Behind in the Count: Obama at Cooperstown
Baseball, apple pie, hot dogs; all hallmarks of an anticipated summer were disunited with Barack Obama in historic Cooperstown last week, touting tourism as a negligible channel to economic growth.
Cooperstown, celebrating the Baseball Hall of Fame’s 75th Anniversary was an equivocal choice for Obama’s wild pitch on the need to reduce airport wait times for foreign visitors. For the event to hold some congruity, Obama signed a memorandum giving Homeland Security and commerce secretaries four months to devise a plan to streamline the entry process.
With Memorial Day approaching, Obama gave precedence to easing vacationers’ discomforts over the neglect and failed healthcare of America’s veterans who, as he stated, “Once we know the facts and, if the results are correct,” I assure you if there is misconduct, it will be punished.”
If the results are correct?
Until then, tourism, if only seasonally, means more jobs and more Chinese and Brazilians visiting the Golden Gate Bridge, Six Flags St. Louis, or bobbing for Jonagolds at the National Apple Festival in Arendtsville, PA.
Someone on CNN should tell Obama that specialized Apps address unpredictable delays at America’s airports. Airlines also post expected security hold times per destination venue on their websites.
The last time Obama promoted revenue creation was earlier this month at the Tappen Zee Bridge in Tarrytown, NY. Unless Congress appropriate more transportation dollars into the Highway Trust Fund by summer’s end, he warned, 700,000 jobs could be lost.
The Commerce Department predicts a 3.5% bump in incoming travelers this year. So missing from Obama’s palpable diatribe are those shovel-ready jobs promised in 2009. What became of the $50 billion in stimulus earmarked to repair America’s infrastructure?
Obama’s read on subject matter would be heightened by understanding that the Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act Program was precisely designed to incentivize state and local governments to undertake road, bridge and rail repair without federal intercession. Chuck Hagel even co-proposed the initial formation of that body during the GWB era.
State autonomy is extrinsic to Obama, whose hyperbolic appearances are imbued with federal government having America’s best interests at heart. Even when they’re listening to private conversations or reading our emails.
It’s unlikely Obama’s final years in office will acknowledge that a thriving private sector has the power to market pricing for transportation usage and flexibility to do their own bidding.
Instead of ranting about Joe Garagiola receiving the Hall’s Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, or how during World War II, major, minor and Negro League uniform jerseys bore a special patriotic patch in the shape of a shield, Obama’s Cooperstown preamble concerned airport terminals hastening the arrival process for international sightseers.
And, given New York’s 8th highest individual income tax rate of 8.82%, Obama lauded fellow attendee Andrew Cuomo, whose 2014 tourism summit recently spent $45 billion to elevate the state’s travel industry.
Many agree America is already overrun with interlopers; ones that blithely cross the open border from Mexico, receiving better health care than many forced off their plans, or with now significantly devalued coverage.
Now, here’s a novel idea.
Obama’s next rallying cry to promote tourism should be held at the footbridge over the Rio Grande in Acala, TX, connecting the U.S. and Mexico. Surely that structure is in serious need of repair.