Friday, September 9, 2011

Obama's Laughable Address to Congress

Last night's campaign speech before Congress was really farcical.  It was like all of Congress were in a giant principal's office, held captive as they were lectured for breaking some rule nobody cared about.  In the end you got a plan that was supposed to be paid for but apparently by someone else as Obama wanted the "super committee" to deal with it, not him.  He's kind of like a "seagull boss", you know one of those bosses that flies in, takes a poop and then flies away.  Because you know he's going to be busy campaigning/golfing, not actually trying to get any sort of jobs bill passed.  If he really cared about jobs he would have come up with a jobs bill that might actually create some, not just a $450 billion monstrosity full of programs that have failed miserably earlier in his term.  Now on to specific comments about his speech:

For decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode.  They have seen the decks too often stacked against them.  And they know that Washington has not always put their interests first.

Decades?  Let me think, what major events might have eroded that compact?  The New Deal?  The Great Society?  Both those pushes took power away from individuals and gave them to bureaucrats in Washington that are pretty much answerable to nobody.  I wonder which party was behind that?

The question is -- the question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.   

My guess is that if we ever get to see his transcript he would have failed American History.  I just simply don't remember fairness and security being a part of American society (unless I missed the part of us being some socialist utopia) beyond fairness in the courts and security from marauders.  When Obama says fairness and security he is talking about the right to get your fair share whether or not you've achieved anything and the right to keep it, even if there is no reason you should.  This country was founded on the Right to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit (not guaranteed achievement) of Happiness.  One of Ben Franklin's famous quotes is even "they who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."  This country was founded on people having the opportunity to either succeed or fail miserably based on their own merits.  Sometimes life wasn't fair and something outside your control would make you fail, but it wasn't viewed as the job of the government to get you back anything that you lost.

I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.

Does that mean he wants to go on vacation soon?  God forbid he and his wife don't squeeze every last dollar they can from the American taxpayer with their free vacations.  Also, is he sending a plan or a bill?  If it's a plan, it's just an outline and it has to be actually written in bill form.  My guess is he wouldn't want to actually send it in bill form because then he would have to defend every little detail in it.  If it's a plan he can just talk about the broad strokes and even make stuff up that isn't even in the bill (you see it's in HIS plan just not the bill before Congress).  Remember when he kept saying that with Obamacare you can keep your insurance if you like it?  Does anyone believe that?

There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.  Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans -- including many who sit here tonight.  And everything in this bill will be paid for.  Everything.

Obviously it wouldn't be controversial for him because, well, he wrote it.  But yes, he is pretty much right.  No individual section is controversial, but taken as a whole, it will waste $450 billion that we don't have.  Also, everything will be paid for?  Everything?  If you are so intent on paying for everything, why wouldn't you put tax increases and spending cuts in the bill itself and not just kick the can down the road?  I guess providing actual details on the more negative aspects would have made the bill controversial and then this whole thing might actually hurt him at the polls.  And we can't have that, helping re-elect him is the whole point of this entire charade. For him.

The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple:  to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working.  It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for long-term unemployed. 

More jobs for construction workers and teachers?  Hmmm, what do those two groups have in common?  Oh yeah, they are unionized.  Now what are you going to do for the other 90% of the country Mr. "President"?  Also, have teachers been particularly negatively affected in this downturn?  Was that homeless guy I passed on the subway a social studies teacher at PS 341?  In 10 years, only 47 teachers out of 100,000 were fired from NJ schools.  It seems to me they have some of the most secure jobs in the country so why are we mortgaging our future to make their jobs even more secure?

It will provide -- it will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business.  (Applause.)  It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services.  You should pass this jobs plan right away.

Why exactly would a temporary cut in the payroll tax give the economy anything more than a temporary boost?  When payroll taxes were cut in January, did it do anything for the economy?  Growth is slower and unemployment is higher.  So why are we doing it again?  And anyway, what is sapping business confidence are all those idiotic regulations the Democrats keep shoving down their throats as well as health premiums skyrocketing due to Obamacare.

Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year.  (Applause.)  If you have 50 employees -- if you have 50 employees making an average salary, that's an $80,000 tax cut.  And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.

And if you provide family health insurance to your employees, that is costing you about $24,000 a year per employee, so  $1.2 MILLION dollars total.  If your premiums went up 28% like my company's (without any change in benefits) that's an additional $336,000 you're shelling out just to keep everything the same.  This payroll tax cut is kind of like peeing in the ocean in terms of employee costs especially with the cost of health benefits skyrocketing.

It's not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal.  Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that's in this plan.  You should pass it right away.

Then the Republicans should pass the payroll tax cut and pay for it immediately with spending cuts to the bloated bureaucracy.  Will that work for you?  Doesn't that count as a compromise?

Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America.  Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country.  Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our skies are the most congested in the world.  It's an outrage.  

Wasn't that the point of the original stimulus package which cost about $862 billion?  It seems that when Obama said "shovel ready" he meant unions were ready to shovel taxpayer money into their pockets without actually doing what they were supposed to do (the stimulus package seems like the ultimate "no-show job").

Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower.  And now we're going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? 

Isn't this racist?  Why is he singling out China?  Also, who exactly is clamoring for faster railroads other than left wing politicians?  Anyway, Amtrak can barely handle our slow speed rail, imagine what would happen if they had trains that could actually do some damage?

And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating.  How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart?  This is America.  Every child deserves a great school -- and we can give it to them, if we act now. 

We can also afford to renovate the schools without spending any additional money by ending collective bargaining for teachers.  Collective bargaining agreements don't only mean out-sized pay and benefits for teachers but also they include items like requiring health benefits be bought from the union, which of course overcharges.  Also, NY public schools are often a travesty (more than a third of Manhattan schools have hazardous code violations!), yet the city spends over $18,000 per pupil.  Where is all that money going?  That's enough money to fund a posh private school. There is clearly enough money to give our kids a good education in a nice school, too bad the unions are syphoning so much of it all. Anyway, even if the school construction part of the bill passed, the school year just started, so unless we want our kids covered in dirt or worse, wouldn't we have to wait until next June to renovate?  What is the point of acting now then?

Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work.

Summer's over, aren't they going back to work anyway?

But while they're adding teachers in places like South Korea, we're laying them off in droves.  It's unfair to our kids.

Again with the Asians, is he race-baiting or something?

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America's veterans.  We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to fight for our country.  The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home.

While I am certainly not against helping out veterans, but won't this not create any new jobs?  Aren't you just creating another preference for a certain subgroup at the expense of others?  If you have one spot to fill, you'll more likely fill it with a veteran now but this program doesn't make it so you have two spots to fill.

Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and the dignity of a summer job next year.  And their parents -- (applause) -- their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.

Hundreds of thousands?  How?  Maybe he'll put them to work but just not pay them?

Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. 

Again, this is nonsensical.  This is like cash for clunkers for people.  An expensive program that will have zero benefit to the economy.  So if have unskilled labor in your employ, there seems to be no reason to fire most of them and just hire long term unemployed.  You'll rake in the dough, Obama gets to say the number of long term unemployed went down, but no net new jobs are created.  Brilliant!   If the government is giving out money, people will find a way to scam it. 

Democrats and Republicans in this chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past.  And in this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again -- right away.

So because they have historically supported 6 months worth of insurance, they now have to support paying for insurance for over 2 years?  That doesn't quite make sense.

The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years.  It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas.  Tonight, I am asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act.  And a week from Monday, I'll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan -- a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run.

Again, if finding those cuts was so easy, why didn't he enumerate them in his plan?  Talk about passing the buck.  I also find it interesting that just a month ago he signed on to the debt ceiling deal to lower the deficit and he is already submitting a plan that will increase the deficit by $450 billion, with no offsets.  He is like a subprime borrower who kept taking out home equity loans on his property.  "You mean I can borrow $450 billion and take 10 years to pay it off?  Where do I sign?  How can this possibly go wrong???"  We know how it can go wrong.  We've seen this movie before.

This approach is basically the one I've been advocating for months.  In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I've already signed into law, it's a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts, by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.

Don't the wealthy in this country already pay a disproportionate share of the taxes? At what point do you say enough? When it's 100%?

Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary -- an outrage he has asked us to fix.

Warren Buffett is an isolated case.  On average, effective tax rates on the wealthy are much higher than on the non-wealthy according to the latest IRS data. Maybe we should just tax Warren Buffett more.

And to help responsible homeowners, we're going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent.  That's a step -- (applause) -- I know you guys must be for this, because that's a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family's pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.

How exactly?  Many of the people who could refinance at today's rates have.  The ones that haven't are either underwater on their mortgages or don't have the income to support a new loan (which a refinancing is).  It would be interesting to see what the plan for this actually is and if it doesn't put even more strain on the Federal Housing Authority (giving out loans to subprime borrowers for more than a property is worth hasn't historically worked out too well).

 Now it's time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition.  (Applause.)  If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers.  (Applause.)  I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words:  "Made in America."  That's what we need to get done.  (Applause.)

Last I heard, it was Obama holding up the free trade agreements.  Congress can't pass the free trade agreements if they aren't first submitted by the White House for approval.  Minor issue.  And I don't think protectionism is the reason Asians don't drive American cars.  It's because our cars are pieces of crap generally made by expensive union labor which makes our cars noncompetitive.

We should have no more regulation than the health, safety and security of the American people require.  Every rule should meet that common-sense test.  (Applause.)

We don't need Obamacare, can we get rid of that now?

I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury

Who WANTS to expose their kids to mercury?  Where the heck did that come from?  Enough with the false choices please.  Pass my bill or your kids will be mad as a hatter!

We shouldn't be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards.

Well China, who he loves so dearly because they make fast trains (and are Communist), will always have cheaper (slave) labor and worse pollution standards.  Anyway, this is a false choice.  It is very clear that some of our labor is way too expensive for what they do (unionized car manufacturers, union construction jobs) and some of our regulations go overboard (like the drought in the San Joaqin Valley caused by EPA regulations to protect the Delta Smelt).

What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?  (Applause.)

You mean the rigid idea that we need to be able to live within our means and not make promises we can't keep?

But know this:  The next election is 14 months away.  And the people who sent us here -- the people who hired us to work for them -- they don't have the luxury of waiting 14 months. 

That's rich coming from a guy who had filibuster proof majorities in Congress but instead did almost nothing to help the economy after his initial stimulus while he and his wife racked up vacation mileage on Air Force One.

And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country.

I guess that means he will campaign on the public dime in the name of "taking the message" of this dud of a jobs bill that will probably create almost no jobs and just leave us even more indebted than before.  Also, does he realize that if this thing passes that increases the chance that we will have another debt ceiling showdown BEFORE the next election? 


  1. THe ancient Romans in times of extreme danger, whether external or internal would appoint one man dictator who would fix what was wrong with no senate or congress to oversee him and no consuls to veto him. Once the job was done, the war won, the budget balanced, etc, we would quit the job and Rome would go back to its consul system.

    I like this idea and nominate Rudy Giuliani or Michael Bloomberg for the job.

  2. Great piece, but just to clarify, Warren Buffet does not pay a lower tax rate than his secretary. For many reasons, but the main one is that most of Buffett's income comes in the form of either dividends, which are taxed at 15% which may well be slightly lower than his secretary's effective rate, but that is because he owns a business which has already paid upwards of 35% corporate tax on those earnings before paying out dividends to Mr. Buffett. His other main for of income will be capital gains from the sale of shares in his companies. Since Mr. Buffett is known to be a very long term holder, a good part of the capital gains 'savings' is actually money paid on increases in his stocks value due to inflation (and also double taxation, since his companies have already paid corporate taxes on the retained earnings that form the basis of the capital appreciation). An honest accounting of Mr. Buffetts tax rate would have it well above that of his secretary. If Mr. Buffett isn't aware of this, he's an idiot. Rather, I'm sure he is aware of it which just makes him a partisan demagogue. (And an accounting of the profits he has earned from government bailouts and various corporate welfare would give you a good idea why he supports bigger government.

  3. George, as a smoker I'm shocked you'd want Bloomberg to be dictator.

    And john, thanks for the clarification, correct on all counts.