President Obama used his 2015 State of the Union speech to declare that big government has repaired the economy, so now we need even bigger government.
“Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world. … Tonight, we turn the page,” he declared in an economic “mission accomplished” speech.
He credited his big government for the supposed recovery. “The verdict is clear. … These policies will continue to work, as long as politics don’t get in the way.”
But the public doesn’t agree. In November, voters gave the GOP a landslide victory that put them in charge of the House and Senate, as well as two-thirds of the state Senates and Houses. That’s a complete reversal from 2009, when Obama’s Democrats dominated the House and Senate and two-thirds of the state legislatures.
But Obama wasn’t taking no for an answer.
The nation’s citizens and economy now need a long list of big government programs, he said, as he tried to rebrand government direction of the economy as “middle-class economics.”
“Middle-class economics means … helping folks afford childcare, college, health care, a home, retirement — and my budget will address each of these issues, lowering the taxes of working families and putting thousands of dollars back into their pockets each year … [via a] a new tax cut of up to $3,000 per child, per year.”
“Of course, nothing helps families make ends meet like higher wages… [so] Congress still needs to pass a law that makes sure a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work.”
“I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college — to zero.”
“21st century businesses need 21st century infrastructure — modern ports, stronger bridges, faster trains and the fastest internet,” he said.
He called for a tax reform, while arguing that it would help the government do even more. “Let’s close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America. Let’s use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure. … Let’s close the loopholes … [and] use that money to help more families pay for childcare and send their kids to college.”
He based his call for more big government on strained claims that the economy has recovered.
“At this moment — with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production — we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.”
But Obama had to polish reality to get some shine.
He said workers’ wages are rising — but they rose only nine cents per week in December 2014 amid a labor surplus that ensured the wealthiest Americans gained nearly all extra wealth as Obama’s government used spending by the Federal Reserve to spike stock prices.
He said oil production is up and gas prices are down — but he has fought hard since 2009 to block the new fracking technology that has massively increased oil production on state-controlled lands.
He said the economy has created 11 million new jobs since the nadir of the 2007 recession — but fewer native-born Americans now have jobs compared to 2007, partly because more than two million new immigrants have won jobs that would otherwise have gone to Americans.
He claimed education levels are rising, but demographers say the percentage of Americans with college skills is dropping, partly because a higher share of the younger population are Latinos, fewer of whom graduate from college.