As President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address, I was not surprised to hear more of the same tired rhetoric and failed policies that have marked this presidency. Over the past seven years, Americans have been subject to aggressive federal government overreach, which has impacted every aspect of their lives. Whether it be through more taxes, more spending or more regulation, the president’s policies have expanded the size and scope of government while stifling economic opportunity and limiting individual freedom.
Moving forward, the American people have a choice: do they double down on the same policies they’ve seen from the Obama administration, or do they embark on a new path that will get government out of the way and empower those seeking to achieve the American dream?
The track record of this administration should make the decision an easy one.
In his speech Tuesday, the president claimed that our economy is the “strongest, most durable economy in the world.” What he failed to mention are the 45 million Americans on food stamps, the 46 million Americans living in poverty and the lowest labor participation rate in nearly 40 years. These are not the signs of a booming economy.
Further, the president ignores the fact that our nation is facing an astronomical debt of $18.8 trillion. That amounts to more than $58,000 owed per citizen and over $151,000 per family. In his 2010 State of the Union address, the president told Americans he would not leave behind a “mountain of debt.” Unfortunately, the opposite is true. Under the President’s leadership, our national debt has increased more than $8 trillion, and is expected to hit $20 trillion by the time he leaves office. Making our children and grandchildren foot the bill for Washington’s reckless spending is irresponsible and dangerous. We cannot continue down the same path of tax-and-spend policies.
Under the president’s signature health care law, Americans have seen a significant expansion of the role of government into an individual’s personal health care decisions. This costly and burdensome law has been marked by disappointment, confusion and false promises, namely, “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor.” All Americans should have access to affordable and quality care, but we need a market-based system in place, not one operated under government mandates. Republicans in Congress are working on a patient-centered, free-market solution, so under the next Republican president, we’ll be ready to repeal Obamacare and replace it with common-sense reforms.
In his address, the president made a point of saying America remains the most powerful country in the world, and I absolutely agree. However, I also believe that President Obama’s failed foreign policies have emboldened our enemies, alienated our allies and made America less safe. According to the latest Gallup poll, 55 percent of the American people disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the fight against terrorism. Yet, in his address, the president continued to downplay the threat of ISIS and Islamist extremists.
Even worse, he failed to provide a comprehensive strategy to defeat and destroy ISIS. The recent horrific events in San Bernardino, Paris, Philadelphia and Istanbul further demonstrate that the president’s current approach – or lack thereof – is not working. I am especially frustrated by the president’s lackadaisical attitude towards the threats facing our nation and his inability to implement effective solutions that will protect our homeland.
Meanwhile, Republicans are focused on the future of this country and the direction in which it is headed. A conservative vision for America would allow us to put forth meaningful solutions that would address the important issues Americans face. If empowered with this vision, Republicans could balance the budget, replace Obamacare, ensure the long-term viability of entitlement programs, reform and simplify the tax code, address poverty and implement a comprehensive national security strategy that strengthens our military and safeguards our homeland. Conservative leadership can help us attain these goals and put America back on track.
The majority of the American people feel this country is headed in the wrong direction – we cannot change course by settling for the status quo in 2016. America can do better and America deserves better. In the end, it all comes down to a choice. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley put it nicely in her response to the State of the Union address: “We have big decisions to make. Our country is being tested. But we’ve been tested in the past, and our people have always risen to the challenge. We have all the guidance we need to be safe and successful.”
I have faith in the American people to make the right decision moving forward. Together we will work to restore this country’s greatness and empower every American with the opportunity to pursue their dreams.
Mimi Walters, R-Irvine, represents California’s 45th Congressional District.