WASHINGTON – While people can get used to almost anything, the country must never accept President Obama’s conception of the annual message as a blueprint for our government.
Filled with good intentions, tall stories and wishful thinking, his 2014 State of the Union message is best understood as a message about him, about what he is.
Lasting about an hour, one could find some truth in it. He does have clear executive authority. He’s used that to draw down our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan - to remove us from, as he said, “a permanent war footing.” Another executive power – of direct and material interest to Buffalo Niagara and other once-prospering manufacturing centers – is to declare China, South Korea and Taiwan as currency manipulators. This practice makes their goods artificially cheaper than American products – shuttering our factories and throwing Americans out of work.
Obama has had 10 chances to do it. He, of course, did not mention currency manipulation.
For all Obama’s pronouncements about having or rebuilding “a middle class,” and reducing the gap between rich and poor, neither will happen without a strong manufacturing base and creating a demand market for workers. He will not build either with a $10.10 minimum wage, food stamps or more unemployment insurance.
Instead, gratuitously Obama used Wall Street code language to push new free trade opportunities for Japan, South Korea, Vietnam to further penetrate our markets. His buzzword was “trade promotion authority.” While members of his own party such as Rep. Brian Higgins, D-Buffalo; Rep. Dan Maffei, D-Syracuse, and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., oppose the Obama plan, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., is thinking it over.
Obama attempted to sweeten the pie for this latest globalist attempt to attack Main Street jobs and hometown trade by suggesting that American corporations are “home sourcing” manufacturing jobs back home.
Analyses of the speech by Fact-Check, PolitiFact, the Alliance of American Manufacturers and the U.S. Business and Industry Alliance could find no evidence of a resurgence of manufacturing in this country.
AAM said Obama’s claims of “re-sourcing” to be wishful thinking. USBIC said Obama’s claims about the United States overtaking China as a place to invest to be “truth-challenged,” with foreign investments in China almost twice the amount as foreign inflows in the last quarter of 2013.
AAM noted that while the United States gained 155,000 new factory jobs in 2012, that increase leveled off to only 77,000 last year. Peter Morici, the University of Maryland economist, wondered why it makes sense for Obama to be pushing a new free trade pact while he refuses to confront protectionism barring popular American-made cars in Asia.
Among the most galling references he made were his claims about gaining “energy independence” and federal budget economies.
He also fudged the numbers on job growth. Federal spending plunged in the last quarter of 2013 as a result of the government shutdown. And the gains in energy production came as a result of private investments through enterprises such as hydrofracking for natural gas, which is still barred in New York. He radically overstated the number of people who signed up for Obamacare – ignoring millions of citizens who re-enrolled for Medicaid, an existing program.
The speech was not an accurate report to the nation, or even a reliable outline of realistic goals. It was just a speech. Did he meet with the leaders of either party afterward? No. He hit the road for two staged political appearances. That’s what he does.
It was not always so.