On Jan. 21, the very day America learned that three of its citizens had been killed in a hostage-taking at a Saharan natural gas facility, President Obama was sworn in for another four years and delivered a speech that said nothing about terrorism.
In fact, his inaugural speech failed to address many of the most pressing issues confronting America today. Rather than pay respects to the families of the Americans lost in Algeria or at the Benghazi consulate, he talked about “hope,” “engagement,” and turning “sworn enemies into the surest of friends.”
The president made no mention of the more than 8 million Americans without jobs. And only a passing reference was made to the burgeoning federal deficit. About the budget-busting entitlement programs, the president said they “strengthen us.”
In short, President Obama’s inaugural address downplayed the clear and present dangers that confront us, played up the theoretical threat of climate change, and signaled that he intends to continue the profligate spending that led to the $16 trillion budget deficit at the conclusion of his first term.
High on his agenda are climate change and sustainable energy, both of which require massive government intervention in the private sector and huge outlays of capital. President Obama attempted to take action on these issues in his first term but with limited success.
The cap-and-trade bill, aimed at lowering carbon emissions, was not enacted despite having a Democrat-controlled House and Senate in the first two years of his presidency. Dubbed “cap-and-tax” by its critics, a Heritage Foundation analysis showed it could have cost the average family $3,000 per year and eliminated one million U.S. jobs.
After the bill died in the Senate, the administration’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) did an end-run around Congress by asserting it had the authority to regulate carbon emissions under the Clean Air Act. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed, and EPA moved forward by proposing new rules. Last fall former EPA Administrator Carol Browner predicted climate regulations are likely to move forward on a “sector by sector” basis.
“The president has been willing to use his executive authority ... I think you’ll see that kind of leadership,” Browner said during a panel discussion in September.