Obama’s Bankrupt Economic Agenda

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My article from the July 25, 2013 issue of FrontPage Magazine:

Obama’s Bankrupt Economic Agenda
By Matthew Vadum

President Obama’s much-hyped speech about the economy yesterday was an impressive exercise in left-wing self-congratulation backed by examples of economic illiteracy and lies we’ve grown accustomed to hearing.
The banal address delivered at Knox College, in Galesburg, Illinois, was 64 long, platitude-filled minutes of nothing. It was a speech the long-suffering American people have heard umpteen times before, endlessly promoted by the mainstream media as something novel and exciting.
It underlined the pervasive, ominous atmosphere of unreality that permeates the Obama administration.
As America continues sliding into the abyss, Obama talked about what he wanted to talk about, not about what an abject, irredeemable failure he has been on the economy. The White House website warned that the oration was the first in “a series of speeches laying out the progress we’ve made … and the work that’s left to do to rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.”
The speech came as a shocked public is beginning to come to grips with the fact that Detroit, Michigan, once one of the greatest, wealthiest cities in the world, was pushed into bankruptcy. The devastated city, destroyed over decades by left-wing Democrats like Coleman Young, the openly racist radical mayor who drove Detroit into the ground from 1974 to 1994, while inspiring generations of corrupt politicians, is America’s model city for showcasing progressive policies.
Detroit is so messed up that vast swaths of it are now in the hands of the city’s ravenous bureaucrat class. According to the bankruptcy filing, Detroit “owns or is [in] possession of approximately 60,000 parcels of land within the City’s geographic boundaries and more than 7,000 vacant structures.” That’s 60,000 lots and 7,000-plus vacant structures in a city with a population of just 700,000 people — and presumably there are plenty of decrepit properties that the bureaucrats haven’t grabbed yet.
It is becoming obvious that Detroit is the future of all of America if Obama’s ruinous policy regime remains in place.
But at least Michelle Obama is focusing on pressing issues.
Her hair appropriately tied back in an Eva Perón-like bun, the nation’s First Scold spent the day before her husband’s non-stem-winder lecturing Latinos about proper eating habits.

“Food is love … it’s how we pass on our culture and heritage as meals become family traditions and recipes are passed on from generation to generation,” Mrs. Obama told her adoring fans at the annual conference of leftist race-baiting group National Council of La Raza.
Meanwhile, America’s first Marxist president is succeeding in turning all of America into Chicago where only political pull matters. He’s not going to do anything new. He’s going to keep doing the same old things while claiming they’re new and then expect to be praised for his actions and supposedly brilliant insights.
Obama mocked the four Americans whom by inaction he condemned to death in Benghazi, Libya, last year, and the IRS abuses of Tea Party groups that it is becoming increasingly clear he was directly involved in.
“But with this endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball,” he said, as if he had nothing to do with America’s slow-motion collapse. “And I am here to say this needs to stop. This needs to stop.”
Obama boasted about many developments that he, in his topsy-turvy world, considers positive achievements.
“Now, today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back,” he said to the crowd. “We fought our way back.”
With unemployment and under-employment ravaging the land, hitting blacks and young people the hardest, he bragged that the auto industry was “saved” on his watch, leaving out the fact that, as noted above, the Motor City itself, which he said he would not allow to go bankrupt, was petitioned into bankruptcy last week.
He claimed to have taken on “a broken health care system,” without bothering to mention how Obamacare is already causing massive layoffs and how it will make every measurable aspect of health care worse.
He bragged about the horrendously wasteful government subsidies that underwrite the green jobs scam and the job-killing regulations that crack down “on the worst practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies.”
He took credit for making the rich pay much more, claiming that before the age of Obama the tax code was “too skewed in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of working families — so we changed that, and we locked in tax cuts for 98 percent of Americans.”
He had the audacity to call Republicans, who control only one of the two houses of Congress, deadbeats for leaving the so-called sequester in place. Instead of reducing “our deficits with a scalpel … we’ve got folks who’ve insisted on leaving in place a meat cleaver called the sequester that’s cost jobs.”
He left out the fact that the sequester concept was his own idea. Invoking long-discredited Keynesian assumptions, he blathered on: “It’s harmed growth. It’s hurt our military. It’s gutted investments in education and science and medical research.”
Obama petulantly complained that “over the last six months … [congressional] gridlock has gotten worse.” Translation: “I haven’t been able to ram any more of my crazy socialist schemes through Congress because House Republicans have begun to grow spines.”
He moaned that the Senate’s obscene immigration amnesty bill isn’t going anywhere in the House for the time being because of GOP opposition, claiming that flooding labor markets with unskilled labor and newly christened welfare recipients over coming decades will somehow “boost our economy by more than a trillion dollars.”
A Heritage Foundation study found that amnesty will not provide a net economic benefit to the United States.

Over a lifetime, the former unlawful immigrants together would receive $9.4 trillion in government benefits and services and pay $3.1 trillion in taxes. They would generate a lifetime fiscal deficit (total benefits minus total taxes) of $6.3 trillion. (All figures are in constant 2010 dollars.) This should be considered a minimum estimate. It probably understates real future costs because it undercounts the number of unlawful immigrants and dependents who will actually receive amnesty and underestimates significantly the future growth in welfare and medical benefits.

He attacked conservative Republicans in the House for having the gumption to separate the food stamp program from the current farm bill, falsely claiming they “gutted” the measure.
He took aim at the heart of the Tea Party, lying about the culture of runaway government spending that he has done everything in his power to cultivate:

And if you ask some of these folks, some of these folks mostly in the House, about their economic agenda how it is that they’ll strengthen the middle class, they’ll shift the topic to ‘out-of-control government spending’ –- despite the fact that we’ve cut the deficit by nearly half as a share of the economy since I took office.

Of course the claim about the deficit is bunk. The budget deficit, that is, the difference between what the U.S. government takes in and what it spends in a one-year period, went from $438 billion in 2008 to a projected $973 billion in 2013. As Daniel Greenfield has noted, Obama is on track “to become the first president in the nation’s history to preside over a federal government that spends more than $4 trillion in one year.”
Except for defense, he’s cut nothing. His facts are not facts. They are talking points dreamt up by speechwriters and consultants working with voter focus groups.
He promised even more unconstitutional executive orders as he continues to tyrannically usurp the legislative powers of America’s elected Congress:

I will welcome ideas from anybody across the political spectrum. But I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way. That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it.

To help the teachers’ unions that own him, he vowed to make the useless daycare programs known as preschool “available for every 4-year-old in America.”
He vowed to re-inflate the mortgage bubble by reinvigorating federal financial affirmative action programs. Obama is a longtime supporter of the odious Community Reinvestment Act which forces banks to lend money to minority borrowers who can’t afford to buy homes. The National Bureau of Economic Research found that the law encouraged risky loans that helped to inflate the first bubble which began to pop around 2007.
He browbeat fiscal conservatives and those who want to kill the hated program known as Obamacare:

Repealing Obamacare and cutting spending is not an economic plan. It’s not. If you’re serious about a balanced, long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or if you’re interested in tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, I’m ready to work. But you should know that I will not accept deals that don’t meet the basic test of strengthening the prospects of hardworking families. This is the agenda we have to be working on.

Americans don’t believe the president. A new CBS News poll found that more Americans than ever want the Affordable Care Act repealed. The poll indicated 39 percent of Americans want the law repealed, compared to 36 percent who want it kept in place or expanded. Most Americans – 54 percent – disapprove of Obamacare, compared to 36 percent who approve of it and 10 percent who claim not to know about it.
A few hours after the speech the Democratic National Committee sent out an email from Michelle Obama. In the electronic missive, part of the perpetual Obama campaign, she said:

There’s a lot of noise and talk and back-and-forth going on in Washington, but hardly any of it seems to be about the struggles that middle-class families face.
When I was growing up, a family like mine — living on my hard-working father’s salary at the city water plant — could build a solid life without much debt and without relying on any form of public assistance. Today, for too many families, that American promise is no longer within reach.
Barack is working to fix that, to give all families a fair shot. And he needs solid Democrats in Congress to help him.

As if the president, who is openly contemptuous of businesses small and large, gives a farthing’s cuss about the so-called middle class.
It’s pure nonsense.