Obama just completed his 2014 State of the Union address, and the speech was full of things that he would like to do, and like to see, but the plans showed little appreciation for the actual behavior of markets or economics. It was a wish-list, as was last year’s SOTU address. The lame duck president was flat, and seemed to lack his usual flair. He mentioned his great accomplishments: lowest unemployment in five years, more oil production, and that he helped to cut the deficit by 1/2.
The economy and small business
The president talked of a “breakthrough year for America,” and attempted to frame Congress as the sticking point for changing regulations and tax breaks. The president wants tax loopholes closed (apparently, because they are only available to certain people and not everyone who takes advantage of them – the exact reason was left unclear). The president points to the growing economy, and cites the levels of the burgeoning Dow Jones, on the heels of months and months of quantitative easing. He also calls on Congress to undo cuts enacted last year, which affect things like education.
The issues with business and the economy, were contradicting activities. The president wants minimum wage raised, and he called on state governors to do it. Obama told them not to wait on Congress to act — this allows him to paint Congress as lazy or uncaring about the plight of minimum wage workers, as they move toward 2014 elections, while at the same time allowing state governors in tight races to pick up support.
Increasing the minimum wage would somehow lead to more money for consumers to spend, but Obama never mentioned the effect on the employers. While calling for businesses to pay their employees more, he neglected to mention the oncoming, but currently delayed, employer mandate for Obamacare. He also called on energy to continue to become cleaner, and mentions that may force families to make difficult choices.
President Obama says his energy policy is working – never mind that there is a propane shortage, coal and power producers are complaining, and gasoline is much higher than when he first took office. He calls on Congress to end tax cuts on fossil fuel companies (saying that they “don’t need them”). Carbon output is down in the U.S. more than in any other country (but he does not mention why – perhaps his regulations on the coal industry or the recession?)
He calls on Joe Biden and Congress to act to fund new job training programs. There are jobs that cannot find workers, and he wants to train these new workers. Starting new apprenticeships and increasing on-the-job training are the main ways he wants to fill these jobs. Again, he accused Congress of acting callously, and he called on them to restore unemployment benefits to the unemployed workers who have previously exhausted the 99 weeks of benefits.
Further, Obama stated that he does not resent people who make more than others, but was no where close to saying that they have earned it, or that they should not have to pay more in taxes to fund his domestic policy wishlist. Along with not resenting others’ salaries, he says he wants women to earn just as much as men do, and he restates the fallacious claim that they earn $0.77 for every $1.00 that a man earns – despite the fact his own staff underpaid women. “When women succeed, America succeeds, ” he tells us.
Surprisingly, he did mention Obamacare, but called it by its legislative name, “The Affordable Care Act,” perhaps because of its massive unpopularity. He told mothers to get their children to sign up, and for children to get their parents signed up, in what was the most disturbing and desperate part of the speech. He tells us that over nine million Americans have already signed up for the ACA, and he illustrated how it worked for a single patient who needed emergency surgery (although he neglected to share her deductible or how much her final bill was). Obama challenged Republicans to come up with a plan of their own, leaving a door open to have his own signature program finally buried and forgotten.
All in all, this year’s State of the Union address was incredibly similar to last year’s address. Obama issued the same promises, he engaged in the same rhetoric, and the same fundamental misunderstanding of the economy and labor market was evident, too. We are five years into the Obama presidency, and tonight, he illustrated that he still has not learned much. For his promise for a “year of action,” he has some major inertia to overcome.
So, today, as Secretary of State, John Kerry, reeled off the reasons that the United States should find itself embroiled in a civil war in the Middle East, as Vladimir Putin weighs his responses, and as Obama declares that the U.S. will go it alone if they have to, the world waits. The world seems to split into a few different camps .
Some wonder who actually used the poison gas that killed thousands of Syrians (despite Kerry’s swearing that he is positive it was Assad’s men, not rebels). Some wonder, why now? Suddenly, gas is a thousand deaths too far? Yet others may wonder why there is not more pressure on the U.N. to provide peacekeepers, or to investigate if it was actually gas used, or to hold a vote, in the face of an assured Russian veto, to allow nations to intervene.
Here at home, there are any number of Obama administration scandals that a person could point to, that would easily take a backseat to a brand new war.
So, what can we expect Obama to do once the weapons begin raining down on Syria? Read the three scenarios on Conservative Daily News.
We have seen the missteps and the successes of the Obama administration. We have seen the worst, seemingly having each “accomplishment” being worse and worse than the previous one. The country is now subject to a namesake piece of legislation, in Obamacare, and we have seen Obama’s revolving door of big-government, tax-and-spend Keynesians spin like a dynamo.
We have seen the confident Obama boast that, “We won” when talking about his party, and their misreading of elections results. Most recently, the country has seen the administration’s misunderstanding of the Middle East, and their finger-pointing ability when they sought to make the Benghazi fiasco go away. We were witness to a massive fall in the president’s support among his former voters too (although it was not enough to overcome the lack of support for Mitt Romney among conservatives).
So, how does all this make Obama a hero of the right?
Read the rest, along with my explanation on how the right should take advantage of the left’s frequent missteps and failures, here: Conservative Daily News “Obama, The Gift That Keeps Giving”
Another day, another fiscal-cliff deal gone down the drain. John Boehner, already taking heat from the right for his softening stance on raising taxes, has come out with another offer to the president and the left. Called “Plan B”, the plan formerly had the support of Nancy Pelosi. Plan B would set the lower limit for raising taxes at the $1 million level. Plan B is very similar to the same bill that had Senate Democrats’ support in 2010.
For her part, in an interview with Andrea Mitchell, Pelosi now says she only supported the plan to “smoke out the Republicans”, and see at what level they would consider raising taxes. Pelosi was negotiating purely in bad faith, it seems. She did not have anything serious to bring to the discussion, and she was merely wasting time. That, or she is negotiating from the standpoint of “getting an inch, and taking a foot”. Whatever her motive was, it is plain to see how destructive and pointless it was.
Mitch McConnell says he would support the Plan B design, but he would do so with reservations. McConnell would rather have a bill that did not raise taxes on anybody. With Boehner’s support of this newest plan, numerous other House members raised objections to the new tax considerations, but they seem to recognize that without any plan, taxes would greatly rise. The gambit now is to “shield” as many people from the massive tax increases as possible. Sean Duffy, Jim Jordan, and Raul Labrador all seemed lukewarm at best to the prospect of voting for any tax increases, with Labrador refusing to even share his criticisms.
Called out for his part (or non-part) in the fiscal-cliff talks was Harry Reid. One Republican adviser said Reid has been on the sidelines for the cliff negotiations. Reid has also claimed that, despite numerous revisions to their positions, and despite the most recent offer, Republicans “…have threatened to abandon serious negotiations”. Perhaps more proof that he is merely running interference for the White House, Reid also claimed that President Obama has not heard from Boehner since Boehner’s new offer on Monday.
President Obama has balked at every offer the Republicans have proposed so far. Threatening a veto of everything has him in the position of a win-win situation. On one hand, if nothing happens, and taxes explode, he can continue to spend, thanks to the new revenues. On the other hand, if the Republicans cave in, he can both claim he negotiated the excellent deal, and privately, he can tell his sycophants he made Boehner and the Republicans submit. White House officials are also now claiming that the President will refuse to negotiate with Republicans out of principle. That of course, will allow President Obama (and Reid) to claim they attempted to negotiate, but were simply prevented from passing any legislation by the blocking Republicans (yet again).
To the left, the worst thing to come of failed fiscal-cliff talks is that President Obama has to postpone leaving for his Christmas vacation. They face: finally getting huge tax increases, yet again, furthering the narrative of a blocking, do-nothing, Republican party, and they get huge military cuts. Merry Christmas, America.
(This Thanksgiving, much of the country is in a rather depressed and “down” mood, owing primarily to another year of a poorly recovering economy and the lack of recovery President Obama promised. I thought it might be interesting to consider how an “Obama-led” first Thanksgiving might have occurred. So, here is the satirical story of the Obama [and his pals’] Thanksgiving celebration)
On the bitterly cold day, the Pautuxet Tribe and the Obama-Pilgrims decided to hold their feast, the leader of the Pilgrims, Obama, had promised to bring many people with him. Obama assured the Chief that he would bring many good people, with new ideas that would make the Natives’ lives so much better and easier. The Natives would not have to even work any harder, Obama assured them. Pilgrim-Obama could see the distrustful, and incredulous look on Chief Samoset’s face, so he decided to introduce Samoset to his friends.
The first person Obama was going to introduce was his close friend, Joe Biden. Before Obama could even turn and introduce Joe to Samoset, Biden could be seen wearing a squaw’s headdress, grinning from ear-to-ear, and enthusiastically shaking Natives’ hands while saying patronizingly, “How” to each. Samoset could not believe that someone who was a leader could be so ignorant of good manners.
Obama merely smiled, and on seeing the Chief’s disgusted look, just shrugged his shoulders, and chimed, “That Joe – he is incorrigible, eh? Let me show you another one of my favorite friends, Chief. I would like you to meet Pilgrim-Pelosi.”
Obama turned, and gestured to an older lady, who was putting a steaming kettle onto a table. She was having some difficulty with it, but eventually pushed enough other items on the table around, that she made room for the kettle. Getting a whiff of the disgusting dish, it forced Samoset to take a step backward, reeling from the stench. “Ugh, Nancy, what is in that pot?” Samoset inquired.
“Well, now Chief, you are going to have to eat it to find out what is in it…”, and Nancy turned and quickly walked away.
Obama beamed. “Uh, Chief, here is another one of my best associates and important friends – meet Pilgrim-Reid.” Pilgrim-Reid had spent all his time since arriving putting food and other items onto the dining table, whether that was their place or not. The Chief noticed he seemed pre-occupied with just putting things on that table, and doing nothing else. Obama, noticing the Chief’s confused look chimed in, “Yeah, Pilgrim-Reid’s really kept me from having to do a lot of work. He always seems to find more room to push things aside, and it really allows me to focus on my own favorite projects.”
“Now let me go ahead and introduce you to a couple more friends, Chief. That man there,” Obama pointed toward a man with his head in his hands, shaking, “is Pilgrim-John. Say ‘hello’, John.” The man looked up, and the Chief could see the man had been bawling, and that was what was causing the shaking. “Chief, John likes people to think he is tough, but he is really a big pushover…That man there,” Obama pointed toward a rotund man, placing a blueberry pie on the table, “is Pilgrim-Al, Chief.”
Obama pointed at the man, and the man pointed back, smiled, and hollered, “Whoop – there it is! Feast we much – and we will!”
Overhearing this, and chiming in with his two cents, Pilgrim Joe said, “I think this is off. Starvation got us here, and starvation will get us back out again.”
Obama winked at the two, and turned his attention back to Samoset, who at this point, was having trouble believing that this group could even buckle their own shoes. Samoset could think of no reason that this motley crew would ever be successful in anything – they simply acted too preoccupied with their own individual plans and other nonsense. For a people who had just arrived, they had nothing in their talents or abilities that really seemed to stick out to Samoset – they were too sure of themselves, and the plans that Pilgrim-Obama had shared with him? They would never work. Well, Samoset thought, at least the rest of the pilgrims would never support this guy after his big plans were shown to be so divisive and such failures, right? Surely, no tribe with leaders like these is sure to last.