Critic's Response on Three Key Issues from President Obama's State of the Union Address

Readers Respond to Specific Passages from Obama's Address

Yahoo Contributor Network

Yahoo News asked readers and contributors to briefly respond to passages from Barack Obama's State of the Union address. Here's one reaction.

Obama on the economy: "A year and a half ago, I put forward an American Jobs Act that independent economists said would create more than one million new jobs. I thank the last Congress for passing some of that agenda, and I urge this Congress to pass the rest. … Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing."

My response: Whether the American Jobs Act would create a million jobs can certainly be argued -- even among independent economists. However, if President Obama truly supports the goal of America serving as a magnet for jobs and manufacturing, he must revisit missing proposals from his lengthy speech. Where are the aggressive tax cuts, which have historically stimulated the economy? In particular, corporate taxes remain unacceptably high and discourage companies from planting roots at home. Failing to provide help, Obama's plans instead would restrict job creation in order to appease external concerns. In addition to rising costs from implementing Obamacare, the State of the Union surprisingly advocated a higher minimum wage and new environmental regulations, both of which create a harsher climate for business.

Obama on gun violence: "It has been two months since Newtown. I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence. But this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans - Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment - have come together around commonsense reform - like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun."

My response: Once again, President Obama's State of the Union address describes an undisputed truth something that is far from consensus. As a supporter of the Second Amendment, I have not found an overwhelming majority in support of the reforms Obama advocates. Certainly, no prudent person desires firearms in the hands of those who have lost the privilege of gun ownership. However, proposed background checks would essentially put gun shows out of business and deprive states of a critical generator of revenue. Furthermore, such reforms would make the common practice of selling or trading firearms among friends nearly impossible. Imagine requiring a costly background check to give your dad a new hunting rifle for Christmas. That is hardly commonsense reform.

Obama on climate change: "I urge this Congress to pursue a bipartisan, market-based solution to climate change, like the one John McCain and Joe Lieberman worked on together a few years ago. But if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will. I will direct my Cabinet to come up with executive actions we can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy."

My response: Though the president's address appeared generally to lack substance on foreign policy, this is a specific area where the deficit was glaring. Potential climate change cannot be addressed in a vacuum and Obama's proposals for Congressional action fail to cover the true polluters. While America already possesses rigorous environmental laws limiting misdeeds of its citizens and businesses, equivalent restrictions do not exist in the planet's other economic titans like China. President Obama may direct his cabinet to design more regulations, but they will not affect the majority of the global economy. While the actual cause of climate change can be debated, nobody would argue that weather developments like Superstorm Sandy are limited to America's shores.

Jeff Briscoe is an attorney and writer from Port Charlotte, Fla., who is a regular contributor to the Yahoo! Contributor Network.

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