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CEI Experts on the State of the Union

ECONOMIC MOBILITY
Iain Murray, Vice President for Strategy:
“The fact is: Today’s America is divided between those who work for government and those who don’t. Those who work for government have a job for life, guaranteed retirement and other benefits, and financial security,” said Murray. “Those who don’t, have uncertain prospects. They are at the mercy of an administration that is making their benefits more expensive and restricting their access to credit with more and more regulations. That is the true inequality in President Obama’s America.”

Ryan Young, Fellow:
“Given what reports suggest will appear in the president’s State of the Union address, we need to keep in mind three things. First: A higher minimum wage is not a free lunch, and will force some employers to reduce hours or fire workers. And, second, extending unemployment benefits will keep unemployment unnaturally high,” said Young. “The third thing is: If the president is truly concerned about the poor, he should support policies that would make the poor better off instead of focusing on income inequality. One of these policies could be a deregulatory stimulus that would make it easier to start a business and hire workers.”

REGULATORY REFORM
Wayne Crews, Vice President for Policy:
"Ours is the era of big borrowing and big regulation -- and big executive power, perhaps untethered by Congress or the Constitution. The latter will be a centerpiece of President Obama's State of the Union address," said Crews. "What America needs instead is a leaner government that rejects overspending and over-regulating. Leadership means unleashing the entrepreneurial sector from over-regulation, and allowing U.S. citizens their natural right to opt out of big, destabilizing government programs like the president's health care law."

ENERGY
Myron Ebell, Director of CEI's Center for Energy and Environment:
“If President Obama were really committed to boosting the economy, he would tell Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid to bring the pro-energy, pro-jobs bills passed by the House to the Senate floor for a vote,” said Ebell.” I would recommend the president announce his intentions to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline in the State of the Union address. However, he seems more determined to order new EPA regulations that will raise energy prices and impoverish Americans.”

JOBS & ECONOMY
Aloysius Hogan, Senior Fellow:
“An actual focus on jobs is sorely needed in America, but the president’s promises past and present haven’t borne fruit. Hiring is held back by ObamaCare, according to business surveys. Jobs are being killed by the administration’s regulatory policy such as those in the coal-mining industry. Financing of start-ups and expansion is hamstrung by Volcker Rule red tape,” said Hogan. “America’s labor-force participation rate is the lowest in more than a generation, and the president’s approach to jobs is not helping the situation.”

TECHNOLOGY
Ryan Radia, Associate Director of Technology Studies:
“I expect the president will echo his recent proposal to ‘reform’ the National Security Agency’s mass surveillance programs in his State of the Union address. His latest plan focuses on shifting the burden of collecting, storing and securing Americans’ phone records to telecom companies or another private ‘third party,’” said Radia. “The problem is the government will still be able to access privately held phone records without a warrant. What is worse: outsourcing bulk-data collection to America’s private sector would undermine trustworthy digital relationships, and with them, the nation’s enviable position atop the global information economy.”

FINANCIAL MARKETS
John Berlau, Senior Fellow:
“Given the impact regulations have on our economy, I would like to see President Obama address some of the consequences we are seeing from the Dodd-Frank Act,” said Berlau. “We need a moratorium on issuing new Dodd-Frank regulations in order to allow for a review of the negative, unintended consequences of the current ones. Even Democrats, like Rep. Maxine Waters of California, are concerned about these overly burdensome rules and the suffering they are causing main street banks and credit unions.”