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SOTU and executive action

Can’t Wait
Tomorrow night Barack Obama will address the nation in his fifth State of the Union address. We've already gotten a bit of a preview of what we can expect, and it isn't likely to sit well with many Americans. The speech comes on the heels of Obama's worst year as president. His agenda laid out in his State of the Union address last year was side-tracked by a plethora of scandals and the disastrous rollout of his signature legislative achievement, ObamaCare. As a result, his poll numbers have plummeted and Americans are unhappy with the direction of the nation. According to new polling from the Washington Post/ABC News, “for the first time on the eve of a State of the Union address, more Americans rate his performance negatively than positively, with 50 percent disapproving.” Obama has lost the trust and confidence of the American people, which will likely result in a skeptical reception of his speech tomorrow night. As sarcastically as I can say it, I can’t wait until tomorrow.

What Should Obama Say?
Senator Ted Cruz, by the way, has an idea for what Obama should say in his State of the Union address: "If President Obama wants to give an honest, candid State of the Union address this week, he'll address the fact that his economic policies are not working and that they're exacerbating income inequality, they're hurting the people who are struggling the most.” He also says Obama should apologize to those to whom he lied to about losing their insurance because of ObamaCare. Obama should look in the camera and say, “I'm sorry, I told you if you like your health insurance plan, you can keep it; I told you if you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor, and that wasn't true. I'm sorry.” I'm not holding my breath on that one.

The White House Spin Cycle
The White House spin machine has kicked into full force. Obama senior advisor Dan Pfeiffer tried to convince Fox News viewers on Sunday that the economy is making progress, but Chris Wallace wasn't buying it. Wallace asks a very simple but powerful question: If the economy is so great, how come things are so lousy? After all, in Obama's "recovery," median household income has dropped, poverty is up, food stamps are up, and participation in the labor force is at a 36-year record low. But the White House spin continues to be that Obama inherited the worst recession since the Great Depression and we still have a lot of progress to make. What kind of progress? Well in his State of the Union address, we know that Obama will focus on progressive policies and income inequality. As The Hill says today, Obama will be banging the drum of his base. This will include calls to increase the minimum wage, extend unemployment benefits and other wealth transfer initiatives that do nothing to actually grow our economy and create jobs. The substance of Obama's speech will be predictably progressive. But the way that he is planning to achieve many of these initiatives is also raising some eyebrows. Throughout his presidency, Obama has become infamous for his unilateral, executive actions. For example, he decided to delay the employer mandate for ObamaCare, completely bypassing Congress or the process by which we change laws. We can expect more of that going forward.

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