|While it did not officially receive the name “State of the Union Address” until 1947, America’s presidents have been delivering these addresses to update the country since 1790. The speech logistics have evolved over the years, but it now takes place in the Capitol in front of a joint session of Congress. It is an opportunity each year for the American people to hear from the President regarding what is working for our country and what is not. This year, there is certainly plenty to talk about. Our nation is currently dealing with historic inflation, a labor crisis, an unsecure southern border and now, a Russian invasion of Ukraine. While we are all well-aware of the state of the union, the President must make clear his plan to tackle these issues.
As you have noticed while grocery shopping, pumping gas, or buying basically anything, inflation is at a 40-year high, and it is hitting American families, businesses, and their customers hardest. Inflation is a tax on all Americans and has gone up every month during the Biden Administration. 61% of small business owners were forced to raise their prices last month to keep their doors open. The consumer price index has gone up 7.5% in the last year which is the highest reading since 1982, and inflation is now costing the average American household an extra $250 a month. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will exacerbate our inflation problem immensely. Because the cost of energy is a significant driver of inflation, the spike in oil prices caused by the invasion will have harmful effects throughout our economy. President Biden’s solution should be to remove his moratorium on oil and gas leases on federal lands, and actually work with Americans to reinvigorate our energy sector and reduce oil prices.
Another plan we need clearly laid out by the President is his and our allies’ response to Russia’s attack. Putin has made his intentions to overturn the Ukrainian democratic government and begin his rebuild of the Soviet Union clear. I am pleased that the West has imposed severe sanctions and is committed to supporting Ukraine. Pressure on Putin must continue to intensify, and it must be made clear to the world, specifically China, that unprovoked aggression against sovereign nations like Taiwan will not be tolerated. I hope President Biden will deliver that message Tuesday night.
Another major obstacle for our economy is the massive labor shortage we’re experiencing. We’ve all seen the “help wanted” signs at our local hardware store or coffee shop, or the signs in restaurants thanking patrons in advance for their patience as they are short-handed. Here in Missouri, we are fortunate to have a governor who saw that extended unemployment benefits from the CARES Act were no longer necessary and were actually doing more harm than good to our workforce. With excess unemployment benefits and other programs that disincentivize work coming to an end, we should see more people reentering the labor force. However, our economy would greatly benefit from a commitment for the government to get out of the way and let small businesses and job creators do what they do best.
Lastly, we need a renewed commitment to national security, particularly at the southern border. January 2022 saw a 96% increase in migrant encounters from January of last year. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported there were 153,941 migrant encounters last month, and of those 62,573 were reportedly released into the United States by the Biden Administration. Nearly 63,000 people crossed our border illegally and were simply let go. As illegal crossings are going up, ICE deportations are drastically dropping. They are down 70% from 2020, meaning illegal immigrants continue to flow into the United States unchecked with virtually no consequences. The open-border policies from this administration are inviting more migrants than CBP can handle and allowing dangerous criminals to slip through the cracks. This isn’t fair to the migrants who try to come to this country legally through the proper channels, and it certainly isn’t fair to American families who expect the government to provide national security. Acknowledging these failures and announcing a new plan would at least prove that the President is listening to the American People and working in our interest.
I do not write all of this to simply complain, but rather to show the areas our country needs to improve upon. And much of that progress begins with the government operating responsibly. We need less red tape and regulation so American businesses can get back to supporting our local economies. We need government programs to stop encouraging people to stay home rather than joining the workforce. We need a safe and secure border. And we need strong foreign policy to keep our country and the rest of the world safe while holding crooked leaders accountable. While I’m not holding my breath, I hope we’ll hear how President Biden plans to accomplish these things so America can get back to thriving and people realizing their dreams.
CONTACT US: As always, for those of you with Internet access, I encourage you to visit my official website. For those without access to the Internet, I encourage you to call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) Washington, Mo. (636-239-2276), or Wentzville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, Facebook page, and keep up-to-date with Twitter and Instagram.