When this unqualified little man was first elected, listening to Obama deliver so many overt lies and half-truths, all with his special brand of arrogant condescension, made me angry. Now, however, after six years of this, lying and arrogance are precisely what I expect, and last night’s SOTU provided more of the same.
For the record, I don’t agree with a single policy initiative that he proposed during the state-of-the-union show. I’m fully convinced that, to the extent what’s broken in government in this country can be healed, decreasing Washington’s size, power, and influence is the only cure. The only things BHO proposed in last night’s show were 1) bigger government, and 2) more taxes, and he made an effort support his proposals with even more lies and subterfuge.
In hailing his economic achievements (he mentioned something called, “middle-class economics” several times, though the examples he gave – mandated paid sick leave, universal child care, free college education for all, etc., it sounds an awful lot like old-fashioned socialism to me), the petulant president claimed that unemployment is “lower than it was before the financial crisis.” If you’re like me, you entirely discount the regularly-cited “unemployment rate” because that number is so nuanced and qualified so as to have no real meaning. The one number that does have meaning, and that explains the way people feel in this economy, is the labor force participation rate, and that rate is continuing to decline. Fewer than 63% of the workforce is employed, and that means that 80 million Americans are currently not working, and only a small fraction of those are even looking for a job. In the wake of the SOTU show, a number of commentators have conceded that, even in the midst of the rosy economy Obama was describing, wages remain stagnant. The labor force participation rate fully explains that, and further, explains why wages and income will not likely change any time soon, as Obamacare and other regulatory burdens continue to put a stranglehold on hiring and expansion. The truth is that Obama has not supported a single policy initiative that would improve the health of the economy, and the fact that the economy is demonstrating even the lethargic level of growth that it is speaks to the power of what remains of our free market and the innovation and drive of employers and entrepreneurs – their willingness to do what’s necessary to overcome the burdens that Washington continues to saddle them with.
Then there was the claim that his administration somehow deserves credit for the fact that currently, “we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.” I do not doubt the fact that our dependence on foreign energy is historically low, and further, that American exploration and development explains much of the recent reduction in fuel prices, but there is no other way to say it – this is entirely in spite of Obama’s energy policy. He has done nothing to foster exploration on federal lands, or to deregulate energy production. It takes a special kind of self-centeredness to seek accolades for something that someone else did. It’s like stealing someone’s homework and turning it in as your own.
Then again, that special kind of conceit has been on display ever since he was elected emperor, and for good reason: for he who would lower the sea levels and and remake America, a little economic growth and some domestic energy production is sure no big deal.