Government Bytes


Obama Continues Abdication of Leadership in Press Conference

by Brandon Greife / /

Obama took to the stage once again today to do what he does best – talk.Sadly, it was a scattered, disjointed speech that seemed more like an attemptto squeeze as many talking points as possible into 30 minutes rather than acohesive presentation of plan or policy. Here’s a few things that stuck out tous here at NTU:

"A lot of folks out there arestill struggling with the effects of the recession.  Many are still looking for work."

Ding. Ding. Ding. We have a winner. Sadly, this tells us very little wealready didn’t know. The most recent unemployment rate of 9.1 percentrevealed a stagnant job market. There aren’t just a few Americans laggingbehind the economic upswing; there has been no economic growth. As columnistGeorge Will has pointedout, June will be the 68th month since 1948 that unemploymenthas been higher than 8 percent. Twenty-nine of those months have come underObama. In other words, 43 percent of the most severe unemployment since WWIIhas come in the last two and a half years under Obama’s leadership

"Youcan't reduce the deficit without having some revenue in the mix. And therevenue we're talking about ... is coming out of folks who are doingextraordinarily well."

Businessleaders, economistsand the publicare calling for significant reductions in spending to close the deficit, nottax increases. As the Congressional Budget Office recently made clear in their Long-TermBudget Outlook, America has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Underthe CBOs calculation, even with revenues slightly above historical norms, ournational debt will grow to 100 percent of GDP by 2021, would surpass its peakof 109 percent by 2023, and would soar to 190 by 2035.

"I mean, who proposes tax hikes as a solution to a jobs crisis? Whoproposes more spending as a solution to a debt crisis?" Senator McConnell said.

“Thetax cuts I am proposing we get rid of are tax cuts for millionaires andbillionaires, oil companies, and corporate jet owners.”   

"Ifeverybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things inorder to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, then I think it would behard for the Republicans to stand there and say that, 'The tax break forcorporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to thetable and get a deal done,’..."

Oddly enough corporate jet owners really took ashellacking in this speech. It’s somewhat ironic considering President Obama’sstimulus package included a tax breakto encourage businesses and individuals to buy private planes. As the HeritageFoundation said,“So the president’s statement today – and his call to repeal the tax breakgenerally – is either a tacit admission that the stimulus included projectsthat did not in fact, stimulate the economy, or an attempt to ‘soak the rich.’”

Of course, as fun as these talking points are, andas easy as it is to single out oil companies, why does the President remain mumon his own “sacred cows?” I don’t, for instance, here Democrats talking abouteliminating tax incentives that favor so called “green” technologies despite beingsingled out for tons more tax breaks than oil. Instead, these are cleverlylabeled “investments.” It seems we’re playing under two different sets of rules

 “Right now, Congress can advance a set oftrade agreements that would allow American businesses to sell more of theirgoods and services to Countries in Asia and South America.  Agreements that would support tens ofthousands of American jobs while helping those adversely affected by trade.”

Um. Did Obama just steal a Republican talking point and call it his own? Takethis story from December 2009 courtesy of Reuters:

“Republican U.S. congressional leaders urged President Barack Obama to workwith them to win approval of long-stalled free trade pacts with Colombia,Panama, and South Korea.

…All three agreements have stalled for a number of years, mainly because ofconcerns raised by Democrats.”

The fact is, Republicans have long been trying to get the ObamaAdministration to move on the pending free trade agreements as a way tojumpstart the economy and job growth. Unfortunately, they’ve been held upbecause the Obama Administration insistson including funding for the wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program.The TAA program expends is another redistributive big-government program thatshuffles taxpayer money to a tinysliver of the unemployed.

 “Republicans don’t want a balancedapproach” 

Perhaps we have different definitions of a balancedapproach. The balance conservatives seek is one dealing with outlays andrevenues, best achieved with a Balanced Budget Amendment. The balance Obama isapparently discussing is a balance in taxes and spending cuts. But despite thehundreds of billions of dollars in tax hikes proposed by the president, hisplan (if you can call it that) would only trim $4 trillion in deficits over thenext 12 years. That would still leave enormous deficits in the short term anddo absolutely nothing to alter Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security which areunsustainable in the long-term.

"Callme naïve, but my expectation is leaders are going to lead."

Might as well call all of us naïve. We expected you,the leader of the free world, to lead.