Pres. Obama “Recycler-in-Chief” (part 1)
His speech was nothing but a laundry list of populist statements designed to get feel-good applause and repackage his Keynesian economic proposals. We’ll give him this; he wasn’t as viciously partisan as many suspected he’d be. Amongst the debunked myths he continues to peddle, a host of other fallacies and misstatements need to be exposed.
While talking about the troops overseas, President Obama discussed their teamwork:
“They’re not consumed with personal ambition. They don’t obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.
“Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.”
First off, working together for the sake of working together is why our country is in this mess. For decades, majorities of both parties in Congress agreed on more government and more spending, and our economy has suffered greatly. And now, returning to an era of smaller government requires courage from all of Congress, not just one party.
As for the troop analogy, President Obama should look in the mirror. Has he not been campaigning for his own re-election instead of governing since the middle of last year? Has he not taken every opportunity to vilify those who disagree with him and try to divide the American people? And hasn’t he made the same promises over and over again and failed to deliver on them even when his party had complete control over Congress for 2 years?
“They understood they were part of something larger; that they were contributing to a story of success that every American had a chance to share — the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement.”
World War II veterans (and all veterans) know the value of hard work, something that sadly, far too many non-veteran Americans today just don’t understand. Nowadays, working hard is doing the bare minimum – or less – and expecting more money simply for being born in this country.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well while a growing number of Americans barely get by, or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake aren’t Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.”
American values revolve around individual liberty and entrepreneurship, not taking more of successful people’s money and handing it over to unsuccessful people. What America does President Obama live in?
“Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.”
Actually, according to The Heritage Foundation, if you look at data from 2008 through 2010, the rich have actually lost 40% of their wealth. Their incomes are not rising “like never before,” as the President claims.
“In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn’t afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people’s money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn’t have the authority to stop the bad behavior.”
Who was the driving force behind banks giving loans and mortgages to people who couldn’t afford or understand them? Oh yes, it was Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA)! Now, the President touts the Dodd-Frank regulations as having solved that problem, but if that were the case, how do you explain the fact that MF Global CEO Jon Corzine made incredibly risky bets with clients’ money that was not supposed to be used for such gambling? Does the President believe that Dodd-Frank should have stopped this from happening?
“In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly 4 million jobs. And we lost another 4 million before our policies were in full effect.”
As the Washington Post points out, it took 9 months for the last 4 million job losses to occur. That’s 8 months after the “stimulus” was passed and four months after the recession officially ended. The Heritage Foundation’s J.D. Foster expands:
“Once again we are reminded — President Obama inherited an economy in recession. Right. But the recession ended in June of 2009. This fact leads to three important conclusions.
“First, it means the recession’s end occurred independent the big stimulus bill Obama signed in the previous February. Three months of a gradually implemented stimulus is insufficient time to have a noticeable effect.
“Second, thirty one months have passed since recession’s end, which leads to, third, an economy that is muddling along at around 2 percent growth should by this time be expanding nearly twice that rate.”
The President has been trying to claim for years that nothing has been in the least bit his fault, but then trying to take credit for any positive signs in the economy.
“Those are the facts. But so are these: In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than 3 million jobs. “
That’s true, but the larger fact is that we are still 1.7 million jobs below where we were when President Obama took office.
“As long as I’m President, I will work with anyone in this chamber to build on this momentum.”
Translation: if you agree with me, I’ll work with you.
“No, we will not go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing, bad debt, and phony financial profits.”
Like his “green” energy boondoggles?
“On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure.”
GM still went through the bankruptcy process, only instead of going through it like every other company, the Obama administration gave control of the company to the autoworkers union. It wouldn’t have died without government intervention, but it would have been in better shape to deal with one of the problems that caused the collapse in the first place (pensions).
“Today, for the first time in 15 years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”
He just had to say “unionized,” didn’t he? The fact of the matter is that the plant would be running at full capacity even without unionization…so long as the NLRB did not try to shut it down.
“Ask yourselves what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.”
Right, your country will help you succeed, but when you do succeed, the government will take your money and then vilify you for succeeding.
“Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let’s change it.”
Now, you might think that sounds like the President wants to make sure our corporate tax rate is not one of the highest in the world, but oh, how we would be wrong. The President actually wants businesses that are successful overseas to be taxed at that higher tax rate. How will that help create jobs here? Either you pay the higher tax rate overseas but still have lower costs to do business, or you pay that higher tax rate here with the higher costs to do business.
His idea to force companies to pay a minimum tax is an extension of the AMT, a tax that nearly every serious tax reform proposal repeals. The Heritage Foundation’s J.D. Foster explains that President Obama proposed to extend the AMT from income taxes to business taxes in order “to create a new basic minimum tax for businesses. Once again, when it comes to tax policy, President Obama sees what needs to be done – and does the exact opposite.”
“From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.
“[I]f you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.”
The President’s tax reform plan centers around further subsidizing industries that he likes and punishing industries that he does not like. It’s been his basic form of governance all along; he positions himself as the arbiter of all things good and evil. He knows what American tax dollars should be spent on and he knows what they should not be spent on. It’s arrogant and does no good for our economy.
“Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.”
Great. Another new government agency.
“Jackie Bray is a single mom from North Carolina who was laid off from her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and formed a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the college design courses in laser and robotics training. It paid Jackie’s tuition, then hired her to help operate their plant.”
Here’s the thing about Jackie Bray: the private sector paid for her training, not government. President Obama wants more government job training programs. But there are already 47 government job training programs, and research shows they are ineffective, so why would yet another one be any different?
“Teachers matter. So instead of bashing them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer schools a deal. Give them the resources to keep good teachers on the job, and reward the best ones. And in return, grant schools flexibility: to teach with creativity and passion; to stop teaching to the test; and to replace teachers who just aren’t helping kids learn.”
How does he know that the teachers that were laid off weren’t those that weren’t helping kids learn? Performance pay has been called for by conservatives for some time now, unfortunately, unions don’t like it. They want to continue the status quo of seniority-based pay and paying all teachers equally, regardless of performance.
“Let’s also remember that hundreds of thousands of talented, hardworking students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they aren’t yet American citizens. Many were brought here as small children, are American through and through, yet they live every day with the threat of deportation.”
He brought up the DREAM Act, again? Really? He couldn’t even get that passed when his own party had control of Congress.
“I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That’s why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before.”
He has promised this in both of his previous State of the Union addresses, and even though his party had control of Congress for the first two years of his administration, nothing was done on illegal immigration.
At this point, while watching, we started to realize that this sounds exactly like every other speech he’s given during his Presidency: it’s heavy on rhetoric, and light on concrete ideas. We’ll see if his FY 2013 budget addresses any of the issues he talked about.
STAY TUNED! There’s lots more State of the Union to cover! Tune in tomorrow for the next chapter. Coming up: energy and taxes!