Thursday, April 14, 2011

My thoughts on last night's Obama campaign speech

You bet I called it a campaign speech. Just days after our Dear Leader made it official that he is going for another four years in the 2012 election, he came out last night and gave a speech that had all the right class warfare buzzwords and appealed to the basest emotions of his silly supporters who seem to never stop thinking of how they can get something for nothing.

Since I can no longer bear to listen to that lisping, clipped way of speaking at which our Dear Leader excels, I went to the White House's website this morning where last night's campaign speech is posted and I read what Obama had to say - and boy did he say a lot!

Just a few fisking comments about his rhetoric, and any emphasis you see is mine. First he sets us up with something people on my side can agree with:
From our first days as a nation, we have put our faith in free markets and free enterprise as the engine of America’s wealth and prosperity. More than citizens of any other country, we are rugged individualists, a self-reliant people with a healthy skepticism of too much government.
Not bad except for using the word "faith." Having faith means you believe something is so, even though you have no evidence of it. Sorry, but that does not apply to our adherence to a free market system. But why quibble about a single word? After Obama sets us up with trying to find common ground with us conservative free-market people, he then slams down the big "But":
We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, hard times or bad luck, a crippling illness or a layoff may strike any one of us. “There but for the grace of God go I,” we say to ourselves. And so we contribute to programs like Medicare and Social Security, which guarantee us health care and a measure of basic income after a lifetime of hard work; unemployment insurance, which protects us against unexpected job loss; and Medicaid, which provides care for millions of seniors in nursing homes, poor children, those with disabilities. We’re a better country because of these commitments. I’ll go further. We would not be a great country without those commitments.
First off, we don't "contribute" to these federal social programs; our so-called contributions are forcibly taken from us by the government simply because we draw a paycheck. As bad as the use of that word is, this paragraph ends with the end all, beat all of Obama's life philosophy, and the philosophy of so many statists of the political left. Obama thinks this country is great because of government, not because of our reputation as rugged individualists who exhibit self-reliance. What Obama failed to mention is that even though billions, if not trillions, of our tax dollars are forcibly taken from us in the name of government-mandated charity, we Americans are still the most generous people on the planet when it comes to giving to charity of our own free will. Imagine how much more we could give if our money wasn't first taken and squandered by an inefficient government.

My next point of contention comes when Obama said the following:
Now, for much of the last century, our nation found a way to afford these investments and priorities with the taxes paid by its citizens. As a country that values fairness, wealthier individuals have traditionally borne a greater share of this burden than the middle class or those less fortunate. Everybody pays, but the wealthier have borne a little more. This is not because we begrudge those who’ve done well -– we rightly celebrate their success. Instead, it’s a basic reflection of our belief that those who’ve benefited most from our way of life can afford to give back a little bit more. Moreover, this belief hasn’t hindered the success of those at the top of the income scale. They continue to do better and better with each passing year.
Seriously? Our nation found a way to afford these "investments"? Looking at our current national debt, I don't think that statement is very accurate, do you? And then Obama goes deep into the tried-and-true cliches of the class-warfare rhetoric. First he mentions "fairness." Apparently, it's not fair that some people make more than others. What, does he think a ditch digger should make the same income as a brain surgeon? Next he throws in the term "less fortunate." I am not a wealthy man, however my family and I live rather comfortably. This is not because I am simply "fortunate," - read "lucky." I worked my caboose off and risked my life in the military to gain the financial resources to pay for the opportunity to work my caboose off to finish a B.A, a teaching credential, and an M.A, so I could work my caboose off on a daily basis as I attempt to teach the next generation. All this did not happen from luck. It happened from conscious effort and preparation. After explaining all of that, it then makes no sense that if I give to charity to help those that Obama calls "less fortunate," I am not "giving back" to anyone. I am simply giving. To "give back," as Obama calls it, implies that I took something from someone else in the first place. I did no such thing, and I take offense when someone uses that term.

Now, we move to Obama's misinformation on the Bush tax cuts:
But after Democrats and Republicans committed to fiscal discipline during the 1990s, we lost our way in the decade that followed. We increased spending dramatically for two wars and an expensive prescription drug program -– but we didn’t pay for any of this new spending. Instead, we made the problem worse with trillions of dollars in unpaid-for tax cuts -– tax cuts that went to every millionaire and billionaire in the country; tax cuts that will force us to borrow an average of $500 billion every year over the next decade.
How exactly does government "pay for" a tax cut, unless the government believes that all our income is theirs to begin with, and the government is simply letting us keep part of what we make in income? Not to mention, the Bush tax cuts did not reduce revenues to the government, in fact, revenues from income taxes increased after the tax cuts were implemented. Unfortunately, what also increased at an even greater rate was government spending, which outstripped the rise in revenues. And yes you can "thank" George W. Bush for that, even though the spending increases on which he signed off absolutely pale in comparison to what Obama has approved. Bottom line folks - and our governments at all levels are loathe to tell you this - we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem.

It’s a vision [of the Republicans] that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents -- may be one of yours -- who wouldn’t be able to afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some of these kids with disabilities are -- the disabilities are so severe that they require 24-hour care. These are the Americans we’d be telling to fend for themselves.

And worst of all, this is a vision that says even though Americans can’t afford to invest in education at current levels, or clean energy, even though we can’t afford to maintain our commitment on Medicare and Medicaid, we can somehow afford more than $1 trillion in new tax breaks for the wealthy. Think about that.
Everything that Obama just mentioned - and that I bolded - that he thinks it would be horrible if funding was reduced is unconstitutional for the federal government to fund. Those are all state functions. You can scream all you want about how the cow has already been let out of the barn on these federal functions, but I'm sorry, these are all state functions, not federal ones.

One last critique:
Indeed, to those in my own party, I say that if we truly believe in a progressive vision of our society, we have an obligation to prove that we can afford our commitments. If we believe the government can make a difference in people’s lives, we have the obligation to prove that it works -– by making government smarter, and leaner and more effective.
You want to know how the government can make a difference in people's lives? By getting out of the way, letting us live our lives without meddling in them, and only intervene if some people's actions are resulting in some sort of injury, be it physical or property.

There is plenty more of this speech I could dissect, but this post is already way too long. It just goes to show how off-base I believe our Dear Leader to be.

Hopefully, on January 20, 2013, we won't have to worry about speeches like these any longer.

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free... it expects what never was, and never will be." -Thomas Jefferson

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