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Friday, September 09, 2011

SPEECHIFYING

"now I'll miss my own Saints game party at home."

I hate you all
At first I wasn't going to write about the president's jobs speech, because it was basically ignored by most people. When a president gets to the point no one really cares what he says, that's a bad place for a politician to be.

However, pundits and analysts had a field day with the thing from both sides of the political fence, and none of it was good. I didn't watch the speech (I rarely do) but I read a transcript and there's a lot for people to analyze, so I wanted to give people a run down here if like most Americans you skipped it.

Sure, there is always an Olbermann and a Matthews out there to salivate and stomp their foot whenever President Obama is on camera, but for the most part, people thought it was a mix between condescension and desperation, which is never attractive.
”people who sent us here – the people who hired us to work for them – they don’t have the luxury of waiting fourteen months.”
Most people were bemused by the president's pretense of pressing urgency after putting off the speech until his vacation at the Hamptons was finished and over 900 days had passed since he was elected. If what he had to say and his ideas are so wonderful, where were they back when he had unstoppable support in congress? Its not that his insistence that we need to help people who are out of work is so wrong, its just inconsistent - violently so - with his behavior.
"everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."
All told, President Obama's speech calls for almost half a trillion dollars of new spending. Despite his insistence, there's nothing mentioned in his speech that deals with paying for a single thing, with the debt increasing by $3,000,000 a minute. Even the Associated Press called foul on the "paid for claim:"
Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due.
No one was impressed, and even the Democrats in attendance were cool on the speech after a generous welcome.

Some of the proposals President Obama mentioned in the speech I can support. Here are a few I liked from Megan McArdle's analysis:
  • Payroll tax rebate on first $5 million in payroll, which the president says will reach 98% of American companies, plus complete rebate for new hires or raises
  • Extending payroll tax cut
  • Extending 100% expensing of business investment
The rest of the speech was either more government spending promises like the Simulus Package build up (infrastructure, job credit, schools, firemen etc) which we all know how that turned out - massive pork for "green" businesses like Solyndra which cannot survive outside government money and various leftist schemes.

The problem with this speech, though, is not its content, but what it lacks. There's no bill here, no legislation. All this speech consisted of was an advertisement for a bill that hasn't even been written yet and a lot of increasingly angry sounding attacks on people that don't exist and ideas no one is promoting. To put it mildly, President Obama got straw all over the chamber.

I'm fine with wanting to cut regulation, like he called for but his own administration has been the one piling regulations on like syrup on Roseanne Barr's pancakes. If he is so concerned that regulation is harming business, why did he mound all them on the backs of businessmen to begin with? And why does he need congress to lighten the load, when its his branch that put them all there to begin with?

Its one thing to say things in a speech before congress, but its another entirely to mean them, folllow through on them, and present a bill containing them.

And probably the most telling point in the whole event was when Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) scheduled a vote to retain cuts in the budget after the speech. Apparently he was concerned Republican Senators would simply not show up, or get up and leave before the speech was over.

And that's just not a vote of confidence by anyone's definition.

*UPDATE: A lot of folks around the internet are responding with a pretty common reaction to the jobs speech: this is exactly the same rhetoric, with the same basic arguments, and the same basic bloc of spending ideas, that President Obama used to sell the first "stimulus" package that is generally agreed to have been a failure. Down to the "we have to do this as fast as possible or everything is doomed" bits.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Eric said...

I read somewhere that he is proposing a program where the federal government will reimburse employers for up to 8 weeks of "training" pay for hiring people who have been out of work for a long time. I want to go on the record as saying I really like this idea. I'd like to train somebody to brush-hog my pasture for me. Then I will train them to drive out to my house early every morning and feed animals. Then I will train them how to whitewash nearly a mile of pipe rail fence in bad need of a fresh coat of paint. By the time I'm finished with them, they will have a good set of skills to market, and I'll have a new house.

9:06 AM, September 09, 2011  

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