Pres. Obama “Grumbler-in-Chief”
President Obama gave a speech earlier this week about S&P’s credit downgrade and the tragedy in Afghanistan over the weekend. Of course, this also presented a new set of misstatements and partisan snips to analyze. Right out of the gate, the President began playing the blame game:
“On Friday, we learned that the United States received a downgrade by one of the credit rating agencies and not so much because they doubt our ability to pay our debt if we make good decisions, but after witnessing a month of wrangling over raising the debt ceiling, they doubted our political system’s ability to act.”
Eh, not so much. While S&P’s rationale for the downgrade does cite the “prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate…” as factors for the downgrade, when one actually reads further into the report, the S&P actually believes that “containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely…”
Notice the distinction of “raising revenues.” Conservatives are not against “raising revenues,” they are against tax hikes. Pro-growth policies can (and have in the past) raised revenues, but tax hikes on job creators, including small businesses and family farmers, will not grow our economy. Revenue collected from these tax hikes is just as likely to be obliterated by the loss of jobs it would cause. They continue, “…the plan envisions only minor policy changes on Medicare and little change in other entitlements, the containment of which we and most other independent observers regard as key to long-term fiscal sustainability.”
Got it? We need more revenues, but revenues are only down because the economy is down, and we can’t tax ourselves into prosperity. But just as House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her liberal allies continue to oppose any serious reforms to entitlements, we can see which party is truly serious about getting that AAA credit rating back.
“The markets on the other hand believe that our status is AAA and Warren Buffett – who knows a thing or two about good investments – said if there were a quadruple A rating, ‘I would give the United States that,’ and I, and most of the world’s investors agree.” Later in the speech he says:
“Markets will rise and fall, but this is the United States of America. No matter what some agency may say, we have always been and always will be a AAA country.”
The best response to this statement comes from the Washington Post:
“Does this work for Malia and Sasha? ‘No matter what your teacher may say, you always have been and always will be a straight-A student. I have here a signed letter from Warren Buffett saying that if it were possibly[sic] to give you a 120 on that test, he would give it to you unreservedly. And Warren Buffett knows what’s what.’”
President Obama continues:
“The fact is that we didn’t need a rating agency to tell us that we need a balanced long-term approach to deficit reduction. That was true last week. That was true last year. That was true the day I took office.”
Well it’s good that deficit reduction was true on his first day of office, over 933 days ago. Since then, he’s overseen unprecedented deficit spending and presented absolutely no plan to reduce this deficit. Instead, President Obama has exploded our debt and started a brand new entitlement program that is destined to drain taxpayers even further, just as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security begin their demographic-induced implosion.
“We knew from the outset that a prolonged debate over the debt ceiling; and where the default was a bargaining chip could do damage to the economy and the world.”
Right. Well the President and his allies wanted a “clean” debt limit increase. “Since the 1950s, Congress has always passed it, and every president has signed it,” he said in July. Never mind the fact that he himself voted against a debt limit increase when George W. Bush was president or that voting for a clean increase would have gotten our country downgraded without any near-term possibility to raise it back up. All facts that liberals seem to forget – or dismiss.
“…coming after a string of economic disruptions in Japan and the Middle east roiled the confidence and slowed the pace of recovery.”
It’s always something. Problems exist around the world, they always have and they always will. Things that happen outside of our country should not be used to obscure the truth, which is that the President and his administration continue to advance job-destroying policies that increase costs and stymie job-creation.
“Last week, we reached an agreement that will make historic cuts to defense and domestic spending.”
I guess at this point, spending less than you wanted to spend and calling it a cut is historic, considering before in Washington the only disagreements were who could spend more.
“But there’s not much further we can cut in either of those categories. What we need to do now is to combine those spending cuts with two additional steps. Tax reform that will ask those who can afford it to pay their fair share and modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare.”
Right, the wealthy (remember, that includes small businesses and family farmers who don’t actually make millions of dollars) need to “pay their fair share.” Explain how just 2% of Americans pay 40% of the total tax burden is not fair? Or how 53% of Americans paying less than 3% of the total tax burden is somehow fair?
As for “modest” adjustments to Medicare; entitlements (including Medicaid and Social Security) combined are at over $60 trillion of unfunded liabilities. This makes our true debt much, much higher than what is often claimed. “Modest” adjustments to these programs will do nothing to solve our debt and taxing job creators will set our economy back. But our President seems to believe the exact opposite.
“Republicans and Democrats on the bipartisan fiscal commission that I set up put forth good proposals.”
Notice the emphasis on “I set up.” He wants his kudos, even though he completely ignored what the commission suggested.
“It is a lack of political will in Washington. It is the insistence on drawing lines in the sand, a refusal to put what is best for the country ahead of self-interest or party or ideology, and that is what we need to change.”
Agreed. Let’s start by telling the truth that tax hikes on small businesses, family farmers and job creators is not what’s best for the economy. That would be a start. How about making the real reforms needed to entitlements instead of saying that taking one penny from them will “kill” seniors.
“I intend to present my own recommendations over the coming weeks on how we should proceed.”
We’ve heard this before. Remember his budget speech in April? Is that ever going to be turned into scorable legislation? We’re still waiting.
“The good news is that by coming together to deal with the long-term debt challenge we would have more room to implement key proposals to get the economy to grow faster. Specifically, we should extend the payroll tax cut as soon as possible, so that workers have more money in their pay checks next year and businesses have more customers next year.”
Remember, that payroll tax cuts puts only a few extra bucks per paycheck into worker’s pockets, it’s not all that noticeable and doesn’t stimulate anyone to go spend more.
“We should continue to make sure if you are one of the millions of Americans out there looking for a job, you can get the unemployment insurance that your tax dollars contributed to. That will also put money in people’s pockets and more customers in stores.”
Perhaps we could just give people money for nothing, but that doesn’t actually stimulate growth, it just promotes government dependence. The stores these people shop at are paying the taxes that are then given to these people so that they can go shop. Do you see the inefficient circle?
“In fact, if Congress fails to extend the payroll tax cut and the unemployment insurance benefits that I have called for, it could mean 1 million fewer jobs and 0.5% less growth.”
So, if the government taxes people who have jobs and create jobs and then give that money – no strings attached – to people without jobs, that will somehow create jobs? Please explain that logic.
“We should help companies who want to repair the roads and bridges and airports so that thousands of construction workers who have been without a job can get work and spur economic growth.”
Again, take money from job creators and give it to construction workers (judging by this administration’s history – union construction workers). What is this administration’s obsession with infrastructure? It is astounding. The answer to all our problems seems to be…build roads and bridges? That is his only jobs plan, and even he admits it will put “thousands” back to work. Mr. President, there are nearly 20 MILLION who are unemployed or underemployed. What more evidence do you need that the “stimulus” failed?
Some observed that this speech was nothing more than a combination of arrogance and whining. No matter the tone, the fact is that Mr. Obama is now the first president in history to oversee the downgrade of our credit rating. Instead of accepting responsibility and charting a path forward, he is again blaming everyone (even mother nature) but himself. The American people are tired of this, and the polls show that.