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Obama's SOTU: A Campaign Speech That Erodes the Power of the Citizenry

February 18, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

The presidential election is over, but Barack Obama gave another campaign speech. Only he called it his State of the Union address.

It was part of a silly ritual that has nothing to do with the “state of the union.” It would make more sense for presidents to follow George Washington’s example and just send their written text over to Capitol Hill. Then members wouldn’t spend hours sitting in a near empty chamber to snag seats along the aisle where the president enters. The emphasis would be on legislative initiatives rather than photo ops.

The nonsense started early in President Obama’s talk. “Thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report,” he said. For instance, “brave men and women in uniform are coming home.” True, but that is only after two successive presidents foolishly promoted nation-building in Afghanistan over the growing opposition of the same American people.

Moreover, “our businesses have created over six million new jobs.” Again, true, but in spite, not because, of Washington. U.S. politicians have wasted prodigious amounts of money that would better have been left with entrepreneurs, investors, and consumers. Every year legislators and bureaucrats disgorge new laws and regulations which discourage job creation. Clyde Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute has pointed to the government’s “hidden tax” of regulation, which alone imposes nearly $2 trillion in compliance costs on the economy.

Although President Obama’s speech was filled with political blather, he was right to call on Americans to act as Americans to solve problems.”

The president did acknowledge the necessity of restoring “the basic bargain that built this country—the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love.” Yet Uncle Sam routinely violates this bargain on behalf of the interest groups which dominate Washington. The state has become a huge parasite, the collective representative of those who see government as the means to live at everyone else’s expense.

Indeed, Barack Obama asserted that “It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.” Then he should not have spent his first term giving …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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