WASHINGTON – For those outside the main political parties, the State of the Union looks much different than it did in President Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday night.
As Obama outlined his economic blueprint in his address, and the GOP challenged that approach, experts at the libertarian Cato Institute and candidates from the Green Party took to the Web to provide their take on the state of the country. Their rebuttals challenged the increased role they said the government would have to play in fulfilling the plans the president set out to accomplish in the coming year.
Michael Tanner, a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, cited an “unsustainable level of government spending” as one of the main issues he thought neither the president nor the GOP touched on.
“For all this attention the debt is getting, the reality is the debt is the symptom of the disease, a symptom of the size of the government,” he said.
Kent Mesplay, a candidate for the Green Party’s presidential nomination, called the address a campaign speech and an attempt to reach out to the Republicans in Congress.
Jill Stein, another Green Party candidate, criticized Obama for his proposals to increased offshore oil exploration and to push for cleaner energy.
Although Obama pushed for reducing tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, Stein said the bar on taxing the wealthy needs to be raised even more. She also said Obama put too much emphasis on job training to boost the economy rather than on job creation. Tanner, along with three other Cato fellows, offered the institute’s “Libertarian State of the Union.” The talk served as a pre-response to the president’s address and the GOP response from Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-Ind.).
Daniel Mitchell, a Cato tax policy fellow, said the presence of billionaire Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, provides insight into what the president’s tax policy would be moving forward, a policy focused on “class warfare.”
With Obama’s push for the Buffett Rule, which calls for a minimum tax rate for wealthy Americans, and an alteration to the nation’s tax code, Mitchell warned, “what we’re doing with our tax code is that we are punishing the very behavior that you need for economic growth.”
Malou Innocent, another Cato analyst, found one presidential initiative to praise from the speech: the president’s vow for increased investment in green technology.
Although most of the Cato experts criticized the idea over the prospect of increased government regulation, she called the investment the “green race,” in reference to the space race of the 1960s.