“Or do we embrace a new economic patriotism that says, America does best when the middle class does best?” –Barack Obama
It’s been a great weekend for those of us who want to see the kind of change in Washington that will finally move this country forward. Governor Romney, in good gentlemanly fashion, indicted the failures of a petty incumbent in debate, earned a double-digit boost in the polls, and delivered a major foreign policy address that solidifies his foreign and domestic image as compellingly presidential. As a delectable bit of dessert, President Obama was caught shamelessly lying dealing in mistruths about Romney’s tax reform plan; it turns out Obama’s cited source reached exactly the opposite conclusion Obama imputed to him. Well that’s awkward.
There are four weeks to go before the final tally of the next four years, and the president’s people are already well invested in an aggressive campaign to paint the governor as a plutocratic, extremist, flip-flopper incapable of serious conviction. (If that sounds incoherent to you, it’s probably a combination of jet lag and altitude sickness from raising your brow too quickly.) Now, the Obama campaign has produced a nifty tool on its website to demonstrate all the ways the president’s policies have allegedly helped the American people. It’s broken down by state, so I’ll focus on the two that relate to me: my native Florida and my adoptive Virginia.
This entire section touts the purported benefits of a costly new entitlement that presumes “young adults” (aged 23-26) are better served by prolonged dependence on their parents than by a functioning economy that allows them to get good jobs—which would provide healthcare beyond age 26. Speaking of costs, Obama brags that 3.9 million women in Virginia and Florida will no longer have to expend $9 to $33 per month because of a bill that cuts $716 billion from Medicare, leaving it bankrupt in twelve years. But lest you think all benefits will disappear under Romney, Republicans have put forth ideas to replace ObamaCare with law that increases the affordability and quality of health care while shoring up Medicare for the foreseeable future. A better and more honest approach, reached with the understanding that everything has a cost, will be better for everyone, including women, now and for generations to come.
Glaring by curious omission are any numbers on increased solar power. It’s almost like the administration wants to pretend Solyndra didn’t happen, or maybe they’re wondering whether the government makes for a good venture capitalist, after all. They do talk a big game on natural gas and crude oil production—409.4% and 3.4% increase in each in Florida; 14.6% and 42.9% in Virginia. But the devil is always in the highly-selective details, as the president plays fast and loose with numbers and intentions:
“In classic fashion, he’s using a technicality to skirt the facts and keep the myth of energy scarcity alive,” the IER email said. “The reality is that the U.S. has enough recoverable oil for the next 200 years, despite only having 2 percent of the world’s current proven oil reserves.” (Emphasis added.) … What the president leaves out, said the IER, is technically recoverable oil, oil we know about but cannot access due to government regulations…oil production on federal lands declined in fiscal year 2011 from fiscal year 2010 by 11 percent, and natural gas production on federal lands dropped by 6 percent during the same timeframe. In contrast, oil production on private and state lands accounted for the entire increase
You would be forgiven for wondering whether the president is trying to have his cake and eat it, too. Is he committed to a full slate of American energy production to help secure our independence from foreign oil, or does he intend to limit domestic oil and national gas capabilities to boost alternative fuels? I would imagine the latter plan is conceivably defensible but for the administration’s not defending it.
Obama is thrilled to inform you that over 333,000 private-sector jobs have been created in Virginia and Florida alone in the last two years. What he would like you to ignore is that job-creation is perilously slow, most of the recent new jobs are in government, and the purchasing power of the middle class is declining. He also neglects to mention that the unemployment rate in Florida is unchanged at 8.8%, and the defense cuts in sequestration would devastate Virginia. But if you ignore all that pesky reality, which has a well-known conservative bias, Obama has probably done some good on the job front.
Taxes & Small Business
I wonder why the campaign omits the time frame over which these tax savings purportedly occurred, or any details whatsoever about them. I can understand why they don’t want to talk about their proposed recession tax increases on the small businesses that employ millions of people. I can also understand why they would avoid the entire discussion of how Obama’s own advisers favor a tax reform plan inconveniently similar to Mitt “Inverse Robin Hood” Romney’s much maligned proposal. But I cannot understand why an administration so indignant over imagined perceived lacks of specificity wouldn’t offer any clarity of its own.
So where do your tax numbers come from, Mr. President, and why do you keep lying about misunderstanding Mitt Romney’s tax proposal?
I gather we’re supposed to be thrilled that 800,000 Floridians and Virginians received nearly $4K in Pell Grants—an increase of well over 60% in each state. In all our jubilation over all these students purportedly affording college, we might almost overlook the fact that Pell Grant receipt is based on economic need. More people are receiving them because more families are going under. It’s certainly good that American students still have opportunities despite the government’s economic failures, but this situation is hardly a credit to the administration. It would be akin to your doctor demanding praise for treating an infection you only contracted because he botched an operation in the first place.
As for the question of student loans, let it suffice to say that the issue won’t affect the vast majority of student debt by terribly much. There’s also the inconvenient matter of how to pay for it. But don’t expect the Obama campaign to clarify that point.
At the risk of restating the obvious, this latest ploy by the Obama campaign amounts to little more than a tendentious fit of hope not worth the faded Obama poster you could print it on. The president can’t run on his record, so he’s resorting to the tried and true legerdemain of pretending his rhetoric counts for truth. If he were a magician, I’d remind him that we discovered that trick ages ago. As he is the president, I’ll instead suggest that his campaign start assuming the American people have better discernment than a drug-addled hate-child of Lindsay Lohan and Charlie Sheen.
You may not think you built this bed, Mr. President, but you will lie in it. The American people will see to that.