So this year out State of the Union drinking game was a bit off, though you'd still get pretty smashed just from the deficit and our children. Next year we're probably just going to do shots every time the president says "And that is why I am proposing a new..." Do a second shot if he offers no explanation as to what that thing he just proposed is.
But now the speech is over, and so it's time to analyze the dumbest thing said, but first we'll take a look at a doozy from Marco Rubio's response:
Every dollar our government borrows is money that isn't being invested to create jobs. And the uncertainty created by the debt is one reason why many businesses aren't hiring.
Technically speaking, this is true. When we borrow a dollar, that's a dollar that China can't use to invest and create jobs. Although, borrowing by definition means someone else is investing... but never mind that. When our government gets more money, that's more it can spend on initiatives that will help create jobs. What he probably meant was that when we raise revenue by taxes (not borrowing) that our people have less to invest and spend in the economy. We're quite confident that's what the message was intended to be, since it's the message Romney ran on, and the Republic response to the SOTU was little more than trying to rerun the last election. Spoiler GOP: You lost, time to maybe get a new message.
Even correcting Rubio's statement, that every dollar our government raises in taxes is money that isn't being invested to create jobs is also not true. Wealthy people, the ones Obama wants to raise taxes on, do spend a lot of money investing, but they also horde money. Dollars sitting in some rich person's bank account are not being spent on investments.
Rich corporations aren't any better. In fact, they're worse. They have to deal with quarterly earnings reports which forces them to focus on short term gains rather than long term investments which might drive them into the red for a few years before the investments pay off. This is why Dell recently was taken private, to free the company up for doing long term projects without pressure from stockholders for a quick turnaround.
The federal government does waste a whole lot of money, but it's simply not true that every dollar it taxes and spends is a dollar that would have been invested in the market. Tax from the right people and spend on the right projects, and the government can strengthen the economy. We're just left with the question of whether it will actually do that, and whether Rubio's speech writer understands the difference between taxes and loans.
Moving on to the President's silliest line:
Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.
How much stronger exactly?
We know our economy is stronger when we reward an honest day’s work with honest wages. But today, a full-time worker making the minimum wage earns $14,500 a year. Even with the tax relief we’ve put in place, a family with two kids that earns the minimum wage still lives below the poverty line. [...]
Tonight, let’s also recognize that there are communities in this country where no matter how hard you work, it’s virtually impossible to get ahead. Factory towns decimated from years of plants packing up. Inescapable pockets of poverty, urban and rural, where young adults are still fighting for their first job.
Minimum wage is $7.25, and if you're working 2000 hours, that comes out to $14,500. The minimum wage in 2009, before Obama's rubble clearing began, was also $7.25. (The bill bringing it up from $6.55 was passed in 2007, under Bush, but didn't take effect until July 2009.) Had minimum wage kept pace with inflation, a person earning min wage would be making an extra $1000 a year, and when you're earning $14,500, that's a whole lot of extra money.
For those people at the bottom, the state of our union isn't stronger. Maybe they could have used that extra thousand bucks to pack up and move out of their inescapable pocket of poverty.