Analysis of President Obama’s 2010 State of the Union Address

by Demian Brady / /

NTUF State of the Union Analysis        Download the PDF or .docx

National Taxpayers Union Foundation’s State of the Union (SOTU) cost analyses detail the budgetary impact of all the actionable proposals made during the President’s annual address to Congress. Our researchers identify every policy supported during the address that could increase or decrease federal spending. We then match them with cost estimates for identical or similar measures introduced as legislation, in a previous budget proposal, or in third-party studies. By compiling each of those estimates, we are able to derive the total net cost of the agenda presented during the President’s speech.

(quoted from text)
Annual Net Spending Increase/Decrease
(in billions)
1"So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat."$3,120Treasury said cost to taxpayers for TARP was $41.4 billion (CNN) - amounts not paid back by AIG, GM, Chrysler, that would be a 10.35 percent subsidy rate based on the $400B spent in TARP. This is in range with the SBA loan default rate is 10.12 percent.
2"We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities, and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. ... The House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay."$9,745CBO report for H.R. 2847, the Jobs for Main Street Act, as passed by the House of Representatives on December 16, 2009. CBO
3"One place to start is serious financial reform. ... A strong healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy.

We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. We can't allow financial institutions including those that take your deposits to take risks that threaten the whole economy.

The House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. And the lobbyists are already trying to kill it. Well we cannot let them win this fight. And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform I will send it back."
$509Changes in direct spending from the CBO report for H.R. 4173, the Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009, as passed on December 11, 2009. And authorizations of appropriations in the text.
4"But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. That means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country."Unknown. 
5"But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. ... It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development."Unknown. 
6"I am grateful to the House for passing [a comprehensive energy and climate bill] last year. This year, I am eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate."$51,540CBO cost estimate for H.R. 2454, American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009, as passed on June 26, 2009.
7"We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America. To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security."Unknown. 
8"I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer-subsidies that go to banks for student loans. Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants."-$1,940CBO/Text for H.R. 3221, Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2009, as passed by the House September 17, 2009 (CBO did not finish a complete estimate of discretionary spending in the bill).
9"And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years ... and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service."Unknown. 
10"That's why we're ... expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg."$3,000Center for Budget Priorities and Policies, "Refundability would add $2 billion to $3 billion per year to the cost of the credit and promote saving among millions of low-and moderate-income households." CBPP
11"This year, we will step up re-financing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages."Unknown. 
12"Here's what I ask of Congress, though: Do not walk away from [health care] reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people."Unknown. 
13"Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will."-$10,000Media reports talked about a $10-$15 billion savings, $250 billion over ten years.
14"We will continue to go through the budget line by line to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year."Unknown.This was included in a discussion of which groups would or would not receive tax cut, it is likely the cited "savings" includes increased tax revenues.
15"Yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created [a Fiscal Commission]. So I will issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward ... ."Unknown.Any savings are impossible to estimate since they would depend on the specific recommendations from the Commission, and on acceptance of that package by Congress.
16"Tonight, all of our men and women in uniform .. in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world ... must know that they have our respect, our gratitude, and our full support. And just as they must have the resources they need in war, we all have a responsibility to support them when they come home. ... And that is why Michelle has joined with Jill Biden to forge a national commitment to support military families."$2,031Washington Post: a 3 percent increase in funding for military families to $8.8 billion. Baseline of $6,769.
17"And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring forty-four nations together behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists."$2,674Albuquerque Journal Jan 16: 26 percent increase in nuclear non-proliferation programs, baseline: $2,122, from a White House Letter, September 2009.
18"And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bio-terrorism or an infectious disease ... a plan that will counter threats at home, and strengthen public health abroad."Unknown."DHS has estimated that developing the necessary medical countermeasures to meet the bioterrorism threat would cost $3.4 billion annually for five years. But the funding for that effort in fiscal 2010 is less than one-tenth that amount the report lamented." HS Today

Any savings are impossible to estimate since they would depend on the specific recommendations from the Commission and on acceptance of that package by Congress.
19"This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are."-$19The Government Accountability Office estimated that ?the cost to recruit and train replacements for enlisted service members separated under the policy from fiscal years 1994 through 2003 was about $190.5 million. GAO
20"We are going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws ... so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work."Unknown.It is unclear whether this would be a new effort, or following up on legislation passed into law early in the 111th Congress.
21"And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system ? to secure our borders enforce our laws and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nations."$9,800Cost: $9.8 billion ($49 billion over five years). Source: Senator Obama voted in favor of passing S. 2611 (109th Congress): A bill to provide for comprehensive immigration reform and for other purposes. A CBO cost estimate is available. CBO

Historical Comparisons

President/SpeechNon-Defense Discretionary Spending (in billions)Defense/Homeland Security Spending
(in billions)
Clinton -- 1999$305$22
Clinton -- 2000$119$21
W. Bush -- 2002*$55$51
W. Bush -- 2003$46$6
W. Bush -- 2004$13.6N/A
W. Bush -- 2005$12.8N/A
W. Bush -- 2006$.091N/A
W. Bush -- 2007$3.48$8.9
W. Bush -- 2008$24.75$109.89
Obama -- 2010$10.2$11.3
*Historically Presidents do not give State of the Union addresses their first year in office (2001 for President Bush, 2009 for President Obama).