GUEST COLUMN: Wicker Disappointed at Biden’s State of the Union Address
Published 8:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022
President Biden delivered his State of the Union Address last Tuesday to a nation burdened with crises at home and abroad.
With inflation soaring through the roof, our southern border wide open, and Russia waging war on Ukraine, the President desperately needed to chart a new path forward. Instead, he doubled down on the failed policies that got us here.
The President did manage to use a few lines that drew bipartisan applause, particularly in support of our Ukrainian friends. Yet he seemed unable to recognize that his own weakness — starting with his botched exit from Afghanistan — is what emboldened Vladimir Putin to act so recklessly. On the domestic front, the President offered up a stale rehash of his tax-and-spend agenda, which has already met a wall of bipartisan opposition in Congress. His speech made it painfully obvious that he is out of ideas and unwilling to adapt to the nation’s urgent needs.
One of President Biden’s greatest economic failures has been his inability to control inflation, which has reached a 40-year high and is now costing the average family an extra $385 per month. Rising prices are falling hardest on those living on fixed incomes and vulnerable low-income Americans, who have to spend a larger share of their budgets on essentials.
The President gave lip service to inflation, saying his “top priority” is to get prices under control. Yet he then proceeded to push for a laundry list of socialist spending priorities, seemingly unaware that this would make inflation even worse. Opposition to the Biden plan has been bipartisan. Larry Summers, an economist who served under two Democrat Presidents, has warned against more reckless spending and now predicts there is a 50-50 chance of a recession largely owing to inflation. Republicans have strongly opposed the President’s irresponsible spending plans.
President Biden acknowledged the pain we are all feeling at the gas pump. Yet once again, he failed to take responsibility for his key role in provoking this energy crisis.
Before Biden became President, our nation with its abundant sources of gas and oil had become energy independent under President Trump. Yet Biden began reversing that success almost immediately after taking office. He killed the Keystone XL Pipeline project, suspended new drilling leases on federal lands and waters, and rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, which will needlessly kill energy jobs while doing little to protect the environment. As a result of these decisions, experts predict we will soon lose our status as a net energy exporter, making us more dependent on dictatorships like Saudi Arabia and Russia. The President is stifling U.S. energy production at the worst possible time, and we can expect even higher gas prices to come.
The President made a rare admission in his speech that we need to “secure the border.” I was surprised but grateful for that recognition. Illegal border crossings have gone up 400 percent on his watch, and drug seizures are again on the rise. Unfortunately, the President totally failed to offer any serious solution to the crisis. He said nothing about funding the border wall — which he has consistently opposed — and he gave no indication that he will get tough on Mexico to stop migrant caravans before they reach our border, as President Trump did. Until he actually visits the border and agrees to fund security measures that work, it will be impossible to take the President’s words seriously.
Taken as a whole, his speech did little to inspire confidence in his vision for our country.
U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker has served as the senior senator for Mississippi since 2007.