Obama’s State of the Union Speech – What to Expect

President Obama will give his State of the Union Speech tomorrow night. If it’s anything like his recent speeches at George Washington University and in Osawatomie, Kansas, he’ll make grossly inaccurate statements about American history in order to build support for his vision of a government-centered nation.

In the President’s Osawatomie speech he admitted that “business, and not government, will always be the primary generator of good jobs,” then went on to say “But as a nation, we’ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions were both workers and businesses can succeed.”

If President Obama really believes that America’s 236 years of world-beating prosperity and progress was achieved “through our government,” he knows nothing at all about this nation’s history. If he doesn’t believe it, he’s lying when he says it.

His government spent some 3.8 trillion dollars in 2011 alone, supposedly to create conditions where workers and businesses can succeed. That’s more than two hundred times as much money as the federal government spent in the entire ninteenth century. It’s six thousand times as much as the government spent in the year 1901, and forty-one times as much as it spent at the height of World War II.

Long before the government started “helping” to such an extraordinarily expensive extent, American entrepreneaurs, workers and businesses were accomplishing miraculous things. The progress private sector Americans have contributed to the world since 1776 has made the average worker about  a hundred times as productive as in 1775, and allowed all of us to reap the benefits of that hundredfold productivity. Government did none of this; the American people did it.

If bigger, more expensive, and more intrusive government were the path to prosperity, the Soviet Union would have won the Cold War.

Here’s another fact about Government spending and prosperity. In 1928 the government spent just under three billion dollars, or less than a thousandth of what it spends today. The unemployment rate was 4.2%, and annual economic growth was around four and a half percent. Since then, liberals like President Obama have increased government spending a thousand fold and doubled the unemployment rate.

More government is the answer?

In his George Washington U. speech the President praised former President Bill Clinton for achieving a budget surplus. What he didn’t say is that the highest level of federal spending when Clinton was President was $1.89 trillion, just about exactly half of what the government spent in 2011. Even if you adjust for inflation that Clinton budget is only about $2.35 billion in current day dollars. That’s substantially less than 2011 government revenues, so if we would just cut spending back to Clinton levels, in real dollars, the government would be running a sizable surplus.

It gets worse. In the GWU speech President Obama bashed the budget trimming plan proposed by Republican Representative Paul Ryan. The most absurd statement in the President’s speech at George Washington U was that the Ryan Plan would cut government spending down to a lower level “than what we’ve known throughout our history.”


Here’s a more complete quote:

Now, to their credit, one vision has been presented and championed by Republicans in the House of Representatives and embraced by several of their party’s presidential candidates. It’s a plan that aims to reduce our deficit by $four trillion over the next ten years, and one that addresses the challenge of Medicare and Medicaid in the years after that.

These are both worthy goals. They’re worthy goals for us to achieve. But the way this plan achieves those goals would lead to a fundamentally different America than the one we’ve known certainly in my lifetime. In fact, I think it would be fundamentally different than what we’ve known throughout our history.

A seventy percent cut in clean energy. A twenty-five percent cut in education. A thirty percent cut in transportation. Cuts in college Pell grants that will grow to more than a thousand dollars per year. That’s the proposal. (Italics added)

President Johnson founded the Department of Trasportation and the Pell Grant program in 1965, when President Obama was four years old, with budgets that were just a small fraction of what these programs spend today.  President Carter created the federal Department of Education in 1979, when the current President was eighteen. All these programs have been growing by leaps and bounds ever since they were created, so trimming a few years’ growth out of them would not make America “fundamentally different” from the nation in which Mr. Obama grew up.

As for Rep. Ryan’s plan to reduce federal spending on “green energy,” the only people who complain about that should be the President’s cronies at government-dependent faux companies like Solyndra.

The modest little trims of the Ryan plan would certainly leave the government’s role far bigger than it was for most of the nation’s history. If anything is going to give us a nation that is fundamentally different from what Americans have known throughout our history, it is this bloated, corrupt, and bankrupt government that President Obama wants to enlarge still further. 

As we all listen to the President’s speech Tuesday night, we should take any history lessons he might offer with a large grain of salt. His recent claims about American history have shown him to be either grossly ignorant or shamelessly dishonest.

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