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Left Said, Right Said >> Opinion
Last Tuesday, President Barack Obama — in one of his few acknowledgements that he still has an obligation to obey the Constitution — delivered his 3rd State of the Union address before both houses of Congress. Entitled “An America Built to Last,” the speech (as usual) was touted by the talking heads of MSNBC as a monumental address during desperate times.
In reality, the speech was nothing more than an amalgam of the stump speech he will use against the Republicans in the general election this fall and the usual deception of “hope and change.”
Throughout his entire speech, the president touted his “accomplishments” in alleviating our country’s stubborn unemployment problem and sought to portray himself as a job creator. Such rhetoric is at the least extremely laughable and at worst a conscious lie to the American people. While his claim that “over the past 22 months businesses have created more than three million jobs” is certainly a step in the right direction (especially considering that he has done everything in his power to inhibit job creation) the facts of our economic stagnation clearly illustrate that such progress is woefully inadequate.
When the president was inaugurated three years ago, unemployment stood at 7.6 percent; for the majority of his time in office, joblessness has hovered at or around 9 percent and still stands at 8.7 percent. When those that have given up looking for work and the underemployed are factored in, the number rises to well over 20 percent. Furthermore, the poverty rate and those who are dependent on some form of government welfare has skyrocketed within the past three years. Food stamp outlays, which again are doled out to around or slightly less than 10 percent of the population under normal circumstances, have doubled since the end of the Bush presidency.
Yet, despite this dire situation, the president’s campaign speech — sorry, I mean State of the Union — gave absolutely no genuine indication that he is willing to do what is necessary to fix the problem. He proposed the expansion of expensive “green energy” sources even while he declined to reverse his decision on the Keystone Pipeline — a perfectly safe project that would create 20,000 American jobs. He once again promised, as he has promised for the past several years, to cut outdated regulations even as he tacitly defended the “fewer but better” (read: more costly) regulations his administration has imposed on American employers.
Once more, like a broken record, he signaled his support for tax reform centered around the “Buffett Rule” — he even invited Buffett’s now-infamous secretary for dramatic effect — that would punish the successful and slow economic growth even further. Never mind that 1) this would just compound the effects of the inefficient Alternative Minimum Tax, 2) the “rich” already pay the lion’s share of our nation’s taxes and 3) the bottom 47 percent of our country doesn’t pay any taxes or, in fact, receives a negative refund from the government.
President Obama’s message in the State of the Union was clear: facts and public opinion be damned, either full speed ahead with my agenda or nothing. That he would choose to use the president’s most important annual speech to play partisan politics and class warfare devalues the office he occupies and ought to be regarded as a disgrace.
Want any hope that you’ll have a job rather than panhandling for change? Vote GOP 2012.
— Daily Nexus conservative columnist Jeffrey Robin
In Response, Left Said:
When Obama took office in early 2009, the economy was on a downward spiral. The financial industry had just imploded, destroying everything in its path, and the worst pangs of economic crisis were still unfolding in the aftermath of all this. Rising unemployment finally halted at 10 percent in October, just nine months into the Obama presidency. Today it’s closer to 8.5 percent. It’s ridiculous to suggest that he was responsible for those job losses so early in his administration, in the midst of complete economic collapse — although I’d credit him for passing a stimulus package that kept it from getting worse, and his opponents with preventing him from doing more to spur growth.
The claim that 47 percent of Americans don’t pay any taxes completely ignores payroll taxes. I made under $10,000 in 2011, and even I paid taxes (though this had something to do with dependent status). The wealthy still enjoy incredibly low rates due to the capital gains tax, as Romney’s sub-15 percent tax returns will demonstrate.
I don’t doubt that food stamp outlays have gone up under Obama. You know why? Cause we’re in a flipping recession! (I’d also like to point out that Lee Atwater, GOP strategist and former RNC chairman, admitted in an interview that issues like food stamps are literally code words for racism. I’m serious; look it up.) As usual, the role of the Republican Party is to endlessly criticize Obama for job losses that weren’t his fault, and when later faced with Occupy protestors or welfare recipients, shout at them to “Get a job!”