State of the Union 2023: Biden’s Build Back Blather

Mr. Biden claims to be committed to bipartisanship. His presidency would greatly benefit from looking at policy proposals that disagree with his own
February 8, 2023
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress on February 7, 2023 (Photo by Jacquelyn Martin-Pool/Getty Images)

President Joe Biden’s 2023 address to the nation can best be described as a State of the Useless. Like most of these presidential speeches, his will disappear as the news cycle turns to Super Bowl Sunday.

Americans generally like Mr. Biden personally, but lament his inability to improve their lives.

Yet criticizing him for the sake of doing so serves no purpose. For critics to have credibility, we need to specifically explain why his speech ranged from irrelevant to harmful. Biden’s remarks can be divided into four separate and distinct parts. There were the unmentioned issues, the factually false statements, the partially true statements lacking context, and the highly questionable policy proposals.

The unmentioned is self-explanatory. Biden missed a major opportunity to show empathy by failing to mention the devastating twin earthquakes in Turkey. On the foreign policy front, Biden again ignored the global existential threat of Iran building a nuclear bomb and calling for Israel’s destruction. His stubborn refusal to mention radical Islam reflects a 9/10 mentality. He desperately ignored the problems caused by America’s open Southern border. Domestically, Biden did not mention the price of eggs or beef. He attacked social media companies but did not offer one word over their role in engaging in mass censorship. He ignored the rise in violent crime that has turned some of America’s cities into war zones.

His factually false statements were easy to spot. He claimed that spiraling inflation was caused by Covid and Vladimir Putin. Economics 101 shows that spending causes inflation. His Inflation Reduction Act exacerbated inflation. He spoke about corporations paying zero taxes. This is false. Inflation is a devastating tax that affects corporations and consumers alike. Also, corporations risk their own money investing billions of dollars in research and development. His claim that billionaires pay a lower tax rate than teachers is also false. He conflates lower capital gains rates with ordinary income rates, which are higher. His proposed solution to raise capital gains rates would disincentivize investment. A better approach would be to lower ordinary income rates, which would help the struggling middle and working classes. The talking point that Republicans want to eliminate Social Security and Medicare was debunked in 1995. That would be political suicide, and no political party wants to self-immolate. Biden’s statement that burger workers and cashiers sign non-compete clauses is false. Non-compete clauses are for white collar workers in executive positions possessing sensitive proprietary secrets. McDonalds does not care if burger flippers quit and join Burger King.

Biden’s talk of hiring more border workers is contradicted by his own presidential actions. He fired border workers and other professionals for being unvaccinated, accelerating the supply chain breakdown. He claimed that America stood up to Putin when Russia invaded Ukraine. We dragged our feet and offered too little too late, and now the war rages on with no end in sight. He claimed to have stood up to Chinese aggression. In reality, the Chinese government is stealing our intellectual property, flooding our nation with drugs, and spying on us with few if any noticeable consequences.

Biden even linked the horrendous attack on Paul Pelosi to January 6th insurrectionists. Pelosi’s attacker was a mentally ill leftist and a Canadian.

Biden’s partially true statements lacked proper context. He bragged that gas prices and inflation are down and the supply chain is recovering. While these metrics are all better than last year, they are still much worse than two years ago when he took office. Biden’s passing of gun safety laws omitted that courts are striking these laws down as unconstitutional.

Biden’s highly questionable policy ideas were numerous.

Price caps on prescription drugs reflect a lack of understanding of how companies work and what they do. Companies lose money on every failed product. They use the profits from their winners to offset their losers. Price controls were tried in the 1970s and failed.

Quadrupling the tax on stock buybacks is also rooted in a lack of understanding. Companies should buy back their own stock. This shows confidence in the company. Executives are putting their money where their mouths are.

Taxing unrealized gains is harmful and might even be illegal. Unrealized gains do not exist. If a person pays this tax and then their asset crashes in value, they will have paid taxes on a loss.

Free pre-school is a budget-busting counter-productive boondoggle. It may be time to have a hard conversation about the federal government’s role in the entire education business. Privatizing public schools is worth a debate.

Banning assault weapons is demagogic. There is no such thing as an assault weapon. Members of congress seeking stringent gun control regulation often know very little about guns. They often want to ban guns that look scary. American areas with strict gun control laws frequently see increased crime rates, since criminals do not obey laws. The 1994 ban was useless. The book “More guns, less crime” is one of many studies that show in painstaking detail how areas with concealed carry laws have lower crime rates.

Mr. Biden claims to be committed to bipartisanship. His presidency would greatly benefit from looking at policy proposals that disagree with his own, especially when coming from people with specific expertise and experience superior to his.

Eric Golub is a comedian, author and retired stockbrokerage professional living in Los Angeles. His interests include football, politics, Judaism, the stock market, and Angela Lansbury’s “Murder, She Wrote.”

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