What Obama Got Wrong

There was a lot for center-right folks to dislike in the State of the Union Address last night, and we have found some of the best conservative takes on the policy elements of the speech.

Here are excerpts from The Heritage Foundation (click on the link above for the full version):

The New Hire Tax Credit
Last tried in the 1970s, the tax credit proved to be a windfall for big businesses that were planning to hire anyway. Small businesses, the engine of job growth, did not use the tax credit largely because they were unaware of it and did not understand how to take advantage of the credit. The jobs tax credit proposal will likely also delay hiring since businesses that understand the tax credit now face an incentive to postpone hiring decisions to take advantage of the tax credit. …

The Bank Tax
Mr. Obama knows that almost every major bank has paid-back their bailout funds, with interest. Taxpayers made substantial profits on those repayments. On the other hand, most of the companies that still owe billions to taxpayers, including Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and auto firms GM and Chrysler, would not be subject to the tax. In short, Mr. Obama would tax those that have paid back taxpayers and exempt those who have not.

The Spending Freeze
Obama’s spending freeze would apply to a narrow sliver of spending (somewhere around 1/8th of total spending) and at best, savings would be less than one percent of the total budget. Moreover, it explicitly exempts the very entitlement programs driving future deficits. …

Energy Production
His calls for new nuclear power, offshore oil and gas exploration, and other new energy technologies are certainly welcome. The problem is that his program of subsidies, special tax treatment, and government support will not work. While government programs can create jobs in specific sectors, the President ignores the evidence that these programs end up killing more jobs than they create. Spain has already gone down this road, and its experience should give the President caution. Between 2000 and 2008, the Spanish government spent $36 billion in taxpayers’ money on wind, solar and mini-hydro development. Each green job created cost on average $758,471.

Foreign Policy
Many around the world have expressed concern that a U.S. administration so focused on domestic priorities and troubles as the current one will be too inward-looking to be deeply engaged in the world. Judging by its placement in his list of priorities, foreign affairs did seem like an afterthought, briefly addressed. In Afghanistan, allied nations are hardly coming together to support the President’s surge — indeed French President Nicolas Sarkozy very publicly stated this week that he would not be contributing any more troops to the endeavor, this on the eve of the Afghanistan conference in London.

And the fight on terrorism has not, as stated, been advanced by the Obama administration — quite the reverse as the nation has become more vulnerable. Nor has the administration distinguished itself by its support for human rights in Iran — in fact it missed a critical moment to get involved during last summer’s uprisings against the Iranian regime. As for the President’s aspiration to control nuclear materials around the world, a goal to be reached through an international conference — that horse left the barn a long time ago.

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