George Washington gave the first State of the Union message to Congress on January 8, 1790, in the provisional capitol of New York City. The topics of his address are illuminating. He dealt with the performance of the federal government as specified by the United States Constitution and the preamble to that Constitution. It was not a political speech, but rather a report to Congress as to how effective the government was in fulfilling its very limited responsibilities under the Constitution, and how successful it was in avoiding interference into the lives of the citizens of the land.
Since one of the two enumerated responsibilities of the new government was to provide for the common defense, President Washington commented directly on that matter. He said, in part…
"Among the many interesting objects, which will engage your attention, that of providing for the common defence will merit particular regard.— To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace."
In other words, his advice was an early version of Ronald Reagan's axiom, peace through strength.
Washington talked in his address about trade relations with other nations, and about the importance of uniform currency, weights and measures. He also reminded the Congress that the future of the nation depended upon informed, free citizens, saying…
"And by teaching the people themselves to know and to value their own rights; to discern and provide against invasions of them; to distinguish between oppression and the necessary exercise of lawful authority; between burthens proceeding from a disregard to their convenience and those resulting from the inevitable exigencies of Society; to discriminate the spirit of liberty from that of licentiousness, cherishing the first, avoiding the last, and uniting a speedy, but temperate vigilence against encroachments, with an inviolable respect to the laws."
Edmund Burke, the great British member of parliament and philosopher, could not have said it better. Liberty is fragile and exists only when government is minimal, law stands above the rule of man, and the people understand the foundations of freedom.
President Washington concluded his address with these simple, yet profound words…
"The welfare of our Country is the great object to which our cares and efforts ought to be directed. And I shall derive great satisfaction from a co-operation with you, in the pleasing tho arduous task of ensuring to our fellow-citizens the blessings which they have a right to expect from a free, efficient and equal Government."
Although the Constitution directed the President of the United States to make an annual report to Congress on the state of the union, it did not say that report had to be given in person. Washington’s successor, John Adams, followed his lead and spoke to Congress in person. In his speech, he addressed national security issues and the problem of piracy that threatened American commerce. He went on to say…
"Although I can not yet congratulate you on the reestablishment of peace in Europe and the restoration of security to the persons and properties of our citizens from injustice and violence at sea, we have, nevertheless, abundant cause of gratitude to the source of benevolence and influence for interior tranquillity and personal security, for propitious seasons, prosperous agriculture, productive fisheries, and general improvements, and, above all, for a rational spirit of civil and religious liberty and a calm but steady determination to support our sovereignty, as well as our moral and our religious principles, against all open and secret attacks."
President Adams provided a thorough accounting to Congress of issues specified as the responsibility of the federal government under the Constitution. He ended with this admonition in regard to public debt…
"Since the decay of the feudal system, by which the public defense was provided for chiefly at the expense of individuals, the system of loans has been introduced, and as no nation can raise within the year by taxes sufficient sums for its defense and military operations in time of war the sums loaned and debts contracted have necessarily become the subjects of what have been called funding systems. The consequences arising from the continual accumulation of public debts in other countries ought to admonish us to be careful to prevent their growth in our own. The national defense must be provided for as well as the support of Government; but both should be accomplished as much as possible by immediate taxes, and as little as possible by loans."
Adam's successor, Thomas Jefferson, abhorred the rule of Kings, and to him, giving a public address to Congress smacked of a monarch addressing those he ruled. Thus, he declined to speak, but sent a written report instead. This practice of sending a written report continued until it was broken by the father of the income tax, Woodrow Wilson. Wilson felt very comfortable in the role of a monarch and, in fact, ushered in the relentless growth of government above and beyond the constraints intended by the Founders as written in the Constitution. Wilson’s presidency was the beginning of the end of the rule of law in the nation, and it was the beginning of the growth of government into a powerful, all-controlling state.
However, Calvin Coolidge, who became President upon the death of Wilson's successor, Warren G. Harding, reverted to the policy of Thomas Jefferson, that of sending a written report to Congress. Since that time, with the advent of radio and then television, State of the Union messages by the President have gone far afield of their Constitutional intent, and resemble instead a political speech directed not at Congress, but at the voters across the nation.
It is worth recounting the state of the union message of President Coolidge, in regard to the fiscal status of the government…
"Our main problems are domestic problems. Financial stability is the first requisite of sound government. We can not escape the effect of world conditions. We can not avoid the inevitable results of the economic disorders which have reached all nations. But we shall diminish their harm to us in proportion as we continue to restore our Government finances to a secure and endurable position. This we can and must do. Upon that firm foundation rests the only hope of progress and prosperity. From that source must come relief for the people."
It was this type of common sense that enabled Coolidge to lead the nation away from a very precarious financial situation and back to the kind of broad prosperity that is unknown by a socialist system, but is the hallmark of a free market that is minimally restricted by regulations and taxes.
So it is that President Barack Obama will once again give a so-called State of the Union message to Congress and to the nation. As with virtually every President before him, he will pronounce the state of the nation to be good. But, I will not be watching.
Why will I not be watching? The answer is that there is hardly one word uttered from the mouth of this President that can be trusted or believed. His lies are public and as many as the stars in the sky. There are so many, it is impossible to recount them all. He and his political team almost certainly instituted the Fast and Furious gunrunning scheme for political purposes. As a result, one border agent, Brian Terry, died and hundreds of Mexicans have died. The goal was to constrict your right to keep and bear arms, but instead it exposed a corrupt president and corrupt Attorney General.
Barack Obama lied about Obamacare, saying, "If you like your insurance, you can keep it, period." It was a lie and he knew it was a lie from the beginning. He knew it would not become law if he did not tell this lie. That's why he told this lie over and over and over again. As a result, millions of Americans have lost their medical insurance coverage, and millions more will lose it in the future. In addition, the financial burden of this socialist fantasy will further delay, perhaps permanently, a return to economic prosperity.
We now know that Barack Obama lied about Benghazi. He knew from the very beginning that the attacks had absolutely nothing to do with an anti-Muslim video, yet he repeated the bald faced lie that it was for two weeks after an American Ambassador and, other brave Americans were murdered. Our president was willing to let men die in order to get re-elected.
The President lied about the IRS. First, he said he knew nothing about it and promised to get to the bottom of it and correct it. Now, he has changed his story, saying that the targeting was correct and it was to protect the public. This undoubtedly was another scheme cooked up by the White House political team to help the President get re-elected.
On and on and on it goes. President Obama repeatedly says one thing and then does exactly the opposite.
So, that's one reason I won't be listening to the State of the Union message. The words the President utters mean absolutely nothing. It's no wonder that more than 70% of the American people don't trust the President. They shouldn't!
The second reason I won't be listening is that this President is completely and totally ignorant of economics. He has no clue whatsoever of how things work or that freedom is the secret strength of America. Nor does he understand that freedom is not divisible. You can't pick and choose your freedoms. Either freedom exists in the marketplace or all freedom vanishes. Either freedom of speech exists, or all other freedoms disappear. Either freedom of religion exists, or all other freedoms are endangered.
His circumvention of Congress on the day of his State of the Union message by issuing an Executive Order setting a new minimum wage for federal employees, not only exhibits his contempt for the Constitution, but also his total ignorance of economics. The so-called minimum wage law is the primary cause of limiting access to the ladder of opportunity to poor Americans. It denies opportunities, especially to the poor, to obtain their first entry level job, and without a first job, there can never been a second job, or an opportunity for advancement at your first job. It is abject economic ignorance to believe that government can set prices or wages. Only the free market can set prices and wages fairly. And, when government interferes by trying to set a minimum wage, it hurts the very people it will supposedly help.
When the price of wages goes beyond the free market value of that job, the employer either has to employ automation, or terminate the service in order to survive. Government intervention into the marketplace may benefit a few at the expense of many. Often, a so-called black market appears, but in reality it is simply the free market serving suppliers and consumers at the best possible prices. It is clear that President Barack Obama is totally ignorant of how an economy functions. Government is an impediment to universal prosperity and to lifting people out of poverty. Since government is not subject to the marketplace, the impact of President Obama's Executive Order will be limited to higher taxes on Americans. But, while the passage of a new minimum wage law by Congress may be good politics for the uninformed voter, it is bad law. It will destroy jobs and opportunity.
It is because of government that extensive poverty continues to exist in our land. Let us not forget that the origin of minimum wage laws is racism. They were designed by unions to deny employment opportunities to minorities, especially African Americans. If you read the Congressional Record of the debate that took place about the Davis Bacon Act (the 1931 act requiring that only union labor be used in government construction projects), you will find blatant racist comments by Democrat Congressmen from New York, as well as from other parts of the nation. It was designed expressly to deny black Americans an opportunity to participate in construction projects funded by the federal government. Up until that time, African Americans were heavily involved in the construction industry, but thanks to that law, they have never fully recovered their position there.
Similar to the Davis Bacon Act, minimum wage laws were created to artificially benefit union workers. And, remember, each and every time wages are artificially inflated due to government preference in the form of a union shop, all consumers are penalized. And, foreign competition benefits, as it did in the auto industry.
Up until this Administration, all Presidents did their best to unify our nation. They encouraged productivity by both employees and employers. They respected the heritage of our nation and revered the wisdom of America’s Founders. This President has made it clear that he has no use whatsoever for the wisdom and counsel of the Founders. He is a Marxist through and through. Only Marxists talk about redistribution of income and inequality of outcomes. Those who love and cherish freedom talk about the opportunity that comes from living in a nation of low taxes, few regulations, and limited government. We encourage love and understanding, not division, envy and jealousy. We form the backbone of compassionate America, the individuals who voluntarily give generously to help their fellow man, and to fund a myriad of nonprofit organizations that enrich the fabric of our nation.
Conservatives don't use the agency of government to compel our fellow citizens to support charitable cause that we deem worthwhile. Rather we use persuasion and encouragement and our own dollars to intervene in the lives of others to help them overcome adversity. We don't believe that taking tax dollars at the point of a gun is compassion, no matter how worthwhile the cause.
Americans believe in unity, and common respect for others, and they believe in traditional moral values as enumerated most clearly in the Ten Commandments. We trust in God's wisdom and justice, not in the vagaries of fallen man. We revere America's Founders and share their understanding that all men are imperfect.
We endeavor to tell the truth at all times and to rely upon integrity and honor, rather than cunning and scheming, to accomplish our ends. And, we reject the idea that the end justifies the means.
Barack Obama has little to nothing in common with the values and principles of the Founders. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the color of his skin. It has everything to do with the corruptness of his ideology. It is an ideology that is antithetical to American values and tradition. It threatens to undo the greatness of America and turn this nation into just another soft European tyranny, or worse.
When President Barack Obama says that "I can't wait for Congress to act" and that he has a phone and a pen that he will use to go around Congress, he is violating the rule of law and acting like a dictator. To go around Congress is to circumvent the Constitution of the United States of America.
Make no mistake about it, corrupt politicians like Barack Obama will use the power of government to deny health care to those who oppose them. They will spy on them, they will restrict them, they will harass them, they will stomp on their liberties. They will sic the IRS on them, and do whatever is necessary to maintain political power. Power, it’s what all politicians lust after and once the people surrender their power to the bureaucrats and the politicians, our republic will be dead.
No, I will not listen to a liar, nor will I listen to an authoritarian wannabe. Instead, I will continue to work hard to save this nation for my children and my grandchildren. I want to restore this nation to the land of the free, where every child has an opportunity to climb the ladder of success as far and as fast as they can go based on their willingness to work hard, to take risk, and as God blesses them. That is the America I grew up in, and by the grace of God, that is the nation my children and all the children of America will inherit.