Obama's State of the Union Failed
President may call his speech a "blueprint," but the design rests on a flawed foundation
January 25, 2012
Aside from pushing for an extension of the payroll tax cut and the need to curb insider trading by members of Congress, President Obama failed to articulate a significant governance agenda for himself or Congress in his third State of the Union address.
Instead, President Obama, over the course of 65 minutes, proffered a populist campaign message focused on taxing the rich to grow the government on the pretense that this will create jobs and provide a larger safety net. The president's address provided a preview of a stump speech predicated on running against Congress and Wall Street by applying small ball gimmicks in an effort to pander to specific demographics (unions, Hispanics, and those affected by foreclosures) needed to win re-election in the battleground states of the Midwest, Southwest, and Southeast. What was missing was a concrete plan to address the budget deficit and accumulating debt.
The president may call his speech a "blueprint," but the design rests on a flawed foundation. The solution to America's economic troubles lies not in further taxing the rich, but in simplifying our nation's convoluted tax code. If we cut the corporate tax rate in half, jobs will return. And if we close the loopholes embedded within the individual and corporate tax codes, we will generate the revenue necessary to pay down the debt and to support important government programs. In a nutshell, it is really that simple, but for some reason Republicans have a difficult time articulating this.
The eventual Republican presidential nominee, who Obama seemed to indicate would likely be Romney, certainly has his work cut out for him. The onus will be on the newly minted GOP standard-bearer to explain that while Obama's campaign rhetoric sounds attractive in theory, it is unsustainable in long-term practice because free enterprise tends to be rooted in fairness of opportunity, not fairness of outcome.
My advice to the 2012 GOP nominee—start cribbing from Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, because he began to sketch a roadmap for success to our troubled economy in his response last night.