Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The So-Called State of the Union Address

The title is an accurate representation of Obama's speech to Congress on Tuesday. The speech was the now drearily familiar mixture of lies, ignorance, fantasy, and bombast that characterizes not only Obama's continuing campaign talks, but his basic character.

A few examples will serve to illustrate the point.

There is his familiar one from the campaign season:
Because of this plan, 95% of the working households in America will receive a tax cut – a tax cut that you will see in your paychecks beginning on April 1st.
For all his deficiencies, Obama is not stupid. He knows this is impossible, since there aren't 95% of working households that even pay taxes. A check to some people making less than $75k per year is not a tax cut; it's welfare, plain and simple. In this case even that welfare is a laughable illusion, since it works out to about a dozen dollars per month.

I'm reminded of the scene in the 1983 film "Trading Places." The skin-flint rich-guy played by Don Ameche gives the men's club waiter a $5 Christmas bonus. His reply, dripping with sarcasm, is: "Thanks. Now I can go to the movies. By myself."

One of Obama's biggest whoppers comes early on:
As soon as I took office, I asked this Congress to send me a recovery plan by President’s Day that would put people back to work and put money in their pockets. Not because I believe in bigger government – I don’t.
Un-effing-believable. If this pretender doesn't believe in bigger government then Joseph Stalin was not a Communist. How else to explain his plans to have the Federal Government intervene in every critical area of the economy and the private life of every individual citizen?

He signed a bill that will put private medical records at the Feds' fingertips. He is dictating how much some businesspeople can be paid. He plans to coerce some taxpayers to subsidize mortgages for others. He plans even to become closely involved with the census. As he said later on:
I reject the view that says our problems will simply take care of themselves; that says government has no role in laying the foundation for our common prosperity.
It's pretty clear that he does not see that role as limited (by the Constitution he blithely ignores) to the protection of individual rights. He views the government as an instrument for social engineering. That it can do so only by coercion, overriding and violating those rights, is a matter of complete indifference to this over-aged college student playing the role of head of the Executive branch.

His view of how the current economic recession came about is another standard left-wing lie, mixed with abysmal ignorance of economics.
A surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy instead of an opportunity to invest in our future. Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.
This is more of the usual egalitarian disdain of the wealthy, one that deliberately evades any distinction between those that earned what they have versus those who conned their way to riches. In short, it regards anyone who has wealth (defined ever downward) as being in the latter category solely because they have it.

More, assume that every single dollar not confiscated as a result of a lower tax rate was spent by said 'fat cats' on hookers not hedge funds. What bloody business of Obama's is that? Whose money is it after all? The answer, according to BO, is clear: the Nation's, the great collective.

Only someone who believes that all income belongs not to the individual but to the public as a whole could believe that taking less from one person constitutes transferring that wealth to them. After all, transferred from whom? The only possible answer on such a view is: The Group, to whom, in 'fairness', it belongs.

It also implicitly asserts once more the ludicrous myth that the current economic crisis is the result of deregulation or lax oversight.

The only substantial change to lessen financial regulation occurred in 1999 with the modification of the ruinous and unconstitutional 1933 Glass-Steagall Act which forbade commercial banks to engage in investment bank activities and which had nothing whatever to do with any of the current problems. In every other way regulations have only grown by leaps and bounds, some thousands of pages added to the Federal Register over the past 10 years.

It's just one more fantasy of the Left, whose perpetual irritant is that anyone should be able to exercise their individual economic choices without some Commissar's permission. That same lust for control is displayed in full view when Obama says:
[W]e will act with the full force of the federal government to ensure that the major banks that Americans depend on have enough confidence and enough money to lend even in more difficult times. And when we learn that a major bank has serious problems, we will hold accountable those responsible, force the necessary adjustments, provide the support to clean up their balance sheets, and assure the continuity of a strong, viable institution that can serve our people and our economy.
Set aside the question of how you build confidence by force. Apart from the obvious fascism this view entails, it presents one more fantasy: that somehow the bureaucrats are better bankers and that using a gun to shore up a balance sheet is a practical business strategy. The country is about to learn just how wrong is that belief.

One could go on at interminable length, examining his suicidal demand for Cap-and-Trade legislation, his desire to destroy the oil and coal businesses, his intention to put the health care industry on regulated steroids, etc., etc. The entire speech is filled with more lies like "we passed the recovery plan free of earmarks," more fantasies about using solar and wind power to replace oil, and more of the familiar litany of bombast that characterizes all of Obama's oft-repeated campaign nonsense.

But there's no point in examining all the details when the basic thrust is so clear. Like any Progressive, Obama's Fascist slip is showing and it's proving very unsightly. He will do everything possible to push the United States still further down that perilous path. If he succeeds, the American people will have only themselves to blame for letting it happen, by choosing to abandon a system based on individual liberty for an illusory federally-mandated economic 'fairness'.

Time for more than a mere tea party. It's time for a moral revolution.


J Williams - Atlanta said...

Excellent write up! Not seeing this truth from the MSM...Surprise!

Jeff Perren said...

Thanks, J. Williams. And welcome to Shaving Leviathan. Feedback of any kind is always appreciated.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if Obama and the Left aren't over-reaching. Obama clearly is going all out to turn is unto an extreme welfare-state. He is sprinting in the direction of fascism. If he keeps this up, I can see there being a big counter reaction to this. But, sadly, our Republicans are so pathetic I don't know if they will capitalize on it. If the depression/recession worsens and Republicans don't pick up seats at the midterms or in 2012, then we may be screwed long term as Americans may have become too collectivist for any meaningful free market/individualist movement.

If that were the case, that would be really depressing. Heartbreakingly so.

Kevin Clark

Jeff Perren said...


That's my one hope, that they are and that there will be. I share your concern about the apparent and probable lack of Republicans who can take advantage of it.

Time will tell. The people are angry and if pressed further, when the economic programs fail, they may rise up and demand a change.

If enough writers with the right ideas keep giving them the right understanding of events there is still hope.

Jason_Pappas said...

I was amazed at the self-contradictions in Obama’s speech. You’ve got many of the major problems with Obama’s plan.

I’ve spent a good part of the last two weeks trying to understand the impact of his “Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan”. A major component of the plan is to help home owners refinance their mortgages at lower rates given that many don’t qualify for the best mortgage rates. In other words, the government is going to continue to help people get mortgages that they wouldn’t qualify under prudent lending guidelines.

In the speech he said “It's a plan that won't help speculators or that neighbor down the street who bought a house he could never hope to afford …”

But the plan is there to help lower the costs of borrowing. The Fed and the treasury are in the process of buying $1 trillion of MBS to help keep mortgage rates in the 4.5 to 5.0 percent range. However, those with low credit or a mortgage that’s too large given the current value of the house normally wouldn’t be able to get a loan or refinance. Obama to the rescue.

The plan is to give these people new loans at lower rates and waive the costs that compensate lenders for the greater risks. Then the Fed or Treasury buys the loans. Of course this can’t be sustained forever. When they stop buying, the loans will only be worth 90 cents on the dollar. That’s about a 200 billion dollar loss and when rates go back up the housing market will take a dive again.

The government will also have to borrow to buy these MBS by issuing $1 trillion of treasuries. That’s credit that could have been used to start businesses. But never mind the unintended consequences …

By the way, I didn't tell you the worse part. The details of the plan haven't been release so the market is frozen as people speculate on the size of the effect of the new plan. Planning is impossible when planning is instituted by government whim. We spend our time speculating on the actions of government bureaucrats.

Jeff Perren said...

A trillion dollars of MBSs. I think I'm going to be physically ill.

Think about that. A trillion dollars.

I find it hard sometimes to decide whether the men making these decisions are pure evil or literally insane. There seems to come a point at which there isn't any difference between the two.

It's getting harder and harder every day to see any way out of this short of civil war.