The most interesting aspect of the State of the Union address is that the president gets to take credit for, well, anything he wants to.
“America is number one in oil and gas,” Obama boasted. “And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.”
He’s right, and lower gas prices are great. But he’s long been opposed to them, in part because burning gasoline supposedly fuels global warming, a “threat” Obama warned about at length in his speech.
For example, Obama’s first Secretary of Energy announced back in 2008: “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe.” Luckily for Americans, he failed. Still, Obama has opposed building the Keystone XL pipeline, which would lower prices by delivering Canadian oil to American refineries.
And Obama opposes drilling on federal land.
“Oil production on federally owned and managed lands, where the U.S. government has most influence on the outcome, has fallen since 2009, bucking the nationwide trend, according to a report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS),” John Kemp of Reuters wrote last year.
Fracking on private land is delivering a gusher of American oil and driving down prices, despite Obama’s anti-energy policies.
Obama also weighed in on the Internet.
“I intend to protect a free and open internet, extend its reach to every classroom, and every community, and help folks build the fastest networks, so that the next generation of digital innovators and entrepreneurs have the platform to keep reshaping our world,” Obama said.
Faster internet? Sounds good. There’s no doubt that the fastest-growing sector of the economy is the high-tech sector. But instead of favoring greater speed and creativity, the president actually supports more regulation.
Just a few months ago, Obama encouraged the Federal Communications Commission to impose tough regulations — net neutrality — on providers. What would that do?
“[Net neutrality] limits a service provider’s freedom to operate their networks as they see fit, to provide customers with the best service, and it stops those providers offering higher-priced packages to heavy data users so they can enjoy a fast lane for Netflix without slowing down their neighbours’ connections,” Breitbart’s Milo Yiannopoulos explains. “Product differentiation is one of the main ways companies compete with one another, and providers will be denied that if net neutrality becomes law.”
Obama is certainly fortunate in at least one way: The country he leads is innovative and so resource-rich, it’s able to overcome his administration’s attempts to strangle it in red tape. America is surviving in spite of the president’s policies, not because of them.
The state of our union is strong; it would be stronger still if Washington would simply get out of the way.