Here's the editorial the Register will run tomorrow:
President Obama’s first State of the Union address last night answered the big question pundits were asking resoundingly. In the face of setbacks and growing opposition, in the face of the cap-and-trade energy bill being considered effectively dead, in the face of the loss of a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, in the face of increasing opposition to the health-insurance reform proposal that has yet to take final shape, would he modulate his agenda to take account of a political climate that has changed radically since he took office a year ago, or would he double-down on the program of increasing the size, scope and responsibility of government?
He chose to double-down, to insist that the growing opposition to his programs is due not to serious concerns about the policies embodied in them, but in his failure to communicate effectively their constructiveness and loveliness. One might view this as admirable determination to stick by a program, or one might view it as stubbornness, defiance, even, dare we say it, a touch of arrogance.
Listening to this overlong speech that was remarkably flat in tone and pedestrian in delivery, one sensed a certain overarching sense of unreality. Almost all observers have considered cap-and-trade effectively dead, especially in the light of revelations about the likelihood that some of the data supporting the theory of climate change has been deliberately skewed, yet he proclaimed utter fealty to it.
The health-insurance reforms his party has proposed were in trouble even before a Republican was elected to the Senate from Massachusetts, yet he spent a good deal of time trying to make the case that if we really understood how beneficial it would be our doubts would melt away like yesterday’s clouds.
An emphasis on trying to rejuvenate a flat economy and create more jobs was understandable given polling data that shows these are uppermost in the minds of most Americans. Yet the president, aside from one rhetorical flourish, showed little or no understanding of the notion that the only jobs that are sustainable over the long haul are those created in the private sector as a result of businesses that flourish and make profits.
All of the jobs he claimed last year’s stimulus bill saved were public-sector jobs – police, firefighters, teachers, construction workers on government-financed infrastructure projects. But all those jobs depend on the government extracting money and resources from the private sector. If the private sector languishes or is flat, none of them can be sustained over the long haul. Is there any evidence that President Obama understands this?
His proposal on students repaying loans for college was especially telling. He proposed that loans be forgiven after 20 years for people in the private sector but only 10 years for those who go to work for some government agency. An Obama economy looks like one in which government and those who work for it receive special treatment and favors, whereas those who create the wealth that government must seize to increase the public sector are to be looked upon with suspicion and punished with more taxes and increased regulation.
Such a vision may be inspiring to some, but it is profoundly unsustainable.