State of the Union 2011: Sidestepped Issues


"The deficit is a top issue on the minds of voters and investors," said Kleintop. "Uncertainty about the federal budget and debt ceiling could start to weigh on the markets as disappointment mounts from ineffective action from Washington."

Obama did, however, call for a five-year budget freeze on non-security related discretionary spending. Last year, he called for a three-year hard freeze on non-security discretionary spending.

"I'm willing to eliminate anything we can honestly afford to do without," said the president, but not on the backs of the "most vulnerable citizens."

As expected by analysts, the president did not dwell on the Republicans' recent vote against health care legislation.

"Now, I've heard rumors that a few of you have some concerns about the new health care law," the president said.

Obama acknowledged that improvements can be made, such as eliminating a tax reporting rule that has attracted the ire of small businesses.

"So instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and move forward," the president said.

While he did speak broadly about topics relevant to the U.S. economy, Kleintop said the president did not devote significant time to U.S. interests abroad, beyond Afghanistan and Iraq.

"By glossing over foreign policy conflicts with Iran, North Korea, Venezuela, among others fosters the danger that the public will be unprepared for some of the international crises that may heat up in 2011," said Kleintop. "Oil prices are already high, but do not yet have much of a geopolitical risk premium embedded in them. Any shock could have a dramatic impact on oil prices as global excess capacity is already decreasing."

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