President Joe Biden set an optimistic tone in his State of the Union address on Tuesday evening that Americans would be able to solve the country’s persistent problems — problems he helped create over a half-century.
Biden spoke about bringing back manufacturing jobs, for example — something his predecessor, President Donald Trump, did in groundbreaking fashion by scrapping the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and negotiating the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
Biden voted for NAFTA and supported Most Favored Nation (MFN) status for China, generally credited with hurting manufacturing jobs.
In his State of the Union, Biden also spoke about the unfairness of the tax system — again, after fifty years in political life. Biden’s refrain is that the tax code allows the rich and corporations to get away with loopholes that leave them paying less than ordinary people — or nothing. Whatever the truth of that statement — and high earners generally pay disproportionately more taxes — Biden has been around the tax code for a while.
Biden also spoke about police reform — after sponsoring the 1994 crime bill often linked to mass incarceration.
He talked about “unity” — after claiming for two years that Republicans want to create “Jim Crow 2.0” through ballot integrity measures. On Tuesday night, he implied Republicans bore blame for the horrific assault on Paul Pelosi — an attack by a crazed hippie living illegally in the country under Demcorat “sanctuary city” protection.
Biden was heckled and booed by Republicans after he repeated his false claim that they wanted to end Social Security and Medicare, and that they were using the debt ceiling standoff to do so. Ironically, Social Security and Medicare have been in financial trouble for decades, and former Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) did try to reform those programs (not to end them, but to save them). But they are not at stake now.
It was Biden himself, among his colleagues in Congress, who helped jeopardize these programs by failing to reform them as the population began to age, and who attacked anyone who dared to suggest long-term fixes.
Likewise on inflation. Biden boasted that prices have started to grow more slowly. But it was his own massive spending on supposed coronavirus “relief” upon taking office that triggered the inflationary spiral. And while gas prices have come down from their massive highs last summer, they were pushed up by an administration that canceled the Keystone XL pipeline immediately, and has been uniquely hostile to the oil and gas industry.
Biden mentioned China briefly, but downplayed the threat posed by the surveillance ballon that traversed the country. He exaggerated the degree to which his administration had stood up to the threat, which it only addressed after the balloon had completed its journey. And he falsely implied that Trump had neglected the problem: “Before I came to office, the story was about how the People’s Republic of China was increasing its power and America was falling in the world,” Biden claimed.
In fact, Trump was the first to stand up to China in any real way — contradicting Biden’s long work over the decades to bring China into the international fold.
Biden’s speech was well-received; its optimistic tone struck a chord beyond his party alone. With any luck, Americans will join to rise to the challenge: that of undoing the damage done during Biden’s long career.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News and the host of Breitbart News Sunday on Sirius XM Patriot on Sunday evenings from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET (4 p.m. to 7 p.m. PT). He is the author of the new biography, Rhoda: ‘Comrade Kadalie, You Are Out of Order’. He is also the author of the recent e-book, Neither Free nor Fair: The 2020 U.S. Presidential Election. He is a winner of the 2018 Robert Novak Journalism Alumni Fellowship. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.