- From virtually every possible angle, Obama is helping to diminish the prospects for today’s younger generation. First and foremost, his response to the Great Recession – stimulus and the massive piling up of debt – is slowing the recovery.
- Ginormous regulatory schemes such as Dodd-Frank and the creation of huge new soul-and-bucks-sucking programs such as Obamacare weigh heavily on the economy now and in the future too.
- His refusal to discuss seriously old-age entitlement reform – Medicare and Social Security and the 40 percent of Medicaid that goes to old folks – is a massive storm front on the economic horizon.
- His preference for secrecy and overreach when it comes to illegal Unconstitutional executive power won’t screw young people as obviously as his economic policies, but when he leaves office in 2017, he will have created far more terrorists than he needed to.
In 1913 Rothschild Finance Lenin To Orchestrate Banking Socialism/Depopulation In Russia.
- Over at Buzzfeed, Ben Smith notes one of the most obvious ways that Obama is tossing young people overboard. Come January 2014, their insurance premiums are going to go up.
- That’s because part of health-care reform stipulates tighter limits on the spread of premiums between older and younger people. Current law holds that insurers on average can’t charge insurance premiums for old people that are more than five times what they charge younger people.
- Under Obamacare, that allowable limit is being squeezed to 3-to-1, the result being that older folks will see dramatic drops in costs and younger people will experience major hikes.
That’s just the tip of the iceberg.
- When it comes to the big old-age entitlement plans and their effects on today’s youngsters, there are two points to keep in mind.
- First off, Social Security and Medicare are massive in cost and they go to all seniors, regardless of demonstrated need.
- This, despite the fact that they are regularly defended as programs that are the only thing standing between old people and poverty.
- Yet as a group, households headed by someone over 65 years old are doing far better than households headed by someone under 35 years old.
- Second, despite the rhetoric that surrounds Medicare and Social Security, these are not self-funding programs similar to retirement and insurance accounts; individuals don’t own them and they can’t borrow against them or will them to heirs.
- Instead, old-age entitlements represent a major transfer from the relatively young and poor to the relatively old and wealthy.
- The payroll taxes that go into Medicare cover only about one-third of the costs; co-pays and some supplemental premiums bring that total up to around 50 percent of the program’s costs. The rest comes out of general tax funds.
- Theoretically, payroll taxes collected over the years are supposed to cover all costs related to Social Security, but in an age where the ratio of workers paying in to beneficiaries taking out is shrinking.
- The days are numbered (in fact, Social Security no longer can cover current benefits out of current taxes, but is drawing down its trust funds).
- As important, the official government position – upheld by the Supreme Court – is that no citizen has a right to any Social Security benefits.
- So it’s not a pension plan or even a forced savings plan.
- It’s simply a way that the federal government gets money out of workers to give to retirees – even those who don’t need it to make ends meet.
Here’s another tough chew:
- Since 2010, the overwhelming majority of people retiring on Social Security will get less money in benefits than they paid in as payroll taxes (this calculation by Urban Institute analysts assumes 2 percent real returns on payroll taxes and 2 percent real increases in benefit values).
- In other words, the government is forcing most of us to pay into a system that skims 16.4 percent of every dollar of wages up to about $110,000 and will pay us a negative return. That’s the optimistic version, by the way, since there is virtually no scenario under which future benefits will not be cut even as taxes will have to go up to cover those reduced payouts.
- When various Social Security and Medicare trust funds run dry – and all but the most hard-headed fiscal denialists grant that will happen sometime by 2030 or sooner – they must cut benefits by law.
- All of that will have an outsized negative effect especially on people just now entering the workforce.
- They will be paying higher taxes – money they might have used to start saving for their own retirement – for programs that either won’t exist at all or will be seriously diminished by the time they start clipping Depends coupons. (For more on this read “Generational Warfare,”
Let’s Eliminate The State Of The Union Address
Barack Obama’s second inaugural address, 2,100 words of progressive punch, was a blast to write, and Obama was so into the process he even went out of his way to instruct staff what to underline on the teleprompter, so he wouldn’t under-sell his best material. This speech is more blah — a texty tightrope walk between bipartisan platitude and a two-by-four to reeling Congressional Republicans.
We don’t need to go through this every year.
Article II of the Constitution vaguely mandates that the executive communicate with the legislature. A nice letter would do. A Tweet might even fit the bill. Washington and Adams read their speeches to Congress but Jefferson discontinued the practice, viewing it as “too monarchical.”
Woodrow Wilson, whose professorial populism has evoked comparisons to Obama, recognized the value of the platform and established the modern stage-managed practice, a mostly pseudo-event ideally suited to big radio and TV broadcasts.
Last month, NPR asked, “Is the State of the Union obsolete?”
Historian Louis Gould, a student of Hill-White House relations for decades, wrote:
“It is time to end the meaningless annual ritual of the State of the Union address… What began as a yearly survey of the nation’s condition has deteriorated into a frivolous moment of political theater and continuous campaigning.”
That was in 2006, and dozens of commentators have howled into the wind since.
This is a sentiment that we hear from some corner of the punditocracy each year around this time. Indeed, I’ve made the same argument myself. After all, the Constitution merely requires Congress to keep Congress apprised of the state of the union “from time to time.”
It doesn’t require that the President address Congress in person. Heck, it technically doesn’t even require that the President perform this duty on an annual basis. As it stands, it became the practice starting with Thomas Jefferson for the President to send a written message to Congress on an annual basis, and that tradition continued for more than 100 years until Woodrow Wilson became President and decided to revive the practice of speaking in front of Congress that had been followed, to some extent, by Presidents Washington and Adams.
Given that this coincided with the birth of modern media — first radio and then television — it was inevitable that Wilson’s innovation would stick and, indeed, nearly every President since then has given an annual address to Congress that has become more and more of a media spectacle as the years go on.
The one exception was Calvin Coolidge, who returned to the Jeffersonian tradition. But that was short-lived, and we are now more or less stuck with the State of the Union as it is because, well, it’s a tradition.
As Charles Cooke notes, though, not all traditions are worth keeping:
Not every tradition is virtuous. America just endured a year-long general election from which it was impossible to escape, and an inauguration that was redolent of a coronation. We have a 24/7 media that never lets up. We have the Internet. What precisely is the argument in favor of the necessity of yet another set-piece speech? It is certainly not that it is mandatory.
In Article II, Section 3, the Constitution requires that “[The president] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Which modern president needed Constitutional encouragement to do this? Which has eschewed the bully pulpit with sufficient discipline to require being coaxed into speech by the law?
As Jefferson quickly noticed, the State of the Union speech is, at best, little more than a chance for the citizen-executive to play monarchcommanding his parliament (this is how Wilson saw himself), and, at worst, a pointless round of free, adulatory publicity for one branch of the government.
The optics are all wrong, rendering Congress a subordinate branch and the president a King.
- Obama Has Proven That The Executive Branch Can No Longer Exist When As A Lone Wolf He Disregards The Constitution: Petition For Psychiatric Evaluation Of Presidential Candidates.
The charade indulges the human desire for pageantry, and that desire is probably insoluble. Nonetheless, trying to dissolve America’s penchant for caesaropapism is a worthy task whether it will be ultimately possible or not, and frustrated advocates of limited government and of the branches of government retaining some sense of equality might note that the State of the Union speech and the Imperial Presidency are inextricably linked.
There is already a natural imbalance between the attention that can be paid to diffuse institutions such as the House and the Senate, and the concentrated focus that the executive’s being invested in one person allows. Why make that worse?
Those of us who express our opposition are often asked,
“Why is it a bad thing to gather the three branches of government together for one night a year?”
This, as put, is a reasonable question.
But it requires another:
“Gather the three branches to what purpose?”
This evening, the other two branches will turn up mute, hear the president speak — often belligerently — and then they will leave.
And what of the public?
Surely, there is a need for people to be informed?
Indeed there is, albeit much less now that technology allows us to survey the political scene in real time.
But is there a need for the president to do the informing?
In a letter accompanying his 1801 report, Jefferson hoped that his missive would provide “relief from the embarrassment of immediate answers on subjects not yet fully before” Congress.
A worthy thing, for sure. But out of date now. When was the last time a president did that at the State of the Union?
When was the last time that the State of the Union actually reported on the state of the union?
This is a campaign speech — nothing more, and nothing less.
Cooke is largely correct. The alleged benefits of the live State of the Union address are, as he notes, rather overstate.
Modern Presidents have numerous avenues through which they can communicate with the American public and advance their policy objectives. There’s everything from addresses from the White House to campaign-like rallies, to the massive public relations campaign that the Obama White House has engaged in several times over the past four years to push forward initiative ranging from the stimulus to health care reform to the President’s position on taxes and fiscal issues.
So, it’s not like last nights speech was the only time the President was be able to speak to the American public about what he wants to accomplish. Indeed, President Obama will follow past examples by going on a multi-state tour filled with rallies at which he’ll essentially say the same thing that he said last night. Given all of the resources available to the President, getting rid of the State of the Union address would barely be noticed.
Eliminating the address would also go a long way toward stripping the American Presidency of the air of regal-ness that has surrounded it in recent years.
More than one person has pointed out the similarities between the spectacle of the State of the Union and the spectacle that surround’s the monarch’s speech during the annual opening of Parliament in the United Kingdom.
In both cases, you have a Head of State essentially dictating to the people what he wants to do for the coming year. That may be okay for a Constitutional Monarchy like the United Kingdom, but it is totally inappropriate for a Constitutional Republic such as the United States. Our President is not a King, and the less we treat him like one the healthier it will be for the state of the union as a whole.
So, let the President send Congress a letter. Heck they can post it on the Internet for everyone to read. Then people can debate for themselves what the President is proposing without having it force fed to them by the media.
- Obama’s 2013 State of the Union Address: Fact check – Overreaching in speech
- BuzzFeed notices that ObamaCare sticks it to the young and healthy (hotair.com)
- Obama Pushes Austerity in the Guise of Defending the “Middle Class” (prn.fm)
- NICK GILLESPIE: State of the Union: Will Obama Tell Young People He’s Screwing Them Big Time? Li… (pjmedia.com)
- Carney: President Obama Wants Chained CPI With ‘Big Deal’ (crooksandliars.com)