On Tuesday, January 28th, Former President Obama used the State of the Union (SOTU) speech to officially end his reign as President of the United States. He declared himself to be, as one pundit quipped, the Imperial Ruler Richard Nixon always wanted to be. Personally, I thought it was more like Kim Jong-un than Nixonian, or maybe the president was channeling the man he admires the most, the dead Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.
I must admit that I have a difficult time watching the former President speak, but my wife convinced me that I have responsibilities and should force myself to watch the whole spectacle. She joined me on the couch to watch Barack enter the chamber and begin the speech, only to leave 10 or so minutes later after yelling “liar, liar” repeatedly during her short sojourn into politics.
Let’s look at a few of the claims that brought out the Jon Lovitz in my wife.
The highlight of the SOTU came quickly for me when the former President declared he would go it alone if congress did not do want he wanted. No, this is not the highlight. The real highlight was watching Democrats stand and applaud the line that made them irrelevant. At least Henry Waxman and George Miller did the right thing and have retired.
First, former President Obama claims he has cut the deficit in half! The highest annual deficit under George Bush was $458 billion (not good!); under Barack it jumped to $1.4 to $1.7 trillion where it stayed for four years and has now fallen to $600 Billion. The CBO forecasts that the drop is a temporary phenomenon and the deficit will grow to more than $1 trillion per year again. You be the judge to determine if Barak cut the deficit in half, he now owns the five largest annual deficits, calculated in dollar amounts or as a percent of GDP, in our history. In the meantime we and our children and grandchildren will get to pay down the $17+ trillion total deficit.
Former President Obama claimed he has created eight million new jobs; it is actually a net of 3.2 million, with 77% of those being PART-TIME. There are now 1,300,000 part time workers in California (7.8 million in the country) looking for full time work.
And the unemployment rate has gone down not because people are finding jobs, but because the long term unemployed have stopped looking for work. For example, the L.A. County unemployment rate fell in December from 10.2% to 9.3% when employers in the county added 1400 jobs and 30,000 unemployed stopped looking for work; the same phenomenon occurred in San Diego county in December; the unemployment rate fell from 6.9% to 6.4% when 600 net new jobs were created and 7,800 unemployed workers dropped out of the labor force.
Our economy must produce more than 200,000 monthly just to create jobs for those new workers entering the workforce (high school and college grads, for example). It has failed to do so during his Presidency, while our population has grown 7%. As a result, the labor participation rate, 62.8%, is now the worst it has been in the country in more than 50 years. There are now 90 million working age Americans unemployed in the country.
Former President Obama also said he was going to fight the inequality that is hurting the middle class. He is apparently going to fight to overturn his own economic policies that have driven 95% of income created since he became President to the top 1%, those making $394,000 per year or more (it was 45% under Clinton, 65% under Bush), according to prominent liberal economists Thomas Piketty of the Paris School of Economics and Emmanuel Saez of U.C. Berkeley.
The administration’s Quantitative Easing program has sent the stock market to record highs for higher income individuals and companies, his policy of keeping interest rates below 1% has crippled seniors as many depend on 4%-5% interest rates to provide income in their retirement accounts; Dodd-Frank financial reform has crippled the Banking industry in providing loans to small businesses, hurting their ability to grow and hire (and created the artificial need for the SBA to give record loans to small business, another one of his “achievements”).
The policies of former President Obama have also created an economy with a massive trade deficit, especially with China, and ObamaCare has driven lower and middle class families into part-time jobs and lower pay. Yes, the former President has done more to harm lower and middle class citizens than any other former President and it is time he took some action to correct his earlier policies.
One final financial note. former President Obama grandly announced his new Federal government retirement plan; his “MyRA” that he would initiate with an executive order. Unfortunately, either he or his staff were too stupid, ignorant or arrogant to check to see if a COMPANY (you know, a private sector entity) had a retirement plan by that name. And the answer is yes, there is and yes, the name is Trademarked. The Kingdom Trust Co of South Dakota has been offering their product, “MyRA”, for the past four years. I guess when you have no practical experience and have never run anything, these little inconvenient details will pop up.
In health care the former President took credit for signing up 9 million people for health care, 6.3 million of them for Medicaid (MediCal in California). Former President Obama apparently forgot that while just over 2 million have signed up for ObamaCare (80% receiving subsidies to buy the extravagantly priced new plans), more than 5 million had their old policies cancelled. And, of course, no one needed those new health exchanges to sign up for Medicaid, but California , who got $968 million to implement the new exchange or the six states (Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts, Vermont, Hawaii, and Minnesota) that combined got $1.2 billion were glad to get the free money, even though all six have been declared “epic failures and “comical”. God knows what the Federal exchange cost or what the on-going cost will be for the new subsidies and Medicaid participants, but you can bet we will be paying for it with new State and Federal Taxes.
Former President Obama again demanded universal Transitional Kindergarten, conveniently overstating the results of earlier programs and ignoring the results of his Administrations own evaluation of Head Start . The 2010 Head Start Impact study, started in 2002 and finished in 2010, found that after spending $9 billion per year since 1965, Head Start “has no demonstrable impact on their(participants) cognitive, academic, socio-emotional, or health status” or on “parenting outcomes” at the end of the first grade. Let’s just admit that “Transitional kindergarten” is just another entitlement of free babysitting that extends the grand Democratic tradition of buying votes that has extended from Boss Tweed in the 1870’s through FDR to the present day.
And speaking of buying votes, can we please get over saying paying people not to work stimulates the economy? If it does, please just raise the minimum wage to $1,000 per hour and supplement it with 10 years of unemployment so that we never have a recession again.
My favorite achievement former President Obama claimed is that we are now energy independent. Yes, maybe…despite what the Federal government and EPA has done to stop the drive to energy independence.
It now takes more than a year to get a permit to drill on federal land and oil production is down 6%, while production has increased 31% on private land. The administration’s joy over the use of national gas is surprising since the federal Energy and EPA departments is doing everything it can to stop fracking. But, please do take credit for what the private sector has achieved.
Syria, Iran, student loans, student testing, and on and on and on; Blah, Blah, Blah Mr. Former President Obama. Please stop talking. STOP. Can we return to the tradition of the President sending his State of the Union in writing to Congress. Or maybe we can make Barbara Lee and Maxine Waters happy by just running old videos of Fidel Castro speeches.
Anything to free up two hours of my life that I will never get back.