The Corner

Predictable, Forgettable

The president’s State of the Union address was predictable on a number of levels. He called on Congress to pass “balanced” deficit reduction by taxing the rich — and never mentioned that he just raised taxes by $600 billion over the coming decade and that he raised taxes by $1 trillion in the health-care law. He said we can never pull back on promises made in the form of entitlement commitments — without ever mentioning that those promises have never been fully funded and will lead, at some point, to a fiscal and economic crisis. There’s nothing more fiscally irresponsible than to suggest that entitlement commitments can never be revised — but that’s essentially what the president said in his speech tonight.

He said he was willing to restrain Medicare spending, but only with more government-driven price cuts instead of real reforms that will improve the productivity of the health system.

He then went on to recite a good portion of the laundry list of new spending and regulatory ideas that liberal politicians have been pushing for years: universal pre-school, global-warming legislation, job training and infrastructure spending, a “paycheck fairness” act, and even a hike in the minimum wage. The added federal spending for all of this would be financed, presumably, with an ever more “balanced” approach to fiscal policy — meaning, of course, even higher taxes on job creators and entrepreneurs.

As usual for a State of the Union address, this speech was such a disconnected assortment of ideas that nothing in it really stood out. So the good news is that what the president proposed — a tired and unoriginal call for even more liberal governance — will be long forgotten in a few short weeks. And that’s certainly good news for the State of the Union.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

We’ll Regret This

Mitch McConnell says the president will sign the budget deal and he will also declare a national emergency to build the wall, as I expected. We’ll see the legal justifications he uses, but as a political and constitutional matter this is a long-term disaster. Oh, it might be good for Trump according to the ... Read More
White House

The Failure of the Deal

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (But especially Sammie), I had my say on the emergency declaration yesterday, and I’m sure I’ll have to say it all again not very far ... Read More
Culture

Jussie Smollett Changes His Story Again

The actor Jussie Smollett continues to talk about the alleged January 29 attack on him during a frigid night in Chicago, giving Good Morning America his fullest description yet of his claims. It differs substantially from what he told police initially after the alleged assault. Smollett told GMA that the ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Capitalism’s Cold War

The story of capitalism since the 1980s has been that of a kind of cold war between capital and politics. In the decade prior, American government was at the nadir of its prestige and credibility. The so-called War on Poverty, launched with great fanfare and idealism in the late 1960s, quickly collided with ... Read More