American Elephants


Obama’s “Official Business” Tour of the Battleground States! by The Elephant's Child


President Obama set out today on his “official business” Midwestern bus tour. The “official business” seems to be blasting Republicans at every stop, extolling the plans about how to create jobs that he was going to figure out just as soon as he got back to the White House. You know, the ones he hasn’t come up with in 2½ years.

White House officials (Jay Carney) have repeatedly insisted that Obama’s tour through the Midwest is “official business,” but it is fairly obviously a campaign tour that they are billing to the taxpayers. You can tell that it’s “official business” because the president has no tie on and has rolled up his sleeves — always a sign that someone means business.

He said that he hopes”when Congress gets back in September, they’re going to have a new attitude.”

He criticized gridlock and Republican intransigence and told the crowd that he was there “to enlist you in a fight.  We are fighting for the future of this country, and that’s a fight we are going to win.”

The White House was adamant in the days before the trip that the president was not campaigning, but doing his job by getting out into the country.  White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One that:

To suggest that any time the president leaves Washington it’s a political trip would mean that presidents could never leave unless they were physically campaigning on their own behalf, and he’s not; he’s out here doing his job and meeting with the American people.

Well, sure, that’s just the kind of bus that presidents always travel around in when conducting the official business of the United States of America. And celebrating yourself is not usually called “official business.” Though since it’s Obama, that’s probably how he thinks of it. I thought that the one billion dollars Obama was raising for campaign funds was supposed to pay for campaign events.

Obama said he was going to have a plan ready for Republicans when they got back from vacation on creating jobs and reducing the debt.  A good start, admittedly tiny in proportion to the massive debt Obama has created, would be to pay for his own campaign swing.



All the Republicans’ Fault. Give Me More Money to Spend. by The Elephant's Child

President Obama was in Ohio today, giving another campaign speech.  All, he said, is the Republicans’ fault.  He “inherited” the big federal budget deficits, and he has to “clean up the mess” that Republicans made of the economy.  It’s all the hated Bush”s fault.  Economist Dr. Thomas Sowell points out:

No president of the United States can create either a budget deficit or a budget surplus. All spending bills originate in the House of Representatives and all taxes are voted into law by Congress.

Presidents can request, demand, bribe or ask pretty-please.  Only the House of Representatives can appropriate. Once the bill passes Congress, the president can sign it or veto it.

President Obama hastens to take credit, including for things he didn’t do.  He has a long history of this, even from his days in the Illinois legislature.  Everything else is Bush’s fault.  The Iraq War and “Tax-Cuts for the Rich” destroyed a prosperous economy, and now, although Obama is working so hard in the White House, you will just have to give him some more money to spend so that he can create those missing jobs.

Eight years of the Iraq War, all of it, cost less than Obama’s Stimulus Bill. The Stimulus Bill was signed into law on February 18, 2009, when Obama had been in office for 28 days.  The policy harked back to Keynesian economics, and the idea that if you just dumped a bunch of money into the economy a “multiplier effect” would return 1.5 x whatever was dumped in.  Perpetual economic wonderfulness.  We don’t have to do anything, just spend —and for every trillion— we get back a trillion and a half.  Cool!

The second round of Bush tax cuts helped double economic growth from 1.9% to 3.8%.  Bush always had a bare majority in his first term and halfway through the second, when Democrats took over the House and the Senate.  Remember, it is the House that originates spending bills.  The only direct power that any president has to affect deficits and surpluses is the power to veto spending bills.  Bush didn’t veto enough bills, but Senator Obama and his fellow Democrats passed the spending bills.

There is a business cycle.  When Business overdoes, they have to regroup. Governments make mistakes, big ones.  Laws assumed to solve problems often don’t. Every president has to cope with what transpired in all previous Administrations and all  previous Congresses. That is part of the job, and involves leadership, good management and good relations with Congress.

Obama is now blaming Republicans in Congress for blocking policies with which they completely disagree.  It doesn’t make any difference if the Republicans disagree They don’t have enough votes to block anything. Obama has been not only uninterested in Republican ideas, he has resented the disagreement of those who presented them, and then gone on to claim that Republicans have no ideas.  This is not cool.

Neither the Iraq War, nor Bush’s “tax cuts for the rich” (the rich got the smallest percentage tax cut, not the biggest) caused the economic collapse.

Another political fable is that the current economic downturn is due to not enough government regulation of the housing and financial markets. But it was precisely the government regulators, under pressure from politicians, who forced banks and other lending institutions to lower their standards for making mortgage loans.

These risky loans, and the defaults that followed, were what set off a chain reaction of massive financial losses that brought down the whole economy. …

At the heart of these policies were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which bought huge amounts of risky mortgages, passing the risk on from the banks that lent the money (and made the profits) to the taxpayers that were not even aware that they would end up paying in the end.

When President Bush said in 2004 that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should be reined in, 76 members of the House of Representatives issued a statement to the contrary. These included Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, and Charles Rangel.

Governments can only create government jobs — the entire expense of those jobs comes out of taxpayer pockets— the economy does not grow.  To create jobs in the private sector, governments must do what they can to make doing business easier.

Right now, business is faced with a government that believes that government bureaucrats can do things better than the people who run the businesses.  They know what business should be doing, what products they should make, how much they should pay their executives, where they should do business and who they should hire, and how much of their income they should pay to the government.

Business doesn’t know what the hell the government is going to do next. That’s the problem.




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