-affirmation of the central role that he wants big federal government to play in our lives. Sure, he claimed that he feels our pain, but his seventy minute speech renewed his call for final passage of his health care initiative with the same tired and discredited arguments that the American people have resoundingly rejected.
Here’s what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people.
Obama also pivoted back to support for the House-passed cap-and-trade energy bill that is little more than a hidden tax on every American family.
Two-thirds of Obama’s speech dealt with the economy, with a few symbolic moves to the center such as tax credits for small business investments, elimination of capital gains taxes for small businesses and a spending freeze on discretionary spending to take effect next year. After having increased spending in 2009 by 18%, or $536 billion, a freeze at that higher level is trivial at best. And while Nancy Peolosi is already protesting that defense spending is not included within the freeze, the two wars we are presently waging and other global threats notwithstanding, neither she nor the president are mentioning foreign aid as a target for spending reductions. We spend more than $1 billion a year on the dysfunctional United Nations alone. Obama also failed to mention the many more billions of dollars he wants to kick into the United Nations’ development aid programs.
Obama could not resist the temptation to blame the Bush administration for his difficulties, even after saying that he did not want to “re-litigate” the past. But on Obama’s watch, the deficit more than doubled while unemployment rose more than 30%. More than three million jobs were lost. Obama’s claim that 2 million Americans who are now working would have lost their jobs if not for his stimulus bill is bogus. I’m glad that Obama said that “Jobs must be our number one focus in 2010″ but he intends on pushing forward another big government stimulus initiative that will not work any better than the last one.
Obama showed utter disrespect for a co-equal branch of government by spending time in his address to attack the Supreme Court’s decision upholding the First Amendment right of corporations and unions to spend on independent campaign ads. I guess that the reverence that he expressed for American values does not include the protection of free political speech for all. It’s OK for him to use his bully pulpit to beat up on banks and other corporations (while taking their contributions, by the way) but they must shut up during political campaigns.
The most striking thing about Obama’s State of the Union speech was what he left out. He talked about a “deficit of trust” in Washington, but how about taking some accountability for the backdoor deals with the unions and other special interests he helped engineer to ram through his health care initiative. Whatever happened to those open meetings that were supposed to be televised on C-Span? Silence.
How do trials of al Qaeda terrorists in federal civil court help increase our security and why, as Senator-elect Brown asked, should American taxpayers be paying for terrorists’ rights rather than to defeat them? Silence.
Finally, whatever happened to the firm end of 2009 deadline Obama had set for Iran to agree to meaningful concessions on its nuclear enrichment program or face severe consequences? It has come and gone, with only more empty declarations that Iran “will face growing consequences…that is a promise.”
In short, we were treated to seventy minutes of rhetoric pushing the same old big government, left wing agenda in a more benign seeming package.