The 2014 State of the Union (SOTU) Addess - An Opinion

I watched the SOTU and came away most disappointed - disappointed with both the president's offering as well as the Republican response.

A summary comment may be this: "Whiskey Tango Foxtrot" (Thanks, NCIS.)

Stupid me, I was looking for the speech to give the president's view on, well, the state of the union. You know, how things are going in our great nation. But, ...

The group, African-American Conservatives, posted a "cartoon" shorthly after the SOTU address that pretty well sums up the address:

Thanks, Bill, for the pic.

Anyway, below is a video recap of sorts of both offerings. As the entire set of speeches was long, I have increased the speed of the clips. I have slowed the clips to "normal speed" where statements were made that were germane to a state of the union, truthful, or otherwise informative.

Watch the video below and after I offer some comments.

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In case you missed it, there was no slow down of the video clips.

I'll start with the Republican response.

Prior to the 2014 SOTU offering I had never heard of Rep. McMorris. That is my problem, not hers. She, indeed, may be a very wonderful and accomplished individual. That being said, her "performance" was dismal - at best.

The country is in terminal debt, millions are out of work with little hope of finding such, the ACA (obamacare) has all but destroyed the health care availability of the very people it was "designed" to help, etc. She was smiling through her entire offering. There is little to smile about. She truly came across as a "stepford wife" - almost as a caricature done by Pixar.

Worse, she offered nothing in the way of solving the issues facing us nor even giving details of said issues. Very disapointing!!!

On to the president's offering.

In offering comments it's hard to know where to start. In summary, his entire presentation gave us half-truths, disingenuous "pandering", and seemd to be geared only for the atmospheric impact.

As a total recap, it would be very long winded. So, I'll provide just a few examples.

Regarding the ACA (obamacare):

He provided this statement: "More than 9 million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage -- 9 million."

Estimates exist that indicate that 4 million regularly sign up for Medicaid having nothing to do with the ACA - it just happens. Since the ACA that number is estimated at 6 million. So, assuming the lower number, 9 million (his number) minus the 4 million gives us 5 million "signed up for private health insurance" due to the ACA.

Given that over 5 million people have lost their insurance due to the ACA, the result is that, at best, the net impact of the ACA has been 0 (zero). Let's not even discuss that for those who have signed up their costs have risen dramatically.

On Employment:

He offered this statement: "And here are the results of your efforts: the lowest unemployment rate in over five years;..."

The current unemployment rate is 6.7% - a relatively low number for these times. BUT, he quotes the "U3" rate. The Bureau of Labor Statistics maintains 6 different unemployment rates - the U3 being one. (Note: for those not acquainted with what these different rates mean, Click Here.)

In short, the U3 rate does NOT include those who have ceased looking for work.

Or, it works like this:

Disingenuous at best, I feel. And, not particularly reassuring to those millions out of work at present. As an aside, the U6 rate of unemployment is the best rate of the 6 available to represent our employment situation.

If the above is a little unclear, here is an analogy:

There are roughly 300 million people in the US. Let's assume that there are 10 million who are homeless and/or hungry. So, rationally, the percentage (i.e., rate) of those in need is 3.33%.

Now, if all 10 million stop seeking aid, then using the U3 rate methodology the result would be 0% in need. Or, a president could report that the US had no homeless nor people in need of food. Not exactly the truth!

Pandering to those who appreciate the Military and their sacrifices:

The most positive responses (from me and many others) to the president's speech came during his positive statements regarding the Military. But, is this how he really feels?

These links may be informative: Click Here, and Click Here for some clues.

On the minimum wage:

The president wishes to raise the minimum wage from $7.25 an hour to $10.10 per hour.

Here is his quote: "I will issue an Executive Order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour – because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes, you shouldn’t have to live in poverty."

While sounding good for lower paid employees, let's look at some realities.

First re: government contractor personnel and the companies for which they work:

In most cases these types of contracts that employ lower waged people are for hourly jobs. The company bids a minimum wage salary for their people to win the contract. They win the contract. Now, by executive order, the president "directs" these companies to increase their employees wages by roughly 40%. BUT, the company has a contract at $7.25 an hour. So now the company can not operate and make any profit - in fact, they will lose substantially. Or, the contract has to be renegotiated costing time and money to effect. Remember, the TAXPAYERS (i.e., YOU and I) are paying for all of this.

Perhaps more onerous is that the average pay for an enlisted person in our armed services is around $25k per year. That, based on a 9 to 5 job, is about $12.50 per hour. However, military personnel are on duty 24/7 and can't quit if they don't like the job. This, then, equates to a REAL hourly age at $2.85.

So it seems that the president feels that those who wash dishes should be paid significantly more than those who are serving their country and being put in harm's way. Disgraceful!

Next, he also encouraged all businesses to follow his "lead" and raise the minimum wage across the board. Does this help?

As an example, I'm running a convenience store and paying my employees minimum wage. And, I agree to raise that wage 40%. What happens to the prices at my store? They go up. The employees are making more BUT the things they have to buy are costing more. So what "progress" have the employees made? NONE!

Finally, to the truly egregious:

I lost count of the many times the president indicated he would bypass Congress and issue "executive orders" where Congress did not do what the president wanted.

The president swore an oath to uphold the US Constitution. Clearly, his oath means nothing to him.

His "handlers" must be very proud!