S.O.T.U. Address- Round 5

“The President shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Article II, Sec. 3

Our Constitution requires that our president present a national progress report–which in effect is supposed to be somewhat of a score card for his work. . . or lack thereof–from time to time.  Commonly these become platforms for policy they’d LIKE to see implemented, and it was no different Tuesday night. While Wolff Blitzer and the gang at CNN are all wrapped up in uh-ohing  over whether or not Marco Rubio ended his Senate career by taking a sip of water mid-address–they hailed the president’s speech a resounding success. Let’s take a gander, shall we? While primarily grandstanding about future plans, the speech did contain some “status updates” on the so-called State of the Union:

Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in twenty. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before. Together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and can say with renewed confidence that the state of our union is stronger.

  • WARS: Yes, the wars are ending, but what is the state of the world as it pertains to the terrorists who wish to see us eliminated?  Benghazi isn’t a hopeful sign. Furthermore, the sharp, sudden, drawback of troops (much like what was done in Iraq) in Afghanistan is drawing concerns about the future stability of the region. Specifically, “Army Gen. Lloyd Austin — who oversaw the final U.S. drawdown in Iraq — agreed that plans to sharply decrease the number of Afghan security forces after 2014 could open the door to more Taliban violence.”
  • JOBS: 6 million jobs created sounds GREAT. Let’s do the math though, shall we? When Obama took office in January of 2009, unemployment was at 7.6%. At present, it is an even worse 7.9%, with 12.3 million Americans jobless. As I’ve oft mentioned, this number is really far higher than 8, 9, or even 10%, but that’s a story for another day. The point is- can someone please explain how one starts a presidency at 7.6% unemployment, creates SIX MILLION jobs, and manages to be at 7.9% unemployment at the onset of his 5th year in office? Thankfully, Glenn Kessler over at the Washington Post took a stab at it: “The president is cherry-picking a number that puts the improvement in the economy in the best possible light. The low point in jobs was reached in February 2010, and there has indeed been a gain of about 6 million jobs since then, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. But the data also show that since the start of his presidency, about 1.2 million jobs have been created—and the number of jobs in the economy is about 3.2 million lower than when the recession began in December, 2007.” The low point Kessler was referring to was a month in which we were at 9.7% unemployment.  Then again, when this president and his administration are allowed to get away with claiming that jobs “SAVED” falls right into the same category as jobs CREATED. . . I suppose then 2+2 does in fact equal 5. Kessler is again correct in pointing out the number of jobs no longer part of the economy. “. . . 3.2 million jobs lower . . . ” This is called a “shrinking of the workforce.” Jobs from which people are let go, and those jobs simply never resurface or new work doesn’t resurface for those individuals. Remember folks, this works to the president’s advantage. When you take the total number of fairly recently unemployed and compare it to the workforce, instead of counting ALL unemployed who have given up looking for work, then presto-chango–the unemployment number falls!
  • AMERICAN CARS: The “foreign car” argument irritates me to no end. The way that the president and the rest of the union-backed Washington elite talk, you’d think we get Hyundais, Hondas, Kias, BMWs, and the rest shipped over here on trans-Pacific barges COMPLETELY MADE and ready to drive. Does anyone stop to think about the jobs that these “foreign companies” create by having their manufacturing plants all over the U.S.? Truly, it’s not like some kitchen appliance with “Made in China” stamped on its backside; “foreign cars” are made right here! Need some convincing? You might want to speak with the employees of the Kia Motors plant in West Point, Georgia; the Honda plant in East Liberty, Ohio; the Toyota plant in San Antonio, Texas; the Hyundai plant in Montgomery, Alabama; the BMW plant in Greer, South Carolina; the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa, Alabama; the Volkswagon plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee; . . . I could go on and on. Oh, and I might mention that Audi was considering opening a factory here as well, but in 2012 chose Mexico instead, citing that its choice “Mexico offers an excellent economic basis for Audi production operations.” Gee, I wonder why. Though this might ruffle some feathers (though, let’s be honest, MOST of what I have to say ruffles feathers), the U.S. is fast losing its status as an economic superpower. In the case of Audi’s choice, it’s worth noting that Mexico’s “Stock Exchange, the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores, has been the second-best performing stock market in the world, lagging only Germany’s.”
    Back to the argument at hand- YES, there has been a rise in “American” car purchases, but does it really matter? After all, I’ve already laid out that regardless of being “foreign,” most foreign car companies benefit Americans and the American economy directly. Whether it’s the plant in your hometown or the dealership owned by your neighbor, the benefits are there. And furthermore–to quote Hillary–“what difference does it make” if we contribute to a foreign economy via the purchase of a foreign car? I mean, after all, we owe foreign lenders TRILLIONS of dollars. . .so really . . .let’s be honest here. Lastly- it today’s uber-global world, I’m positive you’d have live in a cave, grow your own food, and use NO modern commodities whatsoever to avoid purchasing a foreign commodity.  Regardless, that cave is probably on some spot of land protected by some overarching, anti-constitutional UN environmental mandate anyway. . . . so. . . .? Then again, I’ve digressed.
  • OIL IMPORTS: Let’s revisit the oil import numbers from 1992, which was  20 years ago. Remember, the president said we’re buying less foreign oil than we have in 20 years. (By the way, somebody better tell Brazil’s Petrobras that by this measure, we’re probably not going to “be their best customer”!) According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the president isn’t even SORT of close. Then again, when you put a stop to domestic ventures like the Keystone pipeline and temporarily halt drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. . . what precisely does one expect?
  • HOUSING MARKET: Our housing market isn’t healing. It hasn’t been for years. To be sure, interest rates are low, making it easier to buy, but according to Robert Schiller of Yale University, (who incidentally also helped create the S&P/Case-Shiller index of property values.) “. . . it’s also a very bad housing market in that most of the mortgages are being supported by the government, and we have the Fed and this buying program. It’s a very abnormal market. There’s a lot of uncertainty going forward.” Schiller goes on, “The housing market has been declining for something like six years now, it could go on, that’s my worry. The short-term indicators are up now, it definitely looks better, but we saw that in 2009.” If by “stronger protections” the president is referring to a housing market propped up by the federal government. . . well, it’s only as “strong” as the U.S. government is, and our  situation is anything but strong. “Strong” would be a market propped up by a healthy MARKET, not temporary fixes and cash-flow injections.

The president drawled on for another 2000+ words, digging in his heels deep into policies that have done nothing to benefit the economy in the last 4 years, yet he continues to place blame on a recession and a presidency that ended years ago. We’ve had stimulus. We’ve had “shovel ready” jobs. . . which turned out not to be so “shovel ready.”  We’ve had bailouts. We’ve had financial takeovers. We’ve punished the rich, bashed immigration laws with the race card, demanded a hundred and one things that sound just dandy on paper, yet haven’t ONCE worked. Oh, and he blamed Congress for the sequestration cuts that he and HIS party pushed. What a joke: “That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” are a really bad idea.”

Another few gems from the president’s speech?

  • Raising minimum wage to $9.00: Sounds fantastic on paper, but consider the implications. When you force the market to raise pay when neither merit nor financial success demand it, you put a squeeze on businesses. Either they are forced to pay everyone more, or they are forced to lay people off, and carry on with the same workload. . . only with less people. This has implications beyond those making minimum wage. What about the young kid who started an minimum wage 2 years ago, but has worked his way up to $9.00 an hour? He’s going to expect a raise as well, which triggers the guy above him to expect HIS raise, and on and on it goes. Moral of the story? You cannot legislate prosperity. Simply demanding that a company pay someone more doesn’t mean they CAN. Then again, when you’re operating under the assumption that the economy expands not from the top down but from the middle out, raising minimum wage is the perfect way to redistribute wealth in a fashion that guarantees across the board financial mediocrity.
  • Our wealthiest seniors should pay more: So, let me get this straight. Our golden generation; individuals who have worked and paid taxes their entire lives with the promise of programs like Medicare and Social Security (which for the record were bad ideas to begin with) and a stable retirement; individuals who haven’t seen a COLA increase in their Social Security checks in YEARS,  are now going to be asked to pay AGAIN? Remember, of course, that we’re operating in a world whose occupants think 2+2=5, and thus asking those who have already given so much doesn’t seem wrong. Remember also, that this is coming from the guy whose party claimed the Republicans wanted grandma dead (for DARING to suggest that we need to phase out Medicare in favor of a private system); meanwhile his health care law robbed over 700+ billion from Medicare to pay for it.

I could go on nitpicking- but it could take a while. Suffice it to say it was more of the same. Want a real life example of the plans laid out in Barack Obama’s State of the Union address? Just look at the last four years.

3 thoughts on “S.O.T.U. Address- Round 5

  1. Straight talk, logical thinking, and nothing but the facts sprinkled with a little mid-west lingo. “Let’s take a gander.” I love it when you talk like Sarah Palin. I don’t hear things said that way very often back here in the burgh. Many thanks as always. And watch out for Somali food fights around town.

  2. Thanks for the insights, Mary. I didn’t watch the SOTU Address because I simply can’t stomach more rhetoric. The sad thing about this man is that now he’s out campaigning again to convince the American people that he’s right about everything. I guess that’s all he knows how to actually do. I know of another man who totally captivated the masses almost a century ago. He had them eating out of his hand too. Let’s hope the devil has not created another Hitler.

    ________________________________

    • I actually didn’t get to watch it due to a Youth Board meeting I had to attend that night. I had to read it afterwards. . . but it was still just as difficult to stomach.

      I do know one thing for sure- you don’t cling to such horrible policies after over 4 years unless it’s on purpose, you know? I do believe it is his intent to take America off its place as the world’s superpower; as the world’s most successful nation. If you ever get a chance, read Dinesh D’Souza’s The Roots of Obama’s Rage. It lays out Obama’s grievances with this nation’s status one by one. It’s a difficult book to read, but it’s vital.

      Thanks as always for reading!! I appreciate it!!

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