State of the Usual

Early on during his State of the Union address last night, Barack Obama acknowledged the results of last November’s election. He called for unity and compromise, themes that have dominated his political career because they appeal to the American character. Americans of every political stripe want to believe that we’re all basically the same sort of good-hearted people at our cores and that we all aspire to the same sort of end results. A middle road that leads to worthy ends, in other words, can always be found if we work hard enough to discover it. This President understands that portion of the American character better than perhaps anyone else who has occupied the Oval Office, and – as he did during the 2008 presidential campaign – he warmed to the familiar theme once again last night:

“What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow,” he said. “I believe we can. I believe we must. That’s what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they’ve determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all – for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.”

And then, having declared the need for America to pursue a bipartisan, middle-of-the-road future going forward, the president proceeded to outline his vision of that future – a course in which “compromise” consists almost entirely of conservatives and libertarians abandoning their ideas and ideals in order to support the progressive agenda. Obama’s version of “compromise” involves even more increases in government spending – although such expenditures will hereafter be rebranded as “investments” – along with the nation continuing to ignore the 800 pound gorillas that are America’s entitlement programs and continuing to pretend that Obamacare is both affordable and desirable.

The president declared that America needs to reinvent itself, but then proceeded to say that the only conduit for such a rebirth is the federal government. The only way to kick start our economy, Obama declared, was to take taxpayer dollars and use them to seed a “green economy” and to hire more teachers who will train future generations. It was a rather remarkable message, given the mood of the nation. It’s as if Barack Obama is congenitally unable to comprehend the basic argument that is at the heart of economic discussions in the United States today: is the government better equipped to create prosperity than the free enterprise system? This is, of course, a more subtle argument than a simple declaration or “choosing of sides”. There is an ideal balance between governmental authorities ensuring that a level playing field actually exists, and the environment of freedom of thought and innovation in which entrepreneurs make the most of such autonomy.

Obama is perfectly willing to tip his hat in the direction of American entrepreneurs, so long as those businessmen and businesswomen aren’t too successful. The president praised small businesses and acknowledged their role as job creators. But, at the same time, Obama stuck to the progressive playbook, declaring that “big oil companies” and insurance companies were the enemy and deserved to be punished. In the president’s world, there is nothing wrong with a ma and pa enterprise making a twenty per cent return on a one million dollar investment. But, if a large oil company realizes a five per cent return on a one hundred billion dollar investment, there’s something terribly wrong in the world. The term “economy of scale” – which is so prevalent in the business world – seems to be a matter of mystery in the public sector.

Far from being a message of the kind of “hope” that Obama trademarked in 2008, this state of the union address was little more than an exercise in mouthing tired, discredited platitudes. The economy isn’t going to rebound as a result of how many unneeded solar panels some guy in Pennsylvania is able to produce. Meaningful deficit reduction cannot happen until the imbalances that define the Medicare and Social Security are addressed. If the nation in going to move forward together, much less as one, we’ve got some tough policy decisions to make.

Barack Obama didn’t address any of those tough decisions during his second State of the Union address. Instead, he pretty much stuck to the party line. We should expect nothing more from a classically-trained Chicago politician.  The wheels are coming off of the train, but the politicians at that wheel always seem to be the last to notice.

America has a clear choice to make: does the nation invest in government (though its support of higher tax rates) or does it invest in the notion of free enterprise, though a refusal to accept more government? That answer to that question will define where we have been and where we are going.

  • CHShane

    Thank you Mr. Trzupek, have you considered running for the office, cause this left-winger just doesn't get "it."
    Further, it really sticks in my craw I have to listen to this BS from a POTUS whose name isn't rooted in the Judeo-Christian ethic. America, what were you thinking? Barak Hussein Obama? I left the letter C out on purpose.
    Who needs jihad, the vipers and scorpions have an inside man… just sayin'.

  • Steve Chavez

    By coincidence, my favorite movie, "The Sting" and the SOTU speech were on at the same time so I flipped back and forth and I couldn't tell which was more fictional! Both were about Con artists. The Con-Artist-in-Chief tried to pull another CON on the American people! He thinks we actually believe that he's reformed and heading towards the middle but where is the middle in the Democrat Party since many are further to the Left of the Twilight Zone?
    He's like an alcoholic who is changing his drunken ways? No more all nighters in smoky back rooms making deals? What are the odds of him falling off the wagon? Why did he then bring in a Chicago mob boss, Richard Daley, as his right hand man in charge of the Goon Squad? And why did he bring in a crook like Jeffery Emmelt whose own business is a failure as 29 GE factories are closed losing 35,000 jobs and he's in charge of creating jobs of which 25,000 he created and outsourced overseas?

  • BLJ

    Obama is a fraud and a Marxist. Anything that comes out of his mouth is poison for this country. A tiger can't change his stripes and this applies to this creep.

    • David Baker

      You got one detail wrong. The tiger and stripes missed the mark…A Zebra being closer to a jackass would be more appropriate when referring to Obomo…

  • Dan

    Just started reading (before the SOTU "address") Stanley Kurtz's Radical In Chief. And that's what the SOTU speech was — a dress. Another of the media abetted continuing cover-up that is a psychological operation (PSYOP) to keep the masses guessing and the Republicans inert. "Watch this (just like yours, don't ya know) hand." Meanwhile, the unseen hand of those in the unelected and appointed bureaucracy works its will.

    Emmelt of all people. What's going on should be obvious. Full speed ahead with the not so sub-marine and its on-the-way torpedos aimed at you know who. Oh, was that uncivil with the violent metaphors?

  • USMCSniper

    Ayn Rand said: A “mixed economy” is a society in the process of committing suicide. If a nation cannot survive half-slave, half-free, consider the condition of a nation in which every social group becomes both the slave and the enslaver of every other group. Ask yourself how long such a condition can last and what is its inevitable outcome. When government controls are introduced into a free economy, they create economic dislocations, hardships, and problems which, if the controls are not repealed, necessitate still further controls, which necessitate still further controls, etc. Thus a chain reaction is set up: the victimized groups seek redress by imposing controls on the profiteering groups, who retaliate in the same manner, on an ever widening scale

  • Red Baker

    We are now just like any European socialist nation. Government spending is 44% of GDP, and another 20% of GDP is regulations. The only way to stop these guys is with a series of constitutional amendment to limit spending, borrowing, taxing, regulation, bailouts, terms in office, vouchers for all students, and limit judges time in office and make them liable to retention votes. And more. There's no other way to control big government. We ought to cut all government in half; that would double the income of the private sector.

  • Wesley69


    Mr. Trzupek, you are right on the money. Compromise, but all Obama’s way. American reinvention, with the government in the lead. Small business is good. Oil Companies are bad. Obama’s speech to highlight his move to the center.

    Republicans need to say to Obama, WE WILL BELIEVE. WE WILL WORK WITH YOU, BUT:

    STOP the job-killing, economy killing regulations of the EPA. Allow a balanced energy program that allows coal, nuclear, natural gas, oil, solar and biomass.

    STOP the job-killing, skyrocketing energy prices by allowing drilling in the Gulf and onshore. Reverse Interior Secretary Salazar's anti-oil regulations.

    STOP the FCC's actions to create network neutrality (censorship) in communications, be it the internet. TV, radio.

    Submit all of the CZARS to Senate confirmation. Answer this question,. Mr. O, ARE THE CZARS AN INVISIBLE EXECUTIVE?

    Support legislation to place the budget of the CONSUMER PROTECTION BUREAU under a government agency subject to Congressional oversight, revoking its independent status under the FED.

    Obama, you gave in on the extension of the Bush tax cuts because if you didn't it would klll your reelection bid. All your recent appointments seemed to show you are now pro-business???? You have new moderate advisors. Do they have REAL power? WHAT IS THEIR TRUE STATUS AS THEY RELATE TO THE CZARS? DO THEY ANSWER TO THE CZARS?

    No empty talk, Mr. O. Deeds!!!! We, Republicans, will believe when we can put our fingers into the wounds made by the nails, O Great One.

    All tyranny needs to gain a foothold is for people of good conscience to remain silent.
    Thomas Jefferson

  • Raymond

    The New Element

    The densest element yet known to science has been discovered. The new element has been named "Obamacronium."

    Obamacronium has one neutron, 12 assistant neutrons, 75 deputy neutrons, and 224 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 911.

    These particles are held together by dark forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

    The symbol for Obamacronium is "O."

    Obamacronium's mass actually increases over time, as these morons randomly interact with various elements in the atmosphere and become assistant deputy neutrons in a Obamacronium molecule, forming a large cluster of idiotopes.

    This characteristic of moron-promotion leads some scientists to believe that Obamacronium is formed whenever morons reach a critical mass also known as "Critical Morass."

    When catalyzed with money, Obamacronium activates CNNnewsium, an element radiating several orders of magnitude more energy, mostly as incoherent noise, since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

    • scum

      and yet you watch FoxNews?

      • Raymond

        Muslims own part of Fox News.
        The owner of Fox News is Rupert Murdock
        who is a communist/globalist.
        And no, I don't watch Fox news.

  • scum

    Everybody loves govt money. Especially the Republican CEO's who rake in millions just for sending our jobs overseas. Then there's the 'many billions gone' wasted by the feds on useless military toys. Then there's Mr. Budget-minded Gov. Christie in NJ, who just accepted one of the sleaziest govt handouts ever: he announced he was under 'no obligation' to repay over $200 million of taxpayer money to the feds even though he refused to build the NJ/NY tunnel. When will these Repubs get serious about their tea party?

    • pianoforte54

      "sending our jobs overseas"….companies should be able to do what they want to and that includes going overseas. We already have TOO MANY REGULATIONS. Why do people think the government should prohibit companies from doing that? Let's just get the government OUT OF OUR LIVES AND BUSINESSES… ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

    • LESNC

      Taxes, Regulations & Unions sent jobs out of this country for the last 40 years. It was either stay in tis country and go out of business or go offshore and have a chance of surving. Either way the jobs are lost here.

    • Mike

      Several points – there is no government money to send jobs overseas – it is the insistence of the government to tax all money earned by a corporation (even money earned overseas) – that forces businesses to cut their losses and move more business overseas to avoid the highest tax rates in the world!!
      Gov. Christie said that he would not continue a bloated boondoggle project started by the previous Governor …and monies already fraudulently spent can't be repaid – because the money is GONE! Why throw good money after bad? It would be wasted to continue the project ….and there is no surplus money to return to the Feds – who, at this time, would then move it over to another state for a different boondoggle project!!
      Let's face it – it is time to cut losses, stop bad projects, terminate bloated government pensions (reduce pensions to reasonable values – like 1% to 1.5% times number of years worked – instead of 3% …. and make them pay 30% of their health care costs instead of giving them "free rides" at the expense of taxpayers.)
      And consider lawsuit reform and reducing unnecessary regulations – which are some of the REAL reasons that CEOs decide to move to other countries that are more business friendly!

  • artcohn

    I have been in the research and developement of new engineering and scientific projects all of my working life. Obama shows no conception of the difference between a project like getting a man to the moon, which as long as it did not bankrupt the nation could cost whatever, and a project that has to make cost competitive products that will be bought on the world market.

  • hijinx60

    It is easy for him to call for compromise now. Last year it was "We won" and our debt skyrocketed. If there are laws passed that rein in spending and cut waste, even if the Democrats oppose it, Obama will try to take the credit. He is no more than a Chicago thug in a suit and is incapable of common sense or truth.

  • Gandalf Grey

    This is a rather biased view of last night's speech, although I do agree Obama hasn't transformed into a conservative or a libertarian. The author of this article claims Obama promised "more increases in government spending," but this is no…t true. Obama promised a budget freeze and to pay for new expenditures by cutting money from other specific programs, including subsidies to oil companies and repealing tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans.

    The author interprets this as "Obama is perfectly willing to tip his hat in the direction of American entrepreneurs, so long as those businessmen and businesswomen aren’t too successful. Obama stuck to the progressive playbook, declaring that 'big oil companies' and insurance companies were the enemy and deserved to be punished."

    The author obviously disagrees with Obama's claim from last night that "And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success."

    I won't get into Obamacare in detail, because that's too big an issue to elaborate on, but I will say that regardless of whether it works well or whether it is morally right, Obamacare is cheaper than what we had before, and it does improve our national standing with the EU, China, and other industrialized nations that thought we were a backwards country for having so many uninsured Americans.

    I also agree, for the most part, with the author when he says that the "economy isn’t going to rebound as a result of how many unneeded solar panels some guy in Pennsylvania is able to produce. Meaningful deficit reduction cannot happen until the imbalances that define the Medicare and Social Security are addressed. If the nation in going to move forward together, much less as one, we’ve got some tough policy decisions to make."

    As long as U.S. presidents have been giving televised speeches, those same presidents have been emphasizing the need to reduce and even eliminate our dependency on oil–not only Democrats such as Clinton and Obama, but Republicans such as Bush and Reagan.

    To be addicted to such a limited resource supplied to us by countries such as Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq is beyond reckless, and one could even argue that our money has been fighting both sides of the War on Terror and the War on Drugs because of it. And as the global oil supply continues to dwindle, the demand for solar panels and other alternative energy sources will continue to rise; take that as you will.

    I agree with the author when he declares the U.S. entitlement systems to be the biggest challenge we face, and as the Republican SotU response last night pointed out, we have Greece and Ireland to remind us of what will happen if we don't meet that challenge.

    For the full text of the president's speech last night, you can go here:

    The site is a huge database of presidential history, including speeches, election results, proclamations and executive orders, and approval ratings.

    • LESNC

      You mention imbalances in Medicare & Social Security which also apply to other large government programs. The same thing is going to happen to Obamacare down the road. In the years to come it also is going broke like the above. The people will be addicted to it and will completely resist any attempts to rein the ever increasing cost.

      Obama is the first to try to reduce dependence on oil & coal with out a viable replacement in place which maybe 30 to 40 years down the road.

      Jobs were the big problem when Obama took office but he spent the first two years expanding government and reaching for Socalism. But after the 2010 elections he suddenly has figured out something should be done about high unemployment so he is trying to appear to move the right and consider the business community where jobs are created.