By Hannah Bleau | email@example.com
If you tuned into the State of the Union Address, chances are you felt either comforted or disconnected. The economy, it would seem, is sound. Children are skipping happily through fields of flowers, and the job market is booming. In fact, things have never been better!
Our leaders in Washington remind me of the district capital leaders in the Hunger Games (you know, minus the blue hair). The camera shots continually swept over the crowd of people with phony enthusiasm, big government smiles and self-important attitudes.
I want to be proud of my leaders, but they don’t make it easy. They say what they need to say to appeal to voters. Both sides are guilty of this. President Obama says he believes in us, but after his speech, I feel he only has faith in bigger government.
Here are some highlights.
Wage gap/income inequality: This is claim that puzzles me as a woman. I mean, it sounds good! Of course I think I should get paid the same as a man for the same job and same education. But I’ve learned not to easily believe everything the Washington elite tells me. That “77 percent for every dollar” is a deceptive number. It compares wages across job spectrums — not the same jobs like doctors to doctors, accountants to accountants, etc). It doesn’t account for the fact that most women choose lower paying jobs (like being teachers) than men do. It also doesn’t take in account the fact that women are more likely to take lower paying jobs and work less hours so they can put more time and love into their families. Feminists, perish the thought.
Lowest unemployment rate in five years: This is a fraudulent claim, because the unemployment rate doesn’t include discouraged workers- people who have actually stopped looking for work. The current rate is 6.7 percent, but there’s an additional 18 percent right now who are underemployed. The labor force is smaller. That speaks of a declining economy. Fine, let the President boast about it. But I also think it’s necessary to note that we have the highest number of Americans on food stamps (an additional 20 million) and government welfare than ever before.
Expanding Unemployment: If we have the lowest unemployment rate in five years, why do we need to extend unemployment?
Severe budget cuts: I had a feeling the President was going to make a jab towards House Republicans for the government shutdown. This in itself is a bit deceptive. There’s this thing called baseline budgeting. That basically means that every year the budget automatically increases by a certain amount. That’s right- automatically increases. These severe budget “cuts” touted by fiscal liberals (again, including both Republicans and Democrats) are often the act of reducing the automatic increases. The actual budget is actually left unharmed. But since we live in opposite land, I think his speechwriter should have included “Also, my fellow Americans, I haven’t passed a budget in five years.” Cue applause.
Inequality has deepened: The President did say something I agreed with. It ran along the lines of this: We should all take responsibility for ourselves. He said it, but I don’t think he truly believes it. His advocacy for big government actually does the opposite. It reduces the incentives for hard work. It rewards people for making bad decisions, and makes it easy and comfortable to remain on the government dole.
Infrastructure: This is one common statement that almost all of the President’s supporters say. It’s like the President’s pickup line that make the old liberal ladies gleam: “We need to build up our infrastructure!” Hey, I like roads and bridges just as much as the next guy, but why is this always the go-to phrase? Why is building up infrastructure basically the answer to every economic crisis that has ever been bestowed upon America?
Energy: For someone who isn’t a big fan of the oil industry, the President sure talked about it a lot. Of course, alternative energy came up, and that’s not something that I’m against. I just have faith in the free market. “Necessity is the mother of invention” not “The government forcing new alternative energy is the mother of invention” Government cannot artificially create demand for something. The President seemed adamant on “investing on fuels of the future” instead of subsidizing the oil industry. Unfortunately, last time we did that, it cost the American taxpayers millions of dollars (ahem- Solyndra).
Immigration: Illegals are here illegally. The only reason this is made out to be such a complicated issue is because Washington elites want a guaranteed voting bloc they can give free things to.
Education: The President claimed that his administration has offered the most help to students to pay for and attend college. While that sounds absolutely fabulous, I happen to take another stance. Imagine what would happen if government never got involved in education in the first place. Colleges can charge an unfathomable amount of money for tuition because they know almost every student gets aid/subsidies from the federal government. But what happen if that wasn’t so? If the government was out of the equation, schools would be forced to lower prices, because no one would be able to afford to attend school. Schools would have to lower prices. Now, they don’t because they know the government will pick up the cost.
Healthcare: Of course, the President featured some heart tugging stories of single mothers with pre-existing conditions and how ObamaCare saved their lives. But what I didn’t hear is about the thousands of people who got cancelation notices in the mail. What about the thousands of people whose premiums shot up. What about the thousands of people who lost their insurance because of ObamaCare? I’d like to hear more of those stories.
Climate change: According to the President, global warming is fact. But if we do everything he says, it will all go away and future generations will flourish. (Of course, at the expense of your personal liberties and economic growth). But neither here nor there.
This speech could be summed up in two sentences: “Forget you Congress. I’ll do what I want.” It’s sad to see the abuse of the executive powers. Division of powers is one of the key things that makes this country great. Gridlock isn’t a bad thing. It proves that our system of checks and balances work. While it may be frustrating at times, it shows the wisdom that went behind the Constitution the founders carefully and thoughtfully crafted. The fact that the President finds it pesky legitimately concerns me.
As much as I wanted to get something out of the State of the Union Address, it was full of disappointments. I feel completely disconnected from my government, and I hope I’m not the only one.
But alas, climate change is a fact. The Constitution is subjective. ObamaCare is saving America, and if you don’t like it, too bad because the President has a phone and a pen.