Obama's State of the Union - What can the President do to make America prosper?
IAIN MURRAY, Director of CEI's Center for Economic Freedom
"The President is likely to concentrate on reviving American jobs and on using American energy to fuel a recovery. The problem is that his economic policy is what is keeping the economy sluggish and he refuses to allow the most cost-effective use of American energy resources.
"As outlined elsewhere in this statement, America needs real supply-side reforms to make the labor market more flexible and resilient. He also needs to open up the vast resources currently owned by the American people to help get them back to work.
"The President should also pay more attention to what is happening abroad. If the Eurozone fiscal crisis deepens, then America will suffer badly, especially in the case of a disorderly default by a Eurozone country, which will probably plunge the continent back into recession and threaten to drag us along with it. The President should be urging supply-side reform in Europe, too.
"Only significant reforms along the lines we recommend will make the American economy resilient enough to weather a storm caused by unwise government action, at home and abroad."
JOHN BERLAU, Director of CEI's Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs
"President Obama should tell Harry Reid to stop stalling dozens of bills that passed the House with bipartisan support to lift barriers to job creation.
"In the first days of November, for instance, the House approved four bills modernizing SEC regulations for small stock offerings with more than 400 ayes and only a handful of nays. These bills would update securities laws for the Facebook age.
"Entrepreneurs have more tools than ever to raise money through "crowdfunding" in social networks. Yet if a small businessman or woman were to receive funds from more than 500 of their Facebook "friends" -- even in small amounts -- it would trigger the threshold of 500 shareholders that shower entrepreneurs with millions of dollars in SEC red tape from Sarbanes-Oxley and Dodd-Frank.
"The House passed a bill endorsed by Obama that would exempt crowdfunding offerings of $1 million or less from SEC registration requirements. It also passed a bill raising the shareholder threshold to 2000, rather than 500, shareholders for community banks. Another bill got rid of the ban on "general solicitation" of venture capitalists and angel investors by entrepreneurs.
"All these bills cut red tape while still retaining broad federal and state powers to swiftly punish securities fraud.
During the SOTU, President Obama should turn to read and say, "Pass these bills, now so small entrepreneurs can raise the capital they need to create jobs."
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
MYRON EBELL, Director of CEI's Center on Energy and Environment
"The President's policies are raising energy prices, which makes consumers poorer and destroys jobs in energy-intensive industries.
"If President Obama is sincere when he says that 'we can't wait' to create jobs and economic growth, then he should reverse his anti-energy policies and tell the EPA to stop its regulatory onslaught against coal-fired electricity.
"He could start tonight by taking back his decision to block the Keystone pipeline."
CHRISTOPHER HORNER, CEI Senior Fellow
"The president used his first two addresses to Congress and, showing his seriousness, also his first speech to the UN General Assembly, to demand U.S. legislation that would 'finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy.'
"Let us hope he adopts an election-year reversal, admits that this approach which has since been exposed as cronyism and failed industrial policy designed to make economic energy sources cost prohibitive -- 'bankrupt' them, in his famous admission -- is no longer a priority.
"Proclaim he has seen the light, and Spain's economy, after all and despite vowing eight times to the contrary, is not his model for America."
MARLO LEWIS, CEI Senior Fellow
"President Obama is likely to tout the new fuel economy standards as a regulatory success story. In reality, the Administration’s fuel economy program undermines our constitutional system of separated powers and democratic accountability.
"EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) effectively determine the stringency of fuel economy standards, even though the Clean Air Act gives EPA no authority to prescribe fuel economy standards, and the Energy Policy Conservation Act (EPCA) specifically prohibits states from adopting laws or regulations that are even “related to” fuel economy.
"Given the dubious legality of the Administration’s fuel economy policy, it is hardly surprising that the White House-led negotiations with automakers were conducted off-the-record, in apparent both the Presidential Records and Federal Advisory Commission acts. For additional information, see my recent articles in the Environmental Law Institute journal Environmental Forum and the Federalist Society journal Engage."
VIDEO: Check out CEI's new 'Fred Weekly' video for more commentary on the EPA from CEI Founder Fred L. Smith Jr.
ALEX NOWRASTEH, CEI Policy Analyst
"The Obama administration is setting deportation records but is not confronting the source of our immigration woes: Our overly restrictive laws. From skilled immigrants to manual laborers, it is increasingly difficult and burdensome to immigrate to the U.S.
"The federal government needs to remove roadblocks to the immigration of entrepreneurs, scientists, and innovators.
"The best brains in the world look to America for opportunity but too often they face insurmountable bureaucracy. President Obama should redouble his efforts to diminish the harmful regulations prohibiting the immigration of entrepreneurs."
MARC SCRIBNER, CEI Transportation Policy Expert
"President Obama is correct to highlight the important role played by transportation infrastructure in the economy.
"Unfortunately, the president and many in Congress appear to believe that infrastructure projects should be prioritized based on the number of jobs each is projected to create.
"The focus ought to be on growth and projects should be prioritized according to the value, not number of jobs, each is estimated to create.
"Treating long-term infrastructure investments as short-term full employment tools is reckless given the large potential costs of malinvestment.
"If he is serious about this issue, President Obama should work with members of Congress to address barriers to infrastructure modernization, such as restrictions on private financing and labor regulations that significantly increase construction costs."
IVAN OSORIO, Labor Policy Expert
"If the president is serious about reducing unemployment, he should cease using the National Labor Relations Board as a vehicle for union interests.
"Actions like the recent, constitutionally dubious recess appointments of a union partisan majority to the Board send employers the wrong signal.
"Businesses need to regain the confidence they need to hire workers, without the fear that every new hire will bring more meddling from federal bureaucrats."
VINCENT VERNUCCIO, Labor Policy Attorney
"President Obama will try in vain to defend his illegal non-recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board. Obama hopes this handout to Big Labor will distract from his job killing anti-worker decision to stop the Keystone pipeline. CEI agrees with the multitude of labor leaders who know that Keystone means jobs.
"However, the Keystone decision shows President Obama more interested in trampling on the constitution and giving political favors instead of making decisions that will actually help workers."
WAYNE CREWS, author of Ten Thousand Commandments: An Annual Snapshot of the Federal Regulatory State
"Tuesday's State of the Union Address will call for more federal spending. We'll hear of the need for more outlays on infrastructure, education, green energy, basic research and other costly "investments" in the future, alongside contradictory promises to increase jobs and reduce the deficit.
"But federal investments, interventions, subsidies and regulations can easily foster an economy made up of suboptimal commercial entities that don't resemble or approach the potential they could achieve under actual enterprise; that will leave us poorer, more regulated and more shackled to Washington." > Read the full analysis by Wayne Crews on Forbes.com
MICHELLE MINTON, CEI Fellow in Consumer Policy Studies
"Food and beverage companies spend millions of dollars researching, producing, and advertising their products. FDA threats and sudden rule-changes place devastating burdens on companies, particularly small companies, and discourage new businesses from entering the market.
"Under the Obama administration the FDA has engaged in unwarranted attacks on the makers of products like alcoholic energy drinks and is attempting to place restrictions on food advertising to kids and place burdensome requirements on the makers of dietary supplements.
"If Obama truly wants to encourage companies to grow and hire more workers, he should instruct the FDA to immediately discontinue its harassment of legitimate companies that make legal products consumers want."
TECHNOLOGY & SCIENCE POLICY
GREG CONKO, CEI Senior Fellow
"President Obama entered office promising the most transparent administration in history and vowing that, unlike previous administrations, he and his appointees would "not suppress or alter scientific or technological findings and conclusions" for political gain.
But those promises were forgotten or ignored as soon as they were made. From Obama's March 2009 decision to fund only politically favorable types of human embryo research to his administration's Plan B birth control decision last month, he has shown that he is every bit as willing to politicize science when it's expedient as earlier presidents have been.
"President Obama should take the opportunity at this State of the Union Address to own up to his presidency's failings on scientific integrity, and re-commit his administration to reject the politicization of science. And this time, let us all hope he means it." > Read the full commentary on Openmarket.org