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Forbes Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes: Obama's State of the Union 'Really a Trip To Fantasy Land'

( [email protected] ) Jan 13, 2016 02:41 PM EST
Business leader Steve Forbes said that Obama's State of the Union, "speech was really a trip to fantasy land. His description of the US economy is not what most Americans experience in their paychecks, his statements about how we're regarded abroad, about ISIS, I think just strike people as a man who is not in touch with reality. It's getting uglier out there, not better."
Forbes Media Chairman and Editor-in-Chief Steve Forbes speaks during a news conference before the Forbes Global CEO Conference. Reuters

Business leader Steve Forbes said that Obama's State of the Union, "speech was really a trip to fantasy land. His description of the US economy is not what most Americans experience in their paychecks, his statements about how we're regarded abroad, about ISIS, I think just strike people as a man who is not in touch with reality. It's getting uglier out there, not better."

The railing remarks came as part of a CBN interview on his views of Obama's State of the Union address on Tuesday. Forbes also has a new book, Reviving America, which touches on a few of the fire and brimstone topics swirling in Washington today that he spoke about in the interview. 

Obama seems to think that he has brought Americans closer together, but is apparently willing to admit that there is still a long way to go. Many would say that Americans are still very deeply divided on hot-button issues such as abortion, marriage, taxes, Washington's spending sprees, guns, immigration and more.

Forbes isn't alone in his thoughts on the American view of the present economy. A Rasmussen Reports poll noted that only 28 percent of American voters feel that the country is heading in the right direction, and that negative view has increased two points from the previous three weeks.

It doesn't help that the labor force participation rate has plummeted to just over 62 percent over the past decade. In addition, many Americans have settled for part-time work, or given up searching for work altogether.

In response to how he believes history will judge this president, Forbes said, "I think they're going to judge it as a massive disappointment, both domestically and in terms of foreign policy. America is weaker overseas despite what the president said about our military being strong, which it is, though he has run it down. [He has] reduced the size of the navy, reduced the size of the army, not made the investments we need in new weapons technology, we see the Middle East going through convulsions, which are now hitting our own shores and those of Europe, a massive refugee crisis. And on the domestic economy, this is the worst recovery from a sharp economic downturn in American history. We're six years, seven years into a supposed recovery, and most Americans have seen their real paychecks shrink and not grow."

Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) said that Obama's State of the Union speech "seemed to dismiss ISIS as not truly a threat to the United States, but I would argue that there is a valid threat out there."

In addition, former CIA director Michael Morell testified on Capitol Hill that, "ISIS has gained affiliates faster than Al Qaeda ever did."

Forbes also suggests that Obamacare, "needs to be repealed and replaced with a gradual system that's patient oriented, where the patients are in charge. Today, it's all third party payers. It's employers, it's government, it's insurance companies and the patient takes last place."

Some of the reforms he suggests include giving Americans the opportunity to, "nationwide shop for insurance so that you get the policies you want, not what bureaucrats want, and having hospitals and clinics post prices for all their products and services and treatments so you can see where you get the best value for your money."

Forbes suggests a "flat tax" to replace the current IRS code and, "get rid of this corrupt tax code which now runs more than 10 million words, verses a little over 780 thousand words in the Holy Bible, and replace it with a single rate system. Generous exemptions for adults and for children...for example, for a family of four, the first $52,800 would be free of federal income tax, no tax on your savings and no death tax...for anything above that first $52,800 you'd only pay .17 cents on the dollar, and do the same on the business side," He added that all the tax forms need to be reduced to one page.

"The American people need to be enabled to keep more of what they earn," Forbes said. He also suggests simplifying the tax code so that small business owners can focus more on their businesses. He says that this will bring significant positive changes to the economy.

Forbes notes that, "over 30 countries around the world have put in the flat tax, and it's worked very well. So this isn't a laboratory experiment."

He also sees the situation as, "a moral issue, " pointing out that if you add up all the hours spent on tax forms and, "the trillions of dollars we've spent complying with this tax code" that this is time and money that could have been spent on, "creating new products, creating new medical devices, new services, new cures for diseases. [Imagine] how much better our lives would be."

Another controversial issue among conservatives and democrats is the Federal Reserve. Steve Forbes believes that America would be much better off if the Fed were, "drastically downsized and simplified," because, "it's become a corrupt institution taking on massive powers. And so what the Fed should do is allow real interest rates." He says that when interest rates are suppressed as the Fed has done, "what they end up doing is hurting not only savers, but loans to small and new businesses which have grown hardly at all."

Forbes referred to small and new businesses as, "the job creators in this economy."

Another thing he believes that the Fed should do is, "reduce the size of its bloated portfolio of securities that it's given itself, almost 5 trillion dollars, so that that money can start going back into the financial system to finance new and small businesses and the needs of households." He also suggests returning to the gold standard.

Forbes admits that there isn't one individual candidate that has embraced all of his suggestions in his new book, Reviving America, but that his hope is that getting it out there and in the hands of Americans will create a pressure in Washington that will cause it to sit up and take notice because Americans vote for candidates who collectively hold to the ideals in his book. 

Tags : Steve Forbes, Obama State of the Union, 2016 elections, U.S. economy