A little bit of something for everybody; but a really big something for government. This was the essential thrust of this 44th President’s second — and longest, state-of-the-union speech last night. While Barack Obama did not include quite as lengthy a shopping list in his state of the union speech as did his Democratic predecessor, Bill Clinton, his list was long nonetheless.
Even though Obama paid lip service to regulatory reform, community-based education, tax reform, and reform of last year’s health care reform (among many other tid-bits), in virtually every instance, the ultimate solution to which he kept returning was more government spending and increased government prioritization.
If ”clean energy technology” is the wave of the future, it’s because government will dictate it is so.
High-speed rail as a transportation mode of the future? — government will make it so.
Eliminate the billions in government monies now given to “oil companies?” — sure, but turn around and give them to “clean energy” companies. No mention of simply returning them to the people from whose pockets the subsidies were taken — the American taxpayers.
Reduce the massive federal debt? The rhetoric employed by Obama in identifying the need to start reducing the debt was indeed soaring; the specifics decidedly more mundane. For one thing, the list of budgetary sectors the President exempted from cuts — including education and “investments in innovation” — guarantee the cuts will be far less than necessary to truly have a chance of bringing America’s spending profligacy into check. For example, the President proudly indicated he plans to push for $400 billion in spending cuts over the next 10 years. That’s $40 billion per year. That’s a drop in the bucket of the $14 trillion national debt, and it’s not serious deficit-cutting. It’s smoke and mirrors.
Obama also took meaningful Social Security reform off the table. Pointedly left on the table is a tax increase for “millionaires.” So much for not playing the class-envy card.
All-in-all, this was a speech long on time, long on government initiatives, and long on sleight of hand; and noticeably short on real change.
By Bob Barr, The Barr Code.