Of the many thoughts I had watching President Barack Obama’s umpteenth speech on the economy Thursday morning, the most troubling was his refusal to accept responsibility for his disastrous policies.
With unemployment having soared to 10.2 percent, wouldn’t it have been reasonable to expect that any Obama speech on the economy would at least acknowledge that his "stimulus" plan didn’t come close to achieving the results he promised, starting with his claim that unemployment would peak at 8 percent?
Even a fallible leader would be humbled by this failed performance, but enjoying messianic stature, the expectations bar is rightfully much higher for Obama. Yet instead of showing contrition, he took to the microphone in a surreal, boastful mode, as if calculating that assuming an offensive posture would fool people into ignoring reality.
He bragged about the "bold steps" he had taken "to break the back of this recession." He said he’d prevented "responsible homeowners from losing their homes … cut taxes for middle-class families … and created and saved more than a million jobs." But, "We all know that there are limits to what government can and should do, even during such difficult times."
Let’s examine his claims. Bold actions to end the recession and "created and saved more than a million jobs"? Well, he has engineered massive spending and debt explosions, but many weren’t even calculated to stimulate the economy, especially in the short run.
ABC reported that as of Oct. 30, the White House claimed 640,329 jobs had been created or saved as a result of the $159 billion in stimulus funds allocated as of Sept. 30, a figure provably bogus on its face, considering that the jobs reports were inflated and that many of the "created" jobs were short-lived and already over. But ABC noted that even if you accept the administration’s projected figure of 1 million, which Obama is now clearly claiming, the math indicates that the stimulus cost taxpayers $160,000 per job created or saved.
Just to illustrate the speciousness of Obama’s preposterously unprovable claim that saved jobs are measurable, you should know that two administration financial officials, Ed DeSeve and Jared Bernstein, were unable to say how many of the 640,329 jobs were saved and how many were created. It’s also noteworthy that Obama promised in January that more than 90 percent of the stimulus jobs would be in the private sector, but more than half — 325,000 — were in education alone.
Then there’s Obama’s assertion that he prevented responsible homeowners from losing their homes, when everyone knows that included in his unconstitutional $75 billion government bailout of mortgagors were payments to those millions who irresponsibly did not pay their mortgage debts.
As for his claim that he has cut taxes for middle-class families, he didn’t mention that his treasury secretary, Tim Geithner, and his National Economic Council director, Larry Summers, have already refused to rule out the possibility that Obama will raise taxes on the middle class. Of course, the promise would already have been permanently breached if Obama had gotten his way on the cap-and-tax bill and Obamacare, each of which would have necessarily resulted in middle-class tax hikes, just as his planned double-digit trillions of new government debt would necessitate across-the-board tax increases just to service the interest.
Of all the words Obama uttered, though, nothing came close in sheer audacity to his announcement that he had planned "a forum at the White House on jobs and economic growth … to talk about how we can work together to create jobs and get this economy moving again."
Isn’t this the precise combination of words Obama used to sell his stimulus package in the first place: "creating jobs to get the economy moving again"? The answer is yes. A few months ago, Obama wasn’t looking for experts to tell him how to stimulate the economy. He claimed to be the expert with the magic bullet solution.
Having demonstrably failed, Obama is now convening a photo-op summit, designed to deflect blame and personal accountability for his policy failures and to provide an excuse to give us more of the same, because you can bet that he won’t be inviting Friedman free marketers, but academic adherents to failed Keynesian thinking and businesspeople whose judgment and policy endorsement he has purchased or will purchase with your money.
Despite Obama’s claim that he recognizes that "there are limits to what government can and should do," more and more Americans realize he believes quite the opposite and that he is committed to doing everything in his power to continue to dismantle the economic system that has made America the most prosperous nation in history. We don’t need a summit, but midterm elections to restore to power those who believe in the free market — among other enduring American ideals.