Metropolitik: State of the Union was optimistic pablum

President Barack Obama spoke for the rights of the 99 percent,but is his rhetoric an assortment of impossibly empty promises?

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech on Tuesday  was, as many have pointed out, full of bombastic campaign rhetoric — which makes total sense, as that’s pretty much the point. Obama did say a lot of stuff worthy of support: Talk of tax reform and education investment is a step in the right direction. Of course, any initiative more ambitious than a routine debt limit authorization may have significant trouble getting through Congress, but it’s nice to pretend. Speaking of pretend, we fact check the president:

Military analogy.

Obama bookends his policy proposals and congressional critiques with a glorification of American military efficiency. Praising advancement in the U.S. war on terror, Obama lauds the “courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America’s armed forces,” saying civilians could benefit “if we followed their example.”

Reality: U.S. citizens are not members of an elite fighting unit. Cooperation is nice, but it’s insane to project our rigid, hierarchical military structure onto a democracy where everyone has a right to individuality. Obama also overstates gains in Afghanistan and Iraq, where historic sectarian divisions threaten to put the lie to trillions in wasteful military expenditures.

Financial industry.

The president claims to have put “in place new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so a crisis like that never happens again.” And later says he “will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules.”

Reality: Legislators have not gone nearly far enough to ensure that we don’t suffer another financial crisis down the line. This shouldn’t be terribly surprising due to a deadly pair of conditions:?the disinclination among most politicians to upset the apple cart and legislate against the interests of their Wall Street donors; and, perhaps more inflammatory, the irrational trust bestowed upon financial industry veterans — who, under Obama as under previous presi­dents, hold high advisory roles allowing them to manipulate reform law. (The much-bally­hooed Dodd-Frank legislation naturally ignores the structural causes of 2008’s collapse.)

Deficit reduction.

“When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more.”

Reality: Contrary to the Tea Party push to “cut, cut, cut”, most influential economists agree that spending is the sure path toward growth. The president weakens his ability to fix the economy when he repeats the unfactual rhetoric of the right. Think of government spending as a student loan for the betterment of America’s future: Students must take on debt to increase their earning potential; later, after putting loan monies to good use, they will be in a position to pay down that debt. Government needs to provide more stimulus to create jobs and prosperity. Once that is achieved, we can safely deal with the debt issue.

Follow Brayden Simms on Twitter @Metropolitik

Metro does not endorse the opinions of the author, or any opinions expressed on its pages.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Sprint and T-Mobile offer further price discounts

Sprint unveiled a plan on Thursday that gives subscribers access to unlimited data for $60 a month, the industry's cheapest unlimited data offering.

National

Hundreds pay it forward at Florida Starbucks in…

The spontaneous chain of kindness continued for about 11 hours, totaling 457 transactions by the time it ended.

National

Weather system east of Caribbean could turn into…

An area of low pressure located east of the Caribbean Sea has a 50 percent chance of becoming a tropical depression or storm in the next 48 hours, U.S. forecasters…

National

U.S. hospital to discharge doctor treated with experimental…

An American doctor who contracted Ebola treating victims of the deadly virus in Liberia has recovered and will be discharged on Thursday by the Atlanta hospital that treated him with…

Movies

Review: 'When the Game Stands Tall' is both…

The high school football saga "When the Game Stands Tall" fumbles around for a focus while Jim Caviezel offers the most low-key coach in history.

Movies

Girlfriend in a coma: Chloe Grace Moretz

Chloe Grace Moretz is the best cheerleader "If I Stay" could ask for. As the star of the film adaptation of the successful YA novel…

The Word

The Word: Summer lovin' for Zac Efron and…

Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance between…

The Word

The Word: The Zac Efron-Michelle Rodriguez summer fling…

  Ah, the summer romance. So intense, so fleeting. With Labor Day fast approaching, it should come as little surprise that the incredibly surprising romance…

NFL

Fantasy football draft guide: How to draft your…

Many are wondering if we’re entering a new age in fantasy football drafting — one where running backs take a backseat.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Giants storylines to watch

The Giants have plenty to work on as they reach the dress rehearsal preseason game Friday night against the rival Jets.

NFL

Jets vs. Giants: 3 Jets storylines to watch

Metro looks at three Jets storylines to watch as they play the Giants Friday.

NFL

Giants expected to work Corey Washington into first-team…

The day of reckoning for the Giants' fringe players will fall upon them Friday night against the Jets.

Sex

Big weddings may lead to long-term happiness

Dreaming of a big wedding? A new study indicates that the longer your guest list, the happier you’ll be in the long run. l A…

Sex

Online dating for every generation

Frank Jackson and his mother Maggie are like lots of modern families: They have dinner together regularly, keep each other updated on their lives —…

Wellbeing

Going green could be the key to getting…

If we could just pursue the things that would actually make us happy, we could help the environment too, according to a New York researcher.…

Tech

Siren: A new dating app that puts women…

Online dating can be brutal, especially for single women. Noting that many women hate wading through inappropriate messages and photos, two tech entrepreneurs decided to…