I haven't been able to pilfer an advance copy of the president's State of the Union address, but I hereby offer some guesses as to what he'll say tonight.
The president will assert, against the evidence, that the state of our union is strong. He will boast that during his first term, we averted another great depression, achieved history-making reforms of health care and banking, saved the auto industry and began to conclude two wars. He will caution though, that we face great challenges. Obama will acknowledge that our economy is not as vibrant as it could be and will stress that the way to achieve prosperity for all, not just for the few, is to focus on the great middle class. He will say that it's time to do "nation building" here at home and that we must reduce deficits in a "responsible" way.
Here's what he won't acknowledge: Labor force participation is at a three-decade low. Poverty is higher than at any time since the 1930s. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis reports that long-term unemployment is at the highest levels since World War II with the average length of joblessness having doubled to 40 weeks under Obama, compared with an average of 20 weeks during the three previous recessions. And we are technically in a recovery, not a recession. Obama will not mention that health insurance premiums are going up, not down, as promised, and that many employers are preparing to cease offering insurance after 2014 (again, in contrast to Obama's pledge that "if you like your health insurance, you can keep it").
President Obama knows that Americans are more concerned about the economy and jobs than about gun control, immigration, gay rights or "climate change," though each of those will get a mention, along with "making college more affordable" (which inevitably makes it less affordable) and universal preschool so that every child arrives at school "ready to learn." (Note: Real spending on education has tripled since 1970 with no effect on scores.)
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