Is President Obama Serious About Fixing The Economy?

UPDATED

SECOND UPDATE: AP FACTHECK CRITICAL OF SPEECH:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_OBAMA_JOBS_FACT_CHECK?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2011-09-08-19-52-31

President Obama is entering a critical phase of his administration with a stalled economy, shrinking approval and looming scandals in which cronies get hundreds of millions of tax dollars and go bankrupt. Worse, the cronies get paid back first. We the taxpayers have the smelly end of the stick.

But on to the speech.

The president really has two choices. He can act for the good of the nation, or he can act as a political leader. Acting for the good of the nation would mean being a true Republican as opposed to the variety of pseudo Republicans we so often see. Acting as a true Republican would likely push the nation over the edge into a very painful but short term contraction out of which we would emerge stronger. Acting as a political leader leads to speeches like the one he just gave.

He gets off to a bad start:

“…This past week, reporters have been asking “What will this speech mean for
the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls,
and the next election?”

But the millions of Americans who are watching right now: they don’t care
about politics. They have real life concerns. Many have spent months looking for
work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by – giving up nights out with
the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a
kid to college….”

If he were serious, there is no need to mention Washington and its inhabitants at all.  Much less reporters. We all know the reporter’s questions, we’ve asked them ourselves. The wording indicates that those millions of people are props for what he considers of real importance: politics.  He goes on for a few paragraphs of fustian patting us all on the head for having the faith in a bygone America he has never shown much belief in.   Then he makes his next gaffe: “The American Jobs Act.”

He pays lip service to the facts when he says “…Those of us here tonight can’t solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately,
our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our
workers….”

If he truly meant this there would be no American Jobs Act. If he truly meant this he would take any of the hundreds of practical steps he can take without passing a new law.  If he truly meant this there would have been no health care reform bill whose uncertainty and illegality is working to keep businesses from hiring because they have no idea what their costs will be. He has spent so much tax money that the interest burden is crushing and growing. He has not taken on the banks or forced an end to the foreclosure mess. all of these thing can be done without another Washington money giveaway.

He is unintentionally correct when he says “… Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been
supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here
tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.” This is President Obama at his “best” extolling a plan simply because it is an idea congenial to the porkmeisters in Washington and insisting it will be “paid for.” It can only be “paid for” in budget cuts and none are mentioned.

From his own description, the bill cannot work: “…Pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax
cut if they hire new workers or raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and
all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next
year. If you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax
cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments
they make in 2012….”

In other words, tax money being thrown at a problem that doesn’t need tax money. We need lower government spending, a tax burden that is known and does not hang like a Sword of Damocles and less government, not more. The opposite of what is in this speech.

The next section is, frankly, appalling. The trots out the very same straw people he used for the first stimulus: infrastructure, jobs for construction people, school renovation, etc. and rambles on as if “porkulus” had never occurred and was not an abject failure. He expects us to fork over another half trillion for “shovel ready projects” as if the first trillion dollar fork over worked.  We are in worse shape than at the time of the first “stimulus” and now he wants more. Unemployment is still awful, the growth rate is flat, the dollar weak, inflation is growing and now he wants the 1/2 who pay taxes to pay more once again to have it tossed to someone who hires a make-work employee.

It is time for something else, not more of the same.

Then he becomes truly surreal: “…..This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts
Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s
largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the
kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans
alike. You should pass it right away.”

“You should pass it right away” is the mantra of the speech. This time YSPITRA because a Texas Republican and a Massachussetts Democrat say so and because it is supported by a labor union and a “business group.” Of course it is, it is FREE MONEY that can vanish into their pockets. The president doesn’t understand that tax money does not create  wealth. It merely redistributes wealth.

Another sop to another union follows: “….Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to
work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a
world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding
teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s
unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop.
Pass this jobs bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they
belong.”

Teachers are facing trouble because the states can’t pay union demands and bad apples can’t be fired. We don’t need to send droves of teachers back into classrooms to teach when they aren’t hitting people with picket signs.

OK, maybe a case can be made for this paragraph: “…Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire
America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave
their families, and risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing
they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.”

But he follows it with this: “….Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will
have the hope and dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents,
low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of
poverty.” Here he forgets the damage his own policies have done including his championing of illegal immigration which damages precisely these groups of Americans.

Then there is this doozy: “…Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire
anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. We have to do more
to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds
on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where
people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way
to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends
unemployment insurance for another year. If the millions of unemployed Americans
stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic
necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and
Republicans in this Chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of
times in the past. At this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again
— right away.”

It costs more than $4,000 to hire and train an employee. The endless unemployment benefit only encourages people to wait before looking for work while draining the taxpayer. I have met people who are in no hurry to even look for work because, well, they don’t have to because they are getting tax money to wait.

“Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen
hundred dollar tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been
taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket. This expands on the
tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow
that tax cut to expire — if we refuse to act — middle-class families will get
hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We cannot let that happen. I
know some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long
as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise
middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away.”

47 percent of Americans pay no taxes. He is talking about increasing that number at the same time he is spending like “A  drunk duke on his birthday” as a novelist once put it.  The tax burden should be leveled, not tilted more toward the wealthy, who already pay about 70% of taxes.

I have no idea what to make of this, his explanation of how to pay for something that shouldn’t be done in the first place: “…The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1
trillion over the next ten years. It also charges this Congress to come up with
an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I’m asking you to
increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act.
And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan — a plan
that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in
the long run.

This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In
addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law,
it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending
cuts; by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and
Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest
Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. What’s more, the
spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy,
or prevent us from helping small business and middle-class families get back on
their feet right away.”

Wow. He has tripled or quadrupled the debt, intentional acts he shouldn’t have taken, and now he pledges to return the money in penny-packets over ten or more years. It would be simpler to ask Congress to repeal the health care law, and more to the point.

At least he admits that entitlements are in a sad way: “….Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any
changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But
here’s the truth. ….But with an aging population and rising
health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we
don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it
won’t be there when future retirees need it. ”

Stunning. He follows with some “soak the rich” rhetoric and a scary pledge to “reform” the tax code. He and his cronies live in the tax code and other codes like bedbugs in a mattress. His “reform” will be about as good as the “health care reform.”

Then he get to the patented false choice: “…Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money
to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because
we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and
billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate
ready for college and good jobs? Right now, we can’t afford to do both.

This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple
math. These are real choices that we have to make. And I’m pretty sure I know
what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to
do what’s right for our future.”

It is class warfare, and it has nothing to do with the math. Government is the problem and needs to get out of the way. No more American Jobs Acts and crony capitalism. Back to free markets and enforcement of common sense law. How does he explain his relations with Immelt, Fannie and Freddie and Solyndra in the context of his soaring words about corruption?

This quote shows how bad it really is: “…This task, of making America more competitive for the long haul, is a job for
all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local
communities — and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our
game. All of us will have to change the way we do business.”

No, no, no! It is a job for the markets and the economic system and has nothing to do with government or NIMBY communities who won’t allow innovation in their backyard.

Well, at least he recognizes the opposition, even if he doesn’t understand it: “…Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the
economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic
challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most
government regulations.”

I guess you could call this the Caveman view of economics. We  critics all live in skins and can only think of cutting government, because, well, that’s just how we are. In point of fact, entire Washington departments such as Energy and Education have been net negatives since their creation, and others, such as the Post Office, are insupportable except with huge tax influxes. Cut selectively but cut deeply.

The next paragraph is something of a parade of strawmen: “…But what we can’t do — what I won’t do — is let this economic crisis be used
as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on
for decades. I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between
their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to
grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card
companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws
that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject
the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a
global economy. We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer
the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a
race to the top. And I believe that’s a race we can win.”

No one is talking about elimintating the FDA or child safety laws. There are some who feel our tariff structure should impose our mimimum wages on other countries to level the playing field and stop giving an incentive to countries that sell us cheap goods made by slave labor.

The Socialist worm in the apple comes here: “…But there has always been another thread running throughout our history — a
belief that we are all connected; and that there are some things we can only do
together, as a nation.”

I will look it up but I remember Abe Lincoln allowing the transcontinental railroad to proceed not “mobilizing government.” He had a war going and died a full four years before the railroad was built.

Wikipedia:

“The construction and operation of the line was authorized by the Pacific Railroad Acts of 1862 and 1864 during the American Civil War. The Congress supported it with 30-year U.S. government bonds and extensive land grants of government-owned land. Completion of the railroad was the culmination of a decades-long movement to build such a line. It was one of the crowning achievements in the crossing of plains and high mountains westward by the Union Pacific and eastward by the Central Pacific. Opened for through traffic on May 10, 1869, with the driving of the “Last Spike” at Promontory Summit, Utah, the road established a mechanized transcontinental transportation network that revolutionized the population and economy of the American West.”

So it was actually Congress and not Abe. Most of what government did was get out of the way by clearing title to land. The builders were entrepreneurs who had been working on the idea since 1845 or so.  Apparently the president wandered off prompter here and identified Abe as founder of the Republican party. Well, no. if he were Sarah Palin he would be scored for weeks for that one.

He does end on a strong note, and a bipartisan one: ” These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are
tougher than the times that we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have
been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and show the world once again
why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. Thank
you, God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America.”

All in all, more of the same. Which can’t work.

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This entry was posted in Barack Obama, Corruption, Economic Forecasts, Election 2012. Bookmark the permalink.

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