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  • Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds To The State Of The Union

    Heritage members and fans are discussing President Barack Obama’s State of the Unions address at Twitter and Facebook right now. And here are just some of our experts’ immediate reactions to parts of the speech:

    More Change and Progress

    What does the committed progressive do when the direction of history turns against them? That’s what seems to have happened between 2008 and 2010–between an election thought to be the next great leap forward in the movement of liberalism and another which seems to signal a popular rejection of just that claim. The Left had long maintained that big government is inevitable, permanent, and ever-expanding – the final form of “democratic” governance. But now the progressive transformation seems to have bogged down. Indeed, the Left’s beloved modern state seems at issue. The American people just haven’t bought in to the whole new New Deal. Now what?

    Consolidate. For progressives, politics has always been seen as an ebb and flow between periods of “progress” and “change” and brief interregnums to defend and consolidate the status quo as we wait for the bursting forth of the next great era of reformism. “It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past,” he said at one point, referring to the fight over open homosexuality in the military. “It is time to move forward as one nation.” Look at what he said about “the new health care law”: he is eager to improve it, but “what I’m not willing to do is go back.” “So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward.” Lock in progressive achievements and let’s move on.

    Next, redefine what change means. Rather than transformative change (as in the old notion of ‘we are the change we have been waiting for’) it now turns out that “the world has changed,” driven by technology and competition. The new challenge is not to bring about change but to respond to change and “meet the demands of a new age.” What we can’t do is stand pat–a cut against conservatives using the phrase early progressives coined against their critics who wanted to “stand pat” rather than join the liberal surge. Today we must change to keep up with change.

    President Obama said several times that we must “win the future.” Fine. Does anyone want to lose the future? But–and here he betrays his progressive principles and reconfirms that liberalism is the philosophy of government–it turns out that the key is more government “investment” in innovation, education and infrastructure. And more progressive government: “We cannot win the future with a government of the past.” We know what that means.

    So: consolidate, meet the demands for change and win the future. There’s still hope: “We are poised for progress.”
    - Matt Spalding

    Still No Choice in Education

    We agree with the president: No Child Left Behind is broken. Unfortunately, the similarities end there. although both sides of the aisle agree that No Child Left Behind is broken, the Obama administration does not believe the federal role in education is fundamentally flawed. They’re still holding onto the hope that after 40 years of failed federal interventions, this time, Washington will get it right.

    In his address tonight, President Obama lauded his Race to the Top Program and continued to promote national standards. He also talked extensively about “investing” more in education, a clear indication that he plans to continue Washington’s education spending spree.

    But conservatives have a better plan for improving education: The Academic Partnerships Lead Us to Success (A-PLUS) plan. A-PLUS would allow states to opt out of onerous federal programs such as those found within NCLB, and would allow state and local leaders to have more control over education dollars and decision-making.

    The president’s speech also lacked any serious discussion of school choice, despite the fact that the highly effective D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program is on life support in his back yard. By contrast, Speaker John Boehner had parents and children from the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program as guests in the Speaker’s Box during the SOTU tonight – a sure sign that he plans to make school choice in the District a priority.
    - Lindsey Burke

    Obamacare is Still Unconstitutional

    Tonight, the President, defending his health care plan, stated “If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you.” Unfortunately, he did not express any concern regarding the constitutionality of the bill. As Heritage has described here, the health care mandate is both unprecedented, and unconstitutional. A federal court in Virginia has already agreed, declaring the mandate unconstitutional, and a majority of states are challenging the mandate in court in Florida.

    The mandate’s constitutional defect is a major problem for Obama’s offer to just modify the existing, ill-conceived bill, because as President Obama’s own Justice Department has argued in court, the mandate is so essential given the other requirements in the law that its elimination would “inexorably drive [the health insurance] market into extinction.” Tinkering around the edges will not fix the problems with this bill. A due respect for the Constitution and public opinion requires that the unprecedented overreaching of the mandate be corrected–and this will require complete repeal.
    - Robert Alt

    Social Security

    The good news was that the speech included a reference to fixing Social Security. Unfortunately, President Obama’s laudable goal of finding a “bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations” was either empty rhetoric or showed a serious misunderstanding of what causes that program’s underfunding. His next sentence exempted everything that might improve future generations’ retirement security except raising taxes.

    Not only does that make a bipartisan solution almost impossible, but the tax increases that he has discussed in the past don’t fix the problem. For instance, Social Security’s nonpartisan actuaries say that making every dollar or earnings subject to the payroll tax only delays the start of permanent deficits by 8 years from 2016 until 2024. Future retirees can still expect a more than 20 percent cut in their benefits. And those who would pay those higher taxes will see the huge increase in their marginal tax rates drain away dollars that could otherwise have been used to start small businesses.

    The President’s approach ignores the recommendations of his own bipartisan commission. It also fails to recognize that Americans are living longer than ever, and that over 80 percent of those who reach retirement age are healthy enough to work a little longer if it means that they can avoid the 20 percent benefit cuts that will come otherwise. If he really wants a bipartisan solution to Social Security’s problems, this speech didn’t show it.
    - David John


    Throughout the health care debate, the Heritage Foundation offered numerous ideas for how to improve the health care system, including for those who are most in need.

    Americans want health care reform, but not the kind enacted under the new health care law. They do not want to turn more power over their health care dollars or personal health care decisions to Washington bureaucrats. And, Congress cannot fix a health care law that is founded on a fundamentally flawed foundation.

    Real health care reform is based on consumer-focused, market-based reforms that empower individuals by fixing the tax treatment of health insurance, transforming health care entitlement programs, and letting the states develop reforms that best meet the unique needs of their citizens through portability, choice and competition.

    If the President is serious about American’s fiscal future, he would begin by repealing a health care law that adds a trillion dollars in new health care spending, stifles economic growth through a half a trillion in new taxes, burdens future generations with unknown costs, and undermines individual freedom through government mandates and regulations.
    - Nina Owcharenko

    Subsidies Don’t Create Jobs

    In his state of the union address, President Obama dragged out a 50 year-old, cold-war poster child to paper over his proposal for a tried-and-failed energy/jobs policy. The rhetoric for his policy alludes to the Sputnik space race. Unfortunately, the reality promises a sputtering economy. Government bureaucrats and federal mandates are not the motivating force for innovation and job creation.

    Last year’s poster children for clean-energy jobs, Solyndra and Evergreen Solar, are this year’s object lessons in the futility of trying to subsidize our way to good, permanent job creation.

    Mere months after receiving a $535 million government loan (and after a well-publicized presidential photo op), Solyndra withdrew its initial public offering because it got a sub-par review from an independent auditor. And a year after getting their half-billion dollars, Solyndra closed a factory and got rid of nearly 200 jobs.

    After much hyped state subsidies of up to $76 million and after millions of dollars of federal subsidies Evergreen Solar is now shutting its factory in Massachusetts, laying off 700 workers, and moving production to China.

    If a company needs a subsidy to hire a worker, that worker will be out on the street when the subsidy expires. Private enterprise provides energy, creates jobs, and develops innovative technology. It does so because private enterprise only succeeds when the energy, jobs, and technology provide value that exceeds the cost. That’s how we get good, durable jobs.
    - David Kreutzer

    The State of the Family

    This evening’s State of the Union address was notably devoid of discussion of one of the issues that could be fairly characterized as “decades in the making,” the phrase President Obama used to introduce a litany of problems facing the country. Evidence continues to accumulate that the persistence of problems like poverty and welfare dependency is strongly associated with the rise in the number of children born out of wedlock.

    To a striking degree, the challenges of the federal budget are linked to and aggravated by the fracturing in family budgets brought on by the failure of families to form and government policies that neglect the best adhesive to repair that fracturing – the bonds of marriage. The state of American families went unmentioned tonight but it is vital that this conversation, and its implications for the State of the Union, happen with a new urgency at the national level.
    - Chuck Donovan

    Preserving Peace

    The President said tonight that the nation must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle to be free are the men and women in uniform. President Obama was right to say that the country is united in support of those who serve and their families. As a result, he also rightly said that we must provide them the equipment that they need, care and benefits they’ve earned, and more.

    The challenge in meeting this task of providing our all-volunteer force all the tools they need to succeed now and for the next 20 years is that the U.S. is slipping in this area, as well. The traditional margins of U.S. technological military superiority are declining across the board. These long-held “margins” are ingredients in U.S. military supremacy that have ensured that our forces are never in a fair fight. Indeed, during a recent trip to China, the Secretary of Defense said that the Chinese “clearly have potential to put some of our capabilities at risk.”

    Let us truly recall the lessons of history in reversing the trend of trying to seek a peace dividend when none exists. A decade of conflict and two decades of underinvestment have left the U.S. military too small and inadequately equipped to do everything being asked of these men and women. In July 2010, a bipartisan commission warned of a coming “train wreck” if Congress does not act quickly to rebuild and modernize the U.S. military. There is no quick or easy fix. Meeting the military’s full modernization requirements

    American Founders understood that “the surest means of avoiding war is to be prepared for it in peace.” As Thomas Paine warned, it would not be enough to “expect to reap the blessings of freedom.” Americans would have to “undergo the fatigues of supporting it.” Supporting freedom and defending the nation still requires public spending on the nation’s defense forces in both times of war and peace. As President George Washington asserted in his First Annual Message, delivered in 1790, the “most effectual means of preserving peace” is “to be prepared for war.” Congress and the President should recommit tonight to rebuilding America’s military and giving the best to those who serve.
    - Mackenzie Eaglen

    Tax Agenda Falls Short

    President Obama acknowledged the two biggest tax issues holding back the economy and hampering our competitiveness: our inefficient individual income tax code and our high corporate tax rate. His desired remedies, however, fall short of what is needed.

    The individual income tax code needs fundamental reform. It has become cluttered with too many credits, deductions, and exemptions that slow economic growth. The president did not lay out his vision for tax reform. For tax reform to become a reality leadership at the presidential level is vital. President Obama’s lack of thorough attention to the issue does not bold well for success in the near future.

    The president revisited his old hobby horse: eliminating tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners. This was an odd inclusion in the speech since just a few weeks ago he signed a 2 year extension of those very tax cuts. And if tax reform does become a reality, the 2001/2003 tax cuts would be a non-issue.

    On the corporate tax front the president was better but far from perfect. He rightly called for the rate to come down but only if Congress closes “loopholes” to offset the cost. Many of the provisions that are commonly referred to as loopholes are in fact justifiable deductions that help lessen the blow of the corporate tax systems’ other shortcomings like the taxation of income earned in foreign countries and the lack of ability for companies to immediately deduct the cost of capital investment. Getting rid of them will temper any benefit derived from a lower rate. The few loopholes that do exist would fall well short of making up the revenue from a rate cut. Spending should be cut to make sure the rate reduction does not add to the deficit.

    The best tax recommendation the president made was the elimination of 1099 reporting requirements that are part of the healthcare law. These requirements will cripple small businesses should they ever go into effect.

    The worst tax idea was the elimination of so-called subsidies for oil companies. These tax breaks allow oil companies to expense a portion of the huge upfront costs they incur for developing new oil sources. The specific provisions would not be necessary if the tax code rightly allowed all businesses to expense their capital investments. Taking them away from oil companies will increase the cost of oil for all Americans and be a step in the wrong direction for the tax code.
    -Curtis Dubay

    Denial on Deficits

    On one vital point the nation has almost without exception reached a consensus when it comes to entitlement spending — current policy is unaffordable and unsustainable. President Obama acknowledged this clearly when he announced the creation of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform and again when he received the Commission’s final report. The preamble to the report concluded:

    After all the talk about debt and deficits, it is long past time for America’s leaders to put up or shut up. The era of debt denial is over, and there can be no turning back.

    To the existing consensus regarding the need to act, the need for “America’s leaders to put up or shut up,” as the Commission put it, can now be added a second point of broad agreement – the President’s policies as outlined in his State of the Union Address regarding Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, the programs that have the nation on course to a “crushing debt burden”, continue the era of debt denial unabated, unabashedly, even proudly.

    The President in short has turned his back on his own Commission, on his vows of leadership, and on future generations. On these issues it will now be up to the Congress to take up the mantle of leadership the President has found too heavy to bear.
    -JD Foster

    American Leadership

    In the opening section of his address, the President referred to the need to “sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but a light to the world.” Those are certainly words that conservatives can endorse and respect, just as they will agree with his statement that America is “the first nation that was founded for the sake of an idea.” As Matthew Spalding has stated, the American creed “is set forth most clearly in the Declaration of Independence, … a timeless statement of inherent rights, the proper purposes of government, and the limits on political authority.”

    Unfortunately, this was not the creed that the President proclaimed in his speech. Instead of recognizing that the Founders wanted to limit the role of the federal government, the President continued on in the vein that has marked American politics for too many years: arguing that the needs of tomorrow demand more spending — the President now calls them “investments” — on programs that have already failed.

    Laudably, the President called on Congress to pass the free trade area with South Korea; regrettably, he accompanied it with a reiteration of his promise to “only sign deals that keep faith with American workers, and promote American jobs,” a pledge that, in the case of the agreement with South Korea, meant months of delay and special favors to organized labor in the U.S. automotive sector.

    Laudably, the President twice noted the need for American leadership in the world. He even went so far as to claim that “American leadership has been renewed and America’s standing has been restored.”

    The source of this restoration, though, remained mysterious. In Iraq, the President noted, the war is ending — thanks to the surge strategy that the President opposed. America continues to disrupt Islamist plots — made by an enemy the President was unwilling even to name, in a war that, as the still-open Guantanamo prison testifies, has required him to rethink his presumptions.

    In Afghanistan, the President reiterated the U.S. determination to win — and coupled it with a promise that “we will begin to bring our troops home” in July 2011. The New START treaty and the “reset” with Russia made predictable appearances — but nothing was heard about the fact that Russia is an autocracy that attacks, threatens, and subverts its neighbors, while at the same time it murders and imprisons opponents at home.

    In the realm of foreign affairs, the only surprises came at the end of the President’s remarks, when he expressed solidarity with Southern Sudan, and explicitly said that “the United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.” Where is that support in Russia? In Iran? In China?

    As Marion Smith wrote in his essay on American leadership, “George Washington recommended a foreign policy of independence and strength, a policy that would allow America to ‘choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.’ ” What was missing from
    the President’s address was any sense that both U.S. interests and our sense of justice ought not to be engaged only in the Tunisias of the world. The President’s emphasis on the value of American’s alliances was welcome. Too bad it was not balanced by a recognition that the U.S. also faces hostile regimes.

    In an echo of President George W. Bush’s call in 2002 for “a balance of power that favors freedom” — a phrase much mocked at the time — President Obama called for “a world that favors peace and prosperity.”

    Until the President accepts that prosperity flows from freedom, and that we will not advance the cause of peace by speaking only in abstractions about oppression in “some countries” and ignoring the flaws in the world’s multilateral institutions, all of us are not likely to move closer to that goal.
    - Ted Bromund

    President’s Budget Proposals Don’t Match the Rhetoric

    President Obama asserted that “a critical step in winning the future is to make sure we aren’t buried under a mountain of debt.” Yet he failed to offer any proposals that would significantly rein in escalating spending and deficits.

    The President’s proposed freeze of non-security discretionary spending would essentially lock in the 25 percent expansion these programs have received since 2007. Yet paring back deficits requires actually reducing runaway spending, starting with the House Republican plan to cut this spending back to 2008 or even 2006 levels.

    Furthermore, only 12 percent of the federal budget would be affected by the President’s freeze proposal. Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid costs are truly driving long-term deficits upward. Yet the President ignored nearly all entitlement reforms proposed by his own commission, and even stated opposition to any change in future Social Security benefits. Additionally, the President again defended his budget-busting trillion-dollar health care program.

    Finally, President Obama sought to rehabilitate the reputation of runaway spending by renaming it “investment.” While investment indeed drives economic growth, politicians have proven to be poor investors. Federal K-12 education spending has grown 219 percent faster than inflation over the past decade, yet student test scores have stagnated. Thirty years of federal energy spending has failed to significantly improve the alternative energy market. And massive increases in federal transportation spending have been diverted into earmarks, bike paths, and museums, or allocated to budget-busting transit programs that governors do not want. If President Obama truly wants to encourage investment, he should focus on reducing the budget deficit – which is crowding out private investment – and should reduce barriers to productive private sector investments.
    -Brian Riedl

    1 Million Electric Cars Should Reach the Market When They’re Ready

    In his address President Obama emphasized that “With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have 1 million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.”

    How much more research and incentives do electric cards need? We taxpayers have handed out billions for advanced battery vehicle manufacturing. We taxpayers foot the bill (from $2,500–$7,500, depending on the battery capacity) for every electric vehicle purchase. And we taxpayers help pay for the tens of millions of dollars the Department of Energy spends to study increased battery storage. Even so, the demand for electric vehicles is low because electric cars are prohibitively costly even with the lavish handouts.

    One survey found that the number of consumers interested in buying a hybrid vehicle dropped from 61 percent to 30 percent when they learned they would pay an additional $5,000 compared to a comparable vehicle with a traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) Only 17 percent of those surveyed showed interest in buying a battery electric vehicle (BEV), and that number decreased to 5 percent when told a BEV would cost an additional $15,000 compared to the closest ICE-powered vehicle. Even after counting the gasoline savings you would reap from buying an electric vehicle, electric cars are still a bad investment. A good sign for the viability of electric vehicles is when they won’t need the handouts from taxpayers.

    President Obama also said in his address, “None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be, or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn’t know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution.”

    The same is true with our vehicle fleet in the U.S. No one will know what it will look like 30 years from now, or even 4 years from now. So why is the government trying to dictate that market when it knows it can’t?
    -Nick Loris

    Free Enterprise vs Big Government

    President Obama, in his speech tonight, rightfully identified the issue of competitiveness as a key for reviving the economy, and innovation as a vital ingredient in achieving that competitiveness. America can, as he said, out innovate the rest of the world. But his prescription for sparking that innovation and making America again a world leader is badly off-target. His model is Sputnik, and he prescribes economic NASAs as the solution. Washington would set the rules, define the parameters of the challenge. This is not the way the today’s economy works.

    American entrepreneurs do not need grants from Washington in order to compete, they don’t need incentives from bureaucrats in order to compete. The Steve Jobs’ of the future are not applying for federal grants, or federal “challenges.” What they need is for Washington to get out of their way — to tax them less, regulate them less, and leave them alone. Yet, there was nothing in his remarks that provided hope that these burdens would be lifted anytime soon, save for a short reference to regulatory reform, and even that was hedged with defense of regulation. Until the need to free enterprise — rather than guide it — is addressed — the entrepreneurial spirit of Americans will remain leashed, and all the NASAs in the world will not improve our competitiveness
    -James Gattuso

    Energy “Investment”

    In his State of the Union speech, President Obama pointed to the government investments that led to such commercial successes as the Internet, computer chips, and GPS (interestingly, he left out Tang). The implication is that more tax payer support would bring the same sort of innovation to the energy sector. This supposition is misleading.

    The government programs that led to the Internet, computer chips, and GPS were not programs to develop technologies to meet a commercial demand. They were each the result of defense-related programs that were created to meet national security requirements. People like former Secretary of Energy and Defense, Dr. James Schlesinger argued tirelessly for investment in GPS not because it would help him to find the nearest burrito bar but because he (and not many others at the time) understood the national security value of such a system. It was not until after the first Gulf War (when Americans witnessed the accuracy with which GPS could guide a vehicle to its destination) that entrepreneurs gained access to GPS signals. It was they that that commercialized that technology, not the federal government. In essence, the federal government invested to develop capabilities that did not exist and were needed for specific government activities. Entrepreneurs gained access to that basic work and commercialized it.

    This is an entirely different model from what the President is suggesting the United States take to develop new energy technologies. Not only does he want the federal government to choose which energy sources Americans can access, but he believes that the government is best prepared to oversee the entire business development process. He does not want to support research and development, but he wants to drive commercialization, and to define the market.

    That is not the right approach for the United States. We are a country abundant with natural resources and as the President correctly pointed out, “Our free enterprise system is what drives innovations.” Mr. President, you had me at “innovation.” Too bad you lost me after that.
    -Jack Spencer

    Obama’a Sputnik Moment

    “This is our generation’s Sputnik moment,” declared President Obama in the State of the Union address. If he believes that, he probably should have studied his history and how President Eisenhower responded to Russia’s satellite launch—because Ike would not have endorsed anything like Obama’s prescription. In the wake of sputnik hysteria the Gaither commission argued for an astronomical increase in spending to “catch-up” with the Soviets. Eisenhower knew that writing checks that the nation can’t cash is no way to make America more innovative. Ike declared you do not win a competition by “by bankrupting yourself…”

    President Eisenhower’s reluctance to throw government and money at every problem was rooted in his distrust of Big Government. “Eisenhower was deeply concerned about the growth of the federal government and the systematic loss of state and local autonomy,” writes Martin Medhurst, an expert on Ike’s rhetoric. “He was concerned about a government that spent more than it took in. …”

    Eisenhower also understood that getting spending under control was about getting Washington’s priorities right. Ike did not want to needlessly throw money at anything, even defense(“[G]ood management dictates that we resist overspending as resolutely as we oppose under-spending, Ike declared), but he clearly understood that soundly funding defense had to be his first priority. Obama’s call of simply calling for not-cutting security spending is not enough – defense modernization is already underfunded and defense spending too inefficient – Obama needs to buck up defense even as he needs to do much, much more to reign in other government spending.

    We did not hear that kind of commitment during the State of the Union address. Nor did we hear a president who is willing to get tough with all of America’s competitors in the same way Ike would. Instead, the Obama Doctrine is still alive and well.

    The State of the Union address was a pale shadow of what the nation should expect from presidents who are responsible for providing for the common defense.
    -James Carafano

    Posted in Ongoing Priorities [slideshow_deploy]

    37 Responses to Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds To The State Of The Union

    1. Barbara Jo, Ph. D., says:

      Their Education "Reward Program" for states was not developed by the Governors but rather Arne Duncan of the totally wasted Department of Education.

    2. Christopher Mims says:

      Fact check on what Eisenhower did in response to Sputnik: He started NASA *and* ARPA (now DARPA). Both essentially huge exercises in government R&D. The former took us to the moon, the latter is responsible for the internet.

    3. shelly, massachusett says:

      " I thought that the speech was terrifc!! First – Obama's right, we need to develop renewable energy and fast. Relying on oil is dangerous politically because we depend on foreign sources, and ecologically because we are destroying our environment/creating geenhouse gases. Further – we need to develop our infrastructure. Next to other developed countries we now look like a joke – they have high speed rail, they have mass transit, cell phones for 60-80% of the population in every location – we use huge cars that burn fossil fuels and create carbon emmisions. Not to mention our outdated trucking system and the fact that parts of the country no longer get TV!! Are we incapable of adapting??

      Also, he's right that we need to focus on eliminating tax breaks to the rich and to special interest groups. The income gap has grown so huge that the "trickle down" argument no longer holds. We needs to reduce the income gap.

      Also, OK for fine-tuning the heath care reform; totally against any repeal – who are we kidding!!! We are incapable of insuring that our citizens have access to health care!!

      Obama's speech was great! Face it – these are the things that we need to work on together getting done!!

    4. David Ovenell, Quinc says:

      President Obama repeatedly called for the phasing out of our dependency on oil. We've been paying the high prices at the pump as oil exploration and production companies have developed huge reserves here in N. America and capped them off. We now have more developed reserves than any other nation, as a defense against middle east instability. Let's use it. $3.00 gasoline has bought this for us.

    5. George Colgrove, VA says:

      I am beginning to get concerned about the republicans we just put into office. To date, the only thing that is being talked about for cuts is the measly little “NON-DEFENSE DISCRETIONARY” spending. This only represents a small 15% of the budget. To fully fund the rest of the budget the feds will have to raise taxes by over a trillion dollars to make up the difference – to pay the full interest due – to zero out the annual debt spending. This will not provide any room to pay down the total national debt. The republicans want to cut only $250 billion out of a $3.83 trillion budget. The president wants to cut only $40 billion.

      Right now, we are only funding 60% of the federal government spending. 3.2 hours of every federal workers work day is putting the country into debt. The remaining 40% will be paid for some day long into the future. That 40% will be paid for by our children and their children – if we stop spending like this today. Many more generations will be impoverished if we continue this lavish federal spending.

      I honestly believe that those goons we elected really do not care about the future of the country. The entitlements we are buried under are populated with millions of people who have been conned by the federal government into a really bad deal – one that will take decades to free the nation and the individuals from. We have a DoD that is acting as an accomplice to Osama Bin Laden in bankrupting this nation. We have congress members who will take the money saved by NOT doing an earmark and put it back into a wasteful federal government to be lost forever – instead of paying of debt or returning that back to the people.

      We have nearly 3 million people who in one way or another work for the federal government – taking massive salaries and over-generous benefit packages (all of their own making) for their own ends and not to the benefit of the nation. There does not seem to be anyone in the federal government who recognizes the dire state of affairs we are in. They cheer the anemic cuts proposed by Obama and the proposed “investments” that will only continue to break the bank.

      What the terrorists were not able to achieve on 9/11/11, the federal government and its workforce seems all too willing to complete. We are heading for ruin if what we heard last night by both parties goes into effect. Even Bachmann was not effective in defining places to cut. The funny thing is, we all do see the elephant in the room. Our debt is staggering as Bachmann put it. However, the left will die to keep entitlements flowing and the right will die keeping out of control defense spending going. Unless both sides start to give and give a lot, both sides will crush this country. In essence, any person who will protect and defend all or part of the current federal government are accomplices to the killing of this country.

    6. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Nothing in a state of the union speech ever gets into legislation, but these days, I do not think our elected officials really understand the problem with the debt. Just think of it as a typical mortgage at 6%, this is what it would look like:

      Current Debt $14.1 Trillion –

      - Monthly Payment = $84.5 Billion

      - Annual aggregate payment = $1.014 Trillion

      - Total Interest = $16.3 Trillion

      - Total Obligation = $30.4 Trillion

      After 2011 the total debt will likely be a minimum of $15.3 Trillion

      - Monthly Payment = $91.7 Billion

      - Annual aggregate payment = $1.101 Trillion

      - Total Interest = $17.723 Trillion

      - Total Obligation = $33.023 Trillion

      After 2012 the total debt will easily be over $17 Trillion

      - Monthly Payment = $101.9 Billion

      - Annual aggregate payment = $1.223 Trillion

      - Total Interest = $19.7 Trillion

      - Total Obligation = $36.7 Trillion

      These numbers are assuming we are paying off the debt. According to the Dept of treasury, we are currently not even paying off the interest each year!

      Tax collections have maxed out at $2.6 trillion. Beyond that, the economy begins to tank. If we cap federal spending at what we can reasonably get from taxes, then the total federal budget needs to be $2.6 trillion. If we subtract the loan payment we need to make every year for the next 30 years, we need to effectively subtract a trillion dollars from that $2.6 trillion. Meaning the federal government's budget needs to be $1.6 trillion. The current budget is $3.83 trillion with only $230 billion going towards an interest bill of $430 billion. We cannot afford to impoverish the country by placing this burden on the taxpayers. There is no more money! What we do have needs to be used to grow the real (non-government) economy.

      This means the overall federal budget needs to be reduced by 32% and ALL federal operations need to be reduced by 56% across the board. This is called fiscal responsibility! We have to pay the piper – we had our binge. It now has to stop.

      According to the Dept of Treas, Bureau of the Public Debt (Monthly Statement of the Public Debt – Jan ’11)

      January 01/20/10:

      Total Public Outstanding Debt = $12.278 Trillion

      Statutory Debt Limit = $12.394 Trillion

      Balance of Statutory Debt Limit = $171.493 Billion

      At that point had we started to pay off the debt this would have been the burden:

      2010 Debt $12.3 Trillion –

      - Monthly Payment = $73.6 Billion

      - Annual aggregate payment = $883.353 Billion

      - Total Interest = $14.2 Trillion

      - Total Obligation = $26.5 Trillion

      However, we increased the debt limit to $14.294 (by almost $2 trillion!) and began spending again:

      According to the Dept of Treas, Bureau of the Public Debt (Monthly Statement of the Public Debt – Dec ’11)

      December 12/31/10:

      Total Public Outstanding Debt = $14.025 Trillion

      Statutory Debt Limit = $14.294 Trillion

      Balance of Statutory Debt Limit = $321.484 Billion

      We gave ourselves an increased debt limit on our credit card and we maxed it out again – in just one year!

      We are spending at a clip of $123 billion of debt each month so far this fiscal year. Meaning after January ’11 we will have a deficit of $14.148 Trillion and a “balance of statuary debt limit” of $146 billion – just enough for February (last year February debt spending was over $200 billion!). This fiscal year, according to the Dept. of Treas. we are projected to spend $1.5 trillion dollars more in debt. That will put us at $15.3 trillion in debt by the end of September, ‘11 – if we are stupid enough to allow congress to increase the debt limit.

      In all honesty, (something you will never get from a federal official) the federal workforce (congress, et al) got us deeper into debt by $1.87 trillion in just one year! Total debt obligation because of that pointless spending easily went up by over $3.5 trillion – for just one year of foolish wasteful federal spending! If we do not stop these goons, they will further increase our total debt obligation by another $2.5 Trillion for the rest of this year (9 more months).

      This is financial terrorism done by our own people!

    7. Michael Hoyes, Yorkt says:

      I could not agree more with the analysis. What the speech proved (again) is that Obama is good at giving speeches, unless one takes the time to analyze exactly what he is saying, but he FAILS at LEADERSHIP. Anyone who has ever led an organization should be able to see through his words…my personal concern is why have not more people seen through it? Have we become a society so dependant on handouts?

    8. Norma in Nebraska says:

      I was thoroughly disappointed in the SOTU speech last night. The President reaffirmed that he indeed does NOT have a clue how to lead our country out of this mess he has created. He STILL is convinced that "investing" more tax dollars is the solution even though the election in November demonstrated loudly and clearly that the citizens of this country literally HATE his policies!

      If you have any doubt about what the President has in mind, then you need to assess the appointment of Jeffrey Imelt as the new "go to" guy for creating jobs because this is the guy to created all of the jobs for GE OUTSIDE of our country in the last couple of years.

      In addition to that, GE has received vast amounts of money from the government since Big O took office so there is a direct conflict of interest. Even Imelt understands that "the man with the gold makes the rules" so it is his FIRST job as the big guy at GE to SECURE the future of his own company and to hell with the rest of the country!

      If it smells like a duck, it looks like a duck, and walks like a duck, you can bet your last dollar that the critter is a duck. And that is just what the President showed us last night: for all the rhetoric about creating jobs, decreasing spending, working across the isle, blah, blah, blah, this President is a progressive and is going to forge onward with the progressive agenda!

      The Republicans AND the Tea Party be working hard to raise money for 2012 because O's team has a goal of ONE BILLION DOLLARS to fund the next election. What's the lesson? "Money buys you lots of love from the masses!" We are going to have to work very hard to confront and win against the "war machine" that is already gearing up 2012!

    9. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      To use a line from a Hollywood movie, "what would you expect from a pig but a grunt". How many speeches must Obama read from his teleprompter before

      the people of of the country understand that Obama is an ideolouge. He is as hard core left as any communist that ever existed in the Soviet Union. Yet their are those that post on this blog that will not or are incapable

    10. Lloyd Scallan (New O says:

      of this realization. But more disturbing are those that either do not accept just

      what is Obama, or they have the same socialist views for the futture of this country as Obama.

    11. Bill Lee, ArkLaTex a says:

      Until the GOP steps up and shows leadership by proposing to cut their salaries (Congress/Senate/Excecutive/Judical) by 20% and cut their Retirement benefits by 50% and cut head count in the Federal government, the public will not accept the cuts to Social Security and Medicare and Medicade.

      I am not sure they have the leadership ability? Both sides are worried they will not get the votes of the public. But if these things are not done, who wants to be leading a "Train Wreck"?

      I am afraid we will just have to go off the cliff, first before anything is done.

      I just hope the first black out of electricity is in DC.

    12. Kevin H, college par says:

      Did everyone notice in Paul Ryan's response, how he spoke of the horrible economic mess Ireland is in?

      If you look back at Heritage papers of 2001 and 2006 – they speak of all the great ways Ireland has become the 'Celtic Tiger'.

      Ireland had long been touted as the Celtic Tiger and the place economic conservatives pointed to as a place where their economic principles flurished, much like Texas. Now look at Ireland and Texas.

    13. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      I think the House Of Representatives could trim trillions off the National Debt and Deficit Spending by simply Defunding the Obama Shadow Government, and declaring Dictatorship, Police State, Socialism and Communism Unconstitutional Forms Of Government! I agree, get rid of Department Of Education. Just get rid of it as Unconstitutional overreach against the Sovereignty of States. The EPA, get rid of it entirely. Everywhere there is a Czar, defund the entire Agency! Why? Dictatorship under Czars is an Unconstitutional Form Of Government!

      Whatever Obama says do exactly the opposite! That's how you handle perfidious liars! So Obama says "Bipartisanship?" That's a trick, don't do it! Obama says "Reform the Government!" you know he means to eliminate the Constitutional part and create more Dictatorial and onerous unlawful Forms Of Government! Obama is a Third Generation Communist who usurped an American Political Party! That's a High Crime! I think the House will force the Supreme Court to Rule against Unconstitutional Forms of Government if the House says "This and this are Unconstitutional!"

      McCain, you RINO! Obama is not even vaguely a good President! He is running America into the ground!

    14. Mr. M. (Riverside, C says:

      In response to shelly, massachusetts…you have advanced your thoughts as a true progressive. So sorry that you actually believe all of that gargage. Also sorry, everything the pres said last night was taken from the Clinton play book. He may seek another term in 2012, however, he has no credibility. It will take a straight flush to win this hand, a pair will not do.

    15. Dennis Braddock says:

      The current state of the union is dismal. I do not expect it to get any better unless the progressives and liberals are taken out of power.

    16. M.Belcher,Central Fl says:

      The more this individual speaks the more he exposes his anti-american beliefs. Last night was just the same old thrashing and diminish of our wonderful nation and people that has made this great nation the envy of the world. Only one good thing has come out of his speach is that it will make our conservative people more adamant in keeping him to only one term. Thank you Heritage for your wonderful work,

    17. Judith Keller, Color says:

      I could not agree more with Mr. Scallan. The citizenry seems to be either completely ignorant or completely delusional about what really lies behind Obama's seemingly optimistic and harmless rhetoric.

      As my father always says, though: the nation gets what it deserves. If the people are ignorant enough to elect him to office, and they subsequently deal themselves a rotten hand for the next four years, then that's precisely what they deserve. My chief concern, though, is that in the particular game the world is playing lately, America may not be able to recover from a bad hand. China's getting entirely too far ahead of us, and the constant blind eye the Adminstration gives to all the goings-on with N. Korea, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela are setting us up for a duel in which we have no bullet in our gun.

      Obama and his policies are poison. I just hope America can realize that she needs an antidote before it's too late.

    18. Dr. M. A. Cutchins, says:

      This does NOT have to be published: Please correct the reference to "cards" in the discussion of electric CARS.

    19. E. A. in Flag, says:

      It should be lost on no one that the proposed 5 year "budget freeze" is strategically calculated to finish the Presidents current term and include another optimistically claimed term. Intentional or not, I can't help but wonder if the length of the purported freeze isn't more of a hopeful political statement and not so much a statement about overspending.

    20. John says:

      In response to Christopher Mims….NASA did not create anything to help get us to the moon, everything they used was created by the private sector, and that hasn't changed. NASA only funds the various programs. The early rockets, equipment, STS, etc. were all created by private companies. And now they cannot even purchase the private industries equipment and are having to settle on using the Russians and "renting" from companies like SpaceX.

      Yes, DARPA did "create" the Internet, but the private sector has taken it far beyond anything they could have dreamed. The original purpose was a simple means of communication.Basically a glorified telephone network that could withstand a nuclear attack. The private sector has brought it to the point it is at today and will be the one to carry it further.

      Also DARPA is military, and military projects are always more productive and innovative then civil governmental programs, i.e. stimulus package.

    21. John says:

      It seems as though that the military budget should be untouched when it comes to spending cuts, since all innovation that comes out of the government is from the military.

    22. Robert R. Reynolds, says:

      Obama speaks well but is clueless when he gets into subjects near and dear to the rank and file American. His big government mentality is foreign to the fabric of ideas that made America the greatest country the World has ever seen. Some of his advisers, and head of the EPA are proving incompetent. His climate science adviser, Dr. Hansen, is hopelessly committed to the fatally flawed policy of man caused global warming. I could feel sorry for his predicament if he had not picked his advisors to echo his own thinking.

    23. Kathryn Ubl, Minneso says:

      You wrote, "The Court ordered the EPA Administrator to determine whether these GHG emissions were dangerous to human health and the environment and whether the scientific consensus on the effects of GHGs was settled.[1]"

      Herein lies the key!! Please build a coalition to force this determination.

      I am a research librarian and conservative who has followed the science closely for two years now.

      The EPA cannot prove GHG emissions are dangerous. They have no data. The NOAA has no data. GISS has no data.

      If a national opposition is not mounted quickly to the EPA, the United Nations will have succeeded in crippling the United States.

      The belief in global warming stems from a belief in population control and human power over nature. It is a defining belief. Too many well-meaning citizens are being taken in to this terrifyingly subversive philosophy.

      Please do not underestimate the power and wealth invested in this idea of human-caused global warming. Proponents intend to bring down capitalism – nothing short.

    24. John GM, Roseville, says:

      Sadly, it matters little whether anyone believes the nonsense uttered by this fool, because all of us, including the fool himself, will soon greatly suffer for our years of public offenses. The unyielding laws of nature and mathematics will have no sympathy for us, and there is nothing at this point that anyone or any political body can do to alleviate the imminent horror that will befall us. The fiscal and monetary fraud against the American people, like a ponsi scheme, is about to end. But every American should clearly understand that our political representatives have completely betrayed all of us and all our children in allowing Government to literally steal our parent's wealth, our wealth and our children's inheritance. The fallout will be crushing to the poor and those on fixed incomes, and devastating to even the very wealthy. God help us.

    25. Larry Conner, Lafaye says:

      Speech should be titled "State Of the Business in the United States" The Constitution lays out a path to follow that creates opportunities for individuals to thrive. All "The People" benefit!

      The book "Good to Great" says it very well. Decide what you are and then do it very well. Any company that has tried to be all things to all people has failed…just as our current government is proving once again.

      Disjointed debate about the puzzle pieces without knowing what the end puzzle is to look like is a exercise in futility. All leadership groups should be looking to define the end point. Then the map can be drawn.

      In regards to your checklist for Congress. I believe there is a strong relationship among all of the items on the checklist and a story that can connect all of the items. This story does include the typical M.E.R.P.S. analysis items. My problem is that I do not hear anyone laying this path of problem solving that creates a solution founded in our Constitution, that shares the social ramifications, the economic relationship to long standing and uninterrupted growth, military implications, religious relationships and commonality of beliefs, and most important…how all of these items tie together to ensure great economic growth in a free market.

      If we took such an approach to solving the problems, I believe we would reduce tax rates, fund more of the health care costs, reduce fuel costs and use those funds to improve social issues like healthcare and infrastructure, reduce direct deployment costs of our military,

      and most importantly…create a government that is team building in nature (Greater Patriotism/Synergy) vs. the punitive form it enacts today.

      Government is just too darn parent like vs. adult like, in their overall behavior. It is time for leaders to step forward and do all things to grow sales in this Great Land, then the money will be there without creating hardships for all Americans. Very simply stated, I would rather have 16% of $200 versus the current state of 25% of $80 economy.

      I would love to discuss this story in more detail with someone from the Heritage Foundation. Thanks

    26. Ed Mack says:

      I still don't understand. We spend more money per student than anyother country in this world and still we are lagging in most areas of study. This should tell someone of these educators that it is NOT the money. You people want kids to know what you know at your age now. Go back to reading, writing, and 'rithmatic. Teach them how to think, not remember. Yet we want to put more money into a failing educatiional system. Money doesn't out-weight common sense; money is not smart.

    27. Dexter60, San Franci says:

      As interesting as the mountain of details can be for discussion, the main demonstration is that the Obama revolution is patterned after all those that failed before, holding onto the promised Change; those that became the establishment, as Castro's success, made murder for the status quo of 'the winners.'

      Where can Obama take us from here? Zimbabwe? something to be called 'The more perfect Union.'?

      The progressive's model, FDR, was stopped from becoming Uncle Joe — but this time the establishment has sold out its license on the cheap for a very short tenancy. They had better Hope this is a Christian nation interested not in revenge but reconstruction from this attack from within.

      If they do not act soon, there will be no use for the Congress or supreme court for many years. Can they too fail the people?

      That is the real state of the Union, where the people have been set against themselves, many not knowing even who or what they are any more.

      But in all, the debt this government created is to the people; the people will still be here after this government dies and that debt dies with it. The kind of people who built this country will rebuild: the is the real state of the union, even as wounded as it is.

    28. Objective Analyst, M says:

      The progressive utopian agenda marches on, although now a bit subdued. The question is a matter of philosophy, as Beck say's can we self govern, or do we need to be patronized with big government control of every aspect of our lives? Does this agenda truly provide for the greater good? History has shown this not to be the case. I for one prefer self determination and the liberty it entails. "Better to reign in hell than serve in heaven." John Milton To me a self made small businessman; this means I am wiling to take my chances and provide for my own. Any able bodied person can do this if the burdens of the indolent are not forced upon their back. A limited safety net for the indigent, and fulfilling the sixteen enumerated powers of the Constitution is all the Federal Government should do. Individual sovereignty, initiative, and self respect are the forces of prosperity. For richer, or for poorer there is dignity in self determination. These comments are in relation to the Agenda speech we heard the other night, since it related little about the State of the Union that we aren't already painfully aware of, and quite a bit about what our Government will do for us….. For the producers this is usually code for what they will do to us…

    29. pilot007, Tucson, AZ says:

      I avoided lending an ear to our faux President's waxing progressive. After reading some of the commentary, I was correct in not listening and polluting my grey cells.

      From review of the commentary it sounds more like it was a pre-campaign speech rather than a true and complete State of the Union.

      A note for the "pres" Get out of office now before we run you out on a rail complete with a coat of feathers. We the People aren't buying the pre Communist "progressive" change you have envisioned for us.

    30. Szabolcs Michael de says:

      Dear Sir.

      Thank you for a very good article. There is very something very important which we Americans either overlook on purpose, or are not aware of. Earl Browder, at the time; (1938) head of the Communist Party of the United States, informed Bella Dodd, head of the American Teachers Union, that he was changing the title of Communist to Progressive. The reason he gave was that "Communist" was not an acceptable term to the average American. Sorry about the long sentence. Bella Dodd rose to high rank in the Communist Party in the United States and in her book "School of Darkness" goes into great detail on the issue. As you recall Earl Browder ran Henry Wallace for President on the Progressive Party ticket in the 1938 presidential election against FDR. J. Edgar Hoover sheds light on this issue in his 1958 book "Master of Deceit".

      Respectfully Yours


    31. rj casey ny, ny says:

      Even with State of the Union, tragedy to an individual, or something's fixed finally after a long wait! He always tries to make it sound like he's a saviour! Outshine the situation happening! But meanwhile, he's not in the fight! Just wants the credit! If he did have something positive to do with it, can't just move ahead to the next thing! It's supposed to be his job! Just brag about his one accomplishment! But deny his wrong doing, when something doesn't go so well! Politicans are rewarded on election day! A new term or permanent vacation

    32. rj casey ny, ny says:

      Even with State of the Union, tragedy to an individual, or something's fixed finally after a long wait! He always tries to make it sound like he's a saviour! Outshine the situation with his greatness! Meanwhile, he's not in the fight! Just wants the credit! If he did have something positive to do with it, can't just move ahead to the next thing! It's supposed to be his job! Not brag about his one successful thing! Then denies his wrong doing, when something doesn't go so well! Politicians are rewarded on Election day! A new term or permanent vacation!

    33. Kathryn Ubl, Minneso says:

      In an effort to encourage us not to take Obama’s “green agenda” lightly I ask you to read:

      IPCC Professor Calls For “Elite Warrior Leadership” To Rule Over Eco-Dictatorship http://www.prisonplanet.com/ipcc-professor-calls-

      Professor Shearman ..a professor at a major university… works for the IPCC …at the behest of a serious academic institute… founded by Act of Congress … labels humanity a “malignant eco-tumour” and an “ecological cancer,”…. says that “authoritarianism is the natural state of humanity” …. in order to save the planet from man-made climate change, an “elite warrior leadership” needs to be formed….advocates the set up of specialized re-education centers where eco-zombies are trained to become part of a green army of enforcers….. this battle involves replacing traditional religions like Christianity and Islam with a new green religion that would fit better with an authoritarian government

      Further: – The current White House science czar John P. Holdren also advocates In his 1977 Ecoscience textbook for a “planetary regime” to carry out forced abortions and mandatory sterilization procedures, as well as drugging the water supply, in an effort to cull the human surplus.

      At the end of this article one commenter (Biker) says: “. The worst part is that they [teachers] are brainwashing their students to believe this nonsense. Ask any young child about global warming and stand back for the answers you will get. The kids even think that their parents are part of the problem and would turn them in in a minute if they thought the parents were contributing to global warming.

    34. Pingback: Pie N Politics » Reaction Roundup: Heritage Responds To The State Of The Union | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News.

    35. Pingback: The Climate Post: So really, how will we get to a post-carbon future? : Green Living Tips | Living Green and Save The Planet |

    36. Pingback: AntiObamaBlog.com » Heritage Responds To The State Of The Union

    37. Augustine Ene says:

      Heritage foundation is doing a good job in retaining hard-core conservatives by telling them what they want to hear about the president and his administraion's policies. However, I regrate the fact that they fail to win new members or otherwise independent minded Americans simply by blatantly showing unfair and unbalanced reporting in this forum. In every democracy, compromise is the universal tool by which governments govern. I was embarrassed for consevatives when republican controlled house refused to accept president's proposal that gave them more tax cuts than what they finally accepted in disguise that the gang of six will give them additional cuts. Conservatives are fighting good fight in asking for spending cuts. They held president's feet to the fire and has successed in making the president and his administration realize that America cannot spend our children's future today. However, iIn their demand for spending cut, they forgot that revenue is needed to grow and sustain our economy. I'm challenging all conservatives to call their US respresentative, House and Senate, and tell them that we need to set a long term goal of reducing our debt but must do so prudently through application of one and only one tool by which governments govern, COMPROMISE..

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