I watched the President’s pep rally er, State of Union Address last night, mostly because I had to. I’ll be on a couple of television news shows this week and I figure they’ll want to talk about it. And there was impact on North Carolina – something we should pay attention to.
Starting with the positive. He mentioned the high-tech manufacturing hub planned for here in Raleigh. I took that to mean manufacturing jobs are important and key to a recovering economy. Innovation and free markets made North Carolina a manufacturing leader and renewed focus on the manufacturing sector is good news.
I also was encouraged that he gave strong accolades to the military. As well he should. These are the brave men and women who put their lives on the line every day to protect and preserve our freedom. Anyone who remained seated or had dry eyes during the tribute to Army Ranger Cory Remsberg should have their pulse checked. And there are thousands of Corys and Remsberg families we owe our deepest gratitude to. With the third largest military population in the country, North Carolina’s economy is dependent on those military bases, defense contracts and support services. Governor McCrory has talked about the importance of the military is to our state’s economy and the NC Chamber/Banker’s Association 2014 Economic Forecast Summit dedicated a good part of the summit to the military’s impact on our economy. I hope the President was serious about his commitment to the military and will restore funding, avoid future cuts and ensure the military preserves a strong and healthy presence in North Carolina. It’s critical to our economy.
Now the not-so positive or in the case of Executive Orders, down right alarming. The President made it clear he has the power to issue Executive Orders and he’s not afraid to use it. In fact, if Congress doesn’t do what he wants he intends to use it – a lot. This seems to me to be a blatant run around the Constitution and in direct conflict with every principle of our representative government. Alarming. It also does not seem like the smart thing to do if you’re trying to get the other guys to work with you. If I were Congress, I’d have my shackles up. Does he see the writing on the wall that he may very well lose control of the US Senate in Nov. and is giving warning that he’ll take over anyway? Any executive order can be undone by the next President…but will they? We need to ask every potential presidential candidate how they would use executive orders – theirs and his. I don’t mean to be overly dramatic but this could un-do our whole system of government. He called it a year of action. I call it alarming.
He said climate change is a fact. The fact that the climate changes should not be confused with the ongoing and unsettled debate about global warning. I’m sure the president knows that. Right?
He acknowledged that he can’t order a federal minimum wage increase but he can order it for all government contract workers and he will. He encouraged Congress to raise it at the federal level and for states to raise it at the state level. He wants to mandate businesses raise wages which increase their costs at the same time ObamaCare will add significant additional costs. And at a time businesses are struggling to recover from the recession. It’s almost as if he wants business to fail and the entire economy become dependent on the government.
He talked about extending unemployment benefits. Paying people not to work is not the answer. Job growth in North Carolina has actually increased since extended federal unemployment benefits ended in July. The economy is improving – latest numbers have the unemployment rate in NC at 6.9% the lowest its been since Sept. 2008. There were 64,500 new net jobs in NC in 2013. Empirical evidence suggests that extended benefits deter both creating and taking jobs.
There was more. But there really wasn’t much.. No new ideas. No new direction for the country. No inspiration.
And ending on a positive note. I liked the President’s Carolina blue tie. A shout out to the Tarheels? Was he saying “I can’t make the easy layups anymore either”. All in all a pep rally gone flat.