Did anyone watch the president’s State of the Union (SOTU) address?
I ask this question and I haven’t watched it in five years. So if you are like me and haven’t watched or read anything about the SOTU, skim this first and then this post will make a lot more sense. A bonus in that article is you will find out who won best hair.
So first up on Obama’s speech was the economy – perfect. (Slight confession here, I only listened to the part about the economy.) BUT before I left, I caught President Obama defining middle-class economics as “the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules” Notice anything?
Here it is again:
“Middle-class economics is: the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, everyone plays by the same set of rules”
How about now?
In that sentence alone, President Obama says the word “fair” twice. Throughout the entire speech the President uses the word “fair” eight times. If you don’t believe me check it out for yourself. It was a hour speech, so eight times I wouldn’t say is an exceptional amount, but seeing that’s over double the number of times the President said it last year, it is something to note. So what’s got President Obama so worked up about fairness in the past year I asked myself. Below you will find what President Obama thinks should be fair:
1. Fair competition (referencing no more financial corruption or crises)
2. Fair shot for everyone (referencing increased social security, Medicare/Medicaid, infrastructure and the internet)
3&4. Fair share, everyone must his or her part (referencing the middle class)
5. Fair shot, to all working families (referencing childcare, sick leave & equal pay)
6. Fair education (referencing free community college)
7. Fair trade (referencing European and Asian trade deals)
8. Fair taxes (referencing closing taxation loopholes)
Now looking at this list of things that should be fair, I ask myself where does confidence come into play…he mentioned competition and avoiding corruption (#1) ; he told the story of an American family (#2-4); he mentioned a lot about fairness (All); he even got a reference to money illusion in there “the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.” (that was before his discussion of fairness), who doesn’t want $750?!
So where’s confidence?
Maybe it’s not in there because the President like the idea of supporting a “behavior that goes beyond rational decision making”(Animal Spirits, pg 13), especially because when he’s throwing up facts about climate change and needs the public to make a rational decision to change rather than trusting it will all work out. Maybe it’s not in there because confidence in excess can lead to arrogance, corruption, and things that aren’t fair to everyone else. Maybe it’s not in there because, well, the entire objective of the speech is to convince the American public that the nation is strong – a confident prediction of the future of the U.S.
What would I like to have heard in SOTU2015?
I did watch the bit on climate change…it’s great that we are looking to cut carbon emissions and china is along for the ride, but I’d still like to see a stronger push for renewable energy – not saving money at the pump or stoping the keystone pipeline, but updating the electrical gird and helping battery technologies – and emphasis on sustainable construction of both infrastructure and buildings – buildings are one of the largest consumers due to how they are built and used.
Some other fun things to note are that President avoided the buzzwords Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and sustainability, but threw one resilience in there in reference to the dedication of people during the economic down turn.