FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Words ‘ring hollow’ in Obama’s error filled speech
I have already said I did not care for Obama’s the government will do every thing speech. Another reason the Obama speech failed to impress me were the many misrepresentations Obama made as he tried to sell his anti-Reagan bigger government vision.
These are just the examples the two Associated Press writers highlighted:
Obama’s Housing Bailout
families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments
and refinance their mortgages. It’s a plan that won’t help speculators
or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope
to afford, but it will help millions of Americans who are struggling
with declining home values.”
THE FACTS: If the administration has come up with a way to ensure money
only goes to those who got in honest trouble, it hasn’t said so.
Defending the program Tuesday at a Senate hearing, Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke said it’s important to save those who made bad
calls, for the greater good. He likened it to calling the fire
department to put out a blaze caused by someone smoking in bed.
“I think the smart way to deal with a situation like that is to put out
the fire, save him from his own consequences of his own action but
then, going forward, enact penalties and set tougher rules about
smoking in bed.”
Similarly, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. suggested
this month it’s not likely aid will be denied to all homeowners who
overstated their income or assets to get a mortgage they couldn’t
“I think it’s just simply impractical to try to do a forensic analysis
of each and every one of these delinquent loans,” Sheila Bair told
National Public Radio.
THE FACTS: Depends what your definition of automobiles, is. According
to the Library of Congress, the inventor of the first true automobile
was probably Germany’s Karl Benz, who created the first auto powered by
an internal combustion gasoline engine, in 1885 or 1886. In the U.S.,
Charles Duryea tested what library researchers called the first
successful gas-powered car in 1893. Nobody disputes that Henry Ford
created the first assembly line that made cars affordable.
The Washington Times also called Obama to task for this error and uses the Library of Congress to show the President misspoke when he credited the U.S. with the invention of the automobile.
new sources of energy. Yet we import more oil today than ever before.”
THE FACTS: Oil imports peaked in 2005 at just over 5 billion barrels,
and have been declining slightly since. The figure in 2007 was 4.9
billion barrels, or about 58 percent of total consumption. The nation
is on pace this year to import 4.7 billion barrels, and government
projections are for imports to hold steady or decrease a bit over the
next two decades.
THE FACTS: Although 10-year projections are common in government, they
don’t mean much. And at times, they are a way for a president to pass
on the most painful steps to his successor, by putting off big tax
increases or spending cuts until someone else is in the White House.
Obama only has a real say on spending during the four years of his
term. He may not be president after that and he certainly won’t be 10
years from now.
This may be Obama’s most galling misrepresentation. He continues to say one thing while doing another. He calls for fiscal responsibility while encouraging outrageously massive deficit spending. As for that deficit Obama likes to say he inherited, nearly one-fourth of the national debt was created since the Democrats took control of Congress just two years ago.
expense of a healthy market. People bought homes they knew they
couldn’t afford from banks and lenders who pushed those bad loans
anyway. And all the while, critical debates and difficult decisions
were put off for some other time on some other day.”
THE FACTS: This may be so, but it isn’t only Republicans who pushed for
deregulation of the financial industries. The Clinton administration
championed an easing of banking regulations, including legislation that
ended the barrier between regular banks and Wall Street banks. That led
to a deregulation that kept regular banks under tight federal
regulation but extended lax regulation of Wall Street banks. Clinton
Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, later an economic adviser to candidate
Obama, was in the forefront in pushing for this deregulation.
There is plenty of blame to go around here, including Obama and ACORN.
THE FACTS: First, his budget does not accomplish any of that. It only proposes those steps. That’s all a president can do, because control over spending rests with Congress. Obama’s proposals here are a wish list and some items, including corporate tax increases and cuts in agricultural aid, will be a tough sale in Congress.
Second, waste, fraud and abuse are routinely targeted by presidents who later find that the savings realized seldom amount to significant sums. Programs that a president might consider wasteful have staunch defenders in Congress who have fought off similar efforts in the past.
Doubling Renewable Energy
THE FACTS: While the president’s stimulus package includes billions in aid for renewable energy and conservation, his goal is unlikely to be achieved through the recovery plan alone.
In 2007, the U.S. produced 8.4 percent of its electricity from renewable sources, including hydroelectric dams, solar panels and windmills. Under the status quo, the Energy Department says, it will take more than two decades to boost that figure to 12.5 percent.
If Obama is to achieve his much more ambitious goal, Congress would need to mandate it. That is the thrust of an energy bill that is expected to be introduced in coming weeks.
THE FACTS: This is a recurrent Obama formulation. But job creation projections are uncertain even in stable times, and some of the economists relied on by Obama in making his forecast acknowledge a great deal of uncertainty in their numbers.
The president’s own economists, in a report prepared last month, stated, “It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error.”
Beyond that, it’s unlikely the nation will ever know how many jobs are saved as a result of the stimulus. While it’s clear when jobs are abolished, there’s no economic gauge that tracks job preservation. The estimates are based on economic assumptions of how many jobs would be lost without the stimulus.
I have written a good deal about Obama’s quest for a job goal he can believe in. He has finally settled on the “save or create 3.5 million jobs” over the next two years. Unfortunately it is little more than a stroke of political genius expediency because it begs the question of how to measure jobs being
All things considered this was not a very good performance for a president widely perceived as a truly great orator.