WASHINGTON, January 30, 2014 — President Obama’s State of the Union speech was not a serious piece of presidential oratory. It has been called “flat” and “banal,” and it was, but worse than that, it was disingenuous.
The president has tried to convince us that helping the lowest income earners is more important than promoting job creation. His rhetoric says that the real problem of our economy is inequality, not weak growth.
Initiatives to raise the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits and provide health insurance for those that cannot afford it are greater priorities to this administration than initiatives to encourage business expansion and new business formation. Because he believes that the real problem is inequality, Obama’s policies are geared to benefit the poor while hurting everyone else. He doesn’t see a problem with a declining standard of living if at the same time the distance between rich and poor is reduced.
The surprise is that so many agree.
Our real problems are being ignored. The economy has been in a funk since the end of 2007. The problems of high unemployment, low labor force participation, large taxpayer funding for income maintenance programs and a general lack of opportunity all come from poor growth. If we could get the economy growing in the 4 to 6 percent range, those problems would disappear.
Instead, Obama has us convinced that reducing income inequality is more important. There’s an element of delusion to this, but also dishonesty. Obama seems to be working a con.
The health care system is in crisis. Some of its problems have built for years, while others have been introduced by Obamacare. Millions of people were uninsured because they couldn’t afford insurance, but they will have access now because tens of millions are being hit with higher premiums, and access to actual health care, not just insurance, is about to become more restricted. Higher premiums, higher deductibles and lower quality — is that an improvement? Obama says that it is, but that too seems like a con.
Obama’s foreign policy, especially toward the Middle East, is predicated on a politically correct version of “tolerance.” It reveals itself clearly and especially in American dealings with radical Islamists, seeking a Kumbaya, hand-holding moment with people who want to wipe the U.S. from the face of the earth.
The effect is vacillating and weak, but also mendacious. Obama was untruthful when he said the Benghazi attack was motivated by a video. He was untruthful when he “drew a line in the sand” regarding Syria’s use of chemical weapons. He was untruthful when he told us that al-Qaeda is no longer a serious threat.
The dishonesty doesn’t end on foreign shores or with health care. The IRS scandal erupted when we learned that the IRS targeted groups based on political affiliation. Obama was less than truthful when he said he would get to the bottom of the IRS targeting practices.
Now everything Obama says is suspect. In 2009, even many who disagreed with Obama believed that he was truthful. People believed him when he said that after passing the Affordable Care Act Americans could keep their doctor if they wanted and they could keep their healthcare plan if they wanted to. He also said that the cost of health insurance would decrease by $2,500 per year and that the plans would be better. That was less than truthful.
Obama was less than truthful when he said he wanted to end the divisiveness in Washington and bring both sides together. Instead he forced the Affordable Care Act with not one member of the opposing party in support. The act of pushing Obamacare through by forcing every member of his party to vote for it while not seeking a single vote from the opposition, was really the beginning of the greatest division of Congress in history. When he blames the gridlock on the opposing party, he seems less than truthful.
It really seems that the entire Obama presidency is a con. And even though there is a certain elegance to his speaking, it is difficult to believe any of it. It seems he is constantly trying to pull the wool over our eyes.