American Elephants

Practicing Up For The State Of The Union Speech! by The Elephant's Child


President Obama is out campaigning and making speeches (his favorite activity) in preparation for the upcoming State of the Union Speech. He went to the Ford Assembly Plant in Wayne, Michigan to celebrate the resurgence of the American Auto Industry and the milestone of the end of the TARP program, which he claimed “repaid taxpayers every dime and more of what my administration invested in you.”

Except Ford turned down federal assistance and didn’t accept a dime. And the claim of a profit from the Troubled Asset Relief Program was a myth. The taxpayers loss may have been less than the program’s $700 billion commitment, but it was still a loss.

Then he went to Phoenix to talk about housing at Central High School.

But we all know what happened in the last decade when responsibility gave way to recklessness.  Families who did the right thing and bought a home that they could afford, and made their payments each month, and did everything right, when the market plummeted they got hurt.  Even though somebody else was acting irresponsibly — whether on Wall Street, or folks who weren’t responsible in terms of how they were dealing with their real estate — ordinary families got hurt bad.

He did seem to be aware that “there were folks who borrowed more than they should have” (but it wasn’t really their fault), so of course he wants to do it all over again. “President Obama Explains How FHA’s 3%-Down Mortgages are Great for America.”  No more having to put down 20% of the selling price, and he plans to also cut the mortgage insurance premium rate so the new homeowner saves $900 a year to spend on other stuff. We got the “Great Recession” because Democrats in Congress wanted to get people into their own homes and forced  the nation’s prudent bankers to ignore the prudent rules of banking and make bad loans. So let’s do it all again?

Then it was on to Knoxville Tennessee, and the Pellissippi State Community College to “focus on the centerpiece of my education agenda.” He wants to make community college free — “because in America a quality education cannot be a privilege that is reserved for a few.” Students have to pay for it by keeping their grades up. Only 30-40% of community college students finish two years. What educators are learning is that the students who have to pay their own way are the ones who take it seriously and really profit from their schooling. An expert I just heard on the radio about this subject said that the jobs over the next ten years would be for students with only a high-school education and there would be shortages of jobs for college graduates. ( Didn’t get the name, nor source of information). Most people who have commented say it’s a dumb idea, and raising the cost on taxpayers is a non-starter.

Obama said that 2014 was a “breakthrough year for America.” In December, our businesses created 240,000 new jobs. [A record 92,898,000 Americans of working age did not participate in the labor force last month. The labor force participation rate dipped back down to 62.7 percent from 62.9 percent in November.] If we create jobs in a market where the number of Americans who have dropped out increases, does it still count as an improved job situation?

There are 20,000 “shovel-ready” jobs awaiting approval of the Keystone XL pipeline which Obama says he will veto. He says they are only temporary jobs—which is true — but all construction jobs are temporary, and the skills learned can take you to the next construction job. He also claims that the pipeline would only carry Canadian oil, but that ‘s not true either, as oil from the Dakotas would be transported as well.

It would be nice to have some straight talk, numbers we can believe in. I think this president just presents only that which will place him in a favorable light, true or just made-up. There are still a lot of Americans who believe in working hard and paying your own way. That kind of determination and commitment breeds the inventiveness and can-do spirit that has made our country a beacon to the world.

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There are times when I think that if Obama had to go for 24 hours only telling the exact, literal truth (a’la Jim Carrey in “Liar, Liar”), either he’d go into hiding around 8:03am, or Michelle and Valerie would shoot him.

Ford didn’t take any TARP money. Chrysler had their tax lien taken care of, but were forced to sell to FIAT (otherwise, they were going to have to do a plan like the one GM did). And the government lost billions of dollars when they finally sold their shares in GM. One humor note: the Ford plant Obama spoke at has been idle for a few months, and isn’t due to restart operations until April. Why? Because the cars manufactured there (small hybrids and electrics) aren’t selling, and Ford dealers are stuck with them on their lots.

Ah, yes, the Knoxville stop. A good friend of mine teaches there a Pellissippi State. Bob says the number of people there were embarrassing (plenty of empty seats), Governor Haslam looked less than thrilled. And many of the students and staff truly appreciated having to work around the Secret Service and the Imperial… er, Presidential entourage on the last day for registration and drop/add, when a lot of freshmen students are just trying to find their way around. And there was no mention of how Obama was going to pay for HIS community college initiative… Tennessee is using lottery funds (of which Tennessee has pretty much always had a surplus). I was actually there at a business park opposite the school; most people I talked to were wondering why Obama was there at all. Oh, and a place I like to have lunch right there was closed when Obama was there; not a security concern – he just wasn’t interested in serving anyone affiliated with the President’s visit.

After the Pellissippi State silliness, he went up to Clinton (TN) to visit a company that makes coloring agents for plastics. My dad knows the guy who runs it, and apparently, that was the only manufacturing facility in the area that was interested in Obama visiting. And I’m certain that the small town of Clinton was so happy to deal with the traffic snarls his visit created. I haven’t heard anything more about it, but supposedly someone asked Obama about why he hated coal so much; a large employer in Clinton is the TVA Bull Run Steam Plant. If I hear anything about it, I’ll let you know.


Comment by Lon Mead

I don’t know. I keep wondering if he just firmly believes that anything he says will automatically be believed, and so it doesn’t matter if it is actually true. He’s getting out on thinner and thinner ice. So the Ford plant he spoke at was actually empty? Oh what a tangled web we weave…
The post-Obama books that will inevitably come out are going to be interesting.


Comment by The Elephant's Child

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