Tony Marsh

President Obama’s press conference earlier this week proved a stunning display of political theatre only a political guru as adept as David Axelrod could have orchestrated.

Consider this. Obama demanded of Congress, “no games, no politics, no delays,” while simultaneously outlining a purported jobs plan designed solely to score political points around a proposal he knew Congress could never adopt.  It is a plan chockfull of games, politics and delay.

The title of the legislation is the American Jobs Act.  The staging was impeccable surrounded as he was by police, firemen, teachers, construction workers and small business owners – all the purported beneficiaries of Obama’s proposal.

The reality, however, is that Obama’s plan would more appropriately be called the American anti-Jobs Act because that would be the ultimate impact were it ever to see the light of implementation.

The cost would be immediate.  The economic results of all that increased borrowing and spending would not be known for a year or more.  Therefore, the only result of the legislation in 2012 would be higher debts and bigger deficits.

Obama’s announcement was vintage David Axelrod.  Set the stage with sympathetic characters, fill the screenplay with language known to evoke an emotional response, direct it at members of the audience who are part of key constituencies, call it substance, but guard against any specific result other than political advantage.

Consider this, the President declares that all of the costs of this program are paid for, but doesn’t tell us what specific cuts to existing programs will occur to provide the funds. The President claims that Republicans have supported all of these proposals in the past, but takes each out of the context in which Republicans originally offered it. Yes, some of the elements of his proposal were supported by conservatives in combination with other features that made them valid.  A continuation of stimulus disguised as a spending program does not validate more taxes.

In line with this logic, Paul Krugman opined on This Week with Christiane Omanpour, and further in an op-ed piece in the New York Times last week, that we should continue to borrow and spend because interest rates are low.  He makes no calculation about how long this borrowing and spending can go on, or at what ultimate cost to the economy.  It’s as if borrowing and spending is within itself a goal.  And any adverse results are not to be considered. 

Jared Bernstein, a former senior economic advisor to Vice President Biden, made the incredible statement that American corporations are reaping great profits overseas and there is no reason why they shouldn’t bring those profits home.  It seems he’s never considered the fact that businesses are making profits overseas because the tax systems and regulatory environments there are better, and that the U.S. penalizes enterprise, making profitability more difficult here.

What is it about cause and effect of investments seeking the most efficient return on capital that liberals do not understand?  The ideas of liberals like Obama, Krugman and Bernstein are, however, perfectly consistent with the idea that you can advocate policies based on their emotional appeal and political advantage without regard for their ultimate result.

Witness the President’s demand that we extend unemployment benefits as part of economic stimulus.  Clearly, no one wants those who are unemployed to suffer more than they already have.  But Obama uses even these innocents in his political calculations.

Why were unemployment benefits initially extended to January of 2012, or in this case, thirteen months?  Why not a calendar year or 15 months which would align on a quarterly basis? Could it be that the timing for Congress’ consideration for benefit extension falls just before Christmas?  Rather was the timing coincidental with the start of the 2012 presidential campaign making it unpalatable for politicians to apply what will certainly be considered harsh treatment of the jobless if the fiscally responsible try to advocate against a crippling debt expanding extension of benefits.

It was in his very insistence that Congress play “no games, no politics, no delays” that the President showed his own motives.  Every single statement he made was carefully calculated to elicit an emotional response.  Veterans shouldn’t have to fight for jobs; small businesses must be helped to create jobs; students can’t learn in dilapidated buildings; we must keep policemen and firemen on the streets – every statement true, but none relevant to the actual legislation he proposed.

The reality is that every one of these groups would be hurt by Obama’s plan right along with the rest of us.   He either doesn’t understand or doesn’t care that continued borrowing and spending by government is not just irresponsible, it’s reckless.  It assures we slam into the coming debt wall at a speed our economy cannot withstand. 

It is time to face reality.  It is time Americans heard the truth.  It is time for leadership. 


John Ransom | Create Your Badge

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John Ransom Congress Likely to Cram Down Solyndra Billionaire
Political Calculations Gas Prices, the Unemployment Rate and Desperation
Mike Shedlock Hold on to Your Homes: Mortgage Default Notices Surge
Stewart Scott The Evolution of a Pakistani Militant Network
Bill Tatro Fire Foreign Workers; Hire Americans
Tony Marsh Obama Sends American Con Act to Congress
David Malpass Europe Tilting a Bit Positive
Jeff Carter Dems Aim to Tax Fund Business
Eric Singer Time for Republican Jujitsu on Social Security
Michael Vodicka Economy Down, Pawn Stocks Up - Investment Ideas
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Email Ransom thfinance@mail.com
Twitter http://twitter.com/#!/bamransom

Tony Marsh

Tony Marsh is President of Marsh Copsey + Associates, Inc., a strategic communications and political consulting firm based in Washington DC and is a consultant to www.debtwall.org.