Theater of the absurd in Obama's speech

I just watched President Obama kick off his re-election campaign with the entire Congress as a backdrop. You have to give it to Obama, he is quite the showman. He may be short on substance and results but he certainly gives good theater.

In what might be called State of the Union – Lite, he was in full-throated campaign mode, spinning a lacy dreamscape which he calls the American Jobs Act but which was in reality an electoral trap for the Republicans.

Several of his ideas were good, such as tax breaks for small businesses which hire new workers or continuing the payroll tax exemptions. But he revealed his leftist roots when he proposed extending unemployment coverage by another year.

If passed, this giveaway would enable people to remain on the government dole for three years. How long do you have to be totally dependent on government handouts before you become part of a permanent and growing underclass eager to vote Democrat?

Toward the end, Obama could not resist promising that his schemes would lead the country into a government-funded paradise. Pie-in-the-sky, in basso profundo, has always been one of his favorite dishes. Often, he seems to get so carried away that he is unaware of the contradictions in his speeches, as in this one when he pushed for more unemployment handouts and later described the American people as strong and self-reliant.

Toward the end, Obama could not resist promising that his schemes would lead the country into a government-funded paradise. Pie-in-the-sky, in basso profundo, has always been one of his favorite dishes. Often, he seems to get so carried away that he is unaware of the contradictions in his speeches, as in this one when he pushed for more unemployment handouts and later described the American people as strong and self-reliant.

True, we have been strong and self reliant for most of our national history, but if Obama has his way we will all in time become government-dependent drones. Even more telling, he described his scheme as a needed jolt to an economy which has stalled, almost as if he had forgotten that for months he has been touting what has turned out to be an imaginary economic recovery.

Of course this is characteristic of Obama’s speeches. Each one reinvents reality as if the world had only just come into existence the moment he opened his mouth to speak. Whatever came before does not seem to matter much. Does he think that the people are so dumb that they will not remember what he promised earlier and take note of his failures, of his oratorical contradictions?

When called on this, I can imagine him replying, “That was then, this is now.”

In any case we can pretty much disregard Obama’s jobs speech because he guaranteed that his proposal will never pass since he plans to pay for a good part of it through tax increases on corporations and the so-called wealthy. The rumor is that he plans to raise the highest tax bracket to 48.9%.

He knows perfectly well that the GOP-controlled house will never agree to such tax increases and he intends to use this against them in next year’s election, claiming that he had proposed a miracle cure for the nation’s ills, only to have it shot down by the evil Republicans.

And there you have Obama’s trap. If his proposal is passed, he wins. But if the Republicans simply reject his proposal, they get the blame and Obama still wins. Clever but obvious. Speaker Boehner dodged Obama’s initial fusillade by noting that his remarks included several points which are “worthy of consideration.”

Now all he needs to do is await the diciest part of Obama’s scheme – what will it look like in writing and how will it be funded? It’s one thing to describe a program in high-flown rhetoric but quite another to reduce it to legislative jargon.

In Washington the devil is always in the legislative details and many a bill has emerged from the procedural hopper looking far different than when it went in. I’m hoping that the House will dissect Obama’s bill when it arrives, pass its good points, add measures truly beneficial to the economy such as removal of constraining regulations on business or reductions in corporate, dividend and capital gains taxes and trash can the rest. But I’m getting ahead of the process.

First, let’s see how Obama intends to address paying for his newest giveaways. I found it interesting how our Alinsky-trained Community Organizer-cum-President offered only the vaguest of funding ideas and instead shifted responsibility for funding to the Senate’s “super-committee “ which, as part of the debt ceiling agreement, is already tasked with the thankless and perhaps impossible job of finding $1.5 trillion in spending cuts before Thanksgiving.

By dumping responsibility for another $450 billion in the committee’s lap, Obama has made their job that much harder and the possibility of consequent mandatory cuts in defense and Medicare that much more likely.

Yes, Obama voted “present” once again. Several Dems have remarked that finding offsets for this new expenditure will be no big deal; it’s only $450 billion.

Please remember that, until TARP, the entire deficit in George W. Bush’s last year in office was about $535 billion. (And, when repaid, the $700 billion of TARP would all have gone back to the Treasury under Bush’s plan, but Obama spent all the repaid TARP money and so it was Obama who added that $700 billion to the national debt.)

Now Obama, who is already running a $1.3 trillion deficit this year and who faces a national debt of $14.6 trillion, is throwing around almost half a billion dollars as though it were chump change. Worse, he plans to spend much of it on programs already proven not to work. More unemployment aid will not create jobs, it will merely teach the unemployed to hold their hands out longer for a government check. Government-paid infrastructure repair provides short term jobs as payoffs for Obama’s union allies but it does not create new wealth or permanent jobs.

Now Obama, who is already running a $1.3 trillion deficit this year and who faces a national debt of $14.6 trillion, is throwing around almost half a billion dollars as though it were chump change. Worse, he plans to spend much of it on programs already proven not to work. More unemployment aid will not create jobs, it will merely teach the unemployed to hold their hands out longer for a government check. Government-paid infrastructure repair provides short term jobs as payoffs for Obama’s union allies but it does not create new wealth or permanent jobs.

Anyway, isn’t that what the $900 billion Stimulus Bill was supposed to do? And if, as Obama himself admits, shovel ready jobs were not ready then why should we believe that they are ready now? Same old leftist ideas – same old failures. If you want to get an idea of a program to resurrect our economy that would work, take a look at Mitt Romney’s 50-point proposal. It’s complex but practical and, if implemented, would get this country well on the road toward renewed prosperity.

A balanced budget amendment would keep us there.

Even the good aspects of Obama’s latest absurdity, a speech which would have made much more sense in March, 2009, will, if implemented, produce only very limited benefits. He has proven irrefutably that, not only do his policies not work, they make economic conditions far worse. In the end they will lead to total collapse.

For the sake of the country we must get this man out of the White House in 2012.

For the sake of the country we must get this man out of the White House in 2012.

Stan Escudero, Sept. 9, 2011

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The Guidepost By Stan Escudero
Stan Escudero is a career diplomat and businessman, who lives in Daytona Beach Shores with his wife, Jaye.

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