Belle of Liberty

Letting Freedom Ring

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

State of the Union, 2012

To the untrained, uninformed ear, Obama’s State of the Union address was a great campaign speech, touting all-American values.  But do assertions measure up to the facts?  As with Shakespeare, it’s always instructive to parse the first line of the drama.

“Last month, I went to Andrews Air Force Base and welcomed home some of our last troops to serve in Iraq. “  By extension, that also means Afghanistan.  If we consider that statement only in a domestic light, it’s good news to the pacifists, Ron Paul economists who espouse an isolationist foreign policy, and of course, the service people and their families.  The last are the only ones who have the right to cheer.

Our troops are coming home, which does mean a great savings in lives and money, in the short term.  But it also means leaving Iraq to the predations of Iran.  The Taliban is no longer a threat, Obama claims; at least not to our American troops.  Why should they be?  The Taliban is just taking a cigarette break while we pack up and leave Afghanistan, and all its precious, rare metals to the Chinese and the Taliban.  We’ve paved the way for China; now we can come home.  As for the rest of Afghanistan – who the heck cares?  The Taliban can have them, at least in this view of things.

He gave due credit to the American Armed Forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, pluming himself for bringing them home, and crediting them with courage and managing to work in a little plug for socialism.

“These achievements are a testament to the courage, selflessness, and teamwork of America's Armed Forces. At a time when too many of our institutions have let us down, they exceed all expectations.  They're not consumed with personal ambition. They don't obsess over their differences. They focus on the mission at hand. They work together.  Imagine what we could accomplish if we followed their example.”

The Democrats have never been a party to work together.  What they mean when they say “work with us” is “it’s our way or the highway.”

He harkens back to the good old days of “the basic American promise that if you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college, and put a little away for retirement” and scruples not to blame Corporate America for those failures.  If only they had paid their “fair share” – a frequent phrase in Obama’s address.

American businesses pay the highest corporate tax rate of any industrialized nation in the world.  Not surprisingly, thanks to high taxes and labor costs, the companies closed up shop and moved to more favorable climates, much as the individual wealthy will do if Obama and the Democrat Congress keep their “promise” of forcing the wealthy to pay their “fair share.”

“…no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.  From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here.”  Even those that must cravenly pay obeisance to unions.
If Obama is so worried about keeping jobs here, he might ask himself why Beechcraft was “allowed” to send its manufacturing facility overseas to build a military airplane instead of leaving it in Wichita, Kansas, where the town is now economically devastated.

Obama has an answer for both those niggling problems:  he’ll tax any company that moves its business overseas and the same for wealthy tax birds who might find Ireland’s lack of income tax more appealing.  He proposes closing tax loopholes and shelters, something the Republicans have been trying to enact for at least a decade, opposed by – guess who? – the Democrats.  Obama must be faithful to his base, after all – the Beer Partiers and the Unions – which is more than the Republicans can say.

Pres. Bush was ultimately responsible for TARP – but candidate Obama sat in the center of the negotiations, and he was certainly responsible for bailing out an American car company at taxpayer expense.  General Motors, and its onerous union deficit of non-working employees receiving full pay, was subsidized by us, and now Obama crows at the success of the public-private partnership.  He cited Ford, but Ford never asked for, received, or needed a government bail-out.  Chrysler is in the process of being sold to a foreign company, Fiat.  An apt name.  Perhaps that’s the next company Obama should consider taking over.

He also turned to his favorite bogey-man, the oil companies.  Why should taxpayers being subsidizing multi-billion dollar oil companies?  Well, as Fox News notes:  “This is at least Obama's third run at stripping subsidies from the oil industry.  Back when fellow Democrats formed the House and Senate majorities, he sought $36.5 billion in tax increases on oil and gas companies over the next decade, but Congress largely ignored the request. He called again to end such tax breaks in last year's State of the Union speech. And he's now doing it again, despite facing a wall of opposition from Republicans who want to spur domestic oil and gas production and oppose tax increases generally.”  A tax break is not a subsidy; it’s just taking less money from them.

Mr. Energy boasted about how pro-energy he is, even for oil and natural gas.  Yet, he shut down the Keystone Pipeline, which benefitted his wealthy friend Warren Buffett’s railroad, shut down all drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, sold all our drilling equipment to Venezuela, is opposed to opening the Alaska oil fields, and wants all to ride bicycles to work, as the Hollanders do.  The Greenies shut down all our refineries ages ago.  Does he plan on reopening them and bringing back our oil equipment and allowing drilling in the Gulf (that will be a costly venture to undo that damage)?  Not likely.

There are jobs to be had in the technological fields, but not the educated workforce to do the tasks.  This is the generation that was taught by his good friend, William Ayers, that 2 plus 2 can equal five, and an associate of Bill’s, Noam Chomsky, that spelling and grammar don’t count.  He calls upon colleges and universities to lower their tuitions.  If students had the proper education in the elementary and high school grades, they’d know everything they need to know, mathematically.

Students have to be willing to do the work and that won’t be accomplished by saying, “Yes, we can”; it can only be accomplished by saying, “Yes, I can!”  Alas, academic excellence, like bathing (to paraphrase Hodson the Butler from the film Arthur) is a lonely business.  Mathematics requires hours and hours drilling from a book, not dancing to some rap tune on your Ipod.  Most American students are too socialized for the effort.  This is not a job for government; this is a job for the students, and their teachers and parents.  Truly, we should not depend upon the government to encourage students to study math and science; only the other day, some Liberal pundit said something about mathematics being a suspect science because it was devised by human beings.

My nephew is a graduate mechanical engineering student.  For the most part, he did the work, got the grades, and will probably get the job.  He has a Chinese girlfriend who criticizes him for not studying harder.  My brother says that while she was staying in his house over the Christmas holidays that the girl got up at the crack of dawn to study her mechanical engineering books and didn’t let up (except for meals) until late at night.  Nephew and his American buddies (mostly guys) take note.  If a Chinese girl can do it, what does that tell you?  Wake up!!!  Even I’ve hit the mathematics books in order to pass my GREs and even though my intended major is History, I take the math very seriously, something I didn’t do when I was younger.

American students need to start working harder and getting better grades.  Before you can teach them Math, though, you need to teach them History and Economics (the history of money), in order to undo the anti-Capitalist brainwashing that caused these unmotivated students to ignore their studies, regard success as evil, and assume they were entitled to a life of dependency.

Finally, Obama got to the economy.

“Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren't, and personal debt that kept piling up.  In 2008, the house of cards collapsed. We learned that mortgages had been sold to people who couldn't afford or understand them. Banks had made huge bets and bonuses with other people's money. Regulators had looked the other way, or didn't have the authority to stop the bad behavior.

“It was wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that put millions out of work, saddled us with more debt, and left innocent, hard-working Americans holding the bag. In the six months before I took office, we lost nearly four million jobs. And we lost another four million before our policies were in full effect.  Those are the facts.”

Facts?  Here are a few facts:  The housing crisis began back in the Jimmy Carter era (how’s that for blaming a past president) with the Community Reinvestment Act, leading to the Savings and Loan scandal.  Then along came Fannie, Freddie and Barney and a whole legacy of corruption in the form of a Ponzi scheme.  Banks, ordered to loan money to people who couldn’t pay them back, offered the lure of ARMs, adjustable rate mortgages, and equally scheming lendees, looking for a “deal” accepted them – and didn’t pay them back.

Obama promised, “A future where we're in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.  We can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values.”

Obama will really believe in American values when donkeys fly.  He’s a smooth-talking hypocrite, a member of the one percent who flies around the world in a taxpayer-funded jet (actually there are his and hers jets for the presidential couple), who speaks believable lies and propounds hogwash when it suits him.  This “all-American” president is the same guy who denounced the U.S. constitution as archaic and who’s idea of the “American dream” is the Marxist notion of wealth redistribution, and who is said to have hung a portrait of socialist Saul Alinsky in the White House.  Or was his press secretary joking?  Who can tell, with this president?

How did Obama sound last night?  Like the snake oil salesman who got his foot caught in the door.  “Ooo, oow!!  Did I say the ‘spread the wealth?’  Uh – uh – I meant ‘let’s live the American dream!!’”

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