Tonight, President Obama will give his fourth State of the Union address. As usual, we can expect platitudes, spin on how well the economy is doing when it isn’t, how well government programs have worked when they haven’t, and claiming credit for things the government had nothing to do with. I’ve often wondered what it would be like if the person in the White House were actually honest, and told the Congress and the people what we really need to know. So join me in this alternate universe for the REAL State of the Union Address. The transcript follows, or you can listen to the audio here:
My fellow Americans, I speak to you tonight not as an authority, not as a President, not as an expert, but as a concerned citizen who loves his country, with the same spark of life with which liberty itself always speaks.
I wish I could say to all of you throughout this great land of ours that the State of the Union is wonderful, but alas, I cannot. Not as long as we continue to incarcerate a greater percentage of our population than any other industrialized nation, in the name of the failed and insane War on Drugs. Not as long as families are torn apart and lives ruined by botched drug raids, many of them on innocent people.
I wish I could say the State of the Union is secure, but I cannot. The sad and scary truth of the matter is, we have nothing that could with any intellectual integrity be called a national defense. What we have instead is international offense. With so many of our troops killing so many people in so many places where we have not declared war, we are not defending ourselves from enemies, we are making more of them. How sad is it that, only 30 years ago, we were standing up to a superpower with over 27,000 nuclear weapons, but now we are frightened to death of even the possibility of a single nuclear weapon getting into the hands of some two-bit dictator in a funny hat.
I wish I could tell you that our financial State of the Union is sound, but I cannot. Despite the National Debt continuing to spiral out of control, the Federal Reserve is continuing its failed policy of monetizing debt, and injecting liquidity into a broken banking system, in a desperate attempt to create a new financial bubble to replace the failed housing bubble, just like they created the housing bubble to replace the failed NASDAQ bubble. And they make all of us poorer as a result.
I wish I could tell you that the state of our health care was good, but I cannot. As the decades continue to bring more and more government corporatism in health care, creating artificial shortages and driving up costs for the sake of making the rich richer, the only so-called “reforms” being seriously considered are ones that go even further in the direction of more government interference. How many of you are old enough to remember when you could take care of your medical bills for a year for only one day’s wages, simply by joining a mutual aid society? How many of you are old enough to remember that, no matter how poor you were, you could always get treatment at a nearby free clinic or charity hospital? It was not the failures of the market that drove those out of existence; it was government corporatism supporting the insurance companies. How many of you remember when hospitals were cheap, and doctors got about the same amount of pay as a school teacher, and even made house calls? It was not market failures that drove up costs and salaries and reduced services; it was artificial shortages caused by government licensing and regulation. Yet, no one is seriously proposing rolling all of this back and letting our health care be so cheap it costs you less than it does to fill your tank with gas.
I wish I could tell you the state of our economy was good, but I cannot. As government attempts to create more jobs, it merely destroys them, never realizing that jobs are a means to an end, and that end is the production of things that will make people’s lives better. As government attempts to stimulate big business, it destroys small business, the lifeblood of the economy, the biggest employer. Government destroys jobs, while pretending to be the friend of the worker.
Are any of you anywhere near old enough to remember when labor unions actually represented the workers and worked for their betterment? Back when they got no government handouts–indeed, government was fighting them tooth and nail? It seems government found a better way of fighting them: by monopolizing them. Now, in many states, for certain professions workers are not only required by law to join a union, but to join one specific union–and so that union has no incentive whatsoever to work for the betterment of those workers, because they don’t have to fear those workers cancelling their membership and selecting a different union. The free market takes much better care of its workers now than any union does; that’s why the United Auto Workers union has had no luck going into right-to-work states like South Carolina where they actually have to convince workers that membership is worth the dues they pay. And so they run to the government to mandate it. They can only survive by government fiat.
I wish I could point out, as many Presidents do, some woman, or child, or family in the audience today who has been helped by one of my pet boondoggles. But the truth is, for every one person helped by government interference, countless more are harmed, through tax increases, or through regulations destroying their jobs, or through increasing prices due to regulation and inflation. How heartless is it to use people in this way, for no other reason than to score cheap political points?
I wish I could point out how responsible we’ve been, but the truth is, we’ve been irresponsible and unaccountable–and that includes both political parties. Why, look at the fake controversy we created about a default that was never going to happen, just because we didn’t want to reduce the amount by which we were increasing spending by about 2%! We pretended it was some great slashing of the budget, when in fact government is even bigger today.
I wish I could point out how transparent my administration has been, but the fact is, we’ve deliberately obstructed transparency laws like the Freedom of Information Act to an unprecedented degree, including refusing to turn over evidence of favors to and by union bigwigs, blocking photographs showing the hideous abuse of prisoners by US armed service members, and even instructing the Justice Department to lie when responding to freedom of information requests.
I am very sorry to have to say that the State of the Union is not good, and will not get any better until we realize that government is not a solution to our problems. The honest truth is, none of us here on Capitol Hill care about you. We only care about using you as pawns in our political game. And we can’t do it any more. We are spending ourselves into oblivion and saddling our children and grandchildren with debt that they will have to work even longer and even harder to pay off.
Thank you for listening to me. I’m not going to close with any religious platitudes about God blessing the United States of America, because it would only sound hollow given the way we abandoned the American people, for our own profit, and for the profit of our political cronies. Instead, in the hopes that the voters will finally realize what government really is, I’ll just say, good night.
This commentary originally appeared on the Bogosity podcast.