Bipartisanship was once again a major issue in tonight’s State of the Union address. “America can move forward only when we do so together” the president said. And yet, this seems wholly impossible when the President himself is presenting one-sided arguments and refusing to recognize the arguments of the other side.
The president talked about gun control measures and how they can help to keep us safe. He pointed to the “more than a thousand birthdays” that have been taken from us via-gun violence and showed his support for government helping local police to “get weapons of war and massive ammunition magazines off our streets.”
But he did not talk about the conservative belief that decreasing restrictions on guns actually increases safety. As Larry Pratt of Gun Owners of America stated, “When you go to an area in the United States where guns are … carried legally, there you find our lowest murder rates. Lower than the murder rates in Europe.”
The president urged a climate change bill (like the one McCain and Lieberman wrote a few years ago) and said that the cabinet will “come up with executive actions … and speed up the transition to more sustainable sources of energy”.
In other words, the president is pushing for investment in green technology and regulations on corporate carbon emissions. These governmental actions are meant to increase the health of Americans, mitigate society’s carbon footprint, and allow us to live in a sustainable future.
But the president failed to mention the billions of dollars that have been wasted on government investment in technology in the past. He ignored the other side’s argument that the private sector can invest in green technology without putting taxpayer’s dollars at risk (and people are investing).
He disregarded the fact that EPA regulations already cost $353 billion per year and neglected to mention the 165 million hours spent annually on EPA paperwork — hours which could be spent creating value in the marketplace.
The president reiterated his belief that our government needs to invest in several programs including preschool education, maritime port upgrades and a program that would save each person who refinances their home $3,000 per year.
But aside from believing that the private sector could conduct these investments more efficiently, the other side also holds that some of these programs will increase our debt and therefore, might not be worthy of passage. They argue that high deficit and debt levels lead to uncertainty in the economy, high interest rates and high inflation rates. Furthermore, they argue that it’s unfair to have debt go unpaid because it means that future generations will have to pay for our expenditures via higher taxes.
These examples show the president’s one-sided style of arguing. And while it is not the case that Obama is always wrong, nor that the other side is always right, it is a gross injustice to purport bipartisanship and then promote one-side of the issues.
And when we’re all working toward the same goal of a better America, it would be refreshing to have a president (or a leader for that matter) who understands (and recognizes) both sides of the aisle.