Barack Obama

5 Big Problems Obama Will Ignore in His State of the Union Address

What President Obama says in his 2013 State of the Union Address isn't as important as what he leaves out.


Credit: White House

President Barack Obama will present the first State of the Union address of his second term this evening. He has already told House Democrats that the focus of the speech will be on jobs and the economy, but according to USA Today, he is also expected to discuss gun control, climate change, and immigration.

In other words, the State of the Union address will probably sound a lot like every other speech the president has given. If your State of the Union drinking game doesn't include the phrase "commonsense solutions," you're probably some sort of teetotaler.

If you're among the 88 percent of Americans who won't bother to tune in (according to Nielsen ratings of last year's audience), don't worry: It's not like the president will actually discuss the real state of the country. Rather it's yet another chance for Obama to promote his own policies and ignore their many flaws. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), on behalf of the GOP, and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), on behalf of the Tea Party, will provide responses that will hopefully point out the president's attempts to dodge reality. But if not, we've got a handy list of issues the president is likely to avoid in the State of the Union address.

1. About that Fiscal Cliff

The president is likely to call for broadening the tax base and "closing loopholes," and to criticize Republicans for trying to throw Grandma out into the cold rather than get more tax money from the rich. In his weekend radio address, Obama said the Republican plan to avoid automatic spending cuts "puts the burdens on seniors and middle class families." He also claims that we have made "good progress" in reducing the deficit for the last two years.

The Reality

No, actually, there have been no spending cuts and there has been no deficit reduction. As columnist A. Barton Hinkle has explained, what the government defines as cuts is often reducing the amount of growth of future spending, eliminating proposed parts of future budgets. It's not spending less money from year to year, as you and I would describe a spending cut. Rather it's eliminating theoretical future spending. Federal spending has jumped from $1.77 trillion in fiscal year 2000 to $3.72 trillion in fiscal year 2010. And while Obama says the Republicans have refused to accept closing any tax loopholes for the rich, Republicans have shot back that the president actually refuses to accept any spending cuts as part of the fiscal cliff negotiations.

2. About that Sequester

The president's Saturday radio address warned of dire consequences should the sequester happen, cutting $85 billion from the federal budget for the next year. He said thousands of Americans are "likely to be laid off" if Congress fails to stop the sequestration cuts. He also argued (no doubt in an effort to get hawkish conservatives on board) that sequestration would threaten our military readiness.

The Reality

Not bloody likely. Mercatus Center analyst and Reason economics columnist Veronique de Rugy crunched the defense numbers and noted that even after dipping slightly next year due to the sequestration, the defense budget will still continue to grow and grow fairly constantly for the next 10 years following that one dip.

George Mason University economics professor Tyler Cowen noted in a New York Times piece that while the job losses in the defense industry might lower our gross domestic product in the short term, in the long term we may well be better off because it "would most likely mean fewer engineers and scientists inventing weaponry and more of them producing for consumers." Military spending does not generally produce real wealth as we see it. Shifting employment out of that industry might ultimately benefit our economic growth in the long run.

3. About that Gun Control

Source: Mass Effect 2

The Sandy Hook tragedy is the impetus for a host of new gun control proposals, including national background checks for all gun buyers, the reinstatement of the ban on assault weapons (whatever the heck those are), limiting the capacity of gun magazines, and millions more in government spending and grants to help communities develop "response plans." He will undoubtedly push his proposal at the State of the Union address while insisting that he is not calling for taking guns away from Americans and that there is a "consensus" supporting his proposals.

The Reality

The latest Reason-Rupe Public Opinion Poll shows that a majority of Americans support the right for individuals to own assault weapons by a 51 to 44 percent margin (though the wording of the question matters). The market seems to agree, as the possibility of future restrictions on purchases have driven up gun sales.

In defense of reinstating the assault weapons ban, Vice President Joe Biden took to the pages of USA Today to claim that fewer police were being shot when assault weapons were banned. Reason Contributing Editor Radley Balko examined the numbers and determined the claim was a lie. The statistics of cop deaths during the 10 years of the assault weapons ban did not show any such thing. In fact, assault weapons are used in a very small percentage of weapons-related crimes.

There is little evidence that any national federal policy would be effective in preventing extremely unusual cases like Adam Lanza's. 2012 was a bad year for mass shootings in America, but it came after a decline in such shootings reaching all the way back to 1999. Reason's Jesse Walker took note in January that what we think of as "crime waves" are actually typically waves of increased media attention to related violence (note how every potential incidence of school violence is getting much more media attention). Whatever "common sense" policies the Obama administration may put forward will likely ignore that those policies would have not done anything to actually prevent the Sandy Hook shooting.

4. About Leaving Afghanistan


The president will no doubt mention bringing the troops home from Afghanistan (if you ignore the "residual force" he wants to leave behind). In a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai in January Obama said, "By the end of 2014, the transition will be complete. Afghans will have full responsibility for their security, and this war will come to a responsible end."

The Reality

The Obama Administration's use of armed drones to assassinate targets overseas without any sort of trial or due process is making us more enemies abroad, alienating countries, and encouraging terrorism.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States has spoken out against strikes in her country, as polls show more and more of her countrymen seeing the U.S. as an enemy not an ally. After a memo outlining the Obama Administration's guidelines for using drones to assassinate terrorism leaked, The New York Times described a horrific story of a cleric in Yemen who had denounced Al Qaeda being murdered not by the terrorists, but by a drone strike that happened while he was having a peaceful meeting with the Islamic militants he had spoken against. The United States killed a man that could have been an important ally.

The use of drones has gotten more attention over the leak due to the possibilities of the administration using them on United States citizens without any sort of due process. White House Spokesman Jay Carney has said there will be no further information publicly released about the drone program. Don't expect the president to acknowledge that his administration's interventions have been as harmful to the nation's relationships abroad as his predecessor's.

5. About those Jobs

Credit: U.S. News

In the face of still unpleasant unemployment figures (7.9 percent) the president told House Democrats he would be focusing on creating jobs. In typical Keynesian fashion, his argument for protecting government spending (or "investment" as he'll likely call it) will focus on creating or protecting jobs for middle class Americans.

The Reality

The president's Keynesian economic policies are really a cover for crony capitalism coming from the left rather than the right. The president will talk about eliminating tax policies and loopholes that benefit "the rich," yet will push forward government loans or subsidies to the private sector in areas like green energy and high-speed rail, industries run by wealthy folks with a tendency to give significant donations to Democrats.

In fact, the Obama Administration's regulatory pushes may make a bad situation worse. Reason Science Correspondent Ronald Bailey theorized that Obama's environmental interests may result in proposals tonight like a national carbon tax, more Department of Energy regulations on emissions and energy use, and more spending on expensive solar and wind projects. All of these measures would actually increase the cost of energy and doing business in the United States, and those costs would filter down to the middle class and the poor, the same folks the president claims to be trying to help. If he's truly committed to helping create jobs, the administration needs to stop trying to pick winners and losers and using competition from China (which is likely taking a financial beating in its own green energy efforts) as an excuse to line the pockets of his donors and union buddies with government money.

NEXT: Mark Zuckerberg Was the Second Most Charitable American of 2012

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70 responses to “5 Big Problems Obama Will Ignore in His State of the Union Address

  1. He didn’t talk about what I wanted him to talk about! Waaaaaah!


  2. If The One ignores something then it is ex vi termini not a problem.

  3. I suppose you could come up with better lies and obfuscations for your address, eh, Shackford? You know, it’s easy to criticize.

      1. You suck-diddily-uck, Whiterun.

  4. If your State of the Union drinking game doesn’t include the phrase “common-sense solutions,” you’re probably some sort of teetotaler.

    …or you don’t want to die tonight from alcohol poisoning.

    1. Shot of tequila for every child from Newtown CT, pictured. Take a roofie if one is sitting with the first lady.

      1. Take a roofie Just put a gun to my head and paint the walls with my brain if one is sitting with the first lady.

        Not that it will be necessary. I swear to Zod I’ll probably have an aneurism and my head will explode like that dude from Scanners if one more person uses those kids as political props.

  5. Let me clear, if the Republicans had nominated someone other than Alan Keys I would have never made it to the Senate much less the Oval Office. So I have no fucking clue what I am doing up here.

    1. Let me clear, if the Republicans had nominated someone other than Alan Keys ever nominated a halfway decent opponent against me I would have never made it to the Senate much less the Oval Office.

      FIFY. The man’s luck in opponents is nothing short of astounding.

    2. If the GOP didn’t get their bowels in an uproar over Jack Ryan liking kinky sex, Obama would’ve had to make a name for himself in the prosecutor’s office.

      1. I must’ve missed that book.

  6. The Kenyan Village Idiot has one move. He will life, accuse his opponents of bad faith and seek to divide the country by picking out targets as the “other” and rile up the angry congress of baboons who are his supporters.

    1. lie. He will lie…

      1. Yes he will

      2. Lying IS his life, so the error was understandable.

    2. RE: John

      So he’s doing what 99% of politicians have done in America since its founding 😉

  7. Radley Balko examined the numbers and determined the claim was a lie.

    Biden lied? Noooooo, say it ain’t so! *shocked face* /sarc

    1. If Biden is lying then little kids are lying when they repeat that babies are delivered by storks.

      1. True. I think in describing anything Biden says, the default option should always be “doesn’t know what he is talking about” OR “he’s an idiot.”

    2. In Bidens defense he doesn’t know he’s lying. In Joe Bidens world his words create reality.

  8. Crony capitalism, creating regulations that make it no longer financially feasible for the little guy to keep up with the rules. Of course thats why big corp is involved with big gov., to stifle competition.

  9. The president’s Keynesian economic policies are really a cover for crony capitalism coming from the left rather than the right.

    It’s not cronyism when we do it. /prog-tard

    1. Sadly I heard this coming out of a Ex-Co-workers mouth.

  10. What’s the over-under for the use of “false argument”?

    1. Around the same as “false choice(s)”. He is such a blithering idiot. It is not that I disagree with the content, which I do. It is that his speeches are completely incoherent. His supporters must not really care what he says. They must just like the soothing tone of Big Daddy’s voice, because there is no way anyone could listen to the content of those speeches and think anything other than “this guy is a moron”.

      1. I dare you to sit in the same room with a libtard as he gives a speech. They go all misty eyed and dreamy when he shows up. I used to work for a non profit that was VERY left leaning. They’d gather everyone in the conference room and put him on the projector every time he had an appearance on TV.

        1. Yeah….so many damp panties that the humidity in the room goes up. But remember TEAM RED is the “faith based” TEAM.

      2. I’ve never understood why anyone thinks he’s a great speaker. He overuses a few fluff phrases, pauses at awkward moments, and stares off into nowhere all the time. It’s cringe inducing, even if you agree with the content.

        1. The Barry flavored Kool Aid is very strong.

        2. TelePrompTer:
          Bullshit bullshit bullshit
          (Pause, look up to the left)
          Bullshit bullshit bullshit
          ( pause, look up to the left)
          Let me be clear
          Bullshit bullshit bullshit
          (Pause, look up to the left)
          Lather, rinse, repeat.1

        3. I can’t stand the guy, but I thought the speech he gave in Grant Park after his first election was actually really damn good.

          Unfortunately, that speech was total bullshit. The angry, contentious know-it-all we have seen over the last few months is who he really is.

          1. I just pulled it up on YouTube because I couldn’t remember it. I think you must have been watching something else. His Grant Park speech is filled with awkward pauses and fluff.

          2. Anytime I find myself beginning to be impressed with his speaking I just remind myself that he didn’t write it, is reading it and is completely full of sh*t. The volume of lies spill from his mouth is really the only thing that impresses me. That and the number of people who believe him. Staggering

  11. It’s the President’s job to save us from ourselves. Our ignorant, feckless, maladjusted, racist selves.

    Not one sparrow falls…

  12. “Some folks want you to believe [insert false choice], but they’re wrong. My administration is committed to [insert Utopian scheme] and we will [insert demonstrably false and/or impossible course of action]. Because [assertion of necessity of equal outcomes].”

    1. You saw tonight’s advance draft?!

  13. His rhetorical style reminds me of a backwater tent show revivalist.

    1. You should watch the Apostle. Pentacostals are massively more entertaining than any political speaker this side of Friedman. Incredibly talented people.

  14. Five?

    I thought he’d ignore 99 problems in his speech.

    1. But the bitches won’t be one.

    2. But the bitch ain’t one?

      1. Damn you!

        1. And nobody gets away with calling a klingon/sasquatch hybrid a bitch…

      2. But enough about Lena Dunham

  15. “It was an inspired guess.”

  16. “The president is likely to call for broadening the tax base and “closing loopholes,”

    Wait, broadening the tax base. Isn’t that a Republican code word for raising taxes on the poor and middle class?

    1. Broadening it down to 150k.

  17. The Roman Empire is falling – only now it’s the natural course for modern industrial government/economies.
    I wanna know what comes next. (Though I’m not sure I want to experience it.)

    1. Vandal hoards from the north?

      “But minister, it isn’t like this film is the first troublesome thing to come out of Canada. Let us not forget Brian Adams a few decades ago.”

      Damned floppy headed Canadians

      1. Or Gordon Lightfoot, a decade or 2 before that. The Canadians have generations of sins to pay for. Is there a more frightening phrase than, “Canadian singer-songwriter”?

        1. “English chef”?

          1. Italian Mercenary?

        2. Is there a more frightening phrase than, “Canadian singer-songwriter”?

          Two words: Celine. Dion. So no, there isn’t. Case closed.

    2. The Roman Empire is falling

      I think the more appropriate and relevant historical comparison is the collapse of the Soviet Union.

  18. Once again, Obama is NOT a real Keynesian, he’s a phony, bullshit Keynesian just like Paul Krugnuts and most of the left.

    Keynes clearly said that you’re not supposed to raise taxes in a depressed economy. Does the name Herbert Hoover ring any bells?

  19. like Edna said I am blown away that anybody can earn $6418 in 1 month on the computer. have you seen this link http://www.FLY38.COM

    1. They got Edna, too!

      1. Shits getting real, now.

        1. She was a good woman…

    2. Anono-bot was so much better than this cheap knock-off “earn-money-on-the-internets-bot”. Jsut sayin’. lol.

    3. Do you have a newsletter I may subscribe to?

    4. $6418 a month?

      I work in computers and I’d laugh in the face of anyone who tried to pay me that little.

      I mean even if I moved to a low cost of living state I’d demand at least $7200 a month plus full benefits gross.

      1. Hey everybody, Rasilio’s got a spare guest room!

  20. This a great article. I merely wanted to mention that the executive director of the Libertarian Party, Carla Howell, will also deliver a response to the State of the Union Address. The video will be up on Facebook as well as

  21. uptil I looked at the check of $6418, I didn’t believe that my sister was realie earning money parttime on their apple labtop.. there mums best friend started doing this for only fifteen months and just took care of the dept on there home and got Smart ForTwo. we looked here, http://www.FLY38.COM

  22. “and to criticize Republicans for trying to throw Grandma out into the cold rather than get more tax money from the rich.”

    “Rich” = Every American that fucking works for a living. Kinda like how, “Top 1%” wound up meaning “any household that brings in $250,000 a year”.

    It’s time to stop playing along with the Left that they “only” want to raise taxes on the “rich”.

  23. Problems O will ignore? All of them.

  24. Nicest chat and chat Iraqi entertaining Adject all over the world

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