These days, it seems that President Barack Obama is talking to himself. (SAUL LOEB / AFP/Getty Images)
The fact that President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message was viewed by the smallest TV audience for such a presidential address in 14 years shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.
The president’s penchant for engaging in a permanent campaign with his constant political style speeches took the drama out of the SOTU. We all pretty much knew what to expect and there weren’t any surprises.
He made the statement that “The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem,” and then went about outlining how he wants government to solve virtually every problem, real and imagined.
Obama’s habit of playing fast and loose with facts was politics at its finest — or worst — headlined by his claims of meeting goals in deficit reduction by cutting trillions in spending when our current deficit is nearly $700 billion this year and the national debt has climbed to a staggering $17 trillion plus under his watch.
The president touted his American Jobs Act for reducing the “official” unemployment number to 6.7 percent and claimed the creation of millions of jobs under his economic agenda.
But a cursory review of facts from the government’s own Bureau of Labor Statistics tells a much different story.
The number is that low for one simple reason: many more workers have stopped looking for jobs rather than finding them and they are no longer counted as being unemployed.
Take December for example.
The U.S. saw a paltry increase of just 74,000 new jobs created, far below the pre-report estimates.
In those same months, almost 5 times that many people — 347,000 — left the work force raising the number of Americans who are not working to a near record of more than 102 million.
That’s the real state of our union in human terms and leaves wanting Obama’s economic agenda which remains rooted in fulfilling commitments to special interests aligned with his political ideology.
The president’s answer? Extend unemployment benefits beyond the nearly two years already provided to continue steering that intended temporary safety net into a permanent entitlement.
Obama’s ideas for creating more jobs, and he still believes government is responsible for achieving that despite all the evidence to the contrary, is to steer more subsidies to political cronies in the inefficient green energy market, especially solar energy which accounts for a miniscule two-tenths of 1 percent of America’s electrical power generation.
But Obama’s bigger government ideas don’t end with his plans based on the misinformation provided by his global warming brethren, that CO2 is a pollutant and that droughts, storms, and wildfires are more frequent and severe, all falsehoods when compared to factual observations.
His ideas for the government not solving every problem, include demands that colleges reduce their costs — through salary reductions or a halt to their growth through economic benefits of infrastructure improvements — to requiring banks to lend more money to prospective homeowners, to raising the minimum wage which independent experts say would be harmful to the economy and the job market.
Then the president began his post speech tour at a Costco which pays more than the minimum wage, blind to the reality that the chain and other employers set their wage scales in a free market based on the amount of money it takes to hire qualified people to do the jobs required, not because government tells them what they need to pay.
Obama also wants to start another public works initiative involving government employment of workers to rebuild vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods, and to build more 3-D printers, among other projects.
Such ideas ignore the failures of the president’s trillion dollar stimulus project, which never provided the sort of infrastructure improvements we were promised.
Instead of setting the nation’s goal for a path of economic expansion through less government intrusion and spending, as well as tax code revisions that would encourage more American employers to hire at home instead of abroad, the president gave us more of his left wing ideas for “transforming America.”
Instead of uniting Americans and hailing achievement, Obama persisted with his theme of identifying victims which encourages a continuation of our nation’s disturbing trend of division — poor against wealthy, men against women, blacks against whites, gays against straights.
Our union is in a disappointing state and the president gave a speech to match. But we really shouldn’t have been surprised because we’ve heard and seen it all before for his 5 years in office.
Frank Beckmann is host of “The Frank Beckmann Show” on WJR-AM (760).