As most of you are aware, last night was the President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. It was filled with hope, togetherness, and some new ideas. It was, however, also ridden with inaccuracies. I am not going to say that it was incorrect in its entirety, or that Obama is living in a pipe dream, as some others have, but there were some key points that were mis-represented. Those are the things that I am going to focus on. I will not simply paraphrase his words and state an opinion based on that, I will directly quote from the transcript, which can be found in many locations across the web. If you want to read it for yourself, here is where I read it and am copying it from.
The first point that stood out to me was the example he used to about the family that went through hard times.
“America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.” While that is great, for this family, what about all of the other families who when this kind of financial insecurity hits, they end up homeless, having used up all of their unemployment, or, still have unemployment, but it isn’t enough to get by? I have known many people who, the only reason they are on the street is because of one big, unexpected emergency expense or lay off. While this is a touching story, it is not even close to being representative to what happens in a situation like this.
Next, we have education. Obama talks about our improvement, “We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.” While that may be true, I, personally wouldn’t be bragging about being 14th in education, as a whole, 14th in math, and 25th in reading, respectively. This is not something to be shouting from the rooftops about. Who is #1, you may be asking? None other than South Korea. This is a country that, in the 1950s was one of the poorest in the world. in about 50 years, they have gone from bottom of the barrel to top dog (at least in education).
The next point Obama talked about that is not completely valid is his statement, “Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts.” What he is talking about, I believe, is the Dodd-Frank Law. This is a law, passed in 2010 that, supposedly, will make taxpayer funded bailouts a thing of the past, and “Too Big to Fail,” a relic of the past. There is, however, language that gives banks and other corporations plenty of other tools that give them advantages over your mom and pop shops. The other options they have include “liquidation, receivership, a division of the institution into a good and bad bank, with the former to be run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), selling the good bank to another bank or recapitalization. Fears of counterparty risk and former bondholders carrying equity of questionable value could engender a sale of its and its competitors’ shares.” (Via Investopedia) This “New Tool,” is more a new tool for big corporations to keep their money and avoid failure, while giving the illusion of limiting them.
Going right into his next point, “Middle-class economics works.” First off, Middle-Class economics is something that the current administration pulled out of thin air a short time ago. It sounds good to blue collar workers, because it makes it seem as if their representatives have them in mind, but even if you use the definition that Obama used last night, it has failed before it was even a term. “The nation’s median income remains lower than it was when the Great Recession ended, $52,000 at the end of 2013 compared to $54,400 at the end of 2008 in today’s dollars.” (Via The Washington Post) The fact remains, the United States Government is giving more priority to business, and exactly the same to their constituents.
“We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.” While, that is great, and thanks for that, what about large businesses? They get larger tax breaks, they have legislation that will protect them, they outsource manufacturing to China and Singapore, where is their plan to raise wages?
While there were lots of good ideas, and pipe dreams being touted and spouted last night, I didn’t hear any solutions…did you? What do you think? Did I miss something? Let me know.
-Wiggums, The Wanderer