Blurred Lines: Obama's State of the Union Versus Reality
Last night’s State of the Union address made it crystal clear that President Barack Obama has become addicted to the idea of dependence upon government rather than valuing economic freedom and free-market solutions.
Obama delivered a speech full of grand rhetoric, lacking any true substance. He started off by touting four years of economic growth, which has actually been nonexistent, but then acknowledged that upward mobility has stalled in America. His worst policy failure would seem to be the lack of economic growth and opportunity during his tenure. One only needs to look as far as the President’s economic policies to realize they are the real job crushers.
The rest of his address was full of empty promises — ones that lacked any clear path to fruition. He made promises which empowered government — not the American people. Real economic opportunity comes through free enterprise, which spurs job growth.
When he finally addressed the Obamacare debacle, he neglected to highlight the more than six million individuals across America who have lost their healthcare coverage due to the rollout of his signature legislation. Obama claimed that because of Obamacare people can no longer be denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions; therefore, Americans are better off. Yet, so many Americans are losing their insurance and many simply cannot afford to continue coverage. Forcing individuals into exchanges that cost more and provide fewer choices is not a something to champion.
It was not surprising, however, that Obama neglected to mention the lack of youth enrollment. In order for Obamacare to succeed, the program needs at least 40 percent of enrollees to be young, healthy people between the ages of 18 and 34. The latest poll numbers show only 24 percent of enrollees are in that demographic, and Obamacare is wildly unpopular among Millennials. Young America’s Foundation’s (YAF) own nationwide polling has found only 18 percent of young people are likely to enroll compared to 46 percent who aren’t. This is not surprising however, seeing as there’s no incentive for young people to purchase insurance when they are expected to subsidize healthcare for the older and sicker generation.
Perhaps, one of the most interesting parts of the address came when Obama singled out a young man in the audience who couldn’t speak English until he attended school, and he led a march of fellow students to drop off college applications. This student was recently accepted into college, a dream he never thought possible, but through his own hard work and determination, he was able to make his dream a reality.
The President then did something incredibly insulting: He took credit for this young man’s dream becoming a reality. As though it was his own policies that drove this young man’s success. Once again, the message of big government rather than hard work and independence prevailed.
Last night, young people deserved an apology from their fearless leader, but it did not come. An apology for hindering their chance at the American dream. An apology for saddling them with their share of a rising national debt that has increased tremendously during his time in office. An apology for the lack of job opportunities for the more than 6 million young people who are neither working nor in school. His inaction to directly address young people or to strive to solve their problems shows how disconnected he is from those who were among his most enthusiastic supporters.
Obama promised a “year of action” during his address, but each proposal seemed to create less opportunity for the middle class and more opportunity for the federal government to grow. He continues to blur the lines between what he believes to be economic prosperity and what is actually an entitlement nation. Government growth through policies that ignore job creation and economic opportunity surely do not help the American people, particularly Millennials; it only creates further obstacles as they try to succeed.
America succeeds when its people succeed, and that will only happen once they regain independence from government programs.
Ashley Pratte is the Public Relations Officer for Young America’s Foundation.