An Overview of Biden's Second State of the Union Address
On Tuesday night President Biden gave the State of the Union address. This was the first State of the Union address since the Democrats lost the House of Representatives to the Republicans, a fact exemplified by the presence of Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) standing behind him as the Speaker of the House, a position he has been serving as since early January of this year.
The president had a divisive audience, not only with a split Congress, but also with American households throughout the nation. According to the Associated Press, a new AP-NORC poll only 37 percent of Democrats support a Biden-Harris 2024 re-election campaign, down from 52 percent in October 2022. The decline is concentrated mostly in Democrats aged 44 and younger, only 23 percent of whom support re-election. According to the poll, the main issues concerning both Democrats and Republicans are inflation, the economy, and governmental spending.
“Two years ago, our economy was reeling … we have created a record 12 million new jobs, more jobs created in two years than any president has ever created in four years.” He assures us that the economy is coming back around from COVID, due to his governmental policy while also taking credit for the decrease in the inflation rate we are seeing, now at 6.5 percent, down from the 9.1 percent we suffered from in June 2022.
Biden affirmed plans to continue his governmental spending policy with the Inflation Reduction Act to deal with rising costs of pharmaceuticals, gas, and groceries. He also vowed to continue granting government subsidies towards student loan-debt forgiveness, and green-energy projects.
Biden plans to pass legislation to make multi-billion dollar corporations pay an average of 15 percent in federal income taxes. He also plans to crack down on Big Oil, stating that ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP and the other supermajors made a record $200 billion dollars last year, then used said profits to “buy back their own stock, rewarding their CEOs and shareholders.” His proposition: “Quadruple the tax on corporate stock buybacks to encourage long term investments.”
When Biden claimed that “too little” of Big Oil’s profits go to investing in new long-term investments, specifically oil refineries, viewers began to hear outbursts from the crowd. According to the Energy Information Administration (EIA) the last U.S. oil refinery with significant downstream unit capacity was built in 1976.
Biden claimed that he spoke to oil companies executives on why they’ve barely increased domestic oil production in the past 50 years, who said: “We’re afraid you’re going to shut down all the oil wells and the oil refineries, so why should we invest in them?” Biden said he responded, “Well, we’re gonna need oil for at least another decade.” Many in the chamber, including Rep. McCarthy behind Biden, began laughing.
Biden made the case for Congress to increase the debt limit. He accused the Republicans of wanting “to take the economy hostage … instead of making the wealthy pay their fair share, some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.”
Republicans began yelling over the president. Before the address, according to CNN, McCarthy and most Republicans explicitly opposed cutting government entitlements in negotiations with the debt ceiling, though some want Social Security to sunset in the coming years.
Biden also promised to push companies to lower fees and ban them from overcharging the average consumer. He also urged for universal pre-K, reforming police nationwide (in light of the police beating of Tyre Nichols), cracking down on taxpayer fraud, and banning assault weapons.
Biden spoke about the fentanyl crossing into the country from the Southern border, with border patrol “seizing over 23,000 pounds of fentanyl in just the last several months.” Deaths from fentanyl, oxycontin, and other hard substances have been growing every year. In 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 52,000 individuals died of drug overdoses. In 2020, that figure had close to doubled to around 92,000. Biden brought that figure up, only to have a few from the chamber yell “Border!” and “It’s your fault!” Biden did not respond to the heckles and moved on to foreign policy.
America is currently at odds with the People's Republic of China. Both the United States and China are increasing military spending, and Biden made sure to state that any aggression towards the sovereignty of America will be met with retaliation. He concluded with a call to stand America fast to peace, justice, and most of all, common ground. “We are the United States of America and there is nothing, nothing beyond our capacity if we do it together.”