Pres. Obama “Spender-in-Chief”

Another day, another speech. Another speech, another chance to show the American people just why President Obama is failing on the issue of job creation. His primetime speech was long and, as predicted, not a specific plan so much as a set of campaign talking points. He claimed the actual legislation, as well as a deficit reduction plan, will come “next week.” Yeah, sure. He asked Congress sixteen times in his speech to “pass this bill.”

“I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away.  It’s called the American Jobs Act.  There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation.  Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight.”

More often than not, things that have been supported in the past are what got us into the mess we’re in. It’s a weak argument to make when the entire country knows that the status quo is the problem. The Associated Press points out that not everything has been supported by both parties. The President called for an end of the Bush Tax cuts for the wealthy – clearly not something supported by Republicans or those who are genuinely interested in job creation.

“And everything in this bill will be paid for.  Everything.”

If by paid for he means borrowed, then yes. Up until this speech, the President and his claimed this “plan” will be totally paid for and not to worry. The truth, however, is that he did not describe how it would be paid for. Mostly through tax hikes, and today in Richmond, VA he said he would urge the deficit reduction committee to find about an additional $500 billion in savings – on top of what they’re already tasked with.

So basically, by “paid for” he means “you figure it out.” He wants this spending now, and for Congress to figure out how to pay for it later, over the course of ten years. He’s shown, once again, that he is not committed to solving our long term debt problem and believes we can spend our way to prosperity. He admits this later in the speech:

“The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next ten years.  It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas.  Tonight, I’m asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act.”

He’s just passing the buck. Again.

“It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed.”

The 2009 Stimulus was supposed to create jobs for construction workers. It only created temporary positions which were lost a year later. So in 2010, he proposed another stimulus plan to get construction workers back to work. Clearly that didn’t work either. So now he is proposing another plan to get construction workers back to work. It won’t work either. Road construction is not a long-term sustainable job.

He did the same thing with teachers in the first stimulus and in 2010. Local schools needed to cut their payrolls because they couldn’t afford to keep all their teachers, President Obama stepped in and gave them money to keep those teachers on the payroll, and when the money ran out, the teachers were still let go. That is precisely what will happen this third time around. Unless the federal government grows to accommodate this extra spending indefinitely (which we will never afford), those jobs will disappear when the money runs out.

“So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you.”

Really? Taxing job creators but giving them back a little of that money if they hire unemployed workers is the plan for those who want to help job creators?

“Everyone here knows that we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over this country.  Our highways are clogged with traffic.  Our skies are the most congested in the world.”

It was the second time he claimed “everyone here knows” as if what he believes is just common knowledge. What’s common knowledge is knowing you don’t raise taxes on anyone when the economy is struggling – even President Obama knows that, and has admitted as much.

As for our highways being clogged, if we remember Stimulus I, then we remember how much worse traffic got while these construction projects sprung up everywhere, all at once. It was nice to know exactly who to blame when you were sitting in traffic and one of those fancy, expensive Recovery Act signs was on the side of the road.

“The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools.  It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows; installing science labs and high-speed internet in classrooms all across this country.”

The Heritage Foundation points out that school construction and repair is the job of the state and local governments. The projects will also costs about 22% more than if the states handled them, because Washington-funded jobs pay “prevailing wages” which are more expensive.

“And to make sure the money is properly spent and for good purposes, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place.  No more earmarks.  No more boondoggles.  No more bridges to nowhere.  We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible.”

We have heard this before. His stimulus was supposed to create “shovel-ready” jobs. He claimed there were construction projects across the country that just needed the money and they would start immediately. But what happened? Well, just a couple months ago the President joked that “shovel-ready” was not so “shovel-ready.”

“Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job.”

In 2010 the President tried this with the HIRE Act. It obviously didn’t work then. An editorial in the Detroit News sums up the tax break as follows:

“Employers worried about the impact of regulations, rising energy prices, the uncalculated cost of Obamacare and an inability to get loans won’t add employees just to get the tax break.”

True. The Heritage Foundation adds that “the only positive effect on hiring the credit could have would be on temporary positions if it makes adding a few new temps profitable in the short term. But once the credit expires businesses will let those workers go.”

“Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a fifteen hundred dollar tax cut next year.  Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your paycheck will go right into your pocket.”

This is an absolute mischaracterization. Americans will not be getting a check for $1,500 next year. That money will be doled out over the course of the year, which is an extra $125 a month (on average). That small amount of money will hardly be noticed each month, even the New York Times picked up on that:

“Families are devoting a larger share of income to paying debts, which is important for the economy’s long-term health but does nothing to stimulate growth. Concern about future earnings also is weighing on many households, reducing their willingness to spend.”

“The American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit.”

Well, not quite. As stated earlier, his plan to not let that happen won’t pass the House because it includes tax hikes on job creators, small businesses and family farms. Also, because spending caps are not in the Constitution, future Congresses can just ignore all of the cuts that the Super Committee finds. This is all just budgetary-gimmicks. So no, this is not paid for and it will add to the deficit, immediately.

“…by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid; and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share.”

Health care spending is the largest chunk of our budget. “Modest” adjustments will not save the programs or solve our debt problem. That is simple math.

How many more times can we explain how the wealthy pay the lion’s share of federal taxes? How are they not paying their fare share?

“Warren Buffet pays a lower tax rate than his secretary – an outrage he has asked us to fix.”

A) Warren Buffet pays less than his secretary because he takes advantage of numerous loopholes which he is now deriding. If he is so morally superior, he should pay the full amount he is asked without taking any credits or loopholes and; B) Warren Buffet’s company owes the federal government billions in back taxes that they are trying to avoid paying. If he feels his tax burden is so low, why not pay all his taxes?

“Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies?  Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers?  Because we can’t afford to do both.  Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?  Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs?  Right now, we can’t afford to do both.”

As if these choices were so simple. Let’s just tax the rich – better yet, let’s cap American salaries at $250,000 but force people to continue making more – just take every penny over $250k. Because that is what this all sounds like. President Obama doesn’t believe people should be allowed to be wealthy, and that the federal government deserves all their “extra” money.

“This isn’t political grandstanding.  This isn’t class warfare.  This is simple math.  These are real choices that we have to make.”

If you watched the speech last night, you would have noticed the audience laughing at this statement. That’s because this isn’t simple math. RedState points out that the tax hikes President Obama targets won’t even pay for his “plan.”

Because unless he seriously believes that taxing the rich can fund everything in the world – he’s dreaming.

“Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy.  Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.”

This line also got a big cheer. Unfortunately, the President followed this up by doubling-down on his tax-spend-and-regulate philosophy.

“I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.  I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients.”

No one is suggesting that. Who can he quote as saying they want kids to be exposed to mercury? His examples are jokes, and do nothing to help his cause.

“I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy.”

The majority of the global economy doesn’t have collective bargaining rights.

“What kind of country would this be if this Chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do?”

This country would not be in the financial mess it is in. Americans would not be dependent on government to take care of them and would make decisions to run their own lives better.

The bottom line is that everything in this plan has been tried before – by this administration. And if the current economy is an indication of how these plans have worked last time around, there is no reason to believe they will work this time around.

It is unfair for the President to claim that this plan is paid for. He has tasked Congress with figuring out how to pay for his plan and then claimed that it is paid for. He’s demanded that businesses “step up” and hire, can he claim that hiring has been done? That is not how reality works.

In reality, you do not tax businesses and then give them a small tax credit if they do what you tell them. That won’t stimulate them to hire. In reality, you listen to businesses as they say there’s too much uncertainty for them to hire. They don’t know how much higher their taxes will be, they don’t know what regulations are coming down the pike, or what impact Dodd-Frank or Obamacare will have (since provisions won’t be implemented for years). By telling businesses what is coming or might be coming in a couple years, it makes them want to brace for that by hoarding cash and holding back investments. Remove that uncertainty, and business will flourish.

These same ideas will continue the economic malaise we are currently experiencing.

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