- - Thursday, February 9, 2023

Are you better off since President Biden took office? The latest Washington Post/ABC News poll shows nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe they are worse off financially since Mr. Biden was sworn in — the highest number since the survey began 37 years ago. Perhaps even more concerning for the president and the country, 6 out of 10 people cannot point to any of his major accomplishments in the past two years. Those are damning numbers.

The president’s State of the Union address did little to alleviate the concerns of everyday Americans. Most have not received a pay raise in quite some time, while inflation continues to spiral out of control. Families are facing difficult choices as fuel and grocery prices continue to reach record highs. Our economy is a far cry from what it was just a few short years ago.

The president’s solution, the so-called Inflation Reduction Act, did not work. Prices are higher than they’ve been in years. I know it. You know it. And the American people certainly know it.

Sadly, if you were looking for signs of hope, you were likely disappointed by what the president had to say. Semiconductor plant groundbreakings and luggage fee bans don’t provide much relief when you can’t fill your gas tank to get to work or, worse, can’t afford groceries to feed your family.

Former President Bill Clinton famously talked about feeling our pain. Thirty years later, the current occupant of the White House seems set on yelling at us that we are all better off. Americans don’t buy it.

Any good argument has to be believable to be effective. That logic has been lost on the radicals running the White House.

In addition to his feeble claims about the economy, it’s hard to say the president wants unity when he blatantly lies about the position of Republicans on Social Security and Medicare. Good for them for pushing back in the middle of his address. What a weak moment for him as he had to back off and said, “so, folks, as we all apparently agree, Social Security and Medicare are off the books now, right? All right. We got unanimity.” Republicans should run his quote in ads when the Democrats inevitably begin their attacks in 2024.

Mr. Biden’s State of the Union address was filled with all sorts of contradictions. He talked about the tragedy of fentanyl but failed to acknowledge how it flows across our open border. He attacked the pharmaceutical industry while highlighting these companies’ role in developing COVID-19 vaccines. He belittled the oil and gas industry for not reinvesting their profits but then told us he would put them out of business in the next decade.

Strangest of all, he acknowledged the husband of former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the horrific attack at their home while ignoring the would-be assassin arrested near the home of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and the illegal protests in front of several other justices’ homes.

Mr. Biden said that “no billionaire should pay a lower tax rate than a schoolteacher or firefighter.” I agree. The answer, however, is not higher taxes. The answer is a flat tax. If someone makes 10 times as much as someone else, they should pay 10 as much in taxes. That is flat and fair.

When Mr. Biden said, “if China threatens our sovereignty, we will act to protect our country,” I almost choked. The entire world saw the Chinese spy balloon sail across the skies of our nation from one coast to the other before the administration saw fit to shoot it down.

We should not be surprised that the team who botched the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Afghanistan and opened the door to Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is equally incompetent when dealing with the Chinese Communist Party.

The parents of Tyre Nichols, who attended the address, were introduced. What happened to him is horrific. Mr. Biden said that “when police officers or departments violate the public’s trust, we must hold them accountable.”

The five former police officers from Memphis, Tennessee, have been charged with second-degree murder and other counts. What was missing from the discussion is that the police department lowered its standards for hiring a year ago — which included allowing applicants with criminal records to be considered for a position with the police.

In a glaring oversight, Mr. Biden failed to acknowledge the death of Milwaukee Police Officer Peter Jerving. He was shot and killed by a repeat offender on Tuesday. The good and decent men and women of law enforcement and risk their lives every single day deserve our thanks and appreciation. How could the commander in chief not mention the ultimate sacrifice of Officer Jerving? Shameful.

Overall, like so many things we’ve collectively experienced in the past two years, the State of the Union address was disappointing.

Americans deserve leadership from Washington, not more failures and broken promises.

• Scott Walker is president of Young America’s Foundation and served as the 45th governor of Wisconsin from 2011 to 2019.

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