A State of the Union Preview
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Today I'm departing from my typical value-investing column because tonight many will flip on their TV only to find that their favorite 8:00 p.m. show has been preempted. It's time for the annual spectacle in Washington, the president's state of the union address. I've seen many of them over the years, and have a pretty good idea about what will go down this year. Here's what my crystal ball is predicting for tonight.
Smiley Joe Biden will be flanked by sour-faced John Boehner. The grin will never leave Biden's face, as if he is telegraphing that still can't believe he's the VP. Boehner, on the other hand, Boehner will never smile, not once. Viewers will be made to wait while the president makes his entrance, stopping to shake hands, hug or exchange pleasantries. Once the president gets going with his speech, a whole bunch of time will be wasted while the entire Congress occasionally erupts into a standing ovation. More often than not tonight, though, just half of the Congress will rise in applause after certain remarks by the president. Same thing every year.
Then there's the content of the speech -- what the president will and won't say. Here are some of the issues he'll address, taken directly from my crystal ball.
On the Affordable Care ActWill say: The rollout was rough, but the website is working now and the plan will ultimately work. We just have to be patient. Then he'll cite the case of Joe Smith, from Youngstown, Ohio, who was finally able to get affordable coverage after years of dealing with a preexisting condition. Then he'll add a second example, about Mary Jones from Seattle, another ACA success story. One or both will be in the audience, seated near the first lady. Won't say: Sorry that this entire initiative is a disaster that negatively affected many times the number of people that it has helped. Sorry for telling America that if they liked their doctor they could keep their doctor, period; if the liked their current insurance, they could keep it, period.
On the Economy Will say: The recovery is gaining steam, and unemployment has fallen to 6.7%, the lowest level in more than five years. Millions of jobs have been created, and better days are just ahead. He will then tout the creation of a new public-private manufacturing hub in North Carolina, then announce the locations of additional hubs. He will also make a case for raising the minimum wage (more on that below). Won't say: This is one of the weakest economic recoveries on record, and it is fragile at best. The unemployment numbers don't tell the true story, as the labor participation rate is at a 35-year low, and many are simply giving up the pursuit of employment. Businesses are still uneasy about the effects of the ACA and other regulations, and it is affecting their hiring practices. Raising the minimum wage is popular politically, but will increase unemployment rate for entry level workers.
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