State of the Union

Have a Drink on the 1 Percent: Reason's 2015 State of the Union Drinking Game


Tax hikes! Free* community college! A seven percent increase in discretionary spending! More tax hikes! Tax reductions for the middle class! Offset by even more tax hikes!

President Obama's State of the Union address tonight is like a movie that leaked online two weeks before it hit theaters: It's been widely spoiled, mostly by President Obama and his staff, who've been giving away the details since the beginning of the year. 

At this point, then, we know most all of the basic plot elements, most all the big themes. In his annual speech to the joint Congress, Obama will call for a slew of populist measures paid for by tax increases on the wealthy (and perhaps some tax increases on the not-so-wealthy too).

Obama's speech comes as the White House is riding high on somewhat improved poll numbers; after a year in which the president clocked his lowest overall approval ratings yet, he's clearly looking forward to his own recovery summer.

The lead up to tonight's speech suggests that Obama hopes to bank his recovery on the theme of income inequality. Obama will "advocate using the nation's healthier finances to tackle long-deferred issues like education and income inequality" says The New York Times. Tonight's speech will focus centrally on "inequality and social mobility," reports The Guardian.

That ought to sound more than a little familiar to frequent SOTU watchers: It was a major theme of last year's State of the Union address too (the Gallup approval numbers suggest well that worked out).

And while there are those who favor reducing income inequality as a political goal, it hasn't quite caught on with a majority of the public. Just 47 percent say it should be an "absolute priority for this year," according to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, an improvement of just 2 percent from last year. Progress? Well… 

Anyway, when it comes to federal revenues, the wealthiest are already kicking in quite a bit. The top one percent of earners already pay more in federal income taxes than the bottom 90 percent of earners. But as long as we're putting together a wish list of what we'd like from the 1 percent, how about a drink or two to get through tonight's speech?

You've got about as much chance of getting that through a Republican controlled Congress as the rest of Obama's SOTU laundry list, but for those whose bars are already stocked on their own tabs, here's Reason's annual guide to when to imbibe while watching tonight's presidential address.

Take a drink if Obama….

Remember: If you get tired of the official speech, you can always remix and redo it with Reason's customized Cards Against Humanity State of the Union game.

Drink responsibly! You want to be sober enough to count all the proposed tax hikes.


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  1. Obama will “advocate using the nation’s healthier finances to tackle long-deferred issues like education and income inequality” says The New York Times.

    What? I can’t hear you over this ringing in my ears.

  2. If the government !@#$s you over, take a drink.

    1. For once, they propose a SOTU drinking game that it’s possible to survive, and you bring up something sure to kill the most hardened alcoholic within 5 minutes.

  3. And while there are those who favor reducing income inequality as a political goal, it hasn’t quite caught on with a majority of the public. Just 47 percent say it should be an “absolute priority for this year

    Is that the same 47% paying no income tax?

    1. Probably. MOAR FREE SHIT!!!11!!!!1!!1

  4. “Fails to mention pot legalization.”

    I hope to god that you mean for us to wait until it’s over before drinking to this one. My liver is quivering.

    1. No. Drink every time he fails to mention pot legalization.

      1. Hee hee. Wouldn’t it be fun to have a real libertarian in the White House where this could be done without dying?

        1. I don’t think anyone can talk nothing but pot legalization all the time.

    2. Wouldn’t it be more appropriate for you to shoot up or whatever it is you reefer addicts do? Help me out here, Epi, Agile…

      1. Shooting up marijuana sounds really, really painful. You’re gonna need like, a 4 gauge needle for that shit. I think you’re going to need to hit that one directly into the jugular, and good luck putting a band-aid on it afterwards. 😉

  5. How many times he mentions himself? Oh, the hangover.

  6. Describes his community college plan as offering community college for “free”

    “Free beer tomorrow.”

  7. I’m pretty sure following these rules would result in getting black drunk a quarter of the way through the speech, and probably end up waking up the next day at ~noon, completely naked, in a an empty field some 50 miles or more from home with no recollection of how you got there.

    1. *black out drunk…

      A little unintentional RACISM there.

    2. “end up waking up the next day at ~noon, completely naked, in a an empty field some 50 miles or more from home with no recollection of how you got there.”

      As if that’s unusual for the Reason commentariat.

      1. True, that’s just a typical Wednesday for folks around here.

    3. up waking up the next day at ~noon, NEXT TO LENA DUNHAM.


  8. Follow those rules and you will be in detox before he is finished.

    How about ‘take a toke’ instead? It might help you endure the GOP response.

    1. Take a toke any time Biden winks at someone in the audience.

      1. Or every time Obama smirks.

      2. Or every time Biden texts someone.

  9. OT: anyone want to take a shot at debunking this? Economists “prove” minimum wage can be raised to $15/hour over the next four years without costing low wage jobs:…..155027.htm

    1. I won’t waste my time. But Don Boudreaux ( pointed out something the other day; and that is, that current employment/unemployment figures already reflect the actions of private companies when it comes to hiring people after decades of the minimum wage.

      So, even if you could (ha!) prove that raising the minimum wage would not cause an increase in unemployment (or force people to remain unemployed) you have not accounted for the current status quo.

    2. have found that at the standard rate of industry sales growth the savings from a decrease in workforce turnover added to revenue generated from moderate annual 3 percent price increases could support a two-stage increase in the minimum wage from its current level of $7.25, first to $10.50 and then to $15 three years later. (from the UMass source)

      Just a few obvious assumptions:
      1. that workforce turnover would decrease
      2. that customers wouldn’t care about 3% compounded annual price increases
      3. that higher level employees don’t mind making the same as their subordinates (otherwise, they’d have to take into account their relative pay increases, but I assume they haven’t as it wasn’t mentioned)

  10. Anytime to have a drink is good to me dude.

  11. In every picture I’ve ever seen of Obama hoisting a glass of beer, it looks like it’s the first one he’s ever had in his hand. What did the Choom gang drink in Hawaii anyway??

    1. Bong water.

  12. Nice article! But you forgot ‘fair share.’ That one should be good for at least half a six pack.

  13. I believe I will take a toke for each of the statements: I have to work tomorrow!

  14. Here we have a case of vodka and a handful of eyedroppers. Take one drop of vodka every time he says “uh” or um” or puts a full stop in the middle of a sentence. Last one to die of alcohol poisoning wins.

    1. I don’t wanna put vodka in my eye! Of course, I don’t wanna watch the SOTU, either, so…

  15. Just once I’d like someone to explain to me the reason that I should care about income inequality, with the one rule, that they can’t use jealousy. Although these days, I might also have to stipulate that the word privelege is an automatic disqualification.

    1. Poor people don;t have as much discretionary income, which means they’re bad for the economy.

      (Yes, I just pulled that out of my ass, but it was all I could come up with.)

  16. How are “middle class economics” different from the regular kind?

  17. or if he says “carbon pollution”.

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