Socialist Party of America
Socialist Response to the 2024 State of the Union Address
March 7, 2024

This year’s address is much like those of past capitalist administrations. Much of the same promises, over-simplification, half-truths, and full-on lies. Empty gestures, pomp and tradition, zero substance. When it comes to meeting the needs of working people in America, the State of the Union address serves as nothing more than free prime time coverage for the current administration to run a campaign ad.

That said, we would like to respond to many of the claims and statements made during tonight’s address. We will offer a quick rebuttal of each major point in a breakdown by general topic.

The president opened by bragging about expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden. The promise of never expanding NATO towards Russia was what brought down the Berlin Wall. However, this expansionism has gone unchecked and is one of the biggest contributing factors to the current conflict in Ukraine. While we are by no means defending Russia or President Putin, the current conflict wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the expansion of NATO. Why is NATO expanding? There isn’t a new threat in the region, and hasn’t been in nearly 30 years. However, moving new countries to the NATO standard for weapons and military equipment means huge profits for companies like Boeing, Lockheed, RTX, and Northrop Grumman.

Biden talked about women’s rights and defending Roe v. Wade. However, as in previous years, failed to mention that during previous Democrat majorities, the party failed to codify the protections afforded by the court ruling. The overturning of Roe v. Wade was allowed to happen because it is an effective fundraising tool for Democrats, plain and simple. Under a socialist administration, women’s reproductive health will be free and a private matter between women and their doctors.

Biden moved to the topic of housing, talking about creating “incentives” (tax breaks) for developers to “increase housing stock.” This is an old trope going back years that basically implies what’s causing homelessness is a shortage of houses, but never addresses the price of housing or the fact that companies use houses as speculative assets. These types of plans, often labeled “Missing Middle” or similar, are schemes invented by developers to allow them to get around existing affordable housing laws and build nothing but luxury condos to be used for speculation and market manipulation. Under socialism, housing will be a human right, and free public housing will be a major initiative.

Much of the speech was spent talking about the profits of drug companies, as if Biden will be the one to reign them in. Meanwhile, he signaled to these companies: don’t worry, you’ll still make a “healthy profit.” Spoiler alert: there are no such things as “healthy profits.” Profit is the result of exploitation of working people, as lowering wages is one of the only ways to drive profits. So when the president claims he’s going to stop corporate abuse while still allowing for healthy profits, he’s saying he’s not going to stop corporate abuse.

Biden went on to talk about making college “more affordable,” but this is sort of like making health care “more accessible” (another promise made). This implies that these things belong on a market and your education and your health are things you only deserve if you have money. In a socialist America, education and health care will be human rights.

Another strange point that was made was that Biden’s proposed tax code includes cuts for “anyone making under $400,000 per year.” This is a sneaky way of saying tax cuts for the rich: the median income in America is $32,000 per year. When you make this little, you end up paying more in taxes because you can’t afford a fancy accountant to find all of the loopholes for you. People making almost half a million most certainly can and do, making their effective tax rate much lower than those making the median salary.

The president went on to name drop Cookie Monster, who recently posted to social media to complain about his cookies getting smaller, claiming this is “shrinkflation” – a tactic companies use to increase profits. But once again this misses the most important fact: companies increase profits by driving down wages, not shrinking their products down.

Biden talked about eliminating “junk fees” for things like cable internet, even though the real issue is the service quality, and the fact that these companies skirt around regulations with no enforcement from the FCC, which is run by lobbyists for these companies. The socialist solution to all of these problems is simple: our utilities – including internet – should all be publicly-owned.

Biden went on to talk about the current genocide being waged by Israel against Palestinians, claiming they have a “right to defend themselves” against Hamas, the ruling party of Palestinian people. Biden called Hamas “terrorists” and claimed they “hide under hospitals” and other civilian infrastructure: an excuse for the genocide being carried out by Israel. This has been shown to be completely false. With a large amount of the civilian infrastructure in Gaza destroyed, Hamas would surely be defeated by now, and yet they are not.

Biden went on to announce that the US military will be embarking upon a mission to build a sea port in Gaza to “allow in humanitarian aid.” Biden did not mention the fact that Israel has routinely blocked aid deliveries by land. A sea port would not increase aid deliveries unless Israel has had a sudden change of plans and called off the genocide. And without a ceasefire, there will be no safe way for people to get to the aid. This entire mission is nothing but a pretext to send US troops to Gaza, effectively creating a backdoor for the US to enter this conflict directly. While Biden claims this will not result in any boots on the ground, he ended his speech by saying “may God protect our troops.”

In summary, this State of the Union address is once again an announcement of business as usual: war to distract the population while laundering tax dollars to corporations. What this address proves is that we need a social and political revolution in this country for anything to change.