CEI Comments on Tonight’s State of the Union

Washington, D.C., January 25, 2011 – Tonight President Obama will address the nation in his third State of the Union. In this era of economic turmoil, high unemployment, and runaway federal spending and regulation, Americans are anxious to hear what the President has to say: Will he acknowledge the failure of the stimulus? How will he defend the federal takeover of healthcare? Will he stick to his green energy agenda, despite abundant evidence that green energy is neither affordable nor efficient?

Policy experts at the Competitive Enterprise Institute made the following comments in anticipation of the President’s remarks:

On Regulatory Reform

CEI President Fred Smith: “In his recent Wall Street Journal op-ed, Obama called for a reduction of overly burdensome and redundant regulations. Let’s hope he has no trouble finding them now that our regulatory state comprises well over $1 trillion of our economy.”

Vice President for Policy Wayne Crews: “Tuesday’s State of the Union Address will take advantage of this state of affairs to 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.”

General Counsel Sam Kazman: “President Obama’s ‘jobs are now important’ op-ed in The Wall Street Journal last Tuesday was widely hailed as representing a major shift in White House policy. But in terms of actual substance, it was incredibly empty. Let’s see if the President’s speech tonight follows this same pattern of empty deregulatory rhetoric in the face of massive new regulatory expansions.”

Fellow in Regulatory Studies Ryan Young will be liveblogging the State of the Union tonight at www.openmarket.org.


On Energy and the Environment:

Senior Fellow Chris Horner: “In Tuesday’s State of the Union address and for the third year in a row, President Barack Obama will no doubt repeat verbatim his now-annual call to ‘finally make clean energy.’ More risibly, he will again call windmills and solar panels ‘new technology,’ and ‘energy of the future.’ Wind-powered electricity was commercialized in 1891. Solar cell technology was patented in 1888; the modern solar cell was invented in 1954. These aren’t new. They are simply failed losers from the past. Which do and will exist only with handouts.”

For more on the history of presidential promises about clean energy, watch this short CEI video.


On the Economy:

Director of CEI’s Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs John Berlau: “If Obama really wants to get rid of outdated and costly regulations that – politically – he doesn’t have to claim ownership of – he can start with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 signed by his predecessor, George W. Bush. Sarbox has frustrated entrepreneurs with costly accounting minutiae that thwarts company development. The law is probably one of the reasons Facebook has delayed going public, and it is frustrating the ability to go public and access shareholder capital for smaller companies that could become the next Facebook.”


For more commentary on the State of the Union, please contact Christine Hall (202.230.4937), Lee Doren (202.331.2259), or Nicole Ciandella (202.331.2773) in the CEI Media Department.