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2014 State of the Union Address: review

There is so much that can be said of the 2014 State of the Union Address, but highlights will have to suffice. Of the major themes covered in the speech there were some glaring statements and omissions, obvious pivots to promote Dems in the 2014 mid-term elections, promises of overreach of power by the Executive Branch, and suppression of debate and disagreement on critical issues.

Of the things omitted, or largely glossed over, was the repeated insistence on Government driven infrastructure jobs. This was the first Address to not feature – in one catchphrase format or another – a push on the “shovel-ready jobs” that never materialized. At the same time, there was a muted and glancing look at renewable energy – with a focus only on solar energy and a noted absence of Ethanol, wind power, and green companies that have repeatedly filed for bankruptcy on the public tab.

Returning to the spotlight, for only the 2nd time since 2012, there was a renewed push to target the tax code reform. On a more muted level there was a suggestion of cutting corporate tax rates. Once again this bipartisan issue only appears as votes are needed in an election year. Once again, no directive or leadership was offered on an issue that is directly impacting the economy.

Yet again immigration reform was suggested. A comprehensive legislation that failed to draw attention from Dems when they controlled a super-majority and could have passed any legislation they wanted. A reform offered by Dems that negates the concerns and proposals from Republicans. A legislation that failed to gain ground in 2013, and has poor prospects for 2014.

President Obama tried to take credit for a lower unemployment rate, while ignoring the fact that millions remain consistently un- or under-employed. He negated the fact that one of the factors reducing the unemployment rate is not job creation, but the increase in the number of people the Government no longer counts (such as the most recent December 2013 failure to count 400,000 that do not have jobs).

Of course President Obama focused on issues that are focused in rallying Dems to vote in the mid-term election – to balance off the failure of Obamacare, and the scandals that has plagued his Administration.

President Obama demanded that Congress not debate the size of Government. To paraphrase ‘Don’t argue the size of Government, it is a distraction to the job of Congress.’ Yet this is one of the major ideological issues that defines the distinction between modern Dems and Republicans. To stifle debate is to hinder the 1st Amendment rights of the constituents Republicans reflect.

President Obama pushed minimum wage increases. An issue that affects only 2% of the workforce, and has been shown in various studies to do as much damage as help for the very people it targets. A poor deflection of the lack of jobs throughout the nation, 3 years well into the economic recovery.

In another play towards the troubled base of Democrats, women were the target of preference. Once again the difference in pay was used to gain support. Once again women were used as a crutch to justify Obamacare – while negating the far reaching problems of imposing maternity care on men and the elderly that will never have a need for the coverage and will bear the burden of the higher costs of healthcare.

President Obama even glossed over a key problem with Obamacare – the “just in time” effect where those who have not paid into health insurance, who will not share a fair burden of healthcare costs, will overnight gain healthcare just to take care of costly procedures. It’s this “just in time” impact that has caused fear among insurance companies, and caused speculation of widespread damage to the American economy as a result.

Most of all, it must be noted that the President focused repeatedly on the overreach of Executive Orders to circumvent Congress and to restrict debate on issues that Democrats has failed to sell the American people on. Action that Senator Obama opposed, and are strictly prohibited from the power of the Executive Branch.

President Obama brushed aside the concern over the size, and therefore the power of Government – even as the abuses of the IRS and NSA still impact the daily lives of Americans.

President Obama unilaterally shut the debate on “climate change.” Stating that it is a fact, without addressing the on-going debate among scientists, President Obama noted how America lead the world in reduction in carbon emissions. He failed to connect the dots to the fact that by his own admission, with global leadership, the impact as he views it was legible – if in fact it is possible to alter the trends our planet has cycled through for millions of years.

President Obama negated as non-existent all ideas from Republicans that do not match his own political agenda – even where they are actually the most effective ideas to achieve the goals he has promised the public were critical to success.

The president was cheered for implementing the very outcome described by Senator McCain in 2008 on troops in Afghanistan. He tried to create a moral imperative to blindly follow his political views by demonizing anyone who opposes his views on what citizenship should entail and require.

All of this, to the tune of 30 rounds of applause – the greatest of which went an Army Corporal who served his nation in a war that President Obama wanted to fight – while Democrats have sought (in a bad deal with some Republicans) to increase debt spending and cut military pensions.

Overall, the 2014 State of the Union Address was a muted, humbled, expression of the result of years of failure. Jobs remain a critical problem without solution. Obamacare has created more uninsured Americans than it has insured while destabilizing the health care markets and increased costs. American foreign policy has been shown to be fractured, ineffective, and a source of embarrassment for the nation. Relations with our allies have been weakened by the very NSA that the President continues to defend as he ignores the recommendations of yet another commission he had created.

2014 is the first year of the lame duck presidency, fueled by a near inevitable wave of losses in congressional seats by Democrats in the mid-term elections. The State of the Union was less a rally call to America, but a feeble defense of the failure of a President that asked for more time, got it, and still has nothing positive to show for it.

6.8% Unemployment – another rose colored report

Today the unemployment report came out and and shocked everyone. The drop in the unemployment rate was unexpected by all estimates from analysts, and flies in the face of the mere 74,000 jobs that were added in December 2013.

The growth in the population means that on average 200,000 jobs need to be added each month just to keep even. When that target is missed generally unemployment is increasing. When it is exceeded the unemployment rate drops. But like most things Government, that isn’t how this works.

The unemployment rate is also adjusted for the participation rate – the number of people working and thus paying taxes in the nation. The lower the participation rate, the fewer people working, paying taxes, and therefore counting in the headline grabbing number. December 2013 had a participation rate of 62.8% – a low that goes back to the stagflation days of 1978 and the Carter presidency.

Since November 2008 there has been a continuous decrease in the number of people working in the nation. In that time there has been a drop of 3.1% in the participation rate, with no signs of improvement in the BLS data [http://www.bls.gov]. Yet, with a lower participation rate, the unemployment figure has decreased in December 2013 – because 400,000 people just don’t count anymore.

It’s one of the oddball ways of government math, that allows a situation to get worse. Yet headlines will show improvement and politicians will seek to rally around the headline, counting on the general public to abandon the facts. All things being equal, unemployment has not improved greatly since the 2008 recession, as more and more Americans simply stopped being counted as in the workforce. A similar surprising gap in unemployment figures occurred when the rate went to 9% on February 2011 and 7.7% on March 2013.

Don’t be surprised when the poverty rate, and the number of Americans receiving Government benefits increases. The people still exist, even if they don’t count for this set of figures. They may not be getting an unemployment check, but without work they are still in need and the Government will provide. But don’t forget, as President Obama has made clear at least 15 times since he was elected, jobs are priority #1. But if your focus is STEM jobs [Science, Technology, Engineering and Math] fear not, as HR 2131 is being pushed by Rep. Richard Hanna of the NY-22 and will ensure 160,000 STEM jobs will go to foreigners.

With the help of these and other politicians, the unemployment rate is sure to hit 6% sooner than later. Sadly, it will likely have minimal impact on the number of people without work in America.

Twitter posts from August 2013 – @electvasquezny

The following can be found on my Twitter account (@electvasquezny – ask to be added to be up to date daily) from the month of June 2013:

There are issues and events from day to day that there is just not enough time to expand on, or are complete in just a short message. Twitter is an excellent format to provide and share comments and thoughts of this nature. But not everyone is on Twitter. Thus, from time to time, this blog will provide several of these commentaries and musings.

1 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

If NSA XKeyscore program collects “large amount of information” that is “never reviewed” as the 2009 NSA report says, why keep it?

Would you allow FBI or NSA to stay in your house and record your activities? How is NSA programs any different?

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2 Aug @electvasquezny

Interesting that Rep Hanna (NY-22) says he supports limits on NSA, but is NOT cosponsor of http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c113:H.R.2399 …: – HR 2399

Amazing how 20,000 fewer jobs than expected for july and unemployment rate drops.

Did anyone else notice that long-term unemployed percentage dropped but short-term increased. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t12.htm …

@whitehouse @BarackObama as opposed to just repealing the inclusion of Congress and their aides? Double standard indeed.

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5 Aug @electvasquezny

Why didn’t press ask Rep. Hanna to explain his voting record to constituents today? How truely credible is his support for small biz?

AZ Dem Gubernatorial Candidate Darkens Skin for Commercials to Appear Hispanic http://shar.es/yqHQH via @BreitbartNews This is insulting!

politi.co/13fDRgs Some get it, others just want to discredit valid concerns they don’t want to address. Guess which is Rep Rangel.

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6 Aug @electvasquezny

@BarackObama missing key word in statement – “LEGAL”

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7 Aug @electvasquezny

@politico then why is the Government keeping all the data on tens of millions of Americans?

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9 Aug @electvasquezny

What are the Obamacare numbers for the NY-22? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1O

What happens when Congress fails to read laws? Cities, Counties and employers scramble to the detriment of public. http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20130808/OPINION01/308080008/1008/OPINION01/Obamacare-leading-part-time-nation …

Just got voiceover artist Jimmyjohn McCabe on board for the commercials. With a few more donations, the ads will be up across the NY-22

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10 Aug @electvasquezny

@IngrahamAngle That does sound like Rep Richard Hanna NY-22 (R)

Pres. Obama talks NSA, Rep. Hanna visits Southern Tier, and the net result is? http://wp.me/p3tK3D-1Q

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12 Aug ‏@electvasquezny

I will be speaking on the Bob Joseph Show on WNBF on 8/19 @ 9:30am. Tune in and share the news.

I wonder if Pres. Obama would speak to the only person exploring a run for Congress in Broome County? Nah, I’m a black hispanic conservative

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20 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw of course, otherwise he might be asked to explain the failure to focus on jobs in an area with above national level unemployment.

@AP so at this point, now that media is focused elsewhere, one one being held accountable for what happened in Benghazi. Wag the dog indeed.

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21 Aug @electvasquezny

@JazzShaw he deserved to be shot. He violated his oath and damaged the nation during wartime. 35 years is not enough.

@CNN and Rep Hanna voted NOT to restrict NSA. Somehow I don’t think constituents would agree.

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22 Aug @electvasquezny

So is Pres. Obama proposing Govt will pick winners in college education like it picked “green” companies? Which college will be a Solyndra?

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23 Aug @electvasquezny

Former Maj Nidal Hasan, like prvt manning, deserves death penalty.

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28 Aug @electvasquezny

Pres Obama restricts our guns, mandates our purchase, violates immigration law, and bombs nations – all without Congress. But Bush is bad?

@electvasquezny Ok, obamacare was with a Dem supermajority that didn’t read the law. That was sort of with Congress. I stand corrected.

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29 Aug @electvasquezny

@WSJ interesting how much economy inproves without weight of stimulus as a drag

So why hasn’t Rep Hanna joined the call to have Pres Obama get authority from Congress for Syria along w 100 Repubs http://m.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/08/28/more-than-100-lawmakers-ask-obama-to-seek-congressional-approval-on-syria-strikes/ …

Will Syria be another foreign policy flip-flop for Rep Hanna, like Libya? http://m.cnsnews.com/news/article/81-republicans-flip-flop-libya-opposition-votes …

Apparently the British can’t see a point in bombing Syria that benefits them, so why is President Obama pushing for it when America is same.

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30 Aug @electvasquezny

50% don’t want US involved w Syria (NBC poll), 80% want Congress approval, US intel still unsure of details, British are out. Time to pause

Can anyone recall the last time Britian didn’t support, even grudgingly, a military action by US?

In dictionaries, under examples of feckless you can see the following: ‘See Obama Syria bombing plan’

Why wasn’t Rep. Hanna at Joint Economic Committee meeting on unemployment?

On April 24, 2013 the Joint Economic Committee, made up of Senators and Representatives from Congress, had a meeting to discuss the resolution to long-term unemployment (roughly 40% of those unemployed at this time). Virtually all members of this committee, Democrat and Republican alike, failed to appear (as reported by Huffington Post and National Journal).

It is not our purpose to ask why the other Senators and Representatives did not appear at this event, that is for the constituents those elected officials must answer to. We do have a question for Rep. Richard Hanna, who represents the New York 22nd Congressional District. Why wouldn’t the elected representative appear at a meeting to address a national concern – especially as Binghamton (8.8%) and Utica-Rome (9.0%) exceed the national unemployment rate (7.4%). In fact, not a single county in the NY-22 has less than 8.0% unemployment, several having as much as 11% unemployment according to the NY State Labor Dept.

In addition, Rep. Hanna did have the time to issue a letter, to Politico, addressing the need for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) jobs to improve small business. The solution offered by Rep. Hanna was an increase in foreign visas and immigration reform.

“There are many worthy policy proposals to consider that could help achieve this desirable end. Whether it be an increased H-1B visa cap, an automatic visa for foreign students that graduate from a U.S. college with an advanced STEM degree, or another system altogether, if Congress undertakes immigration reform without permitting small businesses to access the qualified STEM workers they are clamoring for now we will be missing an opportunity to revitalize our economy.”

Thus we must ask, why was Rep. Hanna not at a meeting for resolving long-term unemployment while at the same time urging immigration reform to resolve STEM jobs? Is this what the constituents of the New York 22nd District believe, is this a representation of their views?

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