Only a president long shielded from criticism and accountability could make the kind of State of the Union speech President Obama did Tuesday night. It's hard to know where to begin, given his repetition of tired ideas from his previous SOTUs, his taking credit for successful policies he resisted and omitting failed ones he promoted, his numerous misrepresentations on issues big and small, and his glaring refusal to address the main issues that threaten the nation.
Let me touch on just a few highlights in this brief space.
Excessive spending is the primary threat to our nation's and Americans' financial future, yet Obama glossed over it and distorted his record.
He said, "We've already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more." But everyone knows he's had to be dragged kicking and screaming to the cutting table. His unrelenting passion is spending. Even The Washington Post said, "Obama does not mention that Republicans forced him to accept $2 trillion in budget cuts during the debt-ceiling impasse."
Obama said, "I'm prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors." Well, that's mighty magnanimous of him, but why is he so grudging about it? As president, he should be singularly focused on entitlement reform. Yet he has obstructed and demagogued such reforms. His condition that the "programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors" is completely dishonest, because Paul Ryan's plan did just that and he rejected it while ridiculing and demonizing Ryan.
Obama said, again, that to avoid Warren Buffett's secretary's paying a higher tax rate than her boss, we should adopt the "Buffett rule," prescribing that "if you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes." The Heritage Foundation tells us that according to Congressional Budget Office data, the top 1 percent of income earners already pay 30 percent of their income in all federal taxes. In addition, when wealthy people pay a lower effective income tax rate, it's a result either of lawful deductions (often charitable) or of capital gains and dividends on property they've acquired with money that has already been taxed. Also, before the wealthy realize many of these gains, the businesses that produce these gains have already paid a corporate income tax rate of 35 percent (the highest in the world). This means that Buffett, on much of this income, pays an effective rate of 50 percent (35 percent corporate plus 15 percent capital gains). Indeed, 99.4 percent of millionaires and billionaires pay far more in taxes in actual and relative terms than middle- and low-income earners, and for Obama to suggest otherwise is not only deeply deceitful but also damaging -- because of the class envy he constantly stokes -- to the social fabric of this country.
Obama said he wants to lure American companies home yet has steadfastly refused, notwithstanding his SOTU rhetoric, to agree to rectify the primary reasons they leave: punitive corporate income tax rates and onerous regulations.
Obama suggested that he is not only a pioneer in clean energy but also bullish on domestic energy. His record on the former is disgraceful, and both his claim and record on the latter are insulting. He has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars on quixotic green-energy programs with Solyndra and its cousins, spending $5 million for every single "renewable energy" job he has created. He has defiantly refused to take responsibility and is continuing to pursue more. He has waged war on domestic coal, natural gas and oil. He not only imposed a punitive moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf but also lawlessly reinstituted another one after federal district and appellate courts shot down his initial moratorium. When he lifted this revised moratorium, drilling remained in limbo because of the administrative obstacles his administration had imposed on drilling permits. His actions caused devastating losses to the Gulf economy and jobs, which rippled throughout the nation's economy. Most recently, to placate his environmental extremist base, he blocked the job-producing Keystone XL pipeline for no legitimate reason.
Obama threatened to withhold federal subsidies to colleges unless they hold tuition costs down without recognizing that one of the main reasons they've skyrocketed is the profligate subsidies he continues to increase.
He railed against bailouts after having established a record as President Bailout. He blamed banks again for causing the housing crisis and economic meltdown by making loans to people who couldn't afford them, without admitting that government, mainly his party, was the primary culprit.
He said he'd established the closest military cooperation with Israel in history, but he has bullied that nation for three years, and our relationship has rarely been more strained.
Believe me, I could go on.
David Limbaugh, brother of radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, is an expert in law and politics and author of new book Crimes Against Liberty, the definitive chronicle of Barack Obama's devastating term in office so far.