WFB's Barber on What to Expect from Obama's State of the Union Address

January 20, 2015

President Obama will try to take all the credit for the improving economy in his State of the Union address tonight.

The Washington Free Beacon's Ellison Barber said it would be a political miscalculation for Obama not to take advantage of the improving economic outlook, regardless of whether it is due to his policies.

"He will say the economy is doing better and here are plans we need to look at to make sure it keeps doing better and keeps improving for the middle class," Barber told on Stuart Varney on Fox Business.

Citing new polling, Barber said that there is a key difference between Americans' optimism that the economy is getting better and actually believing that the economy is strong. Similarly, just because the economy is swinging upward does not mean Americans are any happier with Washington.

"Most people are looking at Washington in general and saying it is a dysfunctional, that it is not working," Barber said. "They may think the economy is swinging upward, but they don't think Washington gets the credit for it."

Obama is scheduled to give his annual State of the Union speech on Tuesday. He has unveiled a series of new policies that he will propose to Congress, including tax increases, net neutrality, and free community college for all. The proposals have no chance to pass through a Republican-controlled Congress.

"When you look at the big tax reform plan, Republicans are not going to support that," Barber said. "I spoke to a top Senate staffer about this, and they said there's zero interest among Republicans to increase taxes and they look at that capital gains tax going up, and they say no way; this is a nonstarter and I think they will hold to that position. Particularly this time around, they have absolutely no appetite to increase taxes."