State of the Union: Is it Fact or is it Fiction?

By Kevin Lair

Senior Elm Writer


In his recent State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, President Barack Obama depicted not the actual state of the union, but a state he wishes were true.

The president labeled the country as having “risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.” Many economists still believe the economy is in recession, and the unemployment rate has fallen merely as a result of additional part-time, low-wage jobs in areas like retail and restaurants while hundreds of thousands of people have dropped out of the workforce or quit looking for employment, according to the Associated Press.

The Labor Department finds that the pace of hiring barely beats inflation, household incomes remain below pre-recession levels, and there are still 1.7 million fewer full-time workers employed than when the recession began. Then again, the president believes that if only the successful and rich would “pay their fair share” with more taxes, all of these economic problems could be fixed.

Obama’s plan to “lower the cost of community college — to zero” carries a real price tag of $60 billion over 10 years to the government, including a quarter needed from states, said the Associated Press. Teachers and other educators fear that such an emphasis on community college education may sway students and scholarships from four-year schools and degrees in favor of two-year institutions, and many students may not qualify for the president’s plan.

President Barack Obama gives the president’s annual State of the Union address in the chamber of the House of Representatives. Behind Obama are Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner.
President Barack Obama gives the president’s annual State of the Union address in the chamber of the House of Representatives. Behind Obama are Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House John Boehner.

The president spoke of “bustling industry” and “booming energy production” yet failed to mention how he has stalled and dismantled domestic oil production facilities, imposed moratoriums on new production, and failed to support the Keystone Pipeline—a project supported by the majority of Americans and Congress and expected to create or support thousands of jobs. Energy prices are lower and gas prices are cheaper thanks to cost-effective extraction methods like fracking and increased domestic oil production, matters this president and fellow Democrats have stunted every step of the way.

Regarding foreign policy, NBC foreign correspondent Richard Engel called out Obama’s claim that “In Iraq and Syria, American leadership — including our military power — is stopping ISIL’s advance.” With limited airstrikes and unwillingness to supply rebels with necessary fire power, Engel said, “That just isn’t the case, according to military officials I’ve been speaking to… [The Islamic State is] taking new territory,” and it “sounded like the president was outlining a world that he wishes we were all living in.”

Obama failed to mention the massive gains Republicans made in Congress, governorships, and state legislatures which indicate Americans’ preference for functional government and more common-sense, fiscally conservative policies. In just three weeks, the new Republican-controlled Senate has allowed more amendments to be voted on than there were by the Democratically-controlled Senate in all of 2014, just one example of how the new Republican Congress is committed to governing and putting the nation back on track.

Obama failed to admit that the true state of the union is a sluggish recovery bogged down by bureaucracy, anti-business policies, perpetual campaign politics, and defunct leadership. The president says that he wants bipartisan solutions, but in the same breath, he threatens to use executive order to get what he wants. The real state of the union encompasses an electorate tired of the failed Obama and Democrat tax-and-spend policies of the last six years that have stunted economic growth and weakened America’s standing in the world. Plagued by scandals ranging from Veterans Affairs to the Internal Revenue Service, it is time for a change. That is what voters demanded in 2014, and that is the true state of the union. Obama simply refuses to admit it.

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