Monday, July 27, 2015

July, 2015, Part 2, Politicians Say The Darndest Things: Presidential Edition

Ever so often we run a series of posts under the theme, “Politicians say the darndest things.” It is a parody of an old television show, “House Party,” where host Art Linkletter would ask simple questions of young kids and wait for their often funny responses. This segment of his show was called “Kids Say The Darndest Things.” 

Unfortunately when kids say silly or dumb things, it is funny. When politicians say silly or dumb things, there are usually serious ramifications across the land that often involve stupid laws, wasteful spending, self delusion of a politician’s intelligence or abilities, or a continued lack of faith that today’s politicians are smart enough to get anything right.

So let’s take a look at the latest darndest things that an American politician is saying, President Barack Obama. The President recently spoke in front of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and had the following words and quotes: 

“When I came into office, we were going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. And over the last six and a half years, not only have we taken the unemployment rate from 10 percent down to 5.4, creating close to 13 million jobs, over five years of consecutive job growth — an all-time record; not only did the stock market double, helping people with 401(k)s make sure that their retirement accounts hadn’t been completely devastated; not only have we provided 16 million people with health care who didn’t have it before, and, by the way, driven health care inflation down to its lowest level in 50 years; not only have we doubled the production of clean energy, increased solar energy by 20 percent, reduced the pace of our carbon emissions, doubled fuel efficiency standards in cars, produced more traditional energy than ever before so that we’re weaning ourselves off of foreign oil and doing something about climate change, which is going to be a critical issue for Drew and Rachel’s daughter, and all our children and our grandchildren; but we did all that while cutting the deficit by two-thirds.”

“We’ve ended two wars. We have reestablished our alliances around the world in ways that make them stronger than they ever have been before. High school reading, high school graduation, college attendance — on almost every metric, the country is significantly better off than we were when I came into office.”

Yes, politicians say the darndest things and this President is the king of darndest things. Now, some of what he says is true in the above comments:

  • The country was going through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
  • He has reduced the unemployment rate from over 10% to just over 5% if one uses the increasingly obsolete U3 unemployment rate calculation.
  • We have seen five years of job growth.
  • The stock market has recovered nicely from the Great Recession.
  • The country has reduced the amount of carbon emissions.
  • We have likely increased the use of clean energy sources.
But a lot of what he says qualify for this rendition that politicians say the darndest things:

- Yes, we were in the middle of a great financial meltdown but a lot of that was do to Obama’s Democratic friends and allies over the years:

- Yes, the U3 unemployment rate is down to 5% or so but the more realistic unemployment rate, the U6 rate, is still about 10%. This is the more realistic rate since bad economic policies and decisions from Washington have caused millions and millions of Americans to become too discouraged to even look for work, forcing them to drop out of the workforce, a reality not captured by the U3 unemployment rate.

- Yes, there has been five years of steady, if undramatic job growth, but those newly created jobs have either been mostly in low paying economic sectors that offer very little long term financial reward or have been part time jobs. Recent government economic data estimated that over 6 million Americans are stuck in part time jobs even though they would like full time employment. These two factors have resulted in anemic wage and household income growth since the recession ended.

- Yes, the stock market has recovered but tens of millions of Americans do not participate in the stock market so that aspect of the weak economic recovery does not even affect them. On a side note, the chairman of the board of Goldman Sachs, one of the investment banks that were likely a driving force that created the recession’s causes, recently became a billionaire as a result of the Obama administration’s economic policies.

- Yes, over 16 million Americans have gotten health insurance coverage as a result of Obama Care but according to a Rand Corporation study, about 8.5 million Americans lost their existing healthcare insurance as a result of Obama Care so the real net gain is about half of what Obama lays claim to. In addition, many of those that got insurance as a result of Obama Care not only signed up because Obama Care made their existing, preferred plans go away but they have to pay more for their new coverage while getting less coverage and less choices of medical care in return. In other words, quantity does not equal quality.

- Yes, the healthcare cost inflation curve may have been reduced but that trend started before Obama Care came into existence and underlying analyses of the cost trend show that many people are delaying healthcare costs, which also reduces the growth in costs. Not because they have insurance or because they are healthier but because they cannot afford their Obama Care insurance deductibles and co-pays, not because they got well. All of which still does not explain the Obama promise that healthcare insurance costs for the typical American family could go down by as much as $2,500 a year.

- Yes, usage of solar energy might be up a lot but the cost of achieving a 20% growth on a small base might not have been cost effective when you remember that this administration has already wasted tens of billions of taxpayer dollars on dozens of failed alternative energy projects, (e.g. Solyndra, Beacon, A123, etc.). Almost all of those wasted taxpayer dollars were paid out to Democratic Party donors and supporters, plain old crony capitalism that failed to provide an societal benefits in return.

- Yes, this administration did declare that car efficiency would double but that has nothing to do with reality. Saying it does not make it happen.

- Yes, this administration has been worried about climate change but as readers of this blog know, that is a probably a phony, power grab by the political class. Type in “I am a global warming doubter” in the search box above to find out why this is an empty suit claim and accomplishment.

- Yes, he withdrew American troops from two wars but he did not end them. He has rushed thousands of U.S. troops back into Iraq to fight ISIS even though his military advisers advised him not to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq back in 2011 just to satisfy a political campaign boast. Just this week the Pentagon reported that U.S. jets flying missions in Afghanistan killed a terrorist leader. Flying bombing runs seems contrary to the boast that he ended two wars. U.S. troops remain on the front lines of the war against the Taliban, that war has not ended.

- Our alliances are not stronger around the world. Relations with Russia and China are at the lowest levels in decades. We have ticked off our allies by spying on their leaders and governments. Former Middle East allies like Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Gulf nations are looking to Russia and China for sources of weapons, a process that we used to own 100%. When the leaders of the six Persian Gulf nations were invited to a White House summit, more than half refused, with one leader going to a horse show in Britain rather than come to the summit. There is so much truth to the following statement regarding Obama’s foreign policy: “Our enemies no longer fear us and our allies no longer trust us.” 

- On almost every metric, the country is NOT better off when Obama came into office:

  • The national debt level will likely double during his Presidency, placing severe financial and economic pressure on future generations.
  • This administration has no plan on how to get runaway Federal government spending under control. 
  • More than one in five American kids live below the poverty line, up significantly from when Obama took office.
  • Long term unemployment levels are at record levels.
  • The Federal government is obese, dysfunctional, and broken, wasting hundreds of billions of dollars every year due to waste and criminal fraud.
  • Over 45 million Americans are still receiving Federal food assistance every month.
  • This has become the most lawless administration ever, from Fast and Furious to IRS harassment of Obama’s political opponents to unilaterally changing laws without the consent of Congress to unwarranted spying on all communications of all Americans to selectively enforcing only the laws it likes (e.g. allowing sanctuary cities to exist, DOMA, etc.), to using executive orders to bypass Congress, etc., possibly destroying the Constitution and the rule of law for a long time in this country.
  • Despite the economic tailwinds of an $800 billion economic stimulus program, energy procurement breakthroughs, and the Fed printing up trillions of paper dollars,this administration could manage only anemic economic growth over the past five years.
  • There is no plan to fix Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, three Federal programs that are heading directly into financial insolvency in a very short time.
  • There is still no plan to fix America’s under performing schools, seal our leaky borders, implement a coherent national energy plan, attack the true underlying root causes of our high healthcare costs, or finally tackle the plight of America’s poor besides keeping them addicted to government handouts and a life with no hope.
  • If anything, race relations have deteriorated during this administration despite a long term trend to improving relations prior to this Presidency.
Yes, politicians say the darndest things, most of which are usually pure lies, pure spin, or pure delusions. You just have to scratch below the surface and look at facts, not rhetoric.

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