American Elephants

Obama delivers what may very well be the worst speech in history! by The Elephant's Child

Obama delivered a luncheon speech today to the Associated Press.  It was so absolutely dreadful that you just have to laugh.

Obviously the White House is in full panic mode after the president’s perfectly awful week last week. It hadn’t occurred to them that it was possible that ObamaCare could possibly be struck down. Nobody expected Obama to be selling out the country in a whispered conversation caught by a hot mic. And the president’s budget request was shot down without even a single Democrat vote.

Obama has railed against the Supreme Court, reminding them that they must observe precedent and not go ruling against him. Now he’s taking on Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity. The nasty Republicans are threatening to “spend $4.6 trillion on lower tax rates.” This reveals the president’s mindset. Allowing people to keep more of their own hard-earned money is “spending.” Government taking more of the peoples’ hard-earned money to spend on current government enthusiasms is “investing.”

“Investments in clean energy technologies that are helping us reduce our dependence on foreign oil would be cut by nearly a fifth. ” Be still my beating heart! A fifth is not nearly enough. All our clean energy technologies are not reducing dependence on foreign oil one whit.  Our “clean energy” technologies are wind and solar which make small amounts of electricity, Foreign oil gets refined into gasoline for transportation. There is no reason for us to be dependent on foreign oil. We have plenty of our own. Perennial lie.

Medicare and Social Security are both on a path to destruction. Both programs were devised in the expectation that rising birthrates would always supply the country with a larger crop of young workers to support the old folks when they reached the age for Social Security and Medicare. And the great increase in the number of babies following World War II made that seem like a good bet.

But the Baby Boom was followed by the baby bust. Now the 76 million Baby Boomers are reaching retirement age, and Medicare is already running in the red. The very first Boomers began retiring last year, and their numbers will increase dramatically every year until 2025. Boomers represent 26% of the American population.

Democrats’ approach is to pretend all is well and accuse the Republicans of “trying to end Social Security and Medicare as we know them.” It’s not easy to totally ignore 26% of the population, but Democrats are working on it. If we address the problems now, we can save the programs. As Paul Ryan says:

For four years the President has refused to honestly confront the most predictable economic crisis in our history. Instead, he has accelerated the nation toward this looming debt-fueled crisis with reckless budgets, always accompanied by partisan speeches that seek to divide the nation in order to distract from his legacy of broken promises. If he thinks there is no political price to pay for this total abdication of leadership, he is due for a rude awakening.

The president says early in his speech “So I believe deeply that the free market is the greatest force for economic progress in human history.” which he immediately modifies by saying that “through government, we should do together what we cannot do as well for ourselves.”He falls back on what seems to be his campaign theme: “Or are we better off when everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.”

Consider that last statement.  How does that work? How do you give everyone ‘a fair shot?’ Much as Obama wants to imply that government can guarantee that everyone be treated equally — it can’t be done. The Soviets claimed they were going to do that and ended up killing 25 million of their own people. How do you insure that everyone does their fair share, make all those slackards work harder? And everyone play by the same rules? You cannot say that on the one hand and then demand that the rich who pay most of the taxes pay even more. It’s a contradiction in terms. We have the most progressive tax system in the OECD. Pretty, persuasive propaganda, but complete nonsense.

Obama even hauls out the old canard about “trickle-down” economics — the name Democrats gave to Supply-Side economics, the successful program that gave the country nearly 30 years of prosperity. Or don’t you remember 20% interest rates? Obama said “In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few.” I wonder if he ever had any class in economics.

When free people are able to keep more of their own money the result is prosperity. Government has never made anyone prosperous —except for those favored few who are rewarded by government “investment” in their programs, like the millions that have just happened to flow to Obama’s bundlers who have an interest in those renewable clean energy companies that Obama is “investing” taxpayer money in. I would urge you to buy John Steele Gordon’s An Empire of Wealth, a book that should be in everyone’s library. It is an economic history of American prosperity, and an exciting, rewarding read.

Here’s the transcript of the President’s worst speech ever. You really should read it to understand the depth of his demagoguery, and what we can expect in the upcoming campaign. Guy Benson takes on the speech and inserts a few uncomfortable facts that Mr. Obama would prefer to ignore.

Obama Promised to Bankrupt the Coal Industry: the EPA is Doing it For Him. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama was speaking in Ohio a couple of weeks ago on one of his many campaign swings, and he said quite specifically:

We also need to keep investing in clean energy like wind power and solar power.

And as long as I’m President, we are going to keep on making those investments.  I am not going to cede the wind and solar and advanced battery industries to countries like China and Germany that are making those investments.  I want those technologies developed and manufactured here in Ohio, here in the Midwest, here in America.  (Applause.)  By American workers.  That’s the future we want.

The president has picked three industries and is arguing for an industrial policy to subsidize them — in part, just because other countries are subsidizing them. This is the same president who argues that we must remove such subsidies from our tax code. If he wants to subsidize wind and solar power because he wants to accelerate the development of carbon-free alternatives, then he should make that argument. These edicts bypass the legislative process, but Obama has little interest in the legislative process unless it backs him on whatever he wants to do. Without their cooperation, he’ll just do it on his own. He’s president. Who’s going to stop him?

Germany, in the meantime, is cutting their subsidies for solar energy. Their solar cell manufacturing companies are going bankrupt, and Germany is turning to coal for energy. The Germans are paranoid about nuclear energy, though the French, next door, are committed to nuclear energy.  Obama, on the other hand, is not only not up on what other countries are doing, but he simply does not change his mind:

If someone wants to build a new coal-fired power plant they can, but it will bankrupt them because they will be charged a huge sum for all the greenhouse gas that’s being emitted.
Candidate Barack Obama, 2008

We were warned. This week the out-of-control bureaucrats at the EPA announced a set of proposed rules designed to target greenhouse gas emissions. If enacted, these rules will essentially destroy the coal industry. Under the proposed rules, new power plants will be required to emit no more than 1.000 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt hour of electricity. Coal plants average 1,768 pounds of carbon dioxide per megawatt. Natural gas plants already meet this requirement, but if a utility wants to burn coal for electricity, it will need to install carbon capture technology— which is very expensive.

The EPA stresses that the new rules would apply only to new plants, but nobody believes that. David Doniger, climate program policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council notes that the Clean Air Act will undoubtedly make it inevitable that the EPA will tackle existing coal-fired plants. Mr. Doniger promises “We look forward to reaching an agreement with EPA on a schedule for completing the standard for new sources and developing standards for existing sources. Excuse me, but who elected the Natural Resources Defense Council to have any voice in official policy? And the American people have no voice?

Isn’t this the very same Barack Obama who was out on the campaign trail bragging about his “all of the above” energy policy, because people are upset with high gas prices? The “all of the above” claim was clearly a lie. But there is an enormous problem here. Coal-fired power plants produce 45 percent of our electricity. These EPA standards effectively bans new coal-fired plants, and will lead to higher energy costs as the country is forced to switch to natural gas for base-lead supply. Coal is our cheapest energy source, and the United States is the “Saudi Arabia” of coal.

The big problem is that the EPA seems determined to shut down coal plants first, assuming that Obama’s new green energy will replace it. That will not happen. Both wind and solar require 24/7 backup from a regular power plant. Manufacturing states like Michigan are particularly dependent on coal, with 70 percent of the state’s electricity needs coming from coal. Carbon capture technology is still  ‘under development.’ Expensive and not available.  The natural gas industry is historically very volatile. The natural gas industry has discovered vast new resources in the U.S. but that exploration is coming under assault from the EPA.

This misguided ideological thrust is heading into unknown territory of brownouts and blackouts. Our need for energy in increasing at the same time that Obama is waging war on cheap available fossil fuels. The lack of any significant warming for over a decade makes it more difficult for the warmists to demonize CO2. CO2 is not, contrary to EPA claims, a pollutant. Life on earth has flourished for hundreds of millions of years at much higher CO2 levels than we see today. Increasing CO2 levels would be a net benefit, because plants grow better and are more resistant to drought at higher CO2 levels. Nations that have plentiful supplies of cheap, abundant fossil fuels are far more prosperous and healthy than those without.

The administration has decreed that by 2020 — in just eight years—we are to get 30% of our electricity from “renewable resources.” The current amount that we get in total pow from renewable resources is just 8.2%. So the nation that is the world powerhouse of cheap, abundant fossil fuels — oil, natural gas and coal — is supposed to dump those and depend on windmills and solar shingles that cannot exist without huge governmental subsidy and full time backup by—fossil fuel power plants.

That makes sense only if you are a failed president who  needs the backing of the big environmental organizations like the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club and the others who are all awash in money.

They Remain Singularly Uninterested in How Jobs Are Created. by The Elephant's Child

How goes the recovery? Are things improving? The United States now has the highest corporate taxes in the world.  Japan did have that honor, but they dropped their corporate tax rate from 39.6 percent  down to 36.8 percent.  (The U.S. rate includes the 36 percent federal rate plus the average rate the state add on.)

This disparity means that every other country that we compete with for new investment is better situated to land that new investment and the jobs that come with it— because the after-tax return from that investment promises to be higher in countries with lower taxes. The higher rate makes our businesses prime targets for takeovers by businesses headquartered  in lower-taxed nations. Until Congress cuts the rate, more and more U.S. businesses will be bought by their foreign competitors.

On March 28, Vice President Joe Biden declared in an Iowa speech that “manufacturing is back.” Mr. Biden is given to rosy pictures. He overstated — by 1.1 million — the number of manufacturing jobs lost before President Obama took office. He said that the U.S. lost 5.8 million manufacturing jobs “during the 2000s, before we came in.” But that figure includes 2009 , Obama’s first year in office.  The U.S. lost 4.7 million jobs “before we came in.”

Manufacturing jobs represent a disproportionate share of job losses since Obama took office.  The U.S. has lost a net 864,000 non-farm jobs since January 2009. A recent study by the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, a bipartisan think tank—says that at the current slow pace, “it would take until 2020 to return to where the economy was in terms of manufacturing jobs at the end of 2007.

According to James Pethokoukis there is still an enormous hole in the jobs market: it would take 15 million net new jobs to restore the ratio of employed people to total population to where it was in 2007, before the ‘Great Recession.’ Yet much as Mr. Obama and Mr Biden like to claim a vast recovery in manufacturing jobs, in the automobile market, an all the ‘green jobs”— they remain singularly uninterested in how jobs are created.

President Obama asserted Friday that “You’re-on-your-own economics” doesn’t work, just as the World Bank reported that world poverty had been halved, mainly due to — you’re-on-your-own economics.

“The American story is not just about what we do on our own,” the president said. ‘We have always understood that we wouldn’t win the race for new jobs and businesses and middle class security if we were just applying some you’re-on-your-own economics. It’s been tried in history and it hasn’t worked. It didn’t work when we tried it in the decade before the Great Depression. It didn’t work when we tried it in the last decade.”

Obama has more than a little trouble with history. Either he never took a course in history, or he was one of those who carried around copies of Howard Zinn’s little red history of the United States, or some of Noam Chomsky’s books. He apparently never heard of “the Roaring 20s”

That’s right, global poverty has been slashed in half. It started with the advent of free markets in Chile in 1975, gained speed with the Reagan and Thatcher revolutions, took off with the Asian Tiger states and has been crescendo-ing around the globe ever since.

It means that the number of people who live in rock-bottom poverty — less than $1.25 a day — has tumbled from 1.94 billion people in 1981 to just 1.29 billion today. The World Bank did exhaustive research for this, using over 850 household surveys in nearly 130 countries.

Anyone who travels to countries like Peru, Poland, Indonesia, Colombia, Thailand, Hungary, South Africa, Chile, Tanzania and India knows very well that things aren’t what they used to be. Vast middle classes have formed, education is booming, business is up and many of their cities no longer resemble the Third World.

It’s well established that Obama doesn’t understand the crippling effect over-regulation has on the economy. Of course he gets to tell everyone how to run their businesses and their lives.  That’s why he was elected, to essentially transform America. But you would think that the jobs lost when his well-subsidized green energy companies go bankrupt, when he shuts down permitting in the Gulf, and of course, when he denied the Keystone XL pipeline opportunity to create thousands of high-paying jobs. So, he is either not very bright and cannot put 2 and 2 together: or he simply is not concerned about American jobs or creating an economy that actually is recovering.

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