American Elephants


A Contrived, Dull, Dishonest Speech Rehashing Failed Ideas. by The Elephant's Child

I watched the president’s big jobs speech. Painful. Mr. Obama clearly wanted to appear feisty, look like a strong advocate for the unemployed, and be sure that Republicans were blamed for the failure of the economy if jobs didn’t immediately increase in the wake of his speech.

The speech was contrived, dull, even when punched every few minutes with “Pass This Bill.” The bill is “the American Jobs Act”, and the White House will get around to spelling out the details in a while.

Lots of Straw Men, one of Obama’s favorite rhetorical tricks. About Republican and business explanations that over-regulation is crippling the economy, Obama said “I reject the idea that we have to help the economy by stripping away safety.” Huh? What safety is anyone stripping away, and who?

Does he refer to the EPA’s claim that their new regulations under the Clean Air Act will prevent 34,000 premature deaths and 400,000 cases of asthma. You might check your state’s statistics to see how many people have died prematurely because of emissions of sulfur dioxide or nitrogen oxide.  Bet you can’t find that on a single death certificate.  And medical science does not know the cause of asthma, Asthma has been increasing just as air quality has improved dramatically.  Made up numbers.

He did dispense with the word “crumbling” in reference to highways, roads, bridges and public schools.  The new word is “decaying,” But the proposals are not only not new, they are the same proposals that soaked up so much stimulus funds to no avail.

Numbers may have increased — this time it’s 35,000 decaying schools that have to be “renovated,” supposedly employing all those out-of-work construction workers. Renovated how, what renovation do they need — is it a coat of paint or is the roof falling in? And how do you know that there are 35,000 schools in need of renovating?These are the same old big generalities that seem to bureaucrats in Washington as if they might offer jobs, but they really haven’t a clue.

This president never passes up a chance to use taxpayer money to reward his supporters. “We have been laying teachers off in droves.” The states have? And isn’t that up to the states?  How did it become the federal government’s business to rehire laid off teachers? When he got a lot of campaign support from the teachers unions.

I was astonished, when the talk is of a second recession, of the unemployment rate remaining as high as it is now through the next year, at the absolute paucity of new ideas. A tax cut for a small business if they hire someone is only useful if the tax cut is greater than the permanent cost of a new employee. We have heard about millionaires and billionaires over and over, but you can’t squeeze enough money out of the very rich to make the slightest difference in the economy, and since a lot of those “rich” are small businesses reporting their income as individuals — you may be screwing up the very hiring that you are trying to encourage.

Warren Buffet, indeed. The celebrated Mr. Buffett  pays his taxes at the capital gains rate, reduced by whatever deductions he gets for contributing to  Bill Gates foundation.  And he is fiercely fighting the IRS over unpaid taxes back as far as 2002.

Mr. Obama has some peculiar idea in his head that America is such a debased country that it is unable to compete abroad, or at least unable to compete without government help.  I guess this is related to his belief that America is not exceptional, I quoted Shelby Steele before:

Mr. Obama came of age in a bubble of post-60′s liberalism that conditioned him to be an adversary of American exceptionalism.  In this liberalism America’s exceptional status in the world follows from a bargain with the devil — an indulgence in militarism, racism, sexism, corporate greed, and environmental disregard as the means to a broad economic, military, and even cultural supremacy in the world.  And therefore America’s greatness is as much the fruit of evil as of a devotion to freedom.  …

There was his devotion to big government, his passion for redistribution, and his scolding and scapegoating of Wall Street — as if his mandate was somehow to overcome, or at least subdue, American capitalism itself.

I didn’t expect much of the jobs speech, but it was even worse than I anticipated. Contrived, repetitive, stale, and it’s not going to do anything to improve the employment situation. It’s called “The American Jobs Act” because they can’t use the word “stimulus” any more. Same old ideas that didn’t work, new title. That may be the very thing in which the Democrats really excel — renaming stuff.




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