A Review Of Obama’s Press Conference
I was out last night and forgot to set the DVR to record Barack Obama’s speech, but I have read the transcript. It was a fairly dull speech, bereft of Obama’s normal soaring rhetoric, but as slippery and Orwellian as we’ve come to expect from him.
Obama is a master of that Clintonian tactic of giving you the impression that he supports one thing while doing another. But, even Clinton wasn’t as shameless a liar as Obama. Obama can, and often does, do exactly the opposite of what he says.
A few particular quotes of note from the speech and my reaction.
And in this budget, we have — we have to make the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term, even under the most pessimistic estimates.
The dishonesty here is absolutely breathtaking. Obama’s budget is based on accounting tricks (assuming we’d be spending the same amount we’re spending in Iraq right now for the next 10 years), almost impossibly rosy economic growth numbers, and massive amounts of tax revenue from a cap and trade scheme that looks likely to go down in flames in Congress. Yet and still, according to the CBO numbers, his budget would dip in 2012 and then would immediately start exploding into the stratosphere again as far as the eye could see. There are no “tough choices” — just lies and a tax-and-spend Democrat doing what they also do.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Your treasury secretary and the Fed chairman were on Capitol Hill today asking for this new authority that you want to regulate big, complex financial institutions.
But given the problems that the financial bailout program has had so far — banks not wanting to talk about how they’re spending the money, the AIG bonuses that you mentioned — why do you think the public should sign on for another new sweeping authority for the government to take over companies, essentially?
OBAMA: Well, keep in mind that it is precisely because of the lack of this authority that the AIG situation has gotten worse.
Now, understand that AIG is not a bank. It’s an insurance company. If it were a bank and it had effectively collapsed, then the FDIC could step in, as it does with a whole host of banks, as it did with IndyMac, and in a structured way renegotiate contracts, get rid of bad assets, strengthen capital requirements, resell it on the private marketplace.
So we’ve got a regular mechanism whereby we deal with FDIC- insured banks. We don’t have that same capacity with an institution like AIG. And that’s part of the reason why it has proved so problematic.
I think a lot of people understandably say, “Well, if we’re putting all this money in there, and if it’s such a big systemic risk to allow AIG to liquidate, why is it that we can’t restructure some of these contracts? Why can’t we do some of the things that need to be done in a more orderly way?”
And the reason is, is because we have not obtained this authority. We should have obtained it much earlier so that any institution that poses a systemic risk that could bring down the financial system we can handle and we can do it in an orderly fashion that quarantines it from other institutions.
We don’t have that power right now; that’s what Secretary Geithner was talking about. And I think that there’s going to be strong support from the American people and from Congress to provide that authority, so that we don’t find ourselves in a situation where we’ve got to choose between either allowing an enormous institution like AIG, which is not just insuring other banks, but is also insuring pension funds and potentially putting people’s 401(k)s at risk if it goes under, that’s one choice, and then the other choice is just to allow them to take taxpayer money without the kind of conditions that we’d like to see on it.
So that’s — that’s why I think the authority is so important.
This latest AIG fiasco was created by the government. They chose to throw more than 170 billion dollars of our money into the company. It was something they didn’t have to do and many people, myself included, would have preferred that we didn’t put that taxpayer money on the line. But, in any case, they did.
They then chose to try to micromanage the company and they chose to protect those bonuses. Then, when it blew up in their faces politically, they chose to have a despicable public show trial, where the same Democrats who insured that AIG got those bonuses in the first place pretended to be upset.
Any members of Congress, Democrat or Republican, who wants to give Obama the power to seize more companies at this point should quit their jobs and give up their American citizenship so they can move to Venezuela or Cuba, where similarly reckless policies have caused cataclysmic economic damage. What Obama wants to do is anti-capitalistic, un-American, and it’s absolutely unacceptable.
QUESTION: Thank you, Mr. President. Some have compared this financial crisis to a war. And in times of war, past presidents have called for some form of sacrifice.
Some of your programs, whether for Main Street or Wall Street, have actually cushioned the blow for those that were irresponsible during this — during this economic period of prosperity or supposed prosperity that you were talking about.
Why, given this new era of responsible that you’re asking for, why haven’t you asked for something specific that the public should be sacrificing to participate in this economic recovery?
Obama: …With respect to the American people, I think folks are sacrificing left and right. I mean, you’ve got a lot of parents who are cutting back on everything to make sure that their kids can still go to college. You’ve got workers who are deciding to cut an entire day — an entire day’s worth of pay so that their fellow co-workers aren’t laid off.
I think that, across the board, people are making adjustments large and small to accommodate the fact that we’re in very difficult times right now.
Remember when the Democrats carped and complained because Bush didn’t ask the American people to “sacrifice” after 9/11 beyond requesting that they go shopping? But now, Obama isn’t even asking that much of anyone other than wealthy Americans whom he intends to loot like a pirate. Pointing out that Americans are having to make sacrifices in tough economic times? Well, we always have to do that.
Obama: I expect that there’s serious efforts at health care reform and that we are driving down costs for families and businesses, and ultimately for the federal and state governments that are going to be broke if we continue on the current path.
The idea that socialized medicine will drive down costs via greater efficiency, prevention, etc., is ludicrous. Everything that the government does — EVERYTHING — is slower, less efficient, and much, much, much, more expensive than when the private sector provides the same services.
Everything that the government could do under Obama’s plan to cut costs could be done better and more efficiently in our private system — but we’ve chosen not to take those actions. For example, we could severely curtail lawsuits, deny expensive medical treatment, deny treatment to the old, cut down on research, refuse to buy the latest medical technology, refuse to pay doctors what they’re worth and drive them from the field, etc., etc.
Those are the sort of things that government would end up doing to reduce the cost of medical care under Obama’s plan and if we aren’t willing to trade any of those things for cheaper medical care today, do we really want the government to implement those things for us as they destroy the quality of our health care system by giving it the compassion of the IRS, the customer service of the DMV, and the disaster management skills of FEMA?
Obama: When it comes to cap-and-trade, the broader principle is that we’ve got to move to a new energy era, and that means moving away from polluting energy sources towards cleaner energy sources. That is a potential engine for economic growth.
The idea that a massive new tax on energy that will hammer the poor and middle class is a “potential engine for economic growth” is pure insanity. Gargantuan tax hikes don’t create new wealth; they destroy it.
Question: You keep saying that you’ve inherited a big fiscal mess. Do you worry, though, that your daughters, not to mention the next president, will be inheriting an even bigger fiscal mess if the spending goes out of control?
OBAMA: Of course I do, Ed, which is why we’re doing everything we can to reduce that deficit.
Said the man who just pushed through a 1.2 billion dollar stimulus bill.
QUESTION: Mr. President, are you — thank you. Thank you, Mr. President. Are you reconsidering your plan to cut the interest rate deduction for mortgages and for charities? And do you regret having proposed that in the first place?
…QUESTION: It’s not the well-to-do people. It’s the charities. Given what you’ve just said, are you confident the charities are wrong when they contend that this would discourage giving?
OBAMA: Yes, I am. I mean, if you look at the evidence, there’s very little evidence that this has a significant impact on charitable giving.
I’ll tell you what has a significant impact on charitable giving, is a financial crisis and an economy that’s contracting. And so the most important thing that I can do for charitable giving is to fix the economy, to get banks lending again, to get businesses opening their doors again, to get people back to work again. Then I think charities will do just fine.
Well, if raising taxes on charitable giving isn’t going to have a “significant impact,” then why not just have a 100% tax on everyone, not just the rich? After all, they’re going to give away that money anyway and the increased taxes won’t have a “significant impact” on their behavior, right?
This is nothing more than an attempt to take money out of the pockets of charities and give it to government bureaucrats who literally waste 50 cents more per dollar than top-of-the-line charities. It’s base, stupid, and greedy.
Obama: We haven’t immediately eliminated the influence of lobbyists in Washington. We have not immediately eliminated wasteful pork projects. And we’re not immediately going to get Middle East peace. We’ve been in office now a little over 60 days.
That’s a great excuse for breaking his campaign pledges on earmarks and lobbyists, isn’t it? Well, I’ve only been in office 60 days. How can you expect me to stick to my word on those things when I’ve only been in office for that short period of time?
It’s the same old, same old from the novice in the White House. Try to baffle ’em with bullsh*t and hope nobody figures out you have no idea what you’re doing.