In the opening of his State of the Union address, President Obama described the havoc wrought by the recession: “One in ten Americans still cannot find work. Many businesses have shuttered. Home values have declined . . . This recession has also compounded the burdens that America’s families have been dealing with for decades –- the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.” If you were paying close attention to last week’s Address, those words may not sound familiar. And for good reason: Despite their relevance to today’s economy, this quote is from last year’s Address.
This year, the President tried to paint a much rosier picture. He consistently referred to the recession in the past tense. For example, “Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known . . .” This is deceitful; the recession did not end two years ago, as he implies. If it did, then what gives with last year’s “Summer of Recovery” hype? What of the agonizingly slow pace of the scant recovery that has occurred?
This year, he said in reference to gauging economic progress, “We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer.” Well, then, let’s do so. As recently as last November, when unemployment was at 9.8%, the Administration repeatedly called unemployment levels “unacceptably high.” Is it now acceptable, therefore a sign of progress, when it has fallen to 9.4%? That’s still more than double the historic lows of the George W. Bush boom years. On that statistic alone, we have regressed sharply under the Progressives.
(I can just see the Bushaters frothing at that. Need I remind them that the recession started when the Progressives won control of Congress during the last two years of his administration, and that his only major fault in the recession was not having the spine to veto wholesale their economic legislation?)
Moreover, more people have been without work longer than at any time since the Great Depression. Ask anyone who’s been enduring prolonged unemployment, who has lost a house or a business because of Obamanomics, if the recession is over, and you’ll probably get a far different – and far more accurate – assessment than the President so blithely offered.
There was more deceit in play as well. Obama claimed, “Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans’ paychecks are a little bigger today.” Really? My income tax withholding increased last year, and again this year. Indeed: Because the Progressive-controlled Congress waited until the end of the year to extend the Bush tax cuts, withholdings reverted to pre-cut levels because the computer programs that calculate withholding levels have yet to be updated.
Obama considers increased government spending to be an investment. But why trust an investment adviser who recommended the “investment” of $787 billion in a “stimulus” program whose only returns were growth in bureaucracy, government employment and the deficit? Meanwhile, employers are reluctant to invest in job creation because of the ongoing economic uncertainty, highlighted by Obama’s continued interest in punitively taxing the economically successful.
Perhaps his most audacious deceit involved the deficit, as in, “We need to take responsibility for our deficit.” Uh, ‘scuse me, Mr. President, but you already are responsible for it. That’s your signature on every single spending bill signed since you took office, and those spending bills are why the federal deficit is forecast to increase another $100 billion from last year to a record $1.5 trillion in 2011. The “mountain of debt” you bemoaned is very largely your creation. (Oh, and by the way, he also shed crocodile tears over the deficit last year too.)
He boldly committed to cutting a whopping $400 billion from the deficit over the next decade. In light of his adding a trillion dollars to the annual deficit, and his advocacy of even more spending, that’s as embarrassing as his boast to have created thousands of construction jobs – in an industry with 2,100,000 people unemployed compared to the August 2006 (i. e., Bush era) peak of 7,725,000.
He promised that, for the first time in history, a website would provide public accounting for government spending. This too was a deceit; the Porkulus featured such a site – that documented job-creating spending in non-existent congressional districts.
This speech was not such much the State of the Union as it was the state of Obama’s art as a slick-talking deceiver who is disconnected from the reality he helped create.
Thomas Berry, for the Children of Liberty, www.meetup.com/The-children-of-liberty