More of the Same

January 26, 2011

Didn’t President Obama and other Democrats use to criticize the Failed Policies of the Past Eight Years?  (See, e.g., here and here.)  The more things change, the more they stay the same:  Apparently sticking with the failed policies of the past two years, by contrast, is a great idea.

President Obama delivered the annual State of the Union address last night (transcript, video).  I think I can sum up my reaction in one sentence:  As a better president once said, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.

It’s as if President Obama had heard the will of the people in the 2010 election (a. k. a. the Tsunami) and finally realized (or at least decided to pretend to believe) that the free market and private enterprise are important.  Yet he still talks as if even private-sector jobs were created only by government spending, government loans, and government tax credits.


  • “Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.  But because it’s not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need.  That’s what planted the seeds for the Internet.  That’s what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS.  Just think of all the good jobs — from manufacturing to retail — that have come from these breakthroughs.”
  • “Every business can write off the full cost of new investments that they make this year.  And these steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.”
  • “And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit — worth $10,000 for four years of college.”

Incidentally, in this same speech last night, President Obama also revealed that he wants to get rid of such tax credits:

  • “And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it — in domestic spending, defense spending, health care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes.”
  • “In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code.”

So I can agree with him half of the time!)

In short, his response to the citizen revolt (including the 2010 election), which has called for an end to the mad government spending of the past two years, was to spend an hour proposing more of the same spending.  At the end of the speech, almost as an afterthought, he gave a token concession to concerns about spending:  “I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years.”  Left unexplored was the question of how he could continue to increase spending hugely while also keeping spending constant.

You can read a number of others’ comments at National Review Online, including the editors’ response to the speech and others’ responses on health care (and this), education (and this), the spending problemeverything else, and a positive alternative vision for government from Congressman Paul Ryan.

7 Responses to “More of the Same”

  1. Snoodickle Says:

    Failed policies of the last two years (1) record corporate profits (2) pulled the country out of recession. Some people define “failure” in different ways I suppose.

  2. Sure, there are different ways to define success and failure. Let’s talk about three of them. But first, let me remind you of what, exactly, President Obama said:

    “Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow.”

    “And tonight, I am grateful that this Congress delivered, and pleased to say that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is now law.

    “Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs. More than 90% of these jobs will be in the private sector –– jobs rebuilding our roads and bridges; constructing wind turbines and solar panels; laying broadband and expanding mass transit.”

    Sound familiar? The words are President Obama’s, but not from last week. The first quote is from his 2010 State of the Union address; the second is from his address to a joint session of Congress in February of 2009. They’re not the only things he repeated in his 2011 State of the Union, but let’s focus on those in judging by my first standard of success:

    1—Obama’s own words
    President Obama said, in his most recent (2011) State of the Union, “We’ll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges.” Yet that was his plan last year, and the year before that. He got his wish; Congress approved 787 billion dollars for the “stimulus”. Two years later, according to Obama’s own report, our roads and bridges are not only not finished, but are still “crumbling”—and he asks us to keep giving him money for more of the same as if we had never heard this pitch before.

    Speaking of eating one’s words, the Obama administration said that unemployment would not go above 8% if Congress passed his “stimulus” bill. He signed the bill into law in February of 2009. Other than in April 2009, according to Google’s summary of the government’s own statistics, at no point since the passage of the stimulus has unemployment fallen lower than it was the month the stimulus passed. It currently stands at 9%. According to Gallup, total underemployment currently stands at almost 19%.

    3—The American people
    Finally, one could ask what the American people think. In the 2010 elections, they overwhelmingly rejected the party of Obama, giving Republicans “the highest total House victory for a single party since 1948 and the highest of any midterm election since 1938.” That’s not even counting gains in state legislatures and governorships—for example, “Republican state legislative candidates made a net gain of more than 500 seats . . . giving them more seats than at any time since 1928 . . . .”
    It sounds as if the America people had decided not to give the failed policies of the past two years a third chance. I’m with them.

    • Snoodickle Says:

      Again, I would point to (1) record corporate profits (2) pulling our economy out of the deepest recession since the Great Depression. If you call miscalculating unemployment numbers “failure,” then I say fooey to you. Everyone knows that unemployment is the last aspect of the economy to recover, and everyone knows that economic predictions are just that – predictions. George W. Bush predicted that we would lose less than than a thousand troops in Iraq – did we fail in the Iraq war? I would argue no, but under your definition we did.

      Speaking of failed policies regarding unemployment, you are in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy. This is despite the fact that between the years 2001-2011, there was zero, repeat zero, net job growth in our economy, despite the heralded Bush tax cuts. This is indisputable proof that tax cuts for the wealthy do not create jobs, yet you cling to that failed policy like a stubborn child. Worse yet, the Republicans strong armed the president into extending this failed policy for another two years. One can only hope that in 2012 the American people stop voting against their economic interests (as you continually do), and wake up to the facts.

      As to your third point, the American people are by and large an idiotic bunch. Aside from our disgraceful education numbers, polls continually show that a majority of Americans do not understand even the most basic aspects of our government. And these are the people that are voting! Voting against their economic interests that is (you!). Yes, let’s keep putting money in the pockets of the top 5% of Americans when it has been proven that tax cuts for the rich do not create jobs (see 2001-2011). If you’re “with them,” good luck to you. But even 90% of “them” approved of the president’s State of the Union address, and the president’s overall popularity is on the rise as well. As you know, politics is cyclical, and losing a midterm election is insignificant in the large scheme of things, especially when Obama stands in good position for reelection in 2012.

    • I observe that I’ve gone to the trouble of at least linking to a source of some kind for almost everything I’ve said, while you don’t bother providing a source for anything. That’s fine, but I’m not going to keep arguing with you and do the work for both of us. I’m not going to attempt to verify your claims, and I’m not going to provide any further sources of my own here, and I expect that this will be my last comment on this post.

      For example, even if it’s true, as you say, that there was “zero . . . net job growth” during Bush’s presidency, what was that rate below which unemployment never fell? 5%? It’s no criticism to say that unemployment remained constant if it was constantly low.

      What your comments lack in information and bibliography, they make up for in rhetoric: “everyone knows”, “This is indisputable proof”—and it seems strange to say of a policy that I didn’t even mention in the original blog entry, “you cling to that failed policy like a stubborn child.” Also, I think it’s pretty funny that your arguments against my criticism of President Obama had to include the very thing I was making fun of in the first place—namely, clinging (if you will) to criticizing the supposed failures of President Bush.

      Finally, I would submit that, in an important sense, it doesn’t even matter whether you think President Obama’s policies are a failure or not. You could think every one of his spending initiatives—past, present, and future—well worth the money, and still the fact would remain that there’s no money left. America is approaching a debt crisis (if we’re not already in one); we don’t have any money left to spend. Yet President Obama’s prescription is more of the same, spending and more spending. It’s as if he lived in his own little world, blissfully unaware of what’s going on in the world around him.

      • Snoodickle Says:

        I understand that you care deeply about the debt crisis. Wait, you support tax cuts for the rich that add trillions to the deficit? I’m confused.

  3. […] decried “the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research”.)  As I observed three years ago, he can’t have it both […]

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