American Elephants

Obama’s Sour Vision of America by The Elephant's Child

Remember the soaring promises — “this was the moment—this was the time — when we came together to remake this great nation so that it may always reflect our very best selves and our highest ideals.” and —”in this moment — let us reach for what we know is possible. A nation healed. A world repaired. An America that believes again.”

Not any more. The American dream has dwindled, shrunk. It’s more modest. You can hope for a job, a house, a college education for the kids, health care, maybe a little money for retirement — with government help, of course. That’s how Obama describes today’s American dream.

“Mr. President, James Kunstler writes, you are presiding over an epochal contraction, not a pause in the  growth epic. Your assignment is to manage that contraction in a way that does not lead to world war, civil disorder or both. Among other things contraction means that all the activities of everyday life need to be downscaled including standards of living, ranges of commerce, and levels of governance.  ‘Consumerism ‘ is dead.  …The wealth of several future generations has already been spent and there is  no equity left there to re-finance.”

Let’s call it poverty-chic. Collaborative consumption. Sharing, bartering, renting, swapping assets.  A new American dream — a new reality. Today’s 2012 Economic Report of the President attempts to bury the statistic that roughly 11 million working-age Americans have been excluded from the country’s formal number of 13.75 million unemployed Americans.

In 2000, 64.4 percent of working-age Americans had formal jobs, either full-time or part-time. It slid to 63.0 percent in 2007. The recession (remember this is the very worst since the Great Depression) ended technically in May 2009, but by October of that year, the ratio of working-age Americans gainfully employed hit a low of 58.5 percent. The official unemployment figures — the U-3 number — includes only those unemployed who have looked for a job in the four weeks before a sample is taken. It doesn’t include those who have given up looking or who have quit the workforce entirely.

The recession technically ended in May 2009. One might think that the policies being pursued weren’t successful, and it might be a good idea to try something else. Well, Obama’s view of the country is pretty sour as well. Fred Barnes has gathered together a view of the president from his budgets and his speeches. Obama believes:

America is an unjust and deeply unfair country. “The basic bargain that made this country great has eroded,” Obama said at Osawatomie. “Hard work [has] stopped paying off for too many people. Fewer and fewer of the folks who contributed to the success of our economy actually benefited from that success.

Obama is unconcerned about the looming debt crisis. His budget has a $1.3 trillion deficit, and the debt is growing past $16 trillion into a real danger zone.

Government spending is better at spurring the economy than private investment. …“As a nation, we’ve always come together, through our government, to help create the conditions where both workers and businesses can succeed.” The key phrase was “through our government,” which for Obama means Washington-directed programs, not incentives for private investment.

When the rich get richer, the middle class and poor get worse off. Obama often mentions the middle class and the poor one after the other. He doesn’t claim a cause and effect. But the implication is there’s at least a correlation. You don’t get prosperity for the few without declining prospects for the many. Obama doesn’t believe in a growing economic pie.

Conservative, free market economics is a plague. Obama describes it as an economic system that tells Americans, “You’re on your own.” In his view, it consists of cutting taxes for the rich and gutting regulations of every kind.

Do read the whole thing. Obama is not a frustrated moderate or a pragmatist, nor is he a well-intentioned  but weak politician. He is a left-wing progressive who rejects the mainstream political and economic ideas of post World War II America.

Those soaring phrases, ” a nation healed,” a “world repaired,” “the moment when we came together to remake this great nation.” Some thought he meant that he wanted to fix the quarrels in Washington. He meant to remake the nation. If he’d told us that his idea of “remake” was to shrink, contract, downscale and make more modest, things might well have turned out a little differently.  Well, I don’t buy it, and neither should you.

The History is Clear, Says Jay Carney; The Republicans Cancelled the Keystone XL Pipeline by The Elephant's Child

I just wrote a whole post on how the Democrats consistently attempt to redefine problems away.  The American people have been justifiably angered at President Obama’s cancellation of the Keystone XL pipeline and the 20,000 jobs that the project would offer, beginning almost immediately. And the guesstimated 250,000 spinoff jobs along the pipeline route for restaurants, stores, truckers, that  the pipeline would generate as the pipeline stretched down from Canada to the refineries in Texas and Oklahoma are a tremendous loss to a country where the unemployment rate has gone back up to 9% according to Gallup.

Today’s redefiner is the hapless Jay Carney, press secretary.

“In terms of Keystone, as you all know, the history here is pretty clear. And the fact is because Republicans decided to play politics with Keystone, their action essentially forced the administration to deny the permit process because they insisted on a time frame in which it was impossible to completely approve the pipeline,” Carney said when asked about the pipeline by ABC News’ Jake Tapper.

Later in the briefing, Carney says it is the Republicans’ fault.

Jake Tapper: “How can you say that you have an all the above on approach if the President turned down the Keystone pipeline? And you blame the Republicans for making it political.”

Carney: “But the President didn’t turn down the Keystone pipeline. There was a process in place, with long precedent, run out of the State Department because of the issue of the pipeline crossing an international boundary, that required an amount of time for proper for review after an alternate route was deemed necessary through Nebraska at the request of the Republican Governor of Nebraska and other stakeholders in Nebraska and the region that needed to play out, to be done appropriately. You can’t review and approve a pipeline, the route for which doesn’t even exist.

“The Republicans were the ones who unfortunately decided because they were looking for scalps, I guess, or wins in a situation where they somehow found themselves on the wrong side of cutting taxes for 160 million Americans last December.”

After three years, we know that nothing is ever Obama’s fault. Bush left him a mess, and they just didn’t understand how deep the recession was. If they had known, then Obama wouldn’t have been comparing it to the Great Depression— Oh wait…

There was a process in place, with long precedent, run out of the State Department, that had all of the necessary approvals and a green light from every agency with any involvement, and all those pipelines already running through the aquifer with a long history of safety were all fine and the State Department was ready to go ahead until Big Green suggested that their campaign funding might not be available if the pipeline went through.

This administration really does have great contempt for the American people. We’re not just “bitter clingers” but stupid enough to believe anything the administration says.

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