On February 12, 2013, President Barack Obama addressed the nation in the annual State of the Union address.
At the beginning of the speech, the President warned against the dangers of a rising deficit. He lauded alleged efforts at reduction and called for a bipartisan approach to continue to reduce spending. He claimed, “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – mostly through spending cuts,” ignoring the fact that the “fiscal cliff” deal contained $41 in tax increases for every $1 in spending cuts.
While we applaud the President’s words, on paper, to reduce the deficit and prevent our children from bearing the burden of our debt, we are skeptical that the President will accomplish any deficit reduction when we consider his past spending habits. The President cited, in support of a strong economy, that “we produce more oil at home than we have in 15 years.” The President left out that this increased production was despite his obstructionism, not a result of his impetus.
Furthermore, as the President’s speech continued, he continued to introduce one new spending program after another.
He proposed a network of fifteen “manufacturing hubs” across the country, sponsored by the Departments of Defense and Energy. He argued that today is the day to “reach a level of research and development not seen since the height of the Space Race.” The President also argued for increased investments in public safety, housing, and education. According to the President, we must also “do more to combat climate change.”
He proposed a “Fix-It First” program and a “Partnership to Rebuild America.” Somehow, these spending programs, rather than lower corporate tax rates, are the most effective way to prove there is “no better place to do business than the United States of America.” If he truly wants to convince businesses to “create jobs at home,” why would the President suggest raising the minimum wage to $9.00 per hour, reducing their ability to add additional workers?
In the realm of education, the President proposed making “high-quality preschool available to every child in America.” He advocated changing the Higher Education Act so that the government could determine which colleges received federal aid based on subjective assessments of “value.”
Though his numerous spending programs are full of good intentions, President Obama ignored the consequences of government intrusion. For two sentences of the speech, the President correctly summarized our argument against such policies:
“The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem… Indeed, no laws, no initiatives, no administrative acts will perfectly solve all the challenges I’ve outlined tonight.”
If our goal is truly to promote prosperity, help the middle class, and grow the economy, we must rely on a free enterprise system – not a redistribution model that hinders the economic growth, business expansion, and job creation the President claimed to support.