Mark J. Koenig

Reality-Denial Obama-Style: The SOTU Address

Posted on January 28 2010 12:31 am
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Anyone who managed to watch even part of Obama’s first State of the Union address tonight got a taste of just how completely out-of-touch this president really is with the American people.  While we are suffering through what can credibly be said to be the worst economic downturn since the 1930s, he spoke of how effective his policies have been over the past year:

One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted – immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.

Really?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics 20% of working-age men are currently unemployed – the highest level since 1948. The official unemployment rate stands at just over 10%, but if one counts those who have stopped looking for work and those who have taken part-time work because they have been unable to find full-time positions, that rate jumps to 17%.  This after Americans were told by this president less than a year ago that if his $800 billion stimulus bill were passed, unemployment would not exceed 8%.  Over $500 billion of that money has still not been spent, and what do we have to show for the portion that has?  Approximately 4 million jobs have been lost over the past 12 months – 600,000 this past December alone.  Yet this president has the unmitigated arrogance to tell us with a straight face that:

Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. 200,000 work in construction and clean energy. 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, and first responders. And we are on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.

This is insulting to anyone who has a job and is paying attention, let alone to those who have lost their jobs and are experiencing first-hand the difficulty of finding another as this administration and Congress continues its destruction of the private sector with every economic policy decision they make.  The truth is that neither Congress nor Obama has done a single thing since his inauguration to improve the state of the U.S. economy. Instead they have compounded the severity of the downturn.  There is no recovery in sight.  The fundamentals of the economy have not changed.  Yet to hear Obama talk, he and the Democrat-led Congress have made valiant efforts to shore up the economy and turn things around.  We’re still waiting, Mr. President.  The evidence that anything has improved simply isn’t there.  It doesn’t exist.  The President continued:

I’m proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. I am also proposing a new small business tax credit – one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. While we’re at it, let’s also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment; and provide a tax incentive for all businesses, large and small, to invest in new plants and equipment.

Here’s a news flash, Barry: the last thing small businesses need right now is to go even further into debt!  They are not interested in loans!  How about implementing policies which have been proven to work every single time they have been tried: tax cuts for both individuals and businesses to free up capital, encourage business investment and put more money in consumers’ pockets?  How about drastically reducing the uncertainty surrounding massive new costs for health care and cap & trade legislation which is causing most businesses to hold off hiring any new workers lest they be hit with even more crushing expenses?  As for a “small business tax credit,” the details of which were of course not discussed, how about an up-front tax CUT instead? Every small businessman understands that a tax credit only matters if you are making a profit in the first place.  Furthermore – offering a $3,000 tax credit to hire a worker at $30-40K/year is no incentive at all.

The staggering misrepresentation rolled on:

We cannot afford another so-called economic “expansion” like the one from last decade – what some call the “lost decade” – where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.

Of course Obama couldn’t resist slamming the Bush administration.  Lost decade?  Did he mean the one during which the economy expanded after a small dip following 9-11 up until the last year of the previous administration?  That decade?  The one in which were it not for the incredible malfeasance of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae – propped up and defended by Democrats – the mortgage crisis never would have occurred?

The President continued for approximately 70 excruciating minutes, interrupted 86 times for applause.  He attacked the recent Supreme Court decision upholding the First Amendment right to free speech which severely curtailed the more egregious elements of the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform legislation.  He talked about “green jobs.”  He repeatedly referred in derisive fashion to  “Washington” as being unwilling or unable to “get things done”, even as he and his party have controlled Washington since his term began.  Rather than retreat from policies that poll after poll has shown to be extremely unpopular with the electorate – nationalized health care and comprehensive climate-change legislation – he reiterated his unwavering support for them.

Finally, there was this:

This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are.

As Newsreal’s own Cynthia Yockey pointed out in her live commentary during the speech, gay people should be highly skeptical.  If Obama or the Democrats in Congress really gave a rat’s behind about this issue they could have tackled it long ago.  Instead Eric Holder has filed amicus briefs defending the current “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, and Obama has shown zero interest in repealing it.  It is long past time that not just gay Americans, but all Americans began judging their leaders by deeds and actual results rather than by words and supposed good intentions.

Obama has failed spectacularly to produce any positive change either domestically or in U.S. foreign relations 12 months into his presidency.  No amount of sophistry and optimistic rhetoric changes that hard reality.

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