Wednesday, January 31, 2018

My Take: State of the Union

Last night President Trump presented his State of the Union address. 

The President stated his case for the improvement that the country has seen since he took office and also his four pillared vision for the future.

I was encouraged by The President's cross-aisle gesture:

So tonight, I am extending an open hand to work with members of both parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- to protect our citizens of every background, color, religion, and creed. My duty, and the sacred duty of every elected official in this chamber, is to defend Americans -- to protect their safety, their families, their communities, and their right to the American Dream. Because Americans are dreamers too. (from

But, his wide ranging claims of achieving prosperity for all (do I hear a chicken in every pot?), rising wealth, huge tax cuts, and increased jobs sound like he is doing a great job.

The evidence would suggest otherwise:

“After years of wage stagnation, we are finally seeing rising wages.”
Analysis from The Washington Post: Trump once again takes credit for something that began to happen before his presidency. Wages have been on an upward trend since 2014, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and in fact their growth slowed during the first year of Trump’s presidency.

“Just as I promised the American people from this podium 11 months ago, we enacted the biggest tax cuts and reform in American history.”
Trump repeatedly claims he passed the biggest tax cut in U.S. history, but it’s just not true.  He’s earned Four Pinocchios for this claim before — but repeated it 57 times in his first year as president.
The best way to compare tax cuts (or spending plans) over time is to measure them as a percentage of the national economy. Inflation-adjusted dollars are another option, but a percentage of gross domestic product helps put the impact of the bill into context. Trump’s tax cut, according to Treasury Department data, is nearly 0.9 percent of GDP — compared to 2.89 percent of GDP for Ronald Reagan’s 1981 tax cut. Trump’s tax cut is only the eighth-largest — and is even smaller than two of Barack Obama’s tax cuts.

From my perspective, here is what I see:

Congress is unable to pass a budget and we have already suffered through one government shutdown with another looming a mere 8 days away.

Leading via the Tweet is not a way to run a government.

Making the news to control the news is effective but counterproductive.

The U.S. military is suffering because of the budget crisis and lack of emphasis.

Federal workers are bearing the brunt of abuse about the inefficient government, when the problem lies with political appointees.

My Take: The State of the Union is not a good a portrayed, but needs work to develop a collaborative sense of purpose and then combined action to achieve that purpose.

-- Bob Doan, Elkridge, MD

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