New York Post, February 8, 2023
Watching President Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech was like being cornered by a drunken lout who endlessly yanks on your shirt sleeve and babbles about all the favors he’s going to do for you.
Biden told so many howlers that he eventually got heckled like a bumbling comic at open mic night. He flavored his bunkum by sporadically screaming at his audience like an old man telling kids to get off his lawn.
But Biden’s fixes for America will be ruinous if they are enacted.
Ahead of the speech, Capitol Hill was again surrounded by an 8-foot-high black metal fence. This was the third year in a row Congress was barricaded off from the American people for a Biden appearance. Is this the new “window dressing” to ensure common folk never approach the “Temple of Democracy” when sacred rites are occurring?
The president summoned Republicans to support his “Unity Agenda.” But the secret code name for the agenda is “Surrender, Dorothy!” That was the phrase the Wicked Witch of the West painted with her broomstick in the sky in “The Wizard of Oz.” Biden is inviting Republicans to submit after he denounced them as “semi-fascists” and enemies of democracy. He repeated his smear linking Jan. 6 to the October attack on Paul Pelosi — even though it’s known that Pelosi’s alleged attacker was a deranged drug addict unconnected to Republicans.
State of the Union speeches often resemble old-time medicine side shows, with presidents huffing and puffing to restore faith in the government. The goal is to make people believe that the next $5 trillion politicians spend will make everyone’s lives better — unlike the failed programs that ran up a $31 trillion national debt.
Biden boasted he’d signed more than 300 pieces of bipartisan legislation. In DC, the sheer number of laws enacted vindicates the political elite. The wreckage the laws spawned is irrelevant to the members of Congress invited to prestigious bill-signing ceremonies in the White House.
He championed raising the federal debt ceiling as if politicians have a divine right to spend America into bankruptcy. He portrayed government handouts as magic multipliers for prosperity. He rattled off a list of benefits he wanted to bestow, including the “child tax credit” welfare windfall for any family earning less than $400,000. Biden concluded his litany: “These plans are fully paid for, and we can afford to do them.” As long as he can fantasize about new tax revenue, he pretends his spending splurges are “fully paid for.”
Biden again promised to provide job training for veterans. His American Rescue Plan spent almost $400 million on a veteran retraining program. But only 397 trainees landed jobs. According to the Uncle Joe Scorecard, that is a glorious success.
The president announced he wants czar-like powers over practically any fee that any business charges any customer. He is hustling for the Junk Fee Prevention Act, a deluge of edicts that, among other things, would slash fees for late credit-card payments from $30 to $8. If politicians want to slash late fees, they should force the Postal Service to stop intentionally slowing mail delivery so payments arrive on time.
“COVID no longer controls our lives,” Biden proclaimed. “COVID had shut down our businesses. Schools were closed. We were robbed of so much.” But it wasn’t COVID that issued the shutdown edicts. Americans were robbed by politicians like Biden who fanned fear and kowtowed to teacher unions to inflict ruinous restrictions that failed to prevent hundreds of millions from catching COVID anyhow. He extended the official COVID emergency at least until May 11, entitling him to sweeping additional power. Biden still claims COVID miraculously entitles him to “forgive” half a trillion dollars in federal student debt.
Halfway through the telethon, he ad-libbed about families that had to “get a second mortgage” to pay emergency expenses. Why didn’t Team Biden include a second-mortgage reference in the prepared text? Maybe because the president just took out a $250,000 line of credit on his Delaware vacation home — perhaps to help pay the spiraling legal expenses for his son Hunter, who could be facing multiple federal indictments.
Biden posed as the ultimate guardian of taxpayer dollars, promising “the watchdogs are back.” He declared, “For every dollar we put into fighting fraud, taxpayers get back at least 10 times as much.” But the administration does not support creating an inspector general for the $100+ billion in aid being sent to Ukraine — despite mass firings of top officials there for corruption.
The State Department doesn’t even have a confirmed inspector general, and the Pentagon inspector general was only confirmed in December.
“We are tired of being played for suckers,” Biden hectored listeners who remained awake at 10 p.m. But Tuesday’s speech proved he plans to keep playing Americans for suckers for the rest of his presidency.
James Bovard is the author of 10 books and a Brownstone Institute fellow.