The Real State of the Union

What should Obama have said in his speech? Here's what John Stossel wishes he'd said.


Has Barack Obama learned nothing in three years? Last night, during his State of the Union address, he promised "a blueprint for an economy." But economies are crushed by blueprints. An economy is really nothing more than people participating in an unfathomably complex spontaneous network of exchanges aimed at improving their material circumstances. It can't even be diagrammed, much less planned. And any attempt at it will come to grief.

Politicians like Obama believe they are the best judges of how we should conduct our lives. Of course a word like "blueprint" would occur to the president. He, like most who want his job, aspires to be the architect of a new society.

But we who love our lives and our freedom say: No, thanks. We need no social architect. We need liberty under law. That's it.

Obama—and most Republicans are no different—doesn't understand the real liberal revolution that transformed civilization. The crux of that revolution is that law should define general visible rules of just conduct, applicable to all, with no eye to particular outcomes. In other words, as Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek taught, the only "purpose" of law is to enable us all to pursue our individual purposes in peace.

If Obama really wanted, as he says, a society in which "everybody gets a fair shot," he would work to shrink government so that the sphere of freedom could expand. Instead, he expands government and raises taxes on wealthier people, as though giving politicians more money were a way to make society better. Instead, the interventionist state rigs the game on behalf of special interests.

What should Obama have said in his speech? Here's what I wish he'd said:

Our debt has passed $15 trillion. It will reach Greek levels in just 10 years.

But if we make reasonable cuts to what government spends, our economy can grow us out of our debt. Cutting doesn't just make economic sense, it is also the moral thing to do. Government is best which governs least.

We'll start by closing the Department of Education, which saves $100 billion a year. It's insane to take money from states only to launder it through Washington and then return it to states.

Next, we'll close the Department of Housing and Urban Development. That saves $41 billion. We had plenty of housing in America before a department was created.

Then we eliminate the Commerce Department: $9 billion. A government that can't count votes accurately should not try to negotiate trade. We will eliminate all corporate welfare and all subsidies. That means agriculture subsidies, green energy subsidies, ethanol subsidies and so on. None of it is needed.

I propose selling Amtrak. Why is government in the transportation business? Let private companies compete to run the trains.

And we must finally stop one of the biggest assaults on freedom and our pocketbook: the war on drugs. I used drugs. It's immoral to imprison people who do what I did and now laugh about.

Still, all these cuts combined will only dent our deficit. We must cut Medicare, Social Security and the military.

I know. Medicare and Social Security are popular. But they are unsustainable. The only way to cut costs and still have medical innovation is to free the market. So I propose that we repeal Obamacare immediately. My proposal was a mistake. We should repeal all government interference in the medical and insurance industries, including licensing. It all impedes competition.

We must shrink the military's mission to true national defense. That means pulling our troops out of Germany, Japan, Italy and dozens of other countries. America cannot and should not try to police the world.

Those cuts will put America on the road to solvency. But that's not enough. We also need economic growth.

Our growth has stalled because millions of pages of regulations make businesses too fearful to invest. Entrepreneurs don't know what the rules—or taxes—will be tomorrow.

All destructive laws must go. I endorse the Stossel Rule: For every new law passed, we must repeal two old ones.

OK, Obama will never say that.

But I can dream, can't I?


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  1. Wish in one hand and shit in the other. Which one fills up first?

    1. That being said, what do you think Obama should have learned, John? He knows everything you stated. All the politicians do.

      Newsflash: they don’t care.

      We’re stuck with a system that horks up nothing but narcissistic sociopaths into positions of power, and filters everyone else out.

      1. It’s been this way since the dawn of civilization. At least now we’re starting to see a real chance to break free of it.

          1. I’m guessing you mean for breaking free of narcissistic sociopaths. I offer the discovery of Capitalism as my citation for a real chance of breaking free of these sociopaths.

            1. I’ll offer human nature to refute your logic.

              1. Hey, I said a -chance-. We’ve had 10000 freaking years and only gotten a chance in the past 250. It’s a pretty low chance.

                1. I wish I had your optimism.

              2. What is human nature? Do you have some preternatural knowledge that the rest of us mortals lack? How can you make anything other than conjecture as to what constitutes the myth of human nature?

                1. People that want power over others seek such power; people that don’t want such power don’t. Inherent flaw in republicanism and democracy.

                2. What, are you post modernist or something?

                  Humans do have a nature. It’s implicitly acknowledged by calling them “human”, for instance.

                  1. Sure human nature exists. That doesn’t mean that anyone has any definitive idea of what it is.

                  2. It depends.

                    anonynmously anon, do you use Helvetica?

                3. How can you make anything other than conjecture as to what constitutes the myth of human nature?

                  How dare you try to other me, you can’t just assume my SES and throw your paternalistic thought processes around.

                  1. SES?

                    Besides, he didn’t go far enough with ignoring the sciences of psychology, sociology and economics, along with the philosophies of human nature. He should throw out ALL the “soft” sciences! No, all science of any kind! Hell, let’s throw out philosophy as well, since we already got rid of some of it. Let’s just deny existence entirely. Then we are totally on the right track, ignoring all those “myths”.

                    1. I do not deny existence in any sense. I merely denounce the human nature as responsible for x argument. It feels very sophomoric; somewhat like the ancient argument “I don’t know how x works therefore god(s) must’ve done it”.

                    2. I think, therefore I am. But I’m not sure about you guys.

        1. It’s just so silly to see supposed journalists asking “Why don’t politicians understand X yada yada?!” or other people calling politicians stupid.

          Stupid? You mean those men and women in the highest positions of power, raking in the money and perks and intern-prostitutes, living the high life on other people’s money, and when they leave politics they are set for life in “consulting” or lobbyist position of the crony network? You mean *those* stupid people who live a lifestyle beyond the dreams of most people? Yeah, real pack of idiots.

          They understand everything you, I or Stossel understands. They have rooms full of people feeding them data on how best to enrich themselves or their friends who will then owe favors. The SOPA supporters know *exactly* how the Internet works. Backing off SOPA was a small, temporary strategic retreat.

          Nothing will change this. Nothing.

          1. You are exactly right. And it seems that there are too few people who understand that. Of course, many believe anything (statistical or otherwise) that comes from the government. And those who do understand a portion of the manipulations that are going on have been occupied with protecting themselves as best they can (I’m not talking guns here). I certainly hope that the time has come to elect an honest person who cannot be bought. If we are lucky enough to do that it will still take a lot of pain and suffering for this country to get back on track. But there is no better time to start than now…

            1. hardworker, my father and I had this conversation a very long time ago–about honesty in Washington. His comment was, “If you were offered anything you want–be it women, money, or both, or whatever–every day of your life, how long do you think you could hold off?” The answer is, not indefinitely. An “honest person who cannot be bought” only existed once on this planet, and he’s not running for office. I have very little hope that this situation will right itself without bloodshed–and I AM talking about guns. It’s going to be ugly.

    2. Wish in one hand and shit in the other. Which one fills up first?

      That’s what my Daddy taught me, but I wish he’d taught me about analogies first.

  2. What he really should have said:

    “Vote for me and I’ll try to give you more free stuff until the well runs dry!”

    1. You can’t acknowledge that there is a possibility of the well going dry.
      Remember, all that free stuff doesn’t come from tax payers or debt. It comes from government. Government is the well, and the well never goes dry.

      “Government is the great fiction through which everybody endeavors to live at the expense of everybody else.”

    2. “At which point society will devolve into a dog eat dog world where only the strong survive! Welcome to Thunderdome bitches!”

      1. Oh, I’m already SOOOOO BEYOND THUNDERDOME it’s not even funny.


    3. What he really should have said:
      “Vote for me and I’ll try to give you more free stuff until the well runs dry!”

      That’s pretty much what Obama, and every other president, said during every SOTU.

    4. “Vote for me and I’ll try to give you more free stuff until the well runs dry!”

      He did say that. It was just longer winded and more grandiose.

  3. What Obama should have said was that he is going to use the full resources of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships to support the advancement of the White Tigress Tradition in the United States.

    1. Government support is probably the only way that the WT tradition could be fucked up.

      1. Really. Please, HM, for the love of God, do not let the government know of the White Tigress tradition!

  4. All those people being spoofed non-stop need to know that I use my name and link, and poetry does not. He is the ‘jar” spoofer and Sugarfree’s little asshole. All shit leads backs to that pack of hyenas

    -too bad most of you were too stupid to play along; what is it about giving a dog a bone?

    I don’t know who is doing the ‘spoofing gone crazy’ but if you are doing it for me, I don’t want it done.

    I don’t care that Heller accuses me; most of you know he has spoofed me for over two years, and has admitted so. He has commented on my blog under anonymous names but his school registers their server on any comments/mail to avoid legal entanglements.

    I asked Reason to publish any IP with my name and link when it is an obvious spoofer; most know a stupid comment when they read one but in my case, some have gone too far.

    It’s no secret that my emails and blog were co-opted and I believe email/IM’s

    1. poetry|1.26.12 @ 12:11PM|#

      Your ramblings are non-sensical. Are you accusing me of spoofing you? Or are you saying that I, myself, have been spoofed?

      I don’t really care about either question. It’s possible that I’ve spoofed you ? I’ve spoofed a lot of people.

      And if somebody spoofs me, well, great! That’s half the fun!

      ……Or do you actually come here for something other than entertainment!???


      1. What the fuck is this, the junior high cafeteria? Now we have commenters whining about comments? RTFA and go home.

      2. Doggie-style.

    2. translation: Waaaaaaaa! Why does everyone keep picking on me? Waaaaaaaa!

      1. shorter translation: I’m a whiny little bitch!

        1. Shortest translation: ATTENTION PLZ!!!

    3. I’d have more sympathy for you, if you were a White Tigress.

      1. I’ve got plenty of sympathy for the whiny little bitch.

        It’s in the dictionary between shit and syphilis.

        1. Major Paine was a bad ass!

    4. wait, did you pick this thread because it didn’t have a lot of comments? I’m confused…

      1. Always go with your first instict, Spencer

        1. that, and I read the article on Fox and it bored the shit out of me

          1. Or your fist sphincter, Spencit.

    5. Sugarfree’s little asshole.

      I highly doubt this is an accurate assessment.

      (I keed! I keed!)

      1. Just how little is Sugarfree’s asshole?

    6. his school registers their server on any comments/mail to avoid legal entanglements.

      Sounds like a good way to ensure legal entanglements, to me.

      1. he needs to read his employment agreement; he’s a little wet

  5. If Obama really wanted, as he says, a society in which “everybody gets a fair shot,” he would work to shrink government

    He didn’t mean it like that, John. He meant that everybody deserves to get a fair shot between the eyes, equally.

    1. And by everyone, he means everyone that steps out of line.

  6. Stossel offers up $150 billion in cuts – I am not impressed.

    And I suspect the Dept of Education is not $100 billion since he mentions “shuffling” money around. Nevertheless, it can use a 90% haircut. (Wiki says $71 billion – way too big for sure).

    1. (Wiki says $71 billion – way too big for sure).

      Only by about $71 billion.

      1. It’s way to big by 100 billion–the 71 it spends, and 29 billion by other stupid f’ing departments.

  7. And after he says all this, the entire joint session rushes to the podium to silence him. He is declared the next day to be insane and Biden addresses the nation “None of the crazy talk is going to happen, Medicare is not going to be cut, or the military or or the department of education. Don’t worry. We have the best doctors working with Barack and he will reutrn shortly.”

  8. Here is a GREAT Austrian response to Obama’s SOTU address.…..n-address/

  9. I’d like to see him give a coherent definition of this term “fair share” that he keeps using.

    1. Keep dreaming, dumb rube. The God-Emperor Barack I Obama, Supreme and Most Grand Autocrat of All the Peoples of the Americas, requires not the approval of peasants.

    2. How about a billionaire doesn’t pay a 14% tax rate when an average person (e.g. me) has to pay 30%+?

      How did this go from common sense to an obscene taboo? Adam Smith and Ronald Reagan both preached that wealthier people should pay a HIGHER percentage than average people.

      For some reason it’s suddenly become anathema to even suggest that they should pay SOMEWHAT less instead of MUCH less. I don’t get it.

      1. Pay to play. The 99% cant pay enough. Most people can’t even ante up.

      2. JohnC, a billionaire pays 15% on CAPITAL GAINS–just like you and I do. INCOME is taxed at a higher rate, but since BILLIONAIRES don’t have SALARIES, they don’t pay Income Tax they pay Capital Gains taxes. They’re living off of their investments, not off of what they EARN in a year. While I had great respect for Buffett years ago, he’s become a dottering FOOL and a leftist–he doesn’t want others to become rich, so tax the shit out of INCOMES but leave capital gains taxes alone.
        Secondly, billionaires pay A LOT MORE in actual dollars than the average citizen–not in percentage, but ACTUAL dollars. Dumbass.

  10. Has Barack Obama learned nothing in three years?
    He’s still stuck in 8th grade reading level, a surprising thing considering the great literary genius wrote two best-selling books… himself!

    1. I read sixteen pages and could not hold back the puke after that, no matter how hard I tried. Even his fucking ghostwriters suck dick.

      1. spoof, sorry

    2. All political speeches are written at an 8th grade reading level.

  11. sloopy on what Obama should have said in his SOTU address: I have failed America and contributed to it’s decline. I will not seek reelection, and I call on all members of the House and Senate to follow my lead. We need a new breed of people to represent our citizenry. No longer should career politicians sit in their offices dictating where the wealth of Americans should go. The seats of power would be better filled by randomly selecting names from the phone book.

    Oh, and sorry about my wife. I know she’s a bitch, but what’s a scrawny little shit like me gonna do to a big, mean old sourpuss like that?

    Anyway, I’m out. Peace.

    [drops microphone on floor]

    1. *[drops microphone on floor, shoots own brains out with .44 Magnum revolver, crowd goes wild]

    2. We need a new breed of people to represent our citizenry.


      1. But DEH-MAW-KRUH-SEE, you rube racist rubitty rube from down in Confederate country somewhere (anywhere south of DC)! We the POEPLE OF THEM HERE UNITED STAIT OF AMRAICA (yeah, I learned to spel at pubalic shcool, what of it, mohterfucker?) chosed our great leadder obama thru democratik means and rube racist teabag shud not be impediment to that.

        1. Confederate country somewhere (anywhere south of DC)!

          Didn’t John square us away the other day as to Virginia being part of the northeast?

          1. Didn’t see, and it isn’t anyway — isn’t John from Maryland?

          2. And yet Richmond served as capital of the CSA.

          3. VA is 2 worlds. There is Northern VA, and then the rest.

      2. You need a few more FUCKs.

  12. What I wish Obama had said:

    “I hate this job, I’m completely unqualified for it, and I never should run for it it in the first place. I therefore resign immediately. Thank you, and goodnight.”

    1. President Biden?

    2. Oh no, not that. If Obama steps down, Biden – aka Obama’s assassination insurance – becomes president.

      1. Solution: Obama resigns, Biden gets run over by public bus.

        1. President Crybaby?

        2. I mean President Boner?

        3. Er, I mean President Boehner?

          1. Wouldn’t Biden get to name his new VP right away? I doubt he’d let that go unfilled for more than 15 minutes or so.

            Nope. If this scenario happened, it’d be President Hillary Clinton.

            1. I was assuming he got pancaked by the bus before he had the chance.

              1. Oh. I get it. “We can dream,” and all that.

                Best case scenario: Obama blows his own brains out and bullet passes through Biden’s skull as he is buttfucking the prez.

                1. Oh. I get it. “We can dream,” and all that.

                  Absolutely. And if you’re going to bother to dream, might as well make it a big one.

                  1. Best case scenario: Obama blows his own brains out and bullet passes through Biden’s skull as he is buttfucking the prez.

                    Better best case scenario: Air Force one crashes into The Capital Building while a vote is being cast. Only the Pauls escape alive.

          2. A Boehner/Weiner ticket sounds about right, considering what we get from DC.

  13. I like Stossel’s suggestions, but terminating those departments would not save anything near the amount he suggests. This is because of the millions of dollars we’ve promised all those federal workers – we would be legally obligated to pay a masive sum if we fired that many civil servants. Otherwise they’d sue — and don’t think we’d win the lawsuit — tried in federal court before judges who are all long-time govt employees counting on their guaranteed pensions and retirement benefits.

    Of course, it probably makes long- term sense to do it anyway, just don’t expect the short-term gains proffered in the piece.

    Of course, the prez could refuse to pay and then ignore the federal court’s order. He’d surely face impeachment, but he’d be my hero.

    1. Literally 95% of all government departments and agencies should be eliminated. The Department of Let’s Fucking Waste Money and Do Retarded Shit Every Single Fucking Day of the Week, or the DLFWMDRSESFDW, otherwise known as the Department of Education, is one of the most egregious and useless, but there’s an ocean more of them. TSA should go second, followed by the entire Department of Homeland Security.

      1. The Department of Let’s Fucking Waste Money and Do Retarded Shit Every Single Fucking Day of the Week, or the DLFWMDRSESFDW, otherwise known as the Department of Education nearly every government agency at every level,


        1. +1

  14. All hail the Stossel!

  15. Presidents make State of Union Addresses.

    Bloggers pick boogers and eat them while they write whatever they want to write – few people actually read them.

    And you are not the President.

    You are a nerd with a meager voice.

    whooptie doo.

    this is not the state you thought you were in lawnmower boy.

    1. no one cares what you think

    2. Wow. You have convinced me that my entire worldview is utterly wrong. Do you have a newsletter that I may subscribe to?

      1. Damnit, that’s my line!

    3. I prefer to save up my boogers for when I’m done writing whatever I want.

  16. Let’s face the facts. Number one, “the people” and “folks” and “Americans” and all those seemingly inclusive terms the Prexy used last night don’t really mean what you guys think they mean. They mean, “Me”, “My buddies”, “My political supporters”, “My fellow-true believers in our natural right to rule”, “Those who kiss my feet”, “Those who agree with me”. None of those categories include more than .0001% of the U.S. population and even fewer white folks. Get ready for it.

  17. What a wonderful vision of what America could be – John Stossel, you should run for President!

  18. Stossel is still doing his homework as the show starts.

  19. Bush is far enough in the past that Lee can toss him under the R bus.

  20. Senator Lee knows that people are idiots and will sometimes like SOTU addies.

  21. Fairness is code for class warfare.

  22. Matt Welch and Megan McArdle back with Stossel? Nice.

  23. The 50s blueprints didn’t call for all the shoddy work of the 70s.

  24. No one who wasn’t already voting or not voting for Obama (or weren’t paid) made up their mind by (or even watched) the State of the Union.

  25. Speak for yourself, Matt. Poisoning each other with mercury is how my friends and I are going to get on Jackass 4.

  26. McArdle had me then she lost me on truancy jail.

  27. I liked the 90s alt-rocker going on a serious interview look to your hair, Matt.

  28. Look at that idio… oh that’s Grover Norquist.

  29. Wouldn’t want to look like idiots on TV, huh, missy?

  30. Of course she’s heard of you. She’s Chelsea Clinton.

  31. Why does Gover look like the only thing on my TV in low-def right now? That’s a skill.

  32. Gover Norquist is not Sarah Palin. What’s going on here?

  33. Obama knows the only way to cut the deficit is more revenue.

  34. They should have planned to spend 8 trillion and then only increase by 3 trilliong. FIVE BILLION DOLLAR DEFICIT CUT!

  35. De Rugy now? Why wasn’t Reason pushing this episode on Hit & Run bigtime?

  36. Did Veronique just say “biggening”?

  37. America: Not the ugliest at the beauty pageant.


  38. Why not do it right now? Because they’re still running for office.

  39. Every source of energy. Including hot air.

  40. Is that hardened mercury around Palin’s neck?

  41. Look at all those carbon emissions going on behind Sarah right now.

  42. Palin is the right-handed Bob Dole.

  43. It looks like Palin is about to come through the screen and throttle the Stoss.

  44. Palin has the same made-up voice as Stossel when she’s imitating people she doesn’t agree with.

  45. Ha, Sarah Palin giving the SOTU viewers the benefit of the doubt. I suppose it’s more dimplomatic than calling them idiots.

    1. That’s right, dimplomatic.

  46. Her Palin sense is tingling.

  47. Palin equating Paul to Newt. Hard to swallow.

  48. Palin, rogue as ever. Anti Obama interventionism and anti ron paul anti-interventionism.

  49. I liked Amb. Miller better the first time I saw him, when he was this guy.

  50. Central planning doesn’t equal economic freedom? What if Washington promises to write that in somewhere? Maybe an addendum?

  51. President Stossel copped a feel. Very presidential.

  52. 2 state of the union speeches in 2 days? sounds pretty imperious to me.

  53. Stossel gets his first applause line in this downer of an address.

  54. Obama didn’t know you were allowed to use visual aids in his SOTU.

  55. Stossel rips Dodd and Frank a new one in effigy.

  56. What a great country we would live in if our leaders would only speak with reality and not with political idealism.

    The speech you wrote would have gone down as the best SOTU speech ever!!

    It would have also been the shortest!:)

  57. The choice is evolving to either surrender or revolution. The clowns running for President for the Republicans seem that there is a deal that Obama wins in 2012 and Republicans run the most horrible candidates in 2012 and then the Republicans can win in 2016.

    If such a deal is not and play and this the best the GOP can do, then a complete collective will be in place by 2016.

    Stossel is like so many people that believe that others are just like him. He seems to be oblivious to evil. Without a revolt, the end has arrived. When a sitting US Senator is detained on his way to Congress by the TSA, which against all such prohibition in the Constitution, and not a whimper anywhere, then there is no fight left.

  58. I think another point you should bring up is that elimination of the government’s role in certain programs, including ones ostensibly for a good cause, does not mean that it shouldn’t be done. Is helping the poor important and the right thing to do? Yes, but is government the best way to solve this problem? Do people need money for retirement and need health insurance? Yes. Is a market-based healthcare reform or a government-run healthcare system the best option? Is the current pyramid scheme known as Social Security the way to go, or is a system of personal accounts better, like Chile’s system?

    Another thing: as far as taxation, the government is entitled to no more of people’s money than it absolutely needs. It would also need less money if it didn’t keep screwing around in the economy, which hurts poor people and the middle class and makes them more likely to become dependent on others.

    As for rich people, if they earned their money through their own hard work and didn’t get it from government coddling or corporate handouts, they didn’t earn it at the expense of anybody else. If you force everyone to use the free market to earn their money, you won’t have people who gain wealth by leeching off others or exploiting people.

    Finally, I don’t know about repealing licensing for (I assume) medical professionals. I don’t think certification of people who want to be doctors is such a huge drain on society.

  59. AMEN! We need a truly free market. Free market of ideas. A free market economy. A free labour market. Repeal laws banning child labour. Repeal laws restricting immigration. Let’s create a REALLY free economy.

    Or not. The whole idea of a “free market” is notional and government can play an important role in ensuring equality in OPPORTUNITY for all. As Beveridge argued; “how can man truly be free if he lives in poverty, squalor, disease and ignorance.

    If ever there was a ridiculous article deserving of much ridicule; this would be it.

  60. Please send this to OBAMA!!!!!!

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