This year, President Obama decided to approach his State of the Union address with contradictions rather than content. From his claims of increased economic growth, to his assertion of the need to take further steps to improve the environment, our unemployment numbers and benefits, and the distribution of “affordable” healthcare, this speech was almost (unbelievably) more inconsistent than others have been in the past.
On the one hand, the president made several claims that Congress “should put bills on his desk” to increase American jobs and boost economic growth among other things, but in the same section made very clear that he can and will take steps without the aid of Congress to fix said problems through the use of executive order. So where does the blame lie? If Congress should have been acting and has not, then surely the blame lies with them, unless the president (who is ironically now focused on his “economic inequality” agenda) did not act to the full extent of his power to rectify the problem.
While I don’t condone excessive use of executive powers in any way, by his own logic, President Obama is at the very least equally to blame for American unemployment issues if he has not changed his policies either. It should be evident that his solution of using executive orders to “put Americans back to work” is a disaster and an over-reach of powers by the executive branch; the flaw in his argument is so obvious that I was amazed it made its way into the speech at all.
Then there’s the environment, which somehow seems to be of greater and greater importance every year. Maybe it’s just me, but does anyone else fail to see the connection between the increasing alarmism of the left on “green” issues (sometimes obvious just by its mere mention before things like education, healthcare, minimum wage increases, gun control, and war–all within speech), while we are apparently also a global leader in “going solar” and have decreased carbon pollution over the last eight years more than any other nation? I’ll only say it’s everything I can do not to pull my hair out every time this comes up. Are we killing the environment, or is Obama saving it one hybrid vehicle (that spontaneously catches fire) at a time? The inconsistency within the science and politics of the environment should be enough to convince anyone of its use as a mere pathos appeal and political ploy.
And then we come to my favorite part of the night: the “economic inequality” portion of the evening, where we hear the personal stories of countless Americans who have and I quote “never before relied on the government,” but are being denied their basic right to escape poverty by a congress that’s holding them hostage. President Obama asked for Congress to give back unemployment insurance to around 1.6 million people whose benefits recently expired. While claiming tonight that our economy “need(s) them in the game,” our Spender-in-Chief seems to forget that when he eliminated work requirements from welfare, he created a culture in which recipients of welfare benefits don’t search for work because they aren’t required to in order to receive government money. Thus, rather than an investment in Americans as the president wants us to see, haphazardly placing more people on welfare is simply a drain on the economy.
When it comes down to it, President Obama was right about one thing on Tuesday night: “nothing in life worth anything is easy.” So might I suggest taking fewer golf outings and spending less time at Martha’s Vineyard so we can have some real economic growth?
Conner Dwinell | Hillsdale College | @ConnerDwinell