They say most presidents make the lion's share of their mistakes early in their administrations. The mistakes come from the on-the-job training all presidents must go through. President Obama is certainly proving that to be true. There are many examples.
1. The AIG bonuses. President Obama was outraged when he found out AIG was paying $165 million in employee bonuses with it's TARP money. Then it turned out Obama's own Treasury Dept. authorized the bonuses in Obama's own stimulus bill (that nobody in Congress had time to read before it's passage). Obama was really outraged at....Obama.
2. The Treasury Dept. itself. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner has been catching lots of heat for his 'deer in the headlights' news conferences and his tax cheating ways. He seems overmatched. It isn't all Geithner's fault. The Treasury Dept. is basically a shell department. Eighteen Treasury undersecretary positions remain unfilled, as Obama either can't or won't fill the jobs. One reporter remarked that when he calls the Treausry Dept., the phone just rings and rings. Nobody answers, because nobody's home. Think about it - we have the worst financial crisis in 70 years, and Treasury is AWOL.
3. Campaign promises broken. Obama has already broken campaign promises on Iraq, transparency, earmarks, campaign financing, signing statements, and lobbyists, to name a few. That's quite a string for a guy who's been in office just over two months.
4. Change that isn't change at all. The Obama administration keeps changing Bush-era terminology regarding the fight against terrorism, as if merely changing a phrase matters. It doesn't. The term 'enemy combatants' is no longer being used. Neither are the phrases 'global war on terror' or 'long war' (we're using 'Overseas Contingency Operation' now). I'm not sure what Obama replaced 'enemy combatants' with. Maybe they'll be 'friends we haven't made yet' from now on. At this rate, it won't be long until the war in Afghanistan will be referred to as 'Petraeus' Excellent Adventure.'
5. Fiscal fraud - Part I. During yesterday's news conference, Obama said, "In this budget, we have made the tough choices necessary to cut our deficit in half by the end of my first term even under the most pessimistic estimates." He also said, "I suspect that some of those Republican critics have a short memory, because, as I recall, I'm inheriting a $1.3 trillion deficit, annual deficit, from them." Let's leave aside the fact that Obama will be cutting the deficit that OBAMA CREATED in half, leaving us right back where we started, actually worse than where we started. Even omitting that, Obama's statements are not true. The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office has already said Obama is not being truthful about deficits. The CBO estimates the budget deficit to be $672 billion by 2013. Obama has said he'll cut the deficit to $530 billion by 2013. Obama's projection is much more rosy than the CBO's projection, and even the CBO is not being "pessimistic." They are projecting economic growth too. The even bigger flight of fiscal fancy is that the CBO has predicted Obama will add $9.3 trillion in deficits over 10 years based on the current budget (Obama predicts $7 trillion), that Obama will double the national debt in four years, and triple it in eight years. He won't be cutting anything in half, he'll be putting us deeper in the hole faster than any administration in American history. Contrary to Obama's dishonest rhetoric, he did not inherit yearly trillion dollar deficits from Republicans. He inherited a ONE TIME deficit of a trillion. In 2007, the Bush deficit was $167 billion. The yearly massive deficits going forward are ALL due to Obama's own massive spending policies. And that big $1.3 trillion deficit Obama allegedly inherited from the Republicans ? Democrats controlled Congress for that, not Republicans. The majority of Republicans even voted against the $700 billion TARP bailout.
6. Fiscal Fraud - Part II. During the news conference, Obama repeated his refrain that he will make health care cheaper, by saying, "We invest in reform that will bring down the cost of health care for families, businesses and our government." Here, Obama is telling you that his universal health care plan, which will provide insurance for 48 million Americans who are currently uninsured, will be CHEAPER. Fat chance. Obama knows this isn't true, and his own actions have already proven he isn't being truthful. Obama is placing $630 billion in reserve for what he calls a "down payment" on health care reform. He doesn't need to put all that money in reserve if his health care program will be cheaper. The truth is, Obama's health care plan was estimated last year to cost an additional $200 billion annually. The final number will probably be more than that, if government's past track record of estimating cost serves as a guide. While I agree with Obama that something must be done about health care, I expect him to be honest about it.
I have to give the reporters at yesterday's news conference some credit. Reporters are starting to ask Obama real questions, finally. I think all the "tingling" and "historic" stuff is over. I hope so, because the fate of our country depends on it.
Now that I think about it, maybe I should have called this post 'Change You Can Cry Over,' because there's really nothing to laugh about here.
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