Obama Touts Regulatory Legacy In Final State Of The Union

Date: January 13, 2016

President Takes Optimistic Tone On Economy, Obamacare, Climate Change Measures During Address

On Tuesday evening, President Obama delivered his seventh and final State of the Union address, taking an optimistic tone about the nation’s economy. As Reuters reported, Obama said it’s “fiction” to describe the US as regressing economically or becoming weaker internationally. The Wall Street Journal similarly reports that the president argued the US has made great progress on economic and security issues and that he depicted a future the Journal says contrasts with many Americans’ feelings. According to the newspaper, with his presidency nearing its end, Obama chose not to discuss policy but instead asked the public to subscribe to his vision. In McClatchy’s assessment, Obama “spent much of the speech reciting what he said were his accomplishments” that improved Americans’ lives and raised the country’s standing in the world. According to the article, the president “touted” economic improvement, the global climate-change agreement, and Obamacare. Focusing specifically on manufacturing, the Washington Post, in its “Wonkblog,” said that Obama’s speech touted a boost in US manufacturing, with the president saying 900,000 jobs tied to the sector have been created since 2010. The Post, while acknowledging the accuracy of “the numbers,” characterized as “complex” the answer to the question of whether Obama can “really” claim credit for the fragile “recovery” in a sector whose fortunes have begun to erode. Other factors to be considered alongside Obama’s claims, the blog asserted, are the dominance of the auto industry, whose rescue the administration orchestrated; the “bonanza of domestic oil and gas that made factories easier to operate and created demand for drilling equipment”; the impact of wages and technology on worker-hours per unit of output; and that the “speed of changes in market demand and global instability made shorter supply chains much easier to deal with.”

What This Means For Small Businesses

President Obama’s time in office has been marked by an aggressive regulatory agenda that has placed increased burdens on small businesses across sectors. Policies Obama touted in his State of the Union, from Obamacare to climate change legislation, may have scored political points, but they have left many small businesses struggling and less optimistic about the future. As NFIB Chief Economist William Dunkelberg said ahead of the State of the Union address, “Small business owners will be listening to the President’s address tonight hoping to hear him talk about things that will grow the economy and help the little guys.” Unfortunately, what they heard was more of the same.

Additional Reading

Numerous sources from CNN and Fox News to USA Today and the AP also covered President Obama’s final State of the Union address.

Note: this article is intended to keep small business owners up on the latest news. It does not necessarily represent the policy stances of NFIB.

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