Video: Personal Story about Obamacare; plus Other Responses to State of the Union

January 30, 2014

A few thoughts on the president’s State of the Union address (text and video at Politico) earlier this week:

  • Within the first few minutes of the speech, he wanted to take credit for cutting the deficit (as well as for other things that have happened very much despite, rather than because of, his best efforts—oil production, anyone?):  “Our deficits — cut by more than half.”  Then, just a few minutes later, he decried “last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education.”  (He also decried “the damage done by last year’s cuts to basic research”.)  As I observed three years ago, he can’t have it both ways.

  • It wasn’t the only respect in which this speech felt like déjà vu all over again.  He’s still complaining about our roads as if he weren’t the one who applied for the job of fixing them, and got it, and has held that responsibility for years now.  Again, from 2011:

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.

Obama this week, 2014:

“Moreover, we can take the money we save with this transition to tax reform to create jobs rebuilding our roads, upgrading our ports, unclogging our commutes — because in today’s global economy, first-class jobs gravitate to first-class infrastructure.  We’ll need Congress to protect more than three million jobs by finishing transportation and waterways bills this summer.”

Remember when the government was at least supposed to be good at building roads and bridges?

Tonight, the president did his best to shift attention away from the disastrous impact ObamaCare is having on millions of Americans. He would rather not talk about his ‘Lie of the Year’ that has led to cancelled plans, skyrocketing medical bills, and lost access to doctors.

President Obama certainly didn’t talk about Emilie, who was sitting in the audience while he spoke. Emilie was diagnosed with a life-changing disease when she was only 27-years-old.

Emilie voted for Barack Obama, and believed that ObamaCare would make things better. Sadly, Emilie’s insurance plan was cancelled because of ObamaCare. Emilie had pre-existing conditions and still lost her coverage. Even though her chronic illness makes everyday life difficult, she now works two jobs just to make ends meet and pay the extra $6,000 that her ObamaCare mandated plan now costs.

AFP explains:

  • Emilie, age 39, voted for President Obama, and thought the ACA was going to work. She works for a CPA and cares for her mother.
  • She suffers from a chronic illness called Lupus.
  • She described the health care plan she had as “stellar AND affordable.”
  • Now, the plan she liked has been cancelled, and she is struggling to make ends meet with $6,000 higher out of pocket health care costs (even after factoring in a small subsidy she is eligible for).
  • Emilie says she is disappointed that President Obama broke his promise. The result of ObamaCare is that people like Emilie are getting hurt.

  • Via Glenn Beck, Zero Hedge responds to the president’s suggestion that we entrust our retirement savings to the federal government (because the government has done so well with Social Security—actually, the president has the nerve to say explicitly that Social Security is insufficient, and act as if that were an argument for giving the government more of our money, rather than less).  President Obama this week:

Let’s do more to help Americans save for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension.  A Social Security check often isn’t enough on its own.  And while the stock market has doubled over the last five years, that doesn’t help folks who don’t have 401ks.  That’s why, tomorrow, I will direct the Treasury to create a new way for working Americans to start their own retirement savings: MyRA. It’s a new savings bond that encourages folks to build a nest egg.  MyRA guarantees a decent return with no risk of losing what you put in.

Zero Hedge responds:

I have an old acquaintance named Sam who has a hell of a deal for you.

Sam is actually a pretty famous guy with a big reputation. Unfortunately he has been a bit down and out on his luck lately… but he’s trying to make a comeback. And Sam is prepared to float you a really great investment opportunity.

Here’s the deal he’s offering: you give Sam your hard-earned retirement savings. Sam will invest your funds, and pay you a rate of return.

Granted, the rate of return he’s promising doesn’t quite keep up with inflation. So you will be losing some money. But don’t dwell on that too much.

And, rather than invest your funds in productive assets, Sam is going to blow it all on new cars and flat screen TVs. So when it comes time to make interest payments, Sam won’t have any money left.

But don’t worry, he still has that good ole’ credibility. So even though his financial situation gets worse by the year, Sam will just go back out there and borrow more money from other people to pay you back.

Of course, he will be able to keep doing this forever without any consequences whatsoever.

I know what you’re thinking— “where do I sign??” I know, right? It’s the deal of the lifetime.

This is basically the offer that the President of the United States floated last night.

  • Afterthought (added February 5th, 2014—I also corrected the punctuation in the title of the entry):  I can’t believe President Obama can claim with a straight face that his administration’s subsidies for solar energy have been a great success, when in fact Solyndra and other crony-capitalist companies have taken the federal money and then gone bankrupt.

Obama last week:

The all-of-the-above energy strategy I announced a few years ago is working . . . .

. . . we’re becoming a global leader in solar, too. . . . Let’s continue that progress with a smarter tax policy that stops giving $4 billion a year to fossil fuel industries that don’t need it, so that we can invest more in fuels of the future that do.

Jon Stewart in 2011:  “That Custom-Tailored Obama Scandal You Ordered Is Finally Here”!

But the overarching problem with his speech is that it was, as usual, a list of new government programs and projects he wants to start.  If government could improve the economy by taking money out of it and spending it on imposing top-down plans, this would be great.  Unfortunately, it can’t.  Government is not the solution to the problem; too much government is the problem.  If he thinks he can free our economy by piling on even more government involvement, he is grasping after wind.

 

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