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President Obama Taking It To The People — While The Pundits Chase Their Tails!

President Obama was in Alpha, Illinois yesterday on the last leg of his mini bus tour and once again, he proves why he is the president and everyone else isn’t. Early on in the speech, he reminded people of exactly what he inherited on January 21, 2009.

Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months — or last two and a half years.

We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have — we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.

We just recently learned that during that period, we were much worse off than what the former Bush administration was telling us as they left office. Considering how bad our economy actually was and all the hurdles put in the path of Democrats who were trying to fix it, it is astounding to me that we have recovered as well as we have. It isn’t that long ago, really, but it certainly has been forgotten about by the “baggers” of Tea and Fire. They have agendas that have nothing to do with moving forward.  The President, as always, is looking to the future and how we can create more jobs…

So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.

There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)

Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America — opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world — but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.

The President is out in the country, rallying people around liberal ideas and liberal policy. He is doing his part to advance these ideas and get support from the public. I wonder what the Professional Left has been up to for the last couple of days. Keep it up, Mr. President, the truth will set them free.

Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles

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August 18, 2011 - Posted by | 2012 Election, Accomplishments, Economy, Politics, President Barack Obama

8 Comments »

  1. Sounds like Obama’s getting attacked by the left and the right. Much of the black caucus is angry that he hasn’t done enough for him. :(

    Comment by Jeff | August 18, 2011 | Reply

    • And you know what’s sad, Jeff? Obama has done a lot and it’s helping people, but…it’s not like he can walk into Congress with a loaded AK-47 and demand that they do EXACTLY what he wants.

      I can understand the Right attacking him. But the attacks from the Left truly define the term “self immolation”. It’s not that I don’t mind honest, constructive criticism of the President–it’s necessary and even he said that it’s needed. Yet what comes from some on the Left is, to be frank, “f**k you!!” criticism. Much of it has no basis in reality and depends on some very inaccurate views about the power of the President and the three branches of government. The fact that some claim to prefer a GOP win in the Presidency next year just to get even with Obama is enough to cause me to reach for a drink.

      Comment by Marc McKenzie | August 18, 2011 | Reply

      • The saddest part at this point with all the nut baggers elected in the house Obama effectively can’t do much. This is where much of the misleading criticism towards him has led to. He can give executive orders but their are limits to those powers.

        Comment by Jeff | August 18, 2011 | Reply

  2. Not extending the payroll tax cut would have a negative impact, extending it keeps us at the current, low ebb. The trade deals don’t amount to squat. The infrastructure spending impact depends on how much — we need a ton — and how it is financed. If you cut other spending or use new taxes the impact is roughly zilch.

    The problem is Obama has painted himself and us into a corner with all his deficit reduction nonsense.

    Would the current Congress pass what’s needed? No way. But we will never get what’s needed until the President explains what is needed. He isn’t doing that.

    Comment by Miracle Max | August 19, 2011 | Reply

    • It amazes me how people can just poo poo deficit reduction as if it is “nonsense”. The larger our deficits are, the more interest we end up paying on it and the less money that actually goes to important services and functions of government. It takes money out of our economy, goes to our creditors, weakens the dollar, suppresses the stock market…it isn’t just nonsense.

      Saying that cutting other spending somehow lessons the impact of new spending is treating all spending as if it is equal and has the same “job creating” impact. We know which type of spending and infrastructure create the most impact, and the Republicans fight every one of them. Which is the rub, you say President Obama painted himself into a corner when the whole debt hostage crisis, as I call it, was forced on him by Republicans and you know that.

      And once again, all the President has to do is “explain what is needed” and it will all magically write itself into bill form, pass through the Republican house with no troubles, head on over to the Senate, get fucked with there, filibuster, what’s that? It may then go to conference with those same Republicans, every tea bagging one of them – fully supporting President Obama’s priorities and helping him to win. Cough, spit, choke….

      Comment by ExtremeLiberal | August 19, 2011 | Reply

  3. Max: your comments combine both arrogant and mistaken ideas about political marketing with surprising theories about economics.

    Suppose that the government accelerates withdrawal from Afghanistan, saving, say $50B and then spends $25B on green energy construction. According to you ” If you cut other spending or use new taxes the impact is roughly zilch”, so that would be wasted effort. Really? What do you base that argument on other than contempt for the President?

    Suppose that the government eliminated oil company loopholes and the trick that allows tax credits for foreign earnings to be used against US taxes while profits are left untaxed overseas. This saves, say, $60B a year. If the government dedicated half of that to building railroads – you claim that the “impact is roughly zilch”. Again, based on what?

    All it took was the election of a black President to make the “left” do an about face on the value of corporate welfare.

    As for your theory that “But we will never get what’s needed until the President explains what is needed. He isn’t doing that.” you’re way out of your league. You have no idea what political marketing we need to get a more rational congress that will pass the President’s proposals and your idea that you can issue pronouncements on that subject is sad. There’s a difference between politics and a whiteboard session at the Progressive Institute of Clever Ideas and Wishful Thinking.

    Comment by rootless_e | August 19, 2011 | Reply

    • As I tweeted, you all thought people like me were just fine when we were bashing Bush for eight years. I’m the same person, same principles. We criticize your hero, now you question our motives and complain about our tone. You’d be annoyed too.

      Ok, your first case. Spend $50 less for Afgh, $25 more for green infrastructure. There is the short term impact, which depends on how much of the Afgh is spent buying stuff and services in the U.S. If it’s all U.S., then it beats your green energy. Longer term, no doubt green energy is more useful than the toilet bowl of military spending. That’s a different matter, however. The priority now in my view is short-term. This is basic Keynes. Has nothing to do w/feelings towards Obama (whom I supported in the primaries after Edwards dropped out, I voted for, and I will vote for again).

      Case 2a. Oil company loopholes. The beneficiaries of these loopholes spend less, the Gov spends more. Longer term, again, chances are the gov spending is more useful. Short-term, it depends on details. In the grand scheme of things, oil company loopholes are chump change (under $15b a year last time I looked). Worth getting rid of, wouldn’t finance much government spending. We need about $500b more than we’re going to get, annually.

      Case 2b. Foreign earnings. If you can pull them back in with taxes, it’s all good. It’s hard to do. But note, if you just use the revenue to reduce the deficit, instead of spending more, no jobs impact.

      I don’t do messaging, nor do I claim to do it. The Dems are capable of screwing that up all by themselves. My interest is in elaborating what is possible in economic terms. It’s up to political types to figure out how to get there. But at a minimum, people need educating in basic principles, like the Right does (with the wrong principles). Right now the basic principle is borrow more, spend more in the U.S. I’ve done economics for 30 years, taught it in universities, written books. There is nothing surprising in what I’m saying. It’s basic stuff.

      Comment by Miracle Max | August 20, 2011 | Reply

      • You initially wrote: “If you cut other spending or use new taxes the impact is roughly zilch.”
        On twitter you wrote: “If U cut borrowing & spending at the same time, you reduce employment. Period end of story. The amount depends on what you cut.”

        Now you admit that in fact it’s not that simple. The USA spends $200/gallon to get gasoline to US troops in Afghanistan. That spending, bribing Afghan warlords, paying US contractors for “security”, and so on has “roughly zilch” positive impact on the US job situation – unless I’ve misunderstood Keynes in some fundamental way. Perhaps you’d like to enlighten me.

        And then how is the green energy money to be spent? You’re sure it takes longer to get out to the economy? If the government offers a rebate for installation of solar panels? If it boosts the wind energy construction rebate – something that had immediate effect in 2009? If money that would otherwise have gone to purchase Stryker Vehicles goes to buy battery powered and/or composite delivery trucks?

        Basically, you don’t have data to support your authoritative dismissal – because “it depends on the details” – details nobody knows yet – even if we accept the “basic Keynsian” model.
        I will point out that the effects of consumer stimulus are a lot different in our economy then they were in a US economy of the 1930s that relied on domestic sources for nearly all manufactured goods, most food, and when we were an oil exporter. It would be nice to see some acknowledgment of those differences in your argument instead of simplistic hand waving.

        Then you say:
        “It’s up to political types to figure out how to get there. But at a minimum, people need educating in basic principles,”

        That’s great – and here’s President Obama making a fine and clear popular explanation of Keynsian stimulus.

        “We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.”

        Your reaction: “Not extending the payroll tax cut would have a negative impact, extending it keeps us at the current, low ebb”. On twitter you actually wrote: “It’s inadequate. Impact of payroll tax extension & trade deals is zilch. “.

        You sound like the joke about the economist whose plan to escape jail is “Assume there is a key”. “Assume the PHT is extended” and then, yeah, it has no impact. Getting that extension is not simple – whether you think it’s a big deal or not. When you write “The problem is Obama has painted himself and us into a corner with all his deficit reduction nonsense.” you are way out of your area of expertise. The President has to convince the public – let me share a clue with you, just shouting an oversimplified version of Keynes is not going to do it. The President says:

        “we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)”

        And you want to jeer and call it pablum.

        You don’t even have a glimmer of an argument for why the President’s deficit cutting story would prevent him from making a compelling case for what he is arguing. Because you don’t know anything about politics, and you think that loudly yelling “I’m an expert” should have some effect. You know why people are pissed at you “left” intellectuals? It not because you are arrogant condescending jerks who call the President “your hero” as if anyone who disagrees with you must be an uneducated fanboy – it’s because you guys are FAILING TO DO YOUR JOB. The right wing economists work hard to sell their story to the public. They popularize, they blog, they write op-eds, they crawl on their hands and knees to win the public over. What do “our” supposed left wing intellectuals do? Whine about how the President doesn’t listen to them. I looked at your twitter feed. Are you convincing people that we need stimulus? Are you selling visions of a fairer and more democratic economy? Are you countering Club for Growth? Are you explaining why tax breaks for the rich don’t work? No. Like the rest of our failed leftwing intellectual class, you think your mission is to jeer at the Democratic President and explain how smart you are. Here’s your contribution “Yeah he bullshits in every speech. He’s good at it”. Is that what you learned from your Econ Ph.D? We’re supposed to be impressed? You think that’s a principled stand? It’s not, it’s just intellectual laziness – although it may help you get on TV where they are always looking for Fox-Liberals.

        Here’s the difference between you and Jared Bernstein- his blog might actually win some people over to understand the need for economic stimulus. Your contribution is to join in the “Obama sucks” choir with Grover Norquists buddy Jane and Glenn Greenwald, the champion of People’s Hero Gary Johnson.
        In the good old days, we had left wing intellectuals who wanted to help the movement. Now we have people who want to sneer.

        Comment by rootless_e | August 20, 2011 | Reply


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