Summertime is usually when TV networks air repeats of shows we’ve already seen. In his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night, the president got a five-month jump on the summer season by re-running a class-envy video he has broadcast more times than local stations have shown episodes of “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Instead of a credible assessment of the state of the union, which is not good, the president delivered a slightly toned-down campaign speech. We heard more of the same about how "the rich" aren't paying their "fair share" in taxes.
There was an unserious nod to government overspending to which he has massively contributed. Why should those of us who work for a living give more money to a government that under Democrats and Republicans has been such a poor steward of what we have already provided? Confiscating all of the wealth of Mitt Romney, Warren Buffett and every other billionaire and millionaire in the country would have a negligible effect on the national debt, unless government decided to live within taxpayers' means.
Having Warren Buffett's secretary, Debbie Bosanek, in the gallery with first lady Michelle Obama was cheap theatrics. If the president doesn't think it "fair" that she pays a higher tax percentage than her boss, let him ask Congress to lower her percentage with a flat tax. Bosanek may pay a higher tax rate, but Buffett pays a lot more money to the federal government.
President Obama wants four more years to continue the policies he's inflicted on us the last three years. Why would anyone believe that his policies, which are not succeeding and can't succeed, will miraculously work given more time?
In his 2009 State of the Union Address, the president promised to "cut the deficit in half" by January 2013. He is headed in the opposite direction to the tune of $4 trillion in additional spending and a debt that exceeds $15 trillion. If he breaks that promise, should he be held accountable?
In his address to Congress, the president spoke of the need to create jobs, but he has rejected one of the easiest methods of creating jobs by opposing the Keystone XL pipeline project in order to curry favor with environmentalists. Some estimates put the jobs potential at 20,000. Canada, meanwhile, is threatening to sell the oil that could have been ours to China. The president will create jobs in China, not America.
This president has squandered a great opportunity. As the country's first black president, Barack Obama had the chance to lead poor blacks out of poverty by encouraging them to embrace the principles that would allow them to become self-reliant instead of stoking envy of the successful. He had that responsibility. He has failed to live up to it. That is a tragedy, not only for him, but for those he left behind.
Envy has never created a single job, put a family back together, encouraged a man to provide for his children or endowed young women with the kind of self-regard that would encourage them not to create children they too often neglect. The state of many poor blacks remains how it has been for years -- too many fatherless children, too many uneducated, hopeless women and too many men in prison. President Obama might have done something about that beyond more government programs and handouts. Tuesday night, he spoke of no more government handouts. Which ones will he cut?
Optimism, self-regard and the economic, social and spiritual principles that built and sustained America, offering opportunity, not guaranteed outcome, are what the president should be stressing. Government is not our keeper. We are our own and our neighbor's keepers. Addicting more and more people to government and the view that others owe them a living is the worst form of covetousness. In case the president missed it in Jeremiah Wright's church, there's a commandment against coveting your neighbor's property.
Email nationally syndicated columnist Cal Thomas at firstname.lastname@example.org. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/calthomas.