I thought President Obama's speech was a good one and actually inspiring at times. My problem with it is that his idealism was divorced from reality. When you are optimistic while ignoring things like reality and cause and effect, you border on delusional rather than hopeful.

This immediately became apparent as he described a booming economy, and a safer world we live in than when he took office. And then he said an amazing thing, that we no longer live under "the shadow of the crisis of the past". That shocked me in the face of the shadow of the Eurozone falling into a new and deeper crisis, Japan falling into recession, China slowing the most in decades, and the threat of a world-wide deflationary recession…a threat which has increased in the last few months, not decreased.

 

And what about the shadow of growing threats to the US from around the world? Since Obama took office we are now confronting ISIS, Cyberattacks, and rogue assassins. Even al Qaeda, which wasn’t even mentioned in Obama’s State of the Union, has reinvented itself, and at the time of his speech was overrunning the Presidential Palace in Yemen. What about the shadows of Iran, North Korea, and Russia who have become bolder in just the last year? By what standard is the state of the union “better”? Yet, what we saw was a jubilant President telling us how good the state of the economy and the world was. Unfortunately, we have what appears to be a leader who isn't really a President, but just plays one on TV.

 

What was really disturbing to me is that the President barely touched on the foreign threats to America even though his job first and foremost is to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces. Instead I saw a man that wanted to be Commander-in-Chief of the economy. In every sector of the economy, Obama wanted to intervene and set the direction and terms and conditions of commerce and employment.

 

Obama believes to this day that he can do a better job than those that have been in business for decades. Obamacare replaced the healthcare and insurance systems. And Dodd-Frank unleashed a thousand laws and regulators against the banking system and replaced the rules of banking. Both have led to confusion as millions of Americans are now in the process of trying to figure out how to comply with thousands of new laws, regulations, and procedures. Not even the IRS is sure what to do.

 

But that was not enough so the President decided that workers making minimum wages should get a raise regardless of the financial condition of a particular business or the competency of the employee. If a business is marginal and close to going broke, which would lead to unemployment and/or reduction of some workers to part-time -- so be it, under the new boss of companies, Barack Obama. No longer is this a matter between employer and employee; the state or the government will decide.

 

But this still is not enough. Obama has now decided that business should pay overtime to employees. Any connection between employee and employer has become irrelevant and secondary to the mandates of the President of the United States. Whether or not a business could afford overtime pay becomes irrelevant to "doing the right thing". And then Boss Obama quickly moved into the arena of equal pay, and decreed all women should make what a man makes, even though this wasn't practiced within his own White House. And then there is his latest move to declare that all women should get paid maternity leave, sick leave, and medical leave as needed. Boss Obama has made it his primary job to make the decisions that were throughout American history left to free people and free markets.

 

And still it's not enough. We need "free" community college tuition. Even the members of his own party know that nothing is free, and Democrats are now in a debate over whose money they should take to pay for what everyone knows is “the right thing to do”. He calls his plan "Middle Class Economics". Well, every student who has taken an economics class understands there is no such thing. Economics is a social science that tries to explain the causes and effects of human action within a particular geographical area. It is concerned with things like supply and demand, sound money, production, and employment. These conditions apply to a nation - an economy - not a group of people that earn a particular amount of money. Such a concept is meaningless in economics. It is in fact embarrassing.

 

Obama proclaimed in his speech, “Middle Class Economics works as long as politics don’t get in the way”. I almost fell off my seat on that one. I am all for politics being separated from economics. It’s called free market capitalism. Middle Class Economics is however, ALL politics! The essence is for the government to intervene into the economy and take control, to regulate, to mandate, and to redistribute wealth from one segment of society to another. What Obama calls “Middle Class Economics” is exactly the opposite of the separation of politics and economics! It’s economics by political decree, by compulsion, and by political mandate.

 

Perhaps his ignorance of economics is best understood by his failure to improve the economy. Six years ago Obama was voted in on a platform to “help the middle class”. That's what he campaigned on back then. As soon as he was elected, he raised taxes on the rich and passed a "shovel ready" infrastructure program in order to increase employment. He spent more money than has ever been spent in the history of the American government. Barack Obama while President has so far increased the national debt more than all the Presidents before him combined! Today unemployment is as bad as ever -- and so is our infrastructure. 

 

Six years after Obama has taken office, if you count the amount of workers in the workforce, the number employed is about the same as then. In six years there is little new employment. If you add those that have stopped looking for jobs, the unemployment rate would be today about 10%. And if you take into account part-time jobs today that were once full time jobs six years ago, the unemployment rate would be 11%. So what does Obama propose to do to help the middle class? Raise taxes and increase government spending -- the exact same program that failed in the past.

 

Obama cites all kinds of statistics to prove and take credit for the improving economy. And it has improved this year. I predicted it would improve over a year ago in my article “Looking Forward: A Return To Normalization". But my prediction had absolutely nothing to do with Obamanomics. The reason the economy is doing better today than a year ago is due to fracking and the oil boom in the US. If you took away the new jobs that have been created in just Texas alone in the last year, it would erase all of the new jobs in the employment statistics that Obama takes credit for.

 

But the above is all child’s play compared to the dangerous decisions that Obama is making in the area of National Defense. Obama only had a few pertinent paragraphs referring to foreign policy even as the world has become a much more dangerous place to live. One day after his speech he turned to a more important issue: helping Cuba. He sent an envoy to open discussions with the island nation to become friendlier, more open, and enhance tourism and trade.

 

Why would anyone want to help a communist government that has a stagnant society due to its own policies? Why increase their standard of living? Why promote a nation that is on the list of terrorist nation's? And why support a nation known as one of the greatest violators of human rights? Why not keep them where they are -- where they are of no real threat to the world? Will this new "openness" protect the US national interest and the defense of our nation, or enhance theirs?

 

I cringed when I heard Obama talk about Cuba, saying again that after 50 years of doing the same thing you'd think that we'd have learned that a change in policy is called for. He was not talking to Cuba, he was talking to the US!  Cuba who has not changed their political beliefs or economic policies in over 50 years regardless of 50 years of economic failure gets a pass from Obama, while America is said to be the one responsible for the 50 years of failure of their political system and resulting economic stagnation. It is the US that needs to change according to Obama.

 

Just as Cuba imposed economic policies that failed for decades and which stagnated as a society as a result, Obama is for change in America and wants to impose the same kind of economic policies on the US as is practiced in Cuba. After all, in Cuba they have free education, free health care, and one vast middle class – who happens to be amongst the poorest countries in the hemisphere, dependent on the favors of thug nations for subsidies and support. Just as that support is beginning to be taken away, Obama wants to shore it up. This is an outrage.

 

But even more outrageous is Gitmo. We are told because “it’s the right thing to do” we need to close Gitmo and release all prisoners. Hundreds of prisoners caught trying to kill American’s around the world, many of the worst killers and the masterminds of attacks against us and others, reside at Gitmo. Little by little they have been released, and we know that a percentage of them have returned to the battlefield to resume planning attacks and killing their enemies. The percentage that does is debatable; the estimates range between a third and as little as the Administrations’ figure of 6%.

 

Let’s assume that only 6% of those released actually return to battle to kill people. Then we know one thing for sure: there will be innocent people killed, maybe Americans, that would not be killed if those prisoners had not been released. There is a choice being made that instead of zero people being murdered, the Obama Administration will tolerate who knows how many people killed, by choosing to unleash killers on society.

 

The press, the pundits, and even Republicans that are critical of releasing prisoners from Gitmo are too kind to Obama for this decision in my opinion. They call it misguided, inexplicable, or even shortsighted. What it is, is aiding and abetting the enemy. That may offend a lot of people but it is what it is. Obama just released 5 more prisoners last week as we got news that planning and attacks emanating from ISIS are supported by past prisoners of Gitmo. People are dying from the decision to free killers.

As I write this it is being reported that one of the planners of the bombing of the Twin Towers in New York has been released from Gitmo for “time served”. There is little doubt that this decision, this choice, will lead to more deaths of innocent people around the world. And this decision was made, according to Obama again, because “it’s the right thing to do”.

 

Whether in economics - where Obama pushes for more of the same inept economic policies to cure the ills of the middle class who are worse off under years of Obamanomics than since the Great Depression - or as Commander-in-Chief allowing the world to swirl out of control with only an Obama “red line” between us and the barbarians of the world, the state of the union, in my opinion …is in serious trouble.

 

Paul Nathan

Paulnathan.biz