Obama’s Not-State of the Union Speech; Comes As Home Prices Plunge; Consumer Confidence Falls Off Cliff


It was a State of the Union speech–even though it wasn’t a State of the Union speech.

It just looked, sounded and felt like a State of the Union speech. That’s probably because it was in all but name only a State of the Union speech, even though the Constitution requires a State of the Union speech in January.So, this was more like a State of the Nation speech which just happened to have all of the earmarks of a State of the Union speech. At a State of the Union speech, for example, there is a joint session of Congress. At a state of the Union speech, you get all your Supreme Court justices sitting side by side. At a State of the Union speech, there are invited guests. All of which were present for Obama’s State of the Nation speech which is why, I suppose, one could reasonably be expected to view this as, in actuality, a State of the Union speech.

Got that?

Now, the president took about one hour summing up the state of the union…ooops, sorry, I mean state of the nation.

I can sum it up with one word–sucks! Whether it is the state of the union or the state of the nation, the answer is—it sucks! Big time.

Sorry. Getting off point here.

New figures out today show U.S. home prices plunging at a record pace in December, says Reuters….and, guess what?…consumer confidence (didn’t know that existed anymore) apparently hit a new low this month!

Clearly, then, we have not hit rock bottom. And, no one seems to know when we will!

But there is some good news and while Obama didn’t really go into this in his non-State of the Union, State of the Nation (but really State of the Union) address, the fact is, this country is pretty much in the process of, at least for the short term, nationalizing some big banks.

Now you see, the whole reason for my long discussion of whether the Obama speech was really a State of the Union speech in State of the Nation clothing, was to keep you diverted long enough that once I sort of eased into this nationalization thing you’d hardly notice, let alone get all pissed as at least one of you did last week when I said I thought Citibank and Bank of America were headed for some form of nationalization.

For the weak among you who can’t grasp the reality of this, please return to the first few graphs of this post and study the differences between a State of the Union and State of the Nation speech.

As for the rest of you, while the others are off trying to decide which kind of speech Obama gave, we can have a friendly discussion about nationalizing banks.

But before we do, we have to admit to one another a little secret: the government has, in effect, already nationalized (partly anyway) some banks and the FDIC has been doing it all along with smaller banks until they are strong enough to be sold to private investors.

All that is happening now is the government is talking about, say, a 40 percent stake in Citibank and gaining voting shares of stock so it can boot management types. Right now, taxpayers already have bailed these banks, in effect, taken ownership of them, but lack the ability to make any decisions for them. A de-facto fuller nationalization would fix this.

The government has been leaking left and right all these stories of late about maybe it will or maybe it won’t nationalize some banks. Governments do this sort of thing to prepare the way. Sort of like John the Baptist, but not using up much water during dry conditions in many parts of the nation (or is it union??? Thought I forgot about that, did you? no such luck).

There you have it….despite what anyone says, the government is already in the process of nationalizing some of the bigger banks, will have a greater say in their management and loan practices and own shares that will probably wipe out those who currently own stock in these banks.

But don’t pity these people. The share prices are already so shrunken, a deposit slip is worth more than a share at many of these formally fine institutions.

Once this all goes down, my prediction is we will finally start seeing an easing of credit and the real estate market will show that it at least still has a heart beat.

Okay. You guys who stuck with me are free to leave and return to the land of the living.

As for those who left before and are now rejoining, I trust you know now why the President’s State of the Nation speech was really the President’s State of the Union speech?

If not, I’d be happy to go over it again?

About Author

Charles is currently reporting for KNX Radio in Los Angeles, is the co-author of the book No Time To Think, and can be found commenting about the news on his blog, The Feldman Blog, as well as on The Huffington Post.

1 Comment

  1. oooops! Minor error, Mr. Feldman.

    While I agree with much of what you wrote, the Constitution does not require a January State of the Union address.

    The Constitution says:

    “He shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such Measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them…”

    In fact, from Jefferson’s first State of the Union (1801) until Taft’s last State of the Union (1912), it was a written report. It was not delivered in the form of a speech.

    Although Washington and Adams addressed the Congress, Jefferson believed the President appearing before the representatives of the people was too closely akin to the British monarch’s custom of addressing the opening of Parliament with a list of policy mandates.

    President Wilson gave a State of the Union speech in 1913, breaking the Jeffersonian tradition. But it didn’t represent an immediate departure from Jefferson. In 1919, 1920, 1924-1932, the State of the Union was again delivered in written report.

    The State of the Union has traditionally been delivered orally to a joint session of Congress in the month of January since Roosevelt’s address in 1933.

    But the Constitution does not require a January delivery, nor does it require the Supreme Court Justices or dignitaries or guests to be present at the delivery of the written report or the delivery of the speech.

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