Thursday, September 9, 2010

Obama in Ohio - The Great Divider Speaks

Our President is keeping me rather busy this week, what with dissecting his speeches and searching for some shred of truth or accuracy that might prove he has a handle on things. So far, I don't have much to report. But I'll keep on looking and listening.

I do it so that you, gentle readers, don't have to.

Mr. Obama gave another economic speech in Illinois Ohio yesterday before yet another hand-picked crowd of enthusiastic supporters. I am left to assume that these people still have jobs, which would be their only reason to cheer. He wasted no time in blaming his predecessor for the country's current problems...

I ran for President because for much of the last decade, a very specific governing philosophy had reigned about how America should work: Cut taxes, especially for millionaires and billionaires. Cut regulations for special interests. Cut trade deals even if they didn't benefit our workers. Cut back on investments in our people and our future - in education and clean energy; in research and technology. The idea was that if we had blind faith in the market; if we let corporations play by their own rules; if we left everyone else to fend for themselves, America would grow and prosper.
Would you be referring to the same philosophy that resulted in a new record for single-day tax revenue set in 2005?

For a time, this idea gave us the illusion of prosperity.

Hmm, an illusion of prosperity, obviously bought and paid for with the illusion of money.

But while all this was happening, the broader economy was becoming weaker.... Folks were forced to put more debt on their credit cards and borrow against homes that many couldn't afford in the first place. Meanwhile, a failure to pay for two wars and two tax cuts for the wealthy helped turn a record surplus into a record deficit.
Um, about that record deficit, Mr. Obama. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt on this one, since you may not have had time, between taking all your vacations that the rest of us wish we could take, to read a report by the Congressional Budget Office. I'll get you up to speed: this report shows that you, not your predecessor, has added a larger deficit than all other presidents combined.
He then proceeds to relate a brief family history to demonstrate how he and Michelle pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps to become President and then arrives at this;
Yes, our families believed in the American values of self-reliance and individual responsibility, and they instilled those values in their children. But they also believed in a country that rewards responsibility. A country that rewards hard work. A country built upon the promise of opportunity and upward mobility. They believed in an America that gave my grandfather the chance to go to college because of the GI Bil. An America that gave my grandparents the chance to buy a home because of the Federal Housing Authority. An America that gave their children and grandchildren the chance to fulfill our dreams thanks to college loans and college scholarships.

That's quite an impressive list of government programs you recite there, Mr. President. Oh, I didn't mean to interrupt. You were still bashing Republicans, if I recall..

Some Republican leaders figured it was smart politics to sit on the sidelines and let Democrats solve the mess. Others believed on principle that government shouldn't meddle in the markets, even when the markets were broken. But with the nation losing nearly 800,000 jobs the month I was sworn in, my most urgent task was to stop a financial meltdown and prevent this recession from becoming a second depression.

So that's why you spent your entire first year in office trying to cram your Health Care bill down the throats of an unwilling country?

I have a different vision for the future. I've never believed that government has all the answers to our problems.
That's funny. Your class picture from the second grade shows something different.

I apologize once again. I interrupted your Boehner-bashing, didn't I?

We want to put more Americans back to work rebuilding America - our roads, railways, and runways. When the housing sector collapsed and the recession hit, one in every four jobs lost were in the construction industry. That's partly why our economic plan has invested in badly needed infrastructure projects over the last nineteen months - not just roads and bridges, but high-speed railroads and expanded broadband access. Altogether, these are projects that have led to thousands of good, private sector jobs, especially for those in the trades. Mr. Boehner and the Republicans in Congress said no to these projects. Fought them tooth and nail. Though I should say that didn't stop a lot of them from showing up at the ribbon-cutting ceremonies and trying to take credit. That's always a sight to see.

Yup, just like the time we saw you at the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the automotive battery plant in Michigan earlier this summer. Remember, the one owned by the Korean company? Or, even better, let's talk about the energy conservation bill passed by the Democrat-controlled Congress that has forced the last GE American light bulb factory to close, resulting in the loss of 200 jobs to China? Will you and your party take credit for that?

With all the other budgetary pressures we have - with all the Republicans' talk about wanting to shrink the deficit - they would have us borrow $700 billion over the next ten years to give a tax cut of about $100,000 to folks who are already millionaires.

Um, no, they wouldn't. See, this is one of your problems. Your progressive buddies in Congress also have the same problem. It's a belief that tax cuts cost the government money. Nothing could be further from the truth. You see, that money doesn't belong to you, as you seem to think. It belongs to the people who earned it.

You have to understand that government is like a salesman who gets paid by commission only: the money you make (and in using the word "make", I mean "collect by taxation") is a percentage of the money made by someone else.

Look, I recognize that most of the Republicans in Congress have said no to just about every policy I've proposed since taking office. And on some issues, I realize it's because there are genuine philosophical differences...They're making the same calculation they made just before the inauguration: if I fail, they win. Well, they might think this will get them where they need to go in November, but it won't get our country where it needs to go in the long run. So that's the choice, Ohio. Do we return to the same failed policies that ran our economy into a ditch, or do we keep moving forward with policies that are slowly pulling us out?
Well, Mr. President, it sure looks to us like you managed to get just about everything you wanted from Congress so far, since your party has held the majority there ever since before you took office. Most folks would call that a win for you. But the results haven't exactly been what you promised. Your policies don't seem to be doing very well.
But perhaps if I state this using your car metaphor, you might understand it a bit better: our car is in a ditch. We paid $800 billion for a tow truck that hasn't shown up.
(A big ol' tip of the hat to my fellow Morons over at Ace of Spades for that last analogy.)

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