Early this morning, while twiddling my thumbs during yet another endless 'Please Wait' screen on healthcare.gov (sigh. I was so much younger when I began this process), I switched over to another computer window to catch up on my political reading. It was either that or commit hara-kiri out of boredom. I ran across the following quote from President Obama, who was singing the praises of President Obama at a hoity toity Beverly Hills fundraiser last week ($2,500 to $16,200 per ticket, depending on whether the deep-pocketed attendees wanted the gold-plated chicken or the platinum-covered fish). The President said he had accomplished "as much, if not more" than any other President (and he's more humble than the others too !!!). Here's Obama:
"saving an economy from a Great Depression; revitalizing an auto industry that is producing better cars and has come roaring back like nobody believed; doubling our exports; drastically reducing our dependence on foreign oil; doubling fuel efficiency standards; doubling our production of clean energy; reducing the pace of our carbon emissions; ending the war in Iraq; about to end the war in Afghanistan; re-centering our fight against terrorism in a way that respects our values and our ideals; expanding access to college for children all across this country; ending "don't ask, don't tell"; making sure that we are vindicating the notion that everybody should have a fair shot regardless of their sexual orientation, as well as their race and their gender; pushing for equal pay for women; reinstituting research for stem cells."
Pretty impressive list. The way Obama and his Democratic econo-warriors went about "saving an economy from a Great Depression" is accomplishment enough for one President, I'd say. Bravo, Mr. President. Bravo. I have to ask, however, exactly which Obama/Democrat policies "saved" us ? Was it the TARP loans/bailouts, which stabilized the financial system ? If so, major kudos to President Oba...hey, wait a minute. That wasn't Obama. It was the Bush administration that instituted TARP. Obama couldn't have been talking about TARP. That program must have been another abject Bush failure, even though the auto bailout money Obama takes credit for came from TARP too. Barry forgot to mention that part. Hmmm. Maybe it was Obama's $800 billion stimulus package that "saved" us, though any honest analysis would at the very least have to credit both TARP and the stimulus, not one versus the other.
I'd also question whether we are actually "saved" at all. The national debt has gone from $10.5 trillion to $17 trillion on Obama's watch. The Federal Reserve is engaging in QE to the tune of a trillion dollars per year. If this record debt runup is what "saved" us, how are we going to ever recover from being "saved" in such a manner ? Short-term massive debt accumulations have negative long-term economic consequences. The bills come due. I don't call this being "saved", I call it "delaying the pain". Also, if we've been "saved", why are record numbers of people dependent on the government ? Why are food stamps at a record high ? Why is workforce participation at a 35-year low ? Why is the real unemployment rate about 11% ? Why are part-time jobs still way above historical levels ? Why have median wages shrunk every single year of Obama's presidency ? Why has the poverty rate gone up and stayed up during Obama's presidency ? Why does being "saved" by Obama feel a lot like drowning to the average person ?
This is the point in my rant where you might be thinking 'but the stock market is at a record high', and that's true. It is at a record high...maybe TOO high relative to the actual state of our economy ? That's what Nobel Prize-winning economist Robert Schiller and other economists believe (I'll have more on this later). They believe the stock market represents a speculative bubble, and just like the previous dot-com and real estate bubbles, it will burst. Not a good thing.
Getting back to Obama's list of accomplishments, he does deserve credit for what he's done regarding energy for the most part, and he also deserves some credit for switching his position on gay marriage (at about the same time the polls switched). He did end the Iraq War, though it was Bush who first structured the plan to end the war. It remains to be seen whether Afghanistan ends, or whether we will end up staying there for an indefinite period of time. There have been recent reports that some troops will remain there until 2024. Only time will tell.
Obama claimed that he is responsible for "doubling our exports", which is pretty strange when you consider that our exports haven't doubled. They are up about 22% since 2008. Doubling is a long way off.
I'd also question Obama's statement that he fights terrorism in a way that "respects our values and our ideals". We have a near universal spy state in place on his watch, the 4th Amendment hangs by a thread, Obama attacks countries we aren't at war with, and he turns terrorist suspects, including American citizens, into grease spots via unmanned drone. That's a fews steps beyond waterboarding. At least the waterboarded are still alive. Unless our values and ideals are "kill 'em, but don't make 'em uncomfortable", Obama has no claim on our values. He also went to war in Libya without congressional approval. Bush did seek it.
It's sure good to know Obama thinks Obama is doing a wonderful job. The best ever, in fact. What a comfort.
P.S. - after about 120 minutes stuck on a healthcare.gov 'Please Wait' screen, I logged off. I still haven't been able to enroll in a plan, though I did get far enough to discover my actual premium costs, as opposed to the estimated costs Healthcare.gov gave me before. My premiums will more than double under Obamacare. Thanks for that "accomplishment", Mr. President (before anyone asks, Healthcare.gov also informed me I wasn't eligible for any subsidies or Medicaid, though I still have some doubt about that. I'll let y'all know for sure if I can ever get through this process).
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