The Whittier Daily News on how Biden offered his expensive vision to nation:
The State of the Union address is an annual event that allows the president to speak unfiltered and at length to the American people about his record and his goals.
Tuesday’s address by President Biden also offered the public a preview of his plans for 2024.
Twelve times the president declared that he wanted to “finish the job.”
Woven into the speech was a look at what a potential second term would look like. The president called for passing the PRO Act, a union-sponsored bill that seeks to reduce work opportunities for independent contractors, similar to California’s careerdestroying AB 5 law, because independent contractors cannot be unionized under federal labor law.
On China policy, Biden declared that “we” would be “investing” in industries “that China’s government is intent on dominating.” Is he promising to beat a totalitarian nation at the game of centralized industrial policy? That won’t end well for U.S. taxpayers, and opens the door to more crony capitalism.
In response to recent mass shootings, Biden affirmed his narrow interest in banning so-called assault weapons “once and for all.” Never mind that rifles of all kinds were used in just 3% of homicide cases in 2020 and that handguns remain the type of weapon most commonly used in mass shootings. As the nonpartisan Rand Corp. has reported, “Evidence for the effect of assault weapon bans on mass shootings is inconclusive.”
Regarding the economic problem that Americans cite most often as a concern, Biden took no responsibility. “Inflation has been a global problem because of the pandemic that disrupted supply chains and Putin’s war that disrupted energy and food supplies,” he said. That ignores the effect of massive, unfunded spending bills, which economists acknowledge as a cause of inflation even if the president doesn’t.
In the evening’s noisiest moment, Biden announced that unnamed Republicans have a plan to “sunset” Social Security and Medicare. Republican lawmakers erupted in shouts and catcalls. In fact, both Senate GOP leader Mitch Mcconnell and House Speaker Kevin Mccarthy have stated unequivocally that Social Security and Medicare are “off the table” in budget talks.
The president navigated the ensuing boos by announcing that he loved “conversions.” It was a blatantly political effort to frighten retirees, who reliably vote in large numbers, into distrusting Republicans when the next election rolls around. But as cynical as it was, it was clearly a political win for Biden, with Republicans standing and clapping away the prospect of any serious discussion about the need to reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
As is typical of State of the Union addresses, the speech was dotted with self-congratulatory rhetoric and with apparently poll-tested proposals of varying scope. For example, Biden said he has a goal of cutting the cancer death rate by 50% and also vowed to ban resort fees at hotels.
He did offer some talk — emphasis on some — on the need for further police reform and the need for immigration reforms. He was light on details about police reform — he could have used the opportunity to push for the abolition of qualified immunity, for example, or the need to better train police officers and keep problematic officers from getting rehired. But he didn’t.
On immigration, he was right to call for “a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, those on temporary status, farm workers, and essential workers,” but he dropped the ball on immigration reform in his first two years as president with Democratic control of both chambers of Congress.
Overall, though, Biden effectively used the speech more or less as intended: a partisan political rally. Again, we ask: Why do we bother having State of the Union addresses?