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Friday, September 09, 2011

AP Fact Check Finds Obama's Claims From Speech: False

Associated Press immediately published a fact check on the claims Barack Obama made in his long awaited, disappointing jobs speech aka campaign speech and found that all the key aspects of the speech were false.

OBAMA: "Everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything."

Essentially, the jobs plan is an IOU from a president and lawmakers who may not even be in office down the road when the bills come due. Today's Congress cannot bind a later one for future spending. A future Congress could simply reverse it.

OBAMA: "Everything in here is the kind of proposal that's been supported by both Democrats and Republicans, including many who sit here tonight."

THE FACTS: Obama's proposed cut in the Social Security payroll tax does seem likely to garner significant GOP support. But Obama proposes paying for the plan in part with tax increases that have already generated stiff Republican opposition.

OBAMA: "It will not add to the deficit."

THE FACTS: It's hard to see how the program would not raise the deficit over the next year or two because most of the envisioned spending cuts and tax increases are designed to come later rather than now, when they could jeopardize the fragile recovery. Deficits are calculated for individual years. The accumulation of years of deficit spending has produced a national debt headed toward $15 trillion. Perhaps Obama meant to say that, in the long run, his hoped-for programs would not further increase the national debt, not annual deficits.

OBAMA: "The American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away."

THE FACTS: Not all of the president's major proposals are likely to yield quick job growth if adopted. One is to set up a national infrastructure bank to raise private capital for roads, rail, bridges, airports and waterways. Even supporters of such a bank doubt it could have much impact on jobs in the next two years because it takes time to set up. The idea is likely to run into opposition from some Republicans who say such a bank would give the federal government too much power. They'd rather divide money among existing state infrastructure banks.

I am guessing that the AP missed the White House memo on how the speech was supposed to be spun in the press.


Hot Air's Ed Morrissey points out, rightly so, that the wording changed a bit but Obama's proposals are no different that the failed 2009 stimulus that was passed by Obama and Democrats.

The AP doesn’t address Obama’s insistence that this package will work at all, and rightly so, since that is more of a political analysis than a fact check. However, the same elements Obama insisted last night would stimulate job growth were the same elements that comprised the 2009 stimulus bill. We have the same speeded-up infrastructure spending (this time masquerading as an “infrastructure bank”), the same money for state bailouts dressed up as rescue packages for teachers and first responders, the same Making Work Pay-type temporary tax cut for workers, and a “hiring tax credit” that flopped when Jimmy Carter first tried it.

Obama didn’t offer one single new idea last night. He didn’t even offer an idea on how to pay for the bill, whose price tag Obama never mentioned once in his speech but has now bloated from an initial estimate of $300 billion to $450 billion. Instead, he told Congress to figure out how to carve the cost out of future spending while it battles over meeting its $1.5 trillion commitment from last month’s debt-ceiling increase.

LA Times' Andrew Malcolm's Top of the Ticket doesn't pull any punches with his piece about Obama's campaign speech, titled "961 days in, Obama becomes sick and tired of someone dawdling about jobs."

Obama, whose Democratic spending priorities have pushed the national debt beyond $14,000,000,000,000, said it was important to curb spending and keep to the deficit reduction plan agreed to earlier this summer while also investing in, you know, many important things.

He then provided a joint session of Congress with a broadly ambitious list of goals that sounded to many people very much like a lot more spending, like, say, the $787 billion economic stimulus bill of 2009 that didn't stimulate much of anything except that national debt.

With the national debt already increasing $3 million every minute of every day, Obama wants to repair and modernize 35,000 schools. Obama wants $35 billion to go toward salaries for teachers, firefighters and police.

Obama wants $140 billion largely to update roads and bridges. Obama wants another $245 billion in business and individual tax relief. Obama also wants to extend unemployment benefits.

And Obama wants it all right now. Seriously. Now that his Martha's Vineyard vacation is over, this situation is urgent.

Read the whole thing, he provides the latest poll numbers also.

From a reelection campaigning POV, Obama was probably hoping the Republican controlled House would dismiss all the ideas presented so he could publicly call the GOP unyielding obstructionists, but House leaders including John Boehner and Eric Cantor plan on bringing the true bipartisan aspects of Obama's plan to the floor, as per The Hill.

GOP leaders are planning to pick the most passable items out of the bill — trade agreements, small business relief measures, revamped unemployment insurance — and pass them separately.

“This is my objection to the message that was delivered tonight,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) told reporters in the Capitol after the speech. “The message was: either accept my package as it is, or I will take it to the American people. I would say that that’s the wrong approach. What we’re here to do is try to transcend differences, not let them get in the way in the areas we can make progress on.”

Dana Milbank over at Washington Post points out how irrelevant Barack Obama has truly become these days when Republicans openly laughed at his overly partisan rhetoric and Democrats show a decided lack of enthusiasm for his ideas:

Almost all Republicans ignored the calls of some within their ranks to boycott the speech. In fact, the empty seats were on the Democratic side. Democrats lumbered to their feet to give the president several standing ovations, but they struggled at times to demonstrate enthusiasm. When Obama proposed payroll tax cuts for small businesses, three Democrats stood to applaud. Summer jobs for disadvantaged youth brought six Democrats to their feet, and a tax credit for hiring the long-term unemployed produced 11 standees.

Obama spoke quickly, urgently, even angrily. Rep. Jesse Jackson (D-Ill.) stared at the ceiling. Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) scanned the gallery. Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) was seen reading a newspaper. And Republicans, when they weren’t giggling, were mostly silent.

Barack Obama might have thought a reelection campaign speech given in front of a joint session of Congress would be a good idea, using his bully pulpit with members of Congress as his props, but all he managed to do was garner a larger audience than he would have had this been done on the campaign trail, so there were more witnesses to his abject failure and irrelevancy.

Political cartoon above by Ken Catalino, via TownHall.