State of the Union Review
January 25, 2012 2 Comments
We here at Steven Birn Speaks did not watch the State of the Union last night. We did however read the text of Obama’s speech and Mitch Daniels GOP response. It’s amazing that two hours of pomp and circumstance can be reduced to 10 minutes of reading. There were hockey games on last night that were more interesting than the President’s speech and these ungodly 9pm start times aren’t worth the sleep lost. Especially so when one can read the speech in a matter of minutes.
Let’s face it, this speech was nothing more than a campaign speech. Obama wants to raise taxes and the GOP doesn’t. Shocking! Obama used similar lines on several issues that he used in his 2010 and 2011 speeches. In other words, if you’re hearing or reading the speech you’ve basically heard or seen it before. Obama proposed plans that have already failed in Congress (both the Democrat and Republican controlled versions). He has a whole list of things that he knows the GOP won’t even consider. Rather than trying to work with Congress, Obama just throwing stuff out there to appease various constituencies. The GOP isn’t going to raise taxes so why go there? Likewise Obama won’t sign an Obamacare repeal, so the GOP need not go there.
Obama presides over a nearly $1.6 annual budget deficit. Yet he wants to use the “saving” from ending the Iraq war to spend on infrastructure projects, most of which will be done by union workers. Reducing the amount of money government spends doesn’t even enter the President’s mind. Which of course means that he isn’t serious about reducing spending or cutting anything. No surprise there.
While Obama railed against the rich last night, his administration has done little more than aid his rich friends. We all know about Solyndra and several other failed green companies, all of which awarded billionaire campaign donors millions in tax money. We all know that Obama supporting companies like GE pay no tax and receive millions in subsides. Now we find out that the biggest beneficiary of the Keystone XL pipeline rejection is Warren Buffet, another billionaire supporter of the President. Berkshire Hathaway just happens to own the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad, which just happens to transport oil (inefficiently) via rail from Canada. Evil rich my foot.
Obama wants to bring in the so-called Buffet rule declaring that those making over $1 million shouldn’t pay less than 30% in taxes. He of course doesn’t distinguish between labor income and capital gains. Buffet’s secretary, who allegedly pays a higher rate than he, was sitting with the First Lady last night.
The capital gains rate is 15%, keep in mind capital gains are investments made with money already earned via labor. There’s risk involved, you can’t deduct the majority of what you lose. Warren Buffet, like Mitt Romney, earns most of his income on capital gains. The truth here is that 97% of Americans pay less than 15% of their income in Federal income taxes. Those who pay more earn over $200,000 a year. So if Warren Buffet’s secretary is paying a higher percentage than he is, I would like her job because she’s making a lot more than I am.
Obama claims to be for the middle class. Yet gas prices have doubled during his Presidency. It is consistently over $3.00, gas averaged $3.50 last year. Given the opportunity to make gas cheaper by drilling or approving a pipeline, Obama says no. Oil leases on Federal land were down 40% last year. Ground beef is up 24% under Obama, bacon is up 22%, ice cream is up 19%. Corn is up 50%, sugar is up 20%. This is all due to inflation, high gas and administration policy. So much for caring for the middle class.
Last night’s speech was more of the same. More big government, more unnecessary confrontation with Republicans and more campaigning. His poll numbers won’t increase much because of the speech. The recent history of this President is that he’s largely tuned out by the general public. The question is whether this speech gets his base excited about re-electing him. Time will tell on that.