'We Feel Like We Are Taking Crazy Pills!'
We have to admit: Watching President Obama's final State of The Union was tough to watch.
Not because it was his last one forever and we were getting all sentimental about his policies while in office.
It was because his view of what has happened over the last 7 years is so diametrically opposed to the actual truth and reality of where we really are in America today.
As time has rolled on and President Obama's plans, proposals, philosophy and policies were laid out in the open, it became readily apparent that he has a very limited understanding of economics, business practices and how jobs are created, sustained and maintained in America. His understanding of federal budget and tax policy is limited to his dreams about his liberal agenda, not whether it actually works to create jobs and stimulate growth and prosperity for everyone.
On foreign policy, he has tried to reverse over 200 years of American defense and foreign policy stature first by apologizing for it in the early stages of his Presidency and later, by retreating from the world stage and withdrawing America from a strong position as the world's remaining superpower.
He doesn't even understand practical politics which, at its pinnacle, requires a Chief Executive in the White House with the dexterity and political acumen to reach across the aisle and build working majorities in both chambers of Capitol Hill.
Even he admitted he was a failure at that crucial task in his SOTU.
At the heart of the Obama Administration, there was a continuous failure to heed the observation about politics by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr when he said:
'Democracy is the process of finding proximate solutions to inherently insoluble problems."
The idea is to get elected....and then try to win as many legislative contests as possible by getting more of your agenda and legislative goals completed and set into law than you give up to the other side.
Ronald Reagan used to tell his legislative team: 'Get 75%, 60% of what we want this session of Congress. We will come back next year for the other 25-40%. And the year after that. And the year after that'
That is how successful Presidents 'govern' by leading. They set goals and then they compromise to get as much done as humanly possible during a legislative session. And then try, try again.
President Obama got elected in 2008 on his vague and, somewhat vacuous in retrospect, 'Hope and Change' theme and slogan. He and his advisors thought that meant they could change everything in America by legislative fiat. With Congress, as in his first 2 years with solid Democrat majorities in the House and Senate, or without Congress, once it flipped back over to Republican control.
Our Founders, many of whom were young enough that they should be considered 'Founding Youngsters', were smart enough to set up a government to frustrate any Chief Executive who wanted to consolidate power, bypass Congress and 'do it their way' no matter how noble they or their supporters think their agenda may be.
President Obama even has taken the extreme steps of trying to legislate on very big issues via executive orders that bypass Congress totally which has further cemented his isolation from the elected leaders of the People's House, as it has been known in the past.
We deserve better as a nation. We demand and deserve results from our elected leaders that yield positive outcomes for the vast majority of Americans. We deserve elected leaders from both parties who know how to lead but also how to cut deals and compromise.
Just as our Founders did when they wrote the US Constitution in the first place, even though many of them hated each other, namely Jefferson hating Hamilton and vice versa which only intensified after ratification of the Constitution in 1789.
You don't really have to 'like' people from the other side once you are elected to Congress or the state legislature. But it would help. A lot. Add to that some measure of personal respect and appreciation for the democratic republican governance system we have in place and you have the seeds for restoring American government to a workable mechanism once again.
Let's take a peek at some of the 'successes' (sic) President Obama cited in his SOTU speech and compare them with the reality of where we are today in 2016 to see if you, along with designer legend 'Mugatu', have been taking 'crazy pills' for the last 7 years as well:
- Obama: 'We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. (Applause.)
Truth: Given where the economy was in 2008 when the recession started shedding 8.8 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it stands to reason that it would take a good while to recover the jobs lost on the recession which ended in 2009 experts say.
We have just barely recovered those lost jobs and hardly made a dent at creating new ones for all of the new entrants into the workforce over the past 7 years.
Most recessions lead to robust economic growth in a short period of time once economic conditions and fiscal and tax policies are adjusted to allow growth to happen. President Obama's policies have put and kept the proverbial straight-jacket on the American economy from Obamacare to higher taxes, more regulation and a general disdain for the whole capitalist notion of how people make decisions to better themselves and the lives of the families.
We are going into the 8th year of the slowest economic recovery in modern American history. 1.78% per quarter.
That is like saying a D-I basketball team is on a 7-game winning streak, even though they have only beaten Division III opponents by 1 point in quintuple overtime each time.
You still are 'winning'....but just barely over very weak competition.
- Obama: 'More than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth (what is he talking about?) since the ‘90s'
Truth: Untrue. The number of new jobs that have been created total since 2009 is about 9.3 million, not 14 million as the President claims.
According to CNN Money: '...(I)nstead of starting at January 2009, the White House starts the clock in February 2010. The Obama team argues that it took time for the administration's policies to take effect to get the country out of the crisis'
Anytime there is a recession, you have to assume that the jobs lost will be the first ones to recover, right? If you compare the 9.3 million jobs that have been 'created' since Obama was sworn in for his first term with the 8.8 million jobs that had to be 'restored' in order to stay even with employment figures pre-recession, there has been a net increase of about 500,000 under the entire two terms of President Obama.
Over 7 full years. 49,000 net new jobs on average per year over what the base level was 7 years ago. Wonder why it is so hard for young people to find great jobs nowadays? There's your answer.
Only in mid-2015 did we pass the number of Americans who were employed as of the summer of 2008. It was as if time stood still in terms of overall economic and job growth until we got back to even under not one but two terms of President Obama.
- Obama: '...an unemployment rate cut in half'
Truth: 'True (sic) with an asterisk*'. We have written about this almost as many times as we have written on any other subject but the 'truth' about why the unemployment rate is now half of what it was when Obama took office in 2009 is almost totally due to the fact that millions of Americans have dropped out of the workforce altogether so they are not even counted as being 'unemployed' any longer.
Many are retiring Boomers which by some reports accounts for between 20-30% of those who are leaving the workforce. That still leaves 70-80% of the potential employment labor force that is not retiring or leaving the workforce by choice and they would rather be working full-time at a job with great salary and of interest to them. Millions are now scraping by on part-time income; reduced salary and benefits compared to previous jobs or somehow making ends meet by scratching together several smaller jobs on 1099 basis contract work.
- Obama: 'Our auto industry just had its best year ever. (Applause.) That's just part of a manufacturing surge that's created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.
Truth: True. 2015 was the best year ever for American automobile manufacturers in terms of numbers of cars sold.
- Obama: 'And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters'
Truth: False. In order to take credit for 'cutting our deficits' by anyone, you actually have to cut or reduce something like federal spending to get there in the first place.
There has been next-to-zero-degree-on-the-Kelvin-scale emphasis on cutting the deficit or spending control during the entire Obama Administration. None. Nada. Never Happened. Never Will.
His first 4 years averaged $1 trillion in annual federal deficits which has to led to a doubling of the national debt under Obama. When President George W. Bush left the White House on January 20, 2009, the national debt stood at $10.6 trillion.
Today, it is just under $19 trillion. You do the math.
President Obama taking credit for 'cutting' the deficit from $1 trillion+ per year for his first 4 years in office to 25% of what they were is like a severely obese person saying they have quit eating 24,000 calories per day and now 'only' are consuming 6000 calories per day.
There's some progress. But you are not going to see such a person running the marathon anytime soon, are you?
- Fact: President Obama has done less to curb federal spending, federal deficits and the national debt in relative peacetime conditions than perhaps any other US President in American history.
At least Abraham Lincoln had the Civil War to deal with and FDR had the Great Depression and THEN World War II to deal with so their explosive deficit-spending and debt accumulation can be understood in those national emergency contexts.
Those were some serious problems Americans at the time somehow survived.
- President Obama went on to trumpet his 'success' (sic?) in the foreign policy areas of Syria, ISIS and Iran, to whom he and Secretary Kerry just gave the bomb and apologized to the Iranian leaders for somehow letting US soldiers be captured on the very same day that the President was giving his SOTU speech!
Truth: We are so bewildered, bewitched and befuddled by the 'Lead from Behind!' foreign policy strategy of President Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that we can't even begin to try to explain how he could see his foreign policy as anything but a failure over the past 7 years.
We can't afford another 8 years of jobless growth, a moribund economy and weakness overseas. Just to name a few problems we face.
If you are a young person under the age of 35, you really have not seen or been a part of an economic boom cycle where it seems everyone who wants to work can find a good-paying job and so can all of their friends.
The Reagan and Bill Clinton years were the last two big boom eras, 1981-1989 and 1993-2001 respectively. They were a sight to behold.
You deserve to see one. Your 401k and job prospects and earned income are depending on it. So are all the fortunes of your friends and colleagues.