Opinion: Biden’s State of The Union Lacks Solvency

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Katie Lemon

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President Joe Biden gave his State of the Union address Tuesday, February 7th.
The address ran for 73 minutes, and there’s a lot to unpack within it, including new policies and the reactions to them.
This is an overview of the address through a critical lens.

All-American Infrastructure
In terms of new policies, one of the major ones included a mandate on American-made materials in the building of federal infrastructure.
“I’m announcing new standards to require all construction materials used in federal infrastructure projects to be made in America,” said Biden.
This introduces some issues with pricing, but American-made products do tend to be of higher quality, and it sets a good example for the rest of the nation.

Tax the Rich
Biden also expressed the desire to raise taxes on the rich.
“They won’t have a lower tax rate than a school teacher or a firefighter,” he said.
According to the IRS, however, the wealthy citizens of America pay more taxes than any other group already.
The top 1% accounted for 40% of all income taxes paid in 2018.
They make 20% of the income, meaning they pay twice the amount of any other group.
53 million low-income families pay no income taxes at all.
6 out of 10 households receive more government benefits than they pay in taxes.
All of this data comes directly from the IRS.
“One recent study found that workers bear 51 percent of the economic burden of corporate income taxes through reduced wages, especially for ‘the low-skilled, women, and young workers,’” said the American Tax Foundation.
Overall, the wealthy members of society pay more taxes than any other group, and lower-income families receive these benefits from the government.
If we were to tax the rich via more corporate taxes, only the employees would suffer.
This topic is largely misunderstood, but the fact is, America does tax the rich, and they do pay their “fair share.”

Guns and Policing
Another of Biden’s main points included guns and policing.
The President urged Congress to pass a bill requiring more training for police, and he also called for a complete ban on assault weapons.
More police training is certainly fine.
However, assault weapons are a different story.
“Assault weapons” are a constant target by gun activists.
However, Biden is overlooking 94% of the problem, and just using a buzz word that gets his base riled up.
According to statistics found on the FBI website from 2019,the vast majority of homicide deaths result from gang-related crime or drug shootouts.
“Assault weapons” were used in just 6% of those crimes.
Mass shootings get disproportionate news coverage, and although they are concerning, they’re quite rare.
Banning assault weapons isn’t the right way to solve violence in our communities; Democrats should be instead focusing on policies that reduce gang and drug related violence.

Fentanyl and the Border
Biden kept it quite brief when it came to this topic.
He asked Congress to pass his “comprehensive immigration reform” bill, although he never mentioned what it included.
Considering the milestone that the US recently hit – 100,000 fentanyl deaths in just a year – Biden was expected to elaborate on the issue.
The Southern border and the lack of responsibility is a constant frustration for Republicans, and the President did very little to calm their worries.

Climate Change and Oil
Biden’s idea of a “clean energy future” is one that he’s been working toward throughout his presidency.
During the address, Biden claimed he would need hundreds of billions of dollars in order to replace traditional vehicles with electric cars.
Biden claimed that this money would come from wealthy corporations, who needed to “pay their fair share.”
Going back to Biden’s plan to tax the rich, this type of bill will never pass through the House due to the GOP majority.
He’s going to need to figure out a different way to raise this money.
One of the President’s biggest mistakes of the night also came from this topic.
“We’ll need oil for another ten years or so,” Biden said.
The audience laughed, but he wasn’t joking, and it was quite uncomfortable.
Oil is a necessary part of life, from gasoline to heating to electricity, including the electricity that fuels electric cars.
One day, the nation will need to go on without oil, but that is a long way away.
The transition will be slow and gradual, and to pretend that oil will be gone by 2033 is incredibly optimistic, and quite delusional.

Crowd Participation
Biden’s address received booing and heckles on numerous occasions throughout the night from Far-Right Congressional Representatives.
In one instance, Biden accused Republicans of wanting to get rid of Medicare and social security.
“Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset,” said Biden.
At this, a number of Republicans booed, Speaker of the House McCarthy shook his head, and Georgia Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene stood up and pointed her finger.
This reaction came just before a moment in which both sides stood in a standing ovation, making the moment pivotal.
Biden also attracted booing when he mentioned the fentanyl crisis.
Tennessee Congressman Andy Ogles shouted “it’s your fault!” at Biden’s remarks.
Later, he elaborated, saying he was “offended” by Biden’s inaction.
During these moments, McCarthy attempted to shush the upset Republicans; this is a stark contrast to former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi who drew headlines for performatively ripping up President Trump’s speech during his speech.

Overall, Biden’s State of the Union wasn’t great.
None of his policies are very realistic, and the hopeful language means virtually nothing.
The majority of the address was simply laughable.