January 12, 2016

State of the Union: Mercatus Center Experts Share Their Thoughts before Tonight's Event

Omar Ahmad Al-Ubaydli

Senior Affiliated Scholar

Brian Blase

Former Senior Research Fellow

Donald J. Boudreaux

Senior Fellow, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics

Eli Dourado

Former Senior Research Fellow

Christopher Koopman

Senior Affiliated Scholar
Summary

With his last State of the Union address tonight, President Barack Obama has much to look back on over his past 8 years in office. Our experts have taken this time to reflect on some of the highlights he might bring up in his speech tonight.

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With his last State of the Union address tonight, President Barack Obama has much to look back on over his past 8 years in office. Our experts have taken this time to reflect on some of the highlights he might bring up in his speech tonight:

Brian Blase on the Affordable Care Act

The Affordable Care Act continues to under perform with far fewer enrollees than expected and those enrollees poorer, sicker, and older than expected. In spite of the evidence and Congress recently passing legislation to repeal an enormous part of the law, the President will likely continue to make the case that the law is working, in part by highlighting how many more people have been added to Medicaid.

Omar Al-Ubaydli on the historic end of the oil export ban:

When the export ban was originally conceived, the thinking was that for it to be lifted, the US' dependence on oil would have to diminish, and/or the range of potential sources, including the historically unstable Middle East, would have to diversify. Few would have imagined that heading toward self-sufficiency due to technological developments in oil production would have been a key reason.

Donald Bordeaux on the Pacific Trade Agreement:

A true free trade agreement would be but a few words: "We Americans agree neither to protect nor to favor American producers in matters of international or domestic commerce."  Yet because such robust free trade is politically untenable, any agreement that gets us closer to the ideal of free trade is better than the absence of such an agreement - no matter how many exceptions and qualifications such an agreement contains.  Because the TPP, despite its many imperfections, will likely enhance Americans' freedom to trade, it is a worthwhile agreement.

Eli Dourado on cyber security: 

There is no such thing as perfect cyber security. But it is abundantly clear that strong encryption, lots of security research, and a culture that understands that computer security must be integral, not bolted on after the fact, are ingredients of better security. Policymakers should protect and promote these ingredients.

Christopher Koopman on 1099 workers and the 'gig' economy:

As the sharing economy continues its growth, politicians at every level of government are confronting the future of work.  However, it is important that they recognize that it is providing an outlet for those who have been left out of the traditional economy.  If the president is truly interested in creating opportunity for those in need, breaking down barriers--rather than creating new ones—should be the focus of reform.