State of the Union: A Bankrupt Ruling Class Talking to Itself

Thursday, January 30, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Bill Van Auken
Global Research
January 30, 2014

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech was a cynical propaganda piece, filled with fraudulent claims and promises that no one, least of all his audience at the US Capitol, believes in the slightest.

The annual address has long since become an ossified ritual, a kind of national pep rally into which social and political reality seldom intrudes.

With Obama’s speech Tuesday night one had more than ever the sense of the president as chief representative of the financial aristocracy that rules America, speaking to a house filled with millionaire congress members and bought-and-paid-for representatives of big business.

It has more and more come to resemble a political echo chamber, in which the ruling establishment celebrates and talks to itself in utter indifference to the needs and concerns of the country’s working people, the overwhelming majority of the population.

In the run-up to the speech, the media had worked to build up expectations with wild predictions that Obama would use it to launch war on social inequality or, as the Washington Post put it, a “sustained assault on Republicans over a populist economic agenda.” The day after, the old adage, “the mountain labored and brought forth a mouse” came to mind.

According to some accounts, Obama’s speechwriters were instructed to tone down references to social inequality and emphasize the concept of “opportunity”—the old Horatio Alger myth that with perseverance anyone can become a millionaire. This was combined with a reassurance to the Wall Street criminals that “Americans understand that some people will earn more than others, and we don’t resent those who, by virtue of their efforts, achieve incredible success.”

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