Backdrop Summary: Items in the table below provide a top-level insight regarding legislative and fiscal health at the national level. Review “Backdrop Parts I-VIII” on the right-hand navigation pane for complete coverage of individual parts of the SOTU Backdrop Summary.
Micro-communities within host nation borders
Unskilled job market shrinking
Free money for all
U.S. contribution to the U.N.
Cost of violence 13.3 % of world GDP
New World Order
World economic situation
U.S. $24 trillion GDP loss
Fiscal outlook and debt
Oath of Office
Immigration into the U.S.
U.S. 47 million migrants
Bureau of Labor Statistics
Employment and Underemployment
Government Accountability Office
Lobbying $3.1 billion and 11,143 lobbyists
$272 billion healthcare swindle
Marijuana trends among 8th, 10th, and 12th grades
Drug and alcohol use amoung college students
Three-quarters of new jobs are STEM
U.S. students score average internationally, and below average in math
Summary Part I: Prolog
National and international cultures are establishing micro-communities within the borders of host nations via the use of social media. They represent every skill, education, experience and income level, and many differing political and religious systems and beliefs. New technology applications threaten labor intensive jobs as nearly half of jobs are vulnerable to computerization, shrinking the need for unskilled labor. Demand for employees skilled in developing and using science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are in demand.
Technology At Work v2.0, Citi GPS: Global Perspectives & Solutions, January 2016. Offshoring for cost savings is pursued less as a result of new technology applications, which shrink the number of unskilled jobs. Europeans are beginning to mull free money for all. The inference is unemployment creates instability which can be solved by subsidizing family income.
As unemployment rates rise, conflict and instability increase nationally, and internationally, requiring peacekeeping operations. Worldwide peacekeeping operations are expensive. The chart for 2016-2018 indicates the U.S. contribution to be 28.36 Billion of an overall total of 53.03 Billion for the entire UN. (United Nations General Assembly)
World's Most and Least Peaceful Countries in 2016: Currently, violence costs 13.3% of the Worlds GDP annually, or 13 trillion, 300 billion dollars. This equates to 5$ per person daily, and $1,876 annually. Since 2008, there has been a 286% increase in deaths from violence. Possibly as expected, Syria was the least peaceful country in 2016, and by far had the most refugees fleeing to find refuge. (Forbes)
Summary Part II: New World Order, Status of Nations & International Trade:
The New World Order: Ultimately leads to member nations surrendering, or subjugating, their individual authority to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), World Bank, World Trade Organization (WTO), European Union (EU), United Nations (UN) and “Open Borders.” The New World Order is essentially an initial attempt to bring about common results for citizens of the world. Member nations may have decisions by the EU and UN enacted and enforced within their own borders without their agreement.
World Economic Situation and Prospects: Joint product report of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA) and seven additional UN and external organizations. The report is lengthy and extensive. The Executive Summary states more than seven years after the global financial crisis, policymakers around the world still face enormous challenges in stimulating investment and reviving global growth.
The U.S. Trade Imbalance: Imported goods and services have far exceeded exported goods for over twenty years, resulting in a net export loss of ($9,975,399) 9 trillion, 975 billion and 399 million. Had the goods and services trade been balanced, that is produced domestically, at the MMF of 250% of the 1992-1995 level, it would have exceeded over . . . $24,938,498 [24 trillion, 938 billion and 498 million] more dollars of domestic GDP in production and spending, and . . . $12,469,248 [12 trillion, 468 billion and 248 million] more dollars in taxes and fee revenue, and a many more jobs.
Savings from the imbalance of imports are overrated. To arrive at the true cost, the cost of maintaining the infrastructure abandoned, unemployment insurance payments, food stamps, medical care provided and other welfare costs associated with the loss of employment are in fact a cost that should be added to the price of imported goods and services.
Summary Part III: Congressional Stalemate & U.S. Debt
How Concerning Is U.S. Political Gridlock? Questions about the health of America’s political institutions and the future of its global leadership have become rampant, with some citing partisan gridlock as evidence of America’s decline. Committee members are no-show for committee meetings and votes. The nuclear option established by the senate may not be a friend.
Fiscal Outlook and Debt: Congress and the new administration face serious economic, security, and social challenges that will require difficult policy choices in the short term about the level of federal spending and investments as well as ways to obtain needed resources. Decisions to enhance economic growth and address national policies need to be accompanied by a fiscal plan to put the government on a path that is more sustainable over the long term.
Summary Part IV: National Defense, Security and Immigration
Oath of Office: The President of the United States, the Cabinet, U.S. Congress, Department of Defense, Department of Justice, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and all elected officials and employees of the federal government are required to take the oath. In some cases, the wording is changed based on the specific office. Additionally, most states, cities, law enforcement personnel and their employees are required to take the same or similar oath. The oath may also be required of contractors, suppliers and their personnel performing sensitive work.
Conducting commerce with or serving as an agent of an enemy of the United States, in effect, provides aid and comfort to the enemy. Profit from activities can be used by the enemy to support aggression against citizens of the United States, or allies of the United Sates. Individuals and organizations arranging and participating in such activity are effectively foreign agents failing to uphold the oath.
Immigration into the United States: A complex demographic phenomenon that has been a major source of population growth and cultural change throughout history.
Definitions: The terms immigrant and emigrant are frequently confusing. Immigrant is a person entering a country from another country. Emigrant is a person who has left their home country for another country.
Migrants is a general term referring to the total number of persons worldwide, that have emigrated from their home country for another. The number of international migrants worldwide has continued to grow rapidly over the past fifteen years reaching 244 million in 2015, up from 222 million in 2010, 191 million in 2005 and 173 million in 2000.
The Immigration and Naturalization Act (INA), the body of law governing current immigration policy, provides for an annual worldwide limit of 675,000 permanent immigrants, with certain exceptions for close family members.
The Migration Policy Institute Interactive Map: and the International Migration Report for 2015 indicate the most international migrants, 47 million, resided in the United States of America. This is equal to 19 per cent of the world’s total. Migration Data Hub.
Summary Part V: Unemployment and Underemployment
Bureau of Labor Statistics Calculators: Display graphical images by category. Selecting an image will lead to a list of data table titles which can be selected for further research. Place a check-mark in a box and select “Retrieve data” at the bottom of the page to retrieve the data.
Data retrieved using the calculator: (in thousands) as of December 2016: (Selecting Employment, Monthly, Labor Force Statistics) will provide a table of reports which will provide the following:
Civilian Labor Force Level: (In thousands. Some totals will not agree due to rounding of hundreds of data files)
Labor Force Participation Rate: 62.7 percent.
Employment Level: 152,111
Employed Full-time: 124,248
Employed Part-time: 27,895
Unemployment Level: 7,529
Welfare Statistics: (current data as of January 2017)
Total number of Americans receiving welfare government assistance: 67,891,000
Receiving SNAP food stamps: 41,170,000
Receiving UI/EDD unemployment insurance: 10,200,000
Total Federal government spending on welfare programs annually (not including food stamps or unemployment): $158,200,000,000
Personal desires regarding employment may be difficult to gauge. Unemployment + Part-time employment may indicate underemployment. If so, that would equate to 35,424 (in thousands) underemployed. Additionally, there are 28,400 (in thousands) students 16 years and above attending high school and college. These two statistics equal 63,824 (in thousands). * White House briefing response - the data tables are used for many purposes and may be difficult to understand.
Summary Part VI: Government Agencies & Regulation
The Government Accountability Office (GAO): An independent, nonpartisan agency that works for Congress, often called the "congressional watchdog." GAO investigates how the federal government spends taxpayer dollars. Given GAO is the "congressional watchdog," what is the record of the GAO?
What GAO Found: The lead-in statement. "To operate as effectively and efficiently as possible, Congress, the administration, and federal managers must have ready access to reliable and complete financial and performance information—both for individual federal entities and for the federal government as a whole." Somewhere between 18 percent and 34 percent of total federal assets unaccounted for. The GAO also indicates an estimated 53% of federal agencies may not report expenditures for consulting, and the validity reports submitted may be in error. Funds expended by lobbyists are difficult to determine, as well as who the recipients are. In essence, financial reporting at the federal level is in need of significant review and change. (GAO comment)
Lobbying Database: In addition to campaign contributions to elected officials and candidates, companies, labor unions, and other organizations spend billions of dollars each year to lobby Congress and federal agencies. Some special interests retain lobbying firms. The total lobbying spending for 2016 was $3.12 billion, and the number of active lobbyists who actually lobbied was 11,143. Putting that in perspective, $5,522,123 was spent on lobbying per congressional representative, and the ratio was 19.72 lobbyists per representative.
Summary Part VII: Affordable Healthcare
This question must be asked. "What reasoning can possibly justify legalizing drug addiction for tax revenue?" Creating millions of addicts is somehow unseemly.
Determining what is affordable healthcare is beyond the scope and purview of this research activity. However, something alarming regarding the charge to protect the health and well-being of Americans has been identified as the area of focus.
Mission of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS): The U.S. Department of HHS is to enhance and protect the health and well-being of all Americans. To fulfill that mission by providing for effective health and human services and fostering advances in medicine, public health, and social services. Healthcare Tab: Cost for 2016 is expected to surpass $10,000 per person. National healthcare expenditures are expected to total over $3.35 trillion for the year, or approximately 18% of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of $18.5 trillion for the U.S.
The $272 Billion Swindle: Thieves love America’s health-care system. Drug Trafficking by the numbers: $200-$750 billion in 2013, exact data unknown as an underground industry. Drug trafficking is an issue worldwide and defined as the “global illicit trade involving the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, and sale of substances which are subject to drug prohibition laws” by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).
Marijuana Trends: In daily use, risk, disapproval, and availability. With a national trend on approving the cultivation and sale of marijuana, originally for medical purposes, now for recreational purposes, the daily usage and availability of the drug by children in grades 8, 10 and 12 is alarming. While a large percentage of students state they disapprove of marijuana use, a decreasing number see use as a risk, and the higher the grade level, the higher the percentage of students using the drug.
Statistics and Trends: Six percent of high school seniors report daily use of marijuana. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. Its use is widespread among young people. According to a yearly survey of middle and high school students.
Drug and Alcohol Use: College-Age Adults in 2015. Daily marijuana use has grown continuously, and since 2014, cocaine use by college students has increased significantly.
Summary Part VIII: Education
Three-quarters of the fastest-growing occupations require education beyond a high school diploma; with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics careers prominent on the list.
Students in Singapore and Japan score significantly higher than U.S. students. There is an exception to the U.S. outcome, and that is Massachusetts, which scores much higher. Massachusetts has been on the forefront of the STEM initiative with the University of Massachusetts leading the way on assessment and program improvement. Also, Building products for export provides significant learning experiences.
Charter Schools: Public schools that are allowed the freedom to be more innovative while being held accountable for advancing student achievement. They are open to all children; do not charge tuition; and do not have special entrance requirements. The federal Charter Schools Program (CSP) provides money to create new high-quality public charter schools, as well as to disseminate information about ones with a proven track record. 4.5 percent of U.S. GDP spent on education. Highest of all nations.
Latest PISA Results: Demonstrates current standing of U.S. students as holding steady in reading and science performance, and slipping significantly in math. U.S. students score at or below average in all categories.
Current models for managing and administering U.S. schools, teachers and students originate at federal and state levels of government. This approach creates an inflexible model which places a ceiling on growth and excellence by establishing manage-to and teach-to values. It is the same problem industry had thirty years ago regarding quality of products. Focus on the process to improve the product at the process level, the classroom and school.
Students learn and score higher when traditional methods are used. Open classrooms and technology can be used, however, must support structured learning to objectives with the teacher in control.
Student success improves when involved in apprentice programs with industry while attending school.
Student success increases with more time on the subject for deeper learning to solve complex problems.
U.S. places too much emphasis on faculty evaluation by students. Most countries evaluate faculty via student outcomes.
U.S. teaches in a circular model, coming back to the subject at varying times in the curriculum rather than extended time on subject.
Future Forecast: 2014 summarizes the current Washington scene and provides a still current Worldwide conflict threat assessment.
Given the national and international backdrop, the following items are anticipated to be included in President Trump’s State of the Union (SOTU) Address.
1. Prolog. (Part I)
2. New World Order and Status of Nations. (Part II)
3. International Trade. (Part II)
4. Congressional Stalemate. (Part III)
5. U.S. Debt Limit (Part III)
6. National Defense and Security. (Part IV)
7. Immigration. (Part IV)
8. Unemployment and Underemployment. (Part V)
9. Government Agencies and Regulation. (Part VI)
10. Affordable Healthcare. (Part VII)
11. Education. (Part VIII)
This is the first issue of the SOTU backdrop, and will be updated annually as significant changes occur. The items listed above represent a review of legislative and fiscal health at the national level. Reviews are based on available federal data, and information published based on the data. National defense and security are addressed in relationship to congress and the administration regarding external and internal responsibilities. Items not included in this initial review are the financial community, military, and more which may be added.