State of the Union

I’m leaving this one up to my readers. What was the most egregious moment?

Click here to comment or read others’ comments.


35 Responses to “State of the Union”

  1. 1 1 Econ_Student

    I don’t know that it is the most egregious moment, and it’s not a policy point, but I’m tired of seeing service members at these. Stop using the military, like me, as a pawn in political crap. The entire speech was a campaign rally.

    The most egregious point was when he essentially said that he will act without Congress. He’s telling everyone that he will ignore the Constitution whenever he wants.

  2. 2 2 Steve Landsburg

    An administrative note: As many of you have noticed, all line breaks are being rendered as “rn”, so that if you attempt to type “end of paragrpah.” followed by a line break and then “beginning of paragraph”, what you actually see is “end of paragraph.rnbeginning of paragraph.” This started when my provider required me to upgrade my PHP, which in turn required me to upgrade wordpress. It’s driving me nuts, and I intend to fix it, but at the moment I’m stumped.

    The short-run fix is this: Instead of hitting enter between paragraphs, type the letter p, surrounded by pointy brackets (the less-than and greater-than signs). Sorry for the inconvenience!

  3. 3 3 TEA

    The most egregious moment was the occasion itself. It’s nothing more than a propaganda platform for whoever sits in the White House. The Constitution doesn’t demand an annual SOTU address. It says that the president “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient…” A letter would do the trick.

  4. 4 4 Ken B

    There was but one, and that continuously.

  5. 5 5 suckmydictum

    “Egregious” should probably be stratified by genre: 1 is probably right about the whole ignoring congress thing; that was inarguably the most overtly sinister comment made.

    The entire fetid protectionist case which made up the first half of the speech were the worst words he’s even said on an economic subject, IMHO.

  6. 6 6 Harold

    Just wanted to try out the line break thing. Hows it working out?

  7. 7 7 Steve Landsburg

    Harold: Re the line break thing:

    1) I have it partly fixed, in that lines now break (which is good) but the rn’s still appear (which is ongoing bad).

    2) The fact that I’ve gotten this far makes me believe I’ve identified the locus of the problem and makes me optimistic about solving it completely except that I am mega-swamped for the next few days and might need a little while to get to it.

    3) Meanwhile, we are planning to fix comments by hand at this end, so a little while after the comments appear, the rn’s will vanish.

    4) I haven’t the foggiest idea what caused this in the first place or why a fix is necessary.

    Added after posting this: Oops. It looks like I was overly optimistic about how far I’d gotten with this. But I had line breaks appearing last night, and I am sure I can get them back.

  8. 8 8 Ken B

    Hey, the comment numbering has disappeared.

  9. 9 9 Steve Landsburg


    I think I’ve solved the commenting problem.

    These sentences are showing up as separate paragraphs, right?

    Here’s hoping I didn’t introduce some new unforeseen problem along the way.

    This required figuring out far more than I ever wanted to know about the inner workings of WordPress and php. I still have no idea what caused the problem in the first place.

  10. 10 10 Ken B

    evetSmelborp a llitSneK

  11. 11 11 iceman

    Something is still wrong – when I input a comment it’s always a lucid, penetrating insight, but clicking “Submit” often seems to turn it into something muddled and confused

  12. 12 12 bobbysomoza

    When Obama brought up the idea of “MyRa,” I laughed outloud. Government decided it could do healthcare with ease, so why shouldn’t they become an investment bank I guess? After all they will,”guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.” And of course, “Workers must have a place to invest their hard-earned savings that provides an appropriate balance of risk and return,” by which the definition of appropriate is Government based and 100 percent objective…

  13. 13 13 Jay

    @Econ_Student #1Not defending the other aspects of the speech at all, but I think that if the president is going to ask soldiers to go lie face down in a ditch in some desert he should at least give them credit from time to time. Even staged and selective credit is at least reminding the country we still have them over there.

  14. 14 14 Anonym NYC

    Well, if something can be egregious and hilarious at the same time, maybe the award goes to the part where Obama puts on his pretend management consultant hat (based on his lifetime experience of being nowhere near the business world, not to mention microeconomics or even a layperson’s sense thereof) and said:”I ask more of America’s business leaders to…do what you can to raise your employees’ wages…Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover.”I wonder what wages and salaries Obama has determined are profit-maximizing (or shareholder wealth-maximizing), or is his theory that any increase in wages increases profits and provides a superlatively attractive ROI, so all available and obtainable cash should immediately be funneled into employee compensation.Seperate note: If anyone’s interested in a new comment on the (presumably dead) Civil Rights Act thread, to which I came very late, it’s at

  15. 15 15 Econ_Student

    Sorry Jay, it’s not staged and selective. It’s self-serving for a narcissist. Has anyone seen how many people will be effected by a $10.10 minimum for contracts? It can’t possibly be much.

  16. 16 16 khodge

    As offensive as running the country by executive fiat may seem to some of us, we know from The Armchair Economist that a dictator, following economic principles, is the most efficient means of ruling so that cannot be the answer. I’d have to agree with AnonymNYC that someone with no business expertise, who has surrounded himself with academics, is in no position to request (suggest? coerce?) businesses act the way he would wish them to act.

  17. 17 17 Jay

    @EconStudent #15Agreed. Though we have to be careful because even quote “good” presidents do the same thing (for less self-serving reasons presumably).

  18. 18 18 Anonym NYC

    What Obama was thinking immediately prior to the speech and almost said in his SOTU address: “Not enough members, not enough dues to be used for campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and getting out the vote for Democrats, and overall, not enough political leverage to use for the benefit of Democrats…oh wait, I thought I was supposed to talk about the state of the unions.”

  19. 19 19 Dom

    Why is he still saying that ACA prevents people from being thrown off insurance because of pre-existing conditions? Wasn’t that already done as part of HIPAA?

  20. 20 20 Ken B

    @iceman 11: It’s your computer. People who post from iPhones never have that problem.(Think about it :) )

  21. 21 21 Jay

    Is it just me or has “free” preschool been in every SOTU he’s made? Maybe it just seems that way.

  22. 22 22 Anonym NYC

    @Jay #20,Why shouldn’t it be? It’s part of the “state of the unions”. (Teachers union in this case. More preschool = more teacher jobs (and job security) = more teacher union dues = more contributions and votes and get-out-the-vote support for the Democratic Party)

  23. 23 23 A Murricu

    “The world will little note nor long remember . . .”"A tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury and signifying nothing”

  24. 24 24 Daniel

    @Dom,That provision of HIPPA only pertained to group insurance from an employer, not insurance bought on the individual market.

  25. 25 25 Daniel

    I’m with others who state that the most egregious part was having a state of the union. Honestly, anyone who wastes anytime watching or caring about this event should reorganize their priorities.

  26. 26 26 Melanie

    True, I was already dreading what POTUS might spew this time. True, tired of his arrogance in the face of his poor judgment and lawlessness. The pile-on last straw for me was the lead up to SOTU, all of the emails and tweets and staff outreach to show how important he is, how much prep (in photos!) was going into SOTU, what a memorable event we were heading into. The Office of President has become a knee-jerk, ready-fire-aim culture of Look at Me! Dignity is pretense.Disgusting.

  27. 27 27 Jay

    @Daniel 24I don’t believe that is correct, as long as the individual has continuous coverage, they can’t be kicked just because they develop a condition after they signed up: 25Agreed, I think the media comprises 95% of the viewership just so they can talk about it.

  28. 28 28 Reardon

    These SOTU addresses are so boilerplate, we could guess 95% of the content beforehand. If I had to hand these out like the Academy Awards:- Most egregious: Ignoring Congress and the Constitution – Most comical (tie): The MyRA proposal and its justification; Promise to cut bureaucracy and streamline processes- The token ploy: referring to guests invited to sit in the presidential box – Most likely not to happen: “Reforms” of government surveillance programs ensure that the government will not continue to violate the rights of citizens

  29. 29 29 Daniel

    @Jay,I’m not sure about that. However, perhaps the way Obama phrased it was misleading. I think what he means is, that no longer can a plan drop you due to a pre-exisisting condition, is that you can’t be dropped from a plan because you failed to list a pre-existing condition on the form for an individual market policy, not that before they could just drop you at anytime. The more important part of the law is that you can not be “denied” because of a pre-existing condition. He should just remove the word “dropped” for redundancy reasons.

  30. 30 30 The Whited Sepulchre

    The whole thing, from beginning to end. The worst may have been when he was using the injured soldier as a metaphor for his own glorious self. I loved “Armchair Economist”, BTW.

  31. 31 31 jorod

    Most everything was a lie or half-truth. I especially noted the numbers about people signing up for Obamacare.

  32. 32 32 Capt. J Parker

    I “liked” the part where the president said “So tonight, I’ve asked Vice President Biden to lead an across-the-board reform of America’s training programs to make sure they have one mission: train Americans with the skills employers need, and match them to good jobs that need to be filled right now.” So, help me out. What is the current mission of Federal job training programs? As far as I can tell it must be train Americans with the skills employers don’t need. It’s also interesting that out of the 47 (49?) Federal job training programs there didn’t seem to be one that the president was willing to deem worthy of praise or emulation.

  33. 33 33 Jay

    @Daniel 27I think he meant it exactly as it sounds and left it to voters to remember that what he meant is currently against the law. The insurers “dropping” people squarely puts the fault on them and makes them out to be the predator of sick people right where he wants them given the current climate.

  34. 34 34 iceman

    “they can’t be kicked just because they develop a condition after they signed up”rnThat sounds like insurancernrn“you cannot be “denied” because of a pre-existing condition”rn“you can’t be dropped from a plan because you failed to list a pre-existing condition”rnThat sounds like “insurance” in a Bizarro world

  35. 35 35 Bob Thompson

    ‘You know, today, women make up about half our workforce, but they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns’This is the clearest indications that he has no problem repeating the same lie over and over.

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