The State of the Union: Optimism or naivete?

The economy is better and we should be optimistic, according to President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. But is it that simple?

Many economic indicators — including the unemployment rate — are positive, but Obama still proposed ideas to target those Americans who haven’t really benefited from the recovery.

SiriusXM Patriot‘s Mike Church called the president out on this perceived contradiction, specifically the story about Rebekah and Ben Erlers’ financial struggle.

“He did a little more embellishment on the wonderful, marvelous state of the economy. And then about how the Erlers were not looking for a handout. This was the sum total of what he called the resurgence of middle class economics. ‘America, Rebecca and Ben’s story is our story,’ Mr. President intoned,” Church said. “‘Families like Rebecca’s still need our help.’ Well, apparently, they don’t!”

Over on SiriusXM POTUSMichael Smerconish argued that, had they won the 2012 election, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan would love to take credit for today’s economy.

“$2.65 gas, Dow approaching 18,000, deficit that’s been cut by two-thirds, unemployment at 5.6 percent rate … they would’ve said, ‘my God, that would be a stellar record!'”

Smerconish added that while the economy is by no means completely recovered, a speech like this is important for morale.

“People haven’t felt like things have gotten better. They may open up the newspaper and they may look at their 401k statement and they may see a news report that is suggestive of a light at the end of the tunnel, but they just haven’t felt it,” Smerconish said. “And I think that a large part of what the president was trying to do last night was to address the psychological component of where the country is.”

On SiriusXM ProgressThe Agenda, Illinois Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D) discussed an issue that did not toe party lines during the president’s address.

“The Trans-Pacific Partnership, which many of us feel – to the extent that we’ve even been allowed to see any of it – that it would be a bad deal for American workers and American consumers,” Congresswoman Schakowsky said. “I am very much against it. We saw the one time the Republicans stand and most of the Democrats, if not all, stay seated. I think that most people agree with the president that past trade agreements haven’t worked, and when we look at the TPP, we think this trade agreement won’t work either.”

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