By contrast, President Obama’s speech was an exercise in misdirection, intended to create the impression that he has a plan for growth and solvency, when in fact the policies he trumpeted in earlier years have either done little to solve the problems or made them demonstrably worse.
As Governor Daniels said, this year is a crucial one for the nation. While he won’t be at the top of the national ticket, he can still make very valuable contributions to the effort, as he did tonight by giving us the kind of language that can help win the public argument.
— James C. Capretta is a fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He was an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 2001 to 2004.
President Obama’s State of the Union address presented his top priorities for the coming year: mandates, regulations, taxes, and spending.
Ladies and Gentlemen, tighten your seatbelt, because the era of big government isn’t over.
We got it all: the troops, the children, goods made in America — clean energy and cars alike — the middle class, Buffet’s secretary, safe food, clean water, and college for all.
And unlike last year, the president didn’t have a Sputnik moment.
But if there were ever a time to get outraged and be completely and totally disgusted, that time is now.
After running up the three largest deficits in U.S. history (President Bush shares some responsibility for the deficit, of course, but Obama is the president now and has been for almost four years), adding $4.6 trillion to the national debt and failing to fulfill his promises about the recovery, and bailing out homeowners, car companies, banks and many others, the president made no real mention of the need to seriously reduce government spending. Worst, after the United States got downgraded last summer, after witnessing the consequences in Europe of decades of government spending, the president made no real efforts to address the idea that Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid need to be reformed. Instead, the president promised that he would double down on the policies that have failed us in the last three years.
The president repeated a few times tonight that the United States isn’t in decline (voters disagree with him, by the way). But his denial shouldn’t distract us from what needs to happen. Entitlement programs must be reformed — so that we stop pushing more debt onto our children; so that our credit rating doesn’t get downgraded again; so that we continue to attract capital into the U.S. (and not just because the EU is in terrible shape).
As for Governor Mitch Daniels’ response: I liked much of what I heard. But I have to ask: Would mention of reforming entitlements have taken place if he was running for president or if the response to the SOTU had been given by Romney, Gingrich, Boehner, or Cantor?
— Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University.