As with any vaunted political platform speech, President Obama’s State of the Union address must be examined from a liberty perspective. Today I will attempt to fact check and provide some insight into the President’s stated “achievements” – real, planned and imagined. Thus, I step into the breach, dear friends, to undertake this duty.
Due to the extreme length of these addresses, I’ve chosen some pertinent excerpts to annotate – any I’ve missed, please feel free to bring up in the comments here or share your thoughts on our new Facebook Liberty Forum. Let’s begin.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over.
This is totally untrue as there are still thousands of troops, mercenaries and “advisers” present in Afghanistan. As long as there are Taliban and Al Qaeda there, and the state of the Afghani police force and military remains in the same sorry situation, wherein they would rather not fight the terrorist and/or extremist factions – preferring the non-confrontational stance of staying alive in exchange for a substandard level of freedom – the US will remain engaged. The only questions are what level this will be represented to the American people and how it will be hidden in the budget?
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?
Let me ask a simple question: why should everyone do “spectacularly well?” In a free society some fail while others succeed, and while some may have a leg up with family money or other situations, those with natural ability should rise to the top as others with less ability fall to the side.
There is no system in which everyone does well – that was called Socialism and it failed miserably, all the while stifling those who have the drive, intelligence and courage to push society, technology and the economy forward. The society that succeeded was the society created originally that rewarded initiative while maintaining individual liberty.
And our own system is far from “free” – the U.S. economy runs full bore into the wall of crony capitalism, which prevents many individuals from truly pursuing success, and this needs to be addressed before any talks of “fairness” can be taken seriously. President Obama makes no attempt to do so.
The more government confiscates property from the successful and redistributes it to the unsuccessful, the less incentive there is for the brightest minds and hardest workers to drive to become successful. This is quite basic.
Will we approach the world fearful and reactive, dragged into costly conflicts that strain our military and set back our standing? Or will we lead wisely, using all elements of our power to defeat new threats and protect our planet?
Way to talk out of both sides of your mouth Obama – you can’t decry getting involved in military engagements that you yourself utilized executive actions to ensnare America in.
It certainly seems that Obama has forgotten how many costly conflicts he was drawn into or doubled down on that “strained our military and set back our standing.” Additionally by pledging to use “all elements” of our power to “protect the planet” it certainly sounds like he’ll be planning on continued intervention all over the globe (world police, anyone?) This policy will further erode our standing and assure continued blowback from terrorist groups from the Middle East to West Africa and everywhere else.
We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.
That’s a nice figure, however five hundred thousand of those are government jobs, and this also ignores the crippling effect of the United States’ world-high corporate tax rate, which drives companies and jobs abroad.
And in the past year alone, about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.
Wow, 10 whole million? I guess when you make it illegal not to have health insurance it really gets people’s attention! Of course, millions of those actually didn’t get new insurance coverage, as they were just ported over from Medicare and were actually dental plan signups, so really it’s only about 2/3rds of the figure he’s throwing out there or roughly 7 million. Now, how much more is it costing everyday Americans per year to cover this minority of 2%? On average, Forbes found that it will cost single payers 41% more very year. And on top of that, those new enrollees that are collectively costing billions of dollars more every year, can also look forward to the Healthcare.org sharing their private information with advertisers.
That’s what middle-class economics is: the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules.
Ah yes, we come to the progressive interpretation of “fair.” Now, Obama wants everyone to play fair, by the same “set of rules” and to “do their fair share.” This is something I have a massive issue with. As I previously stated, I don’t agree that everyone doing their fair share means that everyone has to be forced by government to help everyone else under the threat of violence, via social legislation and taxation.
In theory, people should obey the laws laid out, but this falls apart when coercive governments get involved. When rights-infringing laws are written, personal freedom and liberty are exchanged for laws that invade individual rights and a socialized economy.
The progressive definition of “fair” benefits those who are doing the least, making the least, and are at some sort of disadvantage. This is a very wide swathe of the population. Historically there could be some precedent for some of the legislation put in place (though not much of it), but the problem with this “evening of the playing field” is that in order to bring someone else up, the legislation always tramples down the freedoms of someone else.
While the FED prints money out of nowhere, it’s not just this invisible taxation that is levied upon the rest of us to assist people who may or may not (and often don’t) use the social programs as they are intended (see disability, welfare, unemployment, etc., etc.) but real dollars as well in the form of raised taxes and opportunities that are mandated to go to those labeled as “in need”of government assistance. To continue down this path of making sure everything is “fair” only handicaps the entire society. Sweden was looked upon as a shining beacon of this type of society, and has begun to crumble horrifically.
“Fair” is letting the successful be successful and the rest fail. Not everyone can be successful. Often people need to fail first, before they can become successful. But not everyone wants to be successful, and once people can accept that, the country will be in a much better place.
Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages.
We still need to make sure employees get the overtime they’ve earned … and — and everyone in this Congress who still refuses to raise the minimum wage, I say this: If you truly believe you could work full-time and support a family on less than $15,000 a year, try it.
It makes no sense to constantly raise the minimum wage based upon the needs of people who intentionally have families on 15K per year. Again, not everyone gets to have everything. If you can’t afford a family, don’t have a family. If you do have a family when you are working a job that pays 15K per year, then it isn’t the responsibility of your employer to raise your pay to accommodate it.
Why is acceptable for irresponsibility to drive our economy now? If you buy a new car that you can’t afford, is your employer supposed to pay for that as well? How about a Presidential State of the Union that encourages fiscal responsibility over “bailouts” for people too stupid to plan well instead of penalizing the rest of us?
Granted, many people simply do not have the opportunities available due to the corporatist structure of the economy, but the minimum wage doesn’t address that – in fact, it further entrenches the power of crony corporations by forcing their potential competition to follow onerous wage regulations.
The conversation on raising the minimum wage is insanity, and worse than that, it’s insanity that doesn’t work.
There have to be entry level jobs in the marketplace, and with this constant progressive call to raise the minimum wage, you price these jobs out of the market, stifling hiring and limiting growth. Pair that with the Obamacare mandates and you have a perfect recipe for unemployment stew.
Let’s skip forward to the famous community college plan.
By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three.
This is a garbage claim based upon 19 of the the 30 jobs projected to be in the largest sectors of growth theoretically needing higher education to apply. Not on the entire job spectrum in the economy. It’s a blatant and misleading lie.
And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s sure not smart for our future.
That’s why I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college to zero.
Keep in mind, 40 percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market. – go off on this.
The emphasis Obama and others have put on college education is counterintuitive because it focuses on supply, rather than demand. The entities that benefit the most belong to the education empire, which has seen college tuition costs skyrocket along with student debt as government programs have made that debt oh so easy to access. There are already incredible amounts of Americans with college degrees who can’t find jobs in their field and are forced to work in an industry that does not require a degree. For many students simple cost-benefit analysis proves that a college degree is not even worth it. Most of this is due to the simple fact that there aren’t enough jobs that exist in our economy that require a college degree. Add this to the fact that many Millennials have been brought up by doting parents (and, frankly, the government) to believe they deserve the moon, sun and sky, regardless of experience, attitude or work ethic. Many refuse to take jobs that don’t pay them 45K right off the bat. So they sit unemployed.
Some of these issues also result from the emphasis on college and just how easy it is to go to college. When virtually everyone can go to college, there exists a glut of educational facilities, only some of which actually produce graduates with a level of expertise or preparedness needed to enter the workforce in a position of responsibility or that warrants an increased level of pay. Our Editor-in-chief Marc Clair recently discussed the devaluing of a college education with Peter Schiff on the Lions of Liberty Podcast.
Forcing taxpayers into funding community college for anyone (60% of whom statistically fail to graduate – and that’s looking at it from the most positive position) will only entice more terrible universities to spring up, pumping out sub-par degrees to graduates that will be worthless and thus result in no job creation.
Oh, also, all of those dropouts are currently paying for community college with their own money, not free government money. If 60% drop out now, how many people with little aspiration will take a flyer when its free, waste our tax money, and then drop out in the future? Another example of the government banking on the foolish exception and penalizing the rest.
Our manufacturers have added almost 800,000 new jobs. Some of our bedrock sectors, like our auto industry, are booming. But there are also millions of Americans who work in jobs that didn’t even exist 10 or 20 years ago: jobs at companies like Google, and eBay, and Tesla.
The economy always moves in cycle, even when the Keynesians aren’t creating economic bubbles and pumping dollars around, so don’t believe the hype.
Also, it’s lovely that Americans are working, but Tesla has taken a dip in recent months and this right after Californians (like Marc and myself) were bent over to accommodate a new Tesla factory with $3 billion in tax breaks. Doesn’t seem like they are playing “fair” with that kind of government help, does it?
How about free trade?
That’s why I’m asking both parties to give me trade promotion authority to protect American workers with strong new trade deals from Asia to Europe … that aren’t just free but are also fair. It’s the right thing to do.
Look, I’m — I’m the first one to admit — I’m the first one to admit that past trade deals haven’t always lived up to the hype, and that’s why we’ve gone after countries … that break the rules at our expense. But 95 percent of the world’s customers live outside our borders. We can’t close ourselves off from those opportunities. – examine – talk about trade regs and free trade.
I’ll look more into this, but it seems that the GOP is for it and Democrats are outraged by it, so that seems to indicate that Obama is looking to really open things up. However, looking quickly at at least one of the trade bills, there is good and bad – the dropping of tariffs to many countries is excellent, however there is also language about investing in supply chains and other items that will cost taxpayers money. This needs further investigation later on.
And now…the web.
I intend to protect a free and open Internet, to extend its reach to every classroom, and every community … and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world.
I recently noted the new proposal by the FCC that Obama looks to be backing that would make the internet into a public utility. This is a horrible concept that will only lead to stifled advancement, crumbling infrastructure and bureaucratic red tape as far as the eye can see. Coercive government rarely succeeds in moving private industry forward, unless you consider the defense industry to be private sector. “Protecting” the internet doesn’t equate taking it over.
We will continue … to hunt down terrorists and dismantle their networks, and we reserve the right to act unilaterally, as we have done relentlessly since I took office, to take out terrorists who pose a direct threat to us and our allies.
Now, this effort will take time. It will require focus. But we will succeed. And tonight, I call on this Congress to show the world that we are united in this mission by passing a resolution to authorize the use of force against ISIL.
I have written time and time again about how America’s jihad against the jihadis and other aggressive foreign actions have led to this blowback from terrorists against the nation, but at least Obama is adopting the novel concept of getting Congressional approval before just marching troops into battle on his own accord.
In Cuba, we are ending a policy that was long past its expiration date.
When what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new.
And our shift in Cuba policy has the potential to end a legacy of mistrust in our hemisphere and removes the phony excuse for restrictions in Cuba, stands up for democratic values and extends the hand of friendship to the Cuban people.
FINALLY. Editor-in-chief Marc Clair summed the Cuba situation up nicely:
It’s this policy of “sanction sanction sanction” that has “tightened the regime’s grip” if anything, as they can point at and blame “Big, Bad American” for all their ills. (See an earlier piece on sanctions having the opposite of their desired effect here) Luckily the Cubans I’ve met don’t buy this one bit – they’re against the sanctions but are largely pro-US, at least the ones who have grown up exclusively under Castro.
Exactly – they already like the U.S. and will like it even more after encountering the culture and the socioeconomic benefits that US investment and tourism would bring.
On a Nuclear Iran…
There’re no guarantees that negotiations will succeed, and I keep all options on the table to prevent a nuclear Iran. But new sanctions passed by this Congress at this moment in time will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails, alienating America from its allies, making it harder to maintain sanctions and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again. It doesn’t make sense. That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress.
Now this is interesting. “All options” means all options, including military strikes, but Obama’s refusal to enact more sanctions is a massive (and new) step in the right direction. Bravo for common sense.
Obama then goes into “climate change,” the science of which caters to the exact opposite of common sense and all observable data.
And no challenge, no challenge, poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change.
2014 was the planet’s warmest year on record.
Actually, according to the always suspect data sets, it’s tied with 2005 and 2010, and basically .02 degrees warmer or in the area of “uncertainty of measurement.” So it’s really in line with the trend for the past 17 years of no statistically notable warming of the Earth. But don’t let that stop you, Barack!
I’ve heard some folks try to dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists, that we don’t have enough information to act. Well, I’m not a scientist either. But you know what? I know a lot of really good scientists at NASA and at NOAA and at our major universities..
All of whom were complicit in the “Climategate” scandal of falsifying data to create an imagined global warming trend – has everyone forgotten about that quite complete example of scientists going out of their way to alter facts in order to keep the grant money rolling in?
..and the best scientists in the world are all telling us that our activities are changing the climate (Writer’s note: They aren’t and they aren’t in consensus), and if we don’t act forcefully, we’ll continue to see rising oceans, longer, hotter heat waves, dangerous droughts and floods, and massive disruptions that can trigger greater migration and conflict and hunger around the globe. The Pentagon says that climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. We should act like it.
Utterly preposterous. Really, a risk to national security? Anyway, the oceans aren’t rising, sea ice has been steadily growing, the polar bear population was actually NEVER endangered, there have been a record lows in extreme weather events as of late (barring this year’s extreme cold streak) and nothing else of note that was predicted by global warming doomsayers has happened.
So, by all means, lets keep intervening in the economy and placing onerous, coercive regulations on business for no reason and yes, before there is adequate data to act, right Obama?
And surely we can agree it’s a good thing that for the first time in 40 years, the crime rate and the incarceration rate have come down together, and use that as a starting point for Democrats and Republicans, community leaders and law enforcement, to reform America’s criminal justice system so that it protects and serves all of us.
Yes, on that we can agree! Of course the crime rate and incarceration rate have dropped. As the “War on Drugs” ceases, this will only continue. As I predicted in the last Libertarians in Living Rooms Drinking Liquor Podcast, every year that the War continues to abate, the US will see its record setting number of incarcerated citizens diminish.
Whew! Hope that was an informative read and not as exhausting for you reading it as it was for me writing it.
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