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The State of the Union

January 25, 2016

President Obama recently gave his last state of the union address to congress.  The problem is he glossed over the state of the union – his Constitutional charge – and focused on what he hopes to see in the future.  In many ways his address was reminisce of candidate Obama more than the President of the past seven years.  In his words, “Let’s talk about the future.”

But he had demonstrable difficulty with the present condition of the nation. Throughout his speech, he ignored the biggest problem facing the nation --  our runaway $19 trillion federal debt.  Meanwhile he offered the usual batch of goodies to the American people: free (or more affordable) college tuition, an increased minimum wage, enhanced Medicare and Social Security, better and cheaper healthcare, and “wage insurance,” whatever that may be. Not once did he indicate where the money would come from to pay for these things.

He acknowledged that “a thriving private sector is the lifeblood of our economy.”  But as he wore on it became clear the President has little to no idea what a thriving economy is, resulting in his ultimate demonstrably incorrect conclusion that “the state of the union is strong.”    

For example the President claimed unemployment has been cut in half while the official government numbers showed it at 8% when he took office; currently it’s 5%.  He said the US economy has created 8 million jobs since he first took office but there’re now more than 17 million working-age Americans (17 million!) seeking employment.  The Administration routinely excludes references to the growing number of discouraged people who have left the job market due to long term unemployment making the actual unemployment rate over 10%. 

The President also claimed he cut the deficit by three-quarters.  That’s a partial truth.  Since its peak in 2008, the deficit has averaged $900 billion per year over the seven years of Obama’s presidency.  This compared to $440 billion per year in the seven previous years.  In Obama’s first year in office it jumped to a whopping $1.4 trillion.

When Obama took office the federal debt was $10.7 trillion. Today it’s $18.9 trillion. In addition to this exploding debt, the government owes unfunded obligations for promised future Social Security/Medicare payments for which it doesn’t have an uncommitted dime to pay!  These unfunded obligations amount to about $70 trillion. That brings the total amount of the national debt to $90 trillion — 10% more than the annual economic output of every nation on earth!

And yet in this, the last time the President will give a State of the Union Address, there was no mention of how he plans to make Social Security/Medicare solvent.  Nor was there any mention of how he plans to pay for the $70 trillion the government has promised retirees.  No, instead he wants to expand these programs.
As it now stands, the state of the union can only be described as precarious. We need a leader who will address these issues straight on with workable solutions.

Bill, Mark, and John


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