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 attempt to squeeze as many talking points as possible into 30 minutes rather than a cohesive presentation of plan or policy. Here’s a few things that stuck out to us here at NTU:

"A lot of folks out there are still 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 we already didn’t know. The most recent unemployment rate of 9.1 percent revealed a stagnant job market. There aren’t just a few Americans lagging behind the economic upswing; there has been no economic growth. As columnist George Will has pointed out, June will be the 68th month since 1948 that unemployment has been higher than 8 percent. Twenty-nine of those months have come under Obama. In other words, 43 percent of the most severe unemployment since WWII has come in the last two and a half years under Obama’s leadership

"You can't reduce the deficit without having some revenue in the mix. And the revenue we're talking about ... is coming out of folks who are doing extraordinarily well."

Business leaders, economists and the public are calling for significant reductions in spending to close the deficit, not tax increases. As the Congressional Budget Office recently made clear in their Long-Term Budget Outlook, America has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. Under the CBOs calculation, even with revenues slightly above historical norms, our national debt will grow to 100 percent of GDP by 2021, would surpass its peak of 109 percent by 2023, and would soar to 190 by 2035.

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

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

"If everybody else is willing to take on their sacred cows and do tough things in order to achieve the goal of real deficit reduction, then I think it would be hard for the Republicans to stand there and say that, 'The tax break for corporate jets is sufficiently important that we're not willing to come to the table and get a deal done,’..."

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

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

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

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

“Republican U.S. congressional leaders urged President Barack Obama to work with 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 of concerns raised by Democrats.”

The fact is, Republicans have long been trying to get the Obama Administration to move on the pending free trade agreements as a way to jumpstart the economy and job growth. Unfortunately, they’ve been held up because the Obama Administration insists on including funding for the wasteful Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program. The TAA program expends is another redistributive big-government program that shuffles taxpayer money to a tiny sliver of the unemployed.

 “Republicans don’t want a balanced approach” 

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

"Call me 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.