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Tuesday, December 11 , 2018, 10:19 am | Fair 54º

 
 
 

The Daily Capitalist: It’s Still Not My Fault, and I Feel Your Pain

President Obama’s State of the Union speech shows only that he can talk the talk

I will say that President Barack Obama is pretty good at this speech stuff. Remember last year when professor Obama said the adults are now in charge and we’re going to clean up the mess the kids made? This year had a much different tone. At times he almost sounded humble. Thank you, Massachusetts.

This time, he hit right to the heart of what his pollsters and advisers were saying: “It’s the economy, stupid.” He didn’t even get to health care until he was about half way through his speech. But he says he understands what we’re going through and the government is going to save us. Again. He said “we” (I guess that means his administration) prevented another depression. Thanks a lot. I think.

He launched right into the banks and said we’re not going to put up with that s*** anymore. Not really, but it sure felt like he was mad at them.

All the rest were the usual ornaments that politicians love to decorate the legislative Christmas tree with. This program for small businesses, a tax credit for that, green jobs, “China’s not waiting to revamp its economy … Well I do not accept second-place for the United States of America,” free college stuff, a jobs bill, energy independence, more stimulus, yadda, yadda, yadda.

Actually he did say something good about nuclear power and offshore drilling. “Tough choices,” he said. Fair enough.

Much of what he said was the usual thing that presidents say:

“I have never been more hopeful about America’s future than I am tonight. Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it’s time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength.”

He called it Bush’s recession over and over and over. I’ll give him that. But both parties were equally culpable. It just happened to crash on Bush’s watch. But it gets old when he has to keep reminding us that it wasn’t his fault. He has no clue.

So here we are in Year 2 of Obama and we need another jobs bill because the first one didn’t work. Please! These guys never examine their premises.

The almost funny part when he said, dead serious, “[E]ven as health-care reform would reduce our deficit, it’s not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves.” This is why we’re in trouble. He and the Democrats actually believe this.

He noted that we are headed for massive deficits:

“So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight. At the beginning of the last decade, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. That was before I walked in the door.”

His solution to runaway spending and the financial collapse of Medicare and Social Security? A bipartisan commission. This is not good. Until they understand that they are the problem the result will be massive tax increases because politicians can’t cut spending. Besides, it’s not his fault.

He did get to the point that he will pull out of Iraq by August. I have my doubts that it will happen, but it’s fine with me: Let’s go home. Most foreign policy issues were an afterthought.

The ending of the speech was pretty good. It was meaningless, but he says meaningless things so well. You will recall that several minutes went by and no one clapped or hooted as he basked in the glow of America’s greatness and how we’re not afraid of hard work. Reminds of me Bush (“It’s tough. It’s hard work”).

And then there was the usual ending all presidents leave us with: hope.

“We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment — to start anew, to carry the dream forward and to strengthen our union once more.”

Wow.

What I really dislike about him is how he always frames the argument in terms of what he even referred to in his speech as “false choices.” He keeps setting up the opposition as straw men and then knocks them down. How can that be bipartisan? He took a dig at the Republicans saying that he’s waiting for some good ideas about health care from them. That should tell you something about his agenda.

It’s Obama who isn’t listening.

— Jeff Harding is a principal of Montecito Realty Investors LLC. A student of economics, he has a strong affinity for free-market economics. This commentary originally appeared on his blog, The Daily Capitalist.

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