American Elephants

President Obama’s Disastrous Press Conference: by The Elephant's Child

President Obama held a press conference today.  The debt limit conference he turned over to Joe Biden has produced nothing. Congress has called for him to lead.  He rejects the idea that he is not leading, though he has not participated in debt limit meetings, has refused to produce a budget, offers no proposals, and actions taken by the agencies of the executive branch  keep eliminating more jobs.. He ignored the work of his Debt Commission.  He invited Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan to the White House and savaged him.

He explained how hard he has been working.  He has been doing Afghanistan, and Libya and Greece, and Congress hasn’t been doing all-nighters.  His leadership on the budget has been notable only for its complete absence.  Obama’s way is to stand back and let others argue and discuss, and at the last minute he will step in to summarize what has been said, and offer his own twist, then claim credit for the whole thing.

He wants to raise taxes.  He does NOT want to cut spending. but wants to keep “investing” in his favored programs. What he’s there for and what his presidency is about,  in his estimation,  is to transform the country with his ideas of a clean green economy and end our dependence on dirty nasty fossil fuels.  He really doesn’t understand this debt thing.  He was handed a disaster by George W. Bush, and he shouldn’t be blamed for any of it. If there was anything that was made clear by this press conference, it is that Obama just does not understand basic economics.

Basic economics as well as common sense instructs that  you do not raise taxes in a recession. It puts an additional burden on the very people that you are hoping will hire the unemployed.  Democrats now talk about “increasing revenue” — and have even said that they don’t want to raise taxes, they just want to raise revenue. Uh huh!

Democrats have urged lawmakers to include in any potential debt deal — new spending measures in the form of infrastructure projects, clean energy subsidies and a payroll tax cut for employers — to “stimulate” the sluggish economy.   They want more money for highway construction. “Get the recovery right before you get in this deficit-cutting mode,” Assistant Senate Democrat Leader Dick Durbin told reporters.  “Get people back to work.  Let’s start moving in that direction..”  Been there, done that.  That’s what Obama’s huge stimulus was all about — infrastructure projects, clean energy subsidies and a payroll tax cut for employers — and it was all, according to official statistics — a waste.

Obama simply does not understand why the economy is not creating jobs, and he does not understand how jobs are created.  The first step to help business, he said, is his review of government regulations that might put an unnecessary burden on business, and they did eliminate the one about spilled milk being treated as an oil spill, and the new regulation will appear sometime.  Yet the Dodd-Frank Bill puts so many new regulations on business that they are paralyzed.  He’s launched a “partnership” with businesses and community colleges to train workers sometime soon for jobs that may appear sometime in the future. Congress could send him a bill, he said, putting construction workers back on the job rebuilding roads and bridges.  We had a lot of people “trained” for green jobs in the last two years, but those “green jobs” just didn’t appear.

If we choose to keep those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, if we choose to keep a tax break for corporate jet owners, if we choose to keep tax breaks for oil and gas companies that are making hundreds of billions of dollars, then that means we’ve got to cut some kids off from getting a college scholarship.  That means we’ve got to stop funding certain grants for medical research.  That means that food safety may be compromised.  That means that Medicare has to bear a greater part of the burden

False choices, straw men, and complete misrepresentation of the budget problems. “Those tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires” are the Bush “tax cuts for the rich,” a favorite Democrat talking point, but in the real world “the rich” got a smaller tax cut that anyone else.  Having called out that straw man, he claims that if we don’t raise taxes on millionaires and billionaires then— no medical research? no good safety? no college scholarships? and all the old folks out there can now be terrified that Obama is going to take away their Medicare.  Obama apparently sees the economy as a zero sum game — a pie, and if someone unfairly gets more, then everybody else gets cheated.

The corporate jet tax break was part of the Democrat’s stimulus plan in 2009.  Taxing  “Millionaires and Billionaires” (read small business filing as individuals)  said economist Lawrence Lindsay, simply wouldn’t raise enough revenue over ten years to rescue the economy, let alone pay for Obama’s desired new spending.  Many economists have explained that even if you took away all the millionaires and billionaires money — it still wouldn’t be enough.

It is an unusual moment when a president of the United States appears before the press and the nation to demonstrate that he simply hasn’t a clue about economics, at a time when the nation is in enormous peril simply because of his profligate spending.

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