A Nonsense-Driven Fantasy Ad

A new ad for the Obama 2012 campaign came out. Ordinarily I watch those ads, shake my head, and continue on. In this case, however, the falsehoods and misconceptions are so awful that I had to call attention to it. Here is the ad, with commented transcript below.


During the last weeks of this campaign there will be debates, speeches and more ads. But if I could sit down with you in your living room or around the kitchen table here’s what I’d say:

This is Obama trying to poison the well just a bit, to say that ads after this one will not be as believable. He’s trying to pretend to be your friend, so you don’t notice that he’s lying to you.

When I took office we were losing nearly 800,000 jobs a month and were mired in Iraq.

The heaviest job losses began on November 3, 2008, when the stock market crashed in reaction to Obama’s election victory. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped from 9625.28 to 7552.29 on November 19, a 22% decline in just over two weeks.  Companies saw the writing on the wall with the socialist policies of Obama coming, and knew the recession was going to be bad. 

The job losses continued not until Obama’s American Recovery and Rehabilitation Act (Porkulus) was passed, but until companies ran out of people to fire.

We have now seen what those policies do to the American economy, as Obama’s fundamental transformation makes it impossible for many companies to thrive, keep pace, or even survive.

And to say that we were “mired in Iraq” misstates the case in a way that is dishonest and self-serving. By the time Obama began winning primary victories, the war in Iraq had been won, and that nation was stabilized. The troops would have been coming home regardless of who won.

Today I believe that as a nation we are moving forward again. But we have much more to do to get folks back to work and make the middle class secure again.

The condescending to the “folks”  ad is a specialty of Obama’s, but here we see Obama telling Americans that they are powerless to find work or start their own businesses without him. In fact, the opposite is true: without Obama’s strangulation of the economy, Americans would be more able to find work, start their own businesses, and pursue their dreams.

Now, Governor Romney believes that with that even bigger tax cuts for the wealthy and fewer regulations on Wall Street all of us will prosper. In other words he’d double down on the same trickle down policies that led to the crisis in the first place.

The only tax cuts that have taken place are the Bush tax cuts of the early 2000s. These were across the board cuts, not “tax cuts for the wealthy”. As James Pethoukoukis writesObama cannot possibly believe this. 

So what’s my plan? First, we create a million new manufacturing jobs and help businesses double their exports.

How? Anyone can say “First, we win. Then we will worry about how we did it.” 

Mr. Obama has shown repeatedly that he does have a plan, it’s just not one that will work. His method of job creation is top-down central planning of the sort that costs a lot of money but produces minimal results. In the case of manufacturing jobs, he may mean creating more companies like SolyndraEvergreen Solar, and General Motors.

Give tax breaks to companies that invest in America, not that ship jobs overseas.

Tax breaks for companies are what we ordinarily call loopholes, or in Obama’s twisted outlook, corporate welfare. That is, in a few years the purpose for the tax break will be forgotten and the companies will get the bait and switch.

But more importantly, we don’t need to give “tax breaks”, but to lower the overall corporate tax rate, for instance in the way Mitt Romney plans.

As for giving tax breaks for companies that “ship jobs overseas”, that’s simply not real — even Politifact called it “half true”, which by their inflated scale means “laughably false”. There are two ways deceitful people such as Obama try to say there are such tax breaks. 

  1. A company that locates plants or offices overseas has expenses for doing so. As normal operating expenses, these are deducted from the company’s income before taxes. It’s the same tax treatment any company would receive. Disallowing those deductions would be taxing gross income, which is nonsensical.
  2. Taxing overseas profits, and the way American companies do or don’t bring that money back to the US, has little to do with shipping jobs overseas. Mostly companies locate plants overseas to better serve overseas markets. The only “tax break” they get is because of the obscenely high US corporate tax rate, which they don’t have to pay until they bring the money home — something they’re unwilling to do because of the confiscatory US corporate rate, among the world’s highest.

Second, we cut our oil imports in half and produce more American-made energy, oil, clean-coal, natural gas, and new resources like wind, solar and bio-fuels—all while doubling the fuel efficiencies of cars and trucks.

This is more top-down central planning, in which someone who has never operated so much as a cash register thinks he can redesign the world’s largest economy. 

Despite his constant promises to cut dependence on foreign oil, Obama’s determination appears to be to decrease dependence on American fossil fuel. In fact, oil imports are up since he came to office, and Obama continues to wage his war on coal.

Beyond that, however, Obama still expects his own phony promises of green energy to be fulfilled. 

Third, we insure that we maintain the best workforce in the world by preparing 100,000 additional math and science teachers. Training 2 million Americans with the job skills they need at our community colleges. Cutting the growth of tuition in half and expanding student aid so more Americans can afford it.

The problem is not that there is a lack of teachers, because there are plenty of unemployed recent education grads who would love to have the work. So why train 100,000 more? Obviously, that many more teachers would contribute to the National Education Association, the powerful union that helped elect Obama.

Training 2 million Americans in job skills at community colleges is, again, more central planning. What skills do they need? By the time the central planners decide what the right skills are, the need will have shifted.

Notice that Obama says they will cut the growth of tuition in half. Over the last decade, tuition at junior colleges is up 40%, and 68% at public universities. That means that, even in his fantasy-world plans, tuition would still be more expensive.

A large part of the growth in tuition is due to his easy-tuition policies. By subsidizing student loans and handing out grants, colleges and universities know they their customers will have the money to pay whatever they charge. With his continued push for students to go to college — and a lousy economy in which work is scarce — the demand bubble for higher education continues, for the moment, to expand. 

Fourth, a balanced plan to reduce our deficit by four trillion dollars over the next decade on top of the trillion in spending we’ve already cut, I’d ask the wealthy to pay a little more. 

First, talking about budgeting is complicated immensely by the fact that the President and his party have failed to produce a budget since 2009, the work on which they largely inherited from the prior administration. Since that time there have only been continuing resolutions and stopgap spending measures, without any actual plan. They haven’t produced a budget because they don’t want to go on record voting for their own disastrous fiscal policy.

A “balanced plan” means that Obama wants huge tax increases on everyone down to those with average income. There is not enough money in just the top income group to make a dent in the deficit. If he means anything, he means to tax the middle class.

But reducing the deficit by $4 trillion over a decade means reducing the deficit by $400 billion per year. If he takes a “balanced approach”, it seems reasonable to call that $200 billion in spending cuts and $200 billion in tax increases. He doesn’t say, of course, where he would cut. But to take $200 billion from “the wealthy” means they would not be paying just a little more, they’d be paying a lot more. 

Rusty Weiss looked at the issue more deeply and showed that virtually all of the President’s supposed savings were from plans already calculated in the current spending. In particular, the drawdown from the war in Afghanistan is already counted in the current baseline.

And as we end the war in Afghanistan let’s apply half the savings to pay down our debt and use the rest for some nation building right here at home.

As Rusty showed, he’s counting that savings twice.

None of the savings will be applied “to pay down our debt”, since to do that would require a balanced budget. I suppose it could be that the President doesn’t know the difference between debt and deficit, but surely someone on his staff is bold enough to point out to him the error. 

Actually what he’s talking about is simply not spending the money we’ve already decided not to spend. His dishonesty is clear, direct, and insulting.

But he wants to spend half of what we currently spend in Afghanistan on domestic projects. That is money we would have to borrow from our children or print, and for what purpose? It’s simply more pork for Obama to pass out to his friends.

It’s time for a new economic patriotism. Rooted in the belief that growing our economy begins with a strong, thriving middle class. Read my plan. Compare it to Governor Romney’s and decide for yourself. Thanks for listening.

The phase “economic patriotism” seems designed to encourage people to hand over ever larger portions of the product of their labor to the government. Perhaps because of a perceived patriotism gap among his supporters, Mr. Obams feels forced, as John Hawkins said, to invent some new kind of patriotism in which liberals can participate.

He means to redistribute wealth from one part of the economy to another, hoping to create a “strong thriving middle class” not by enabling people to start their own businesses and generate their own wealth, but by creating an ever-larger and more dependent “middle class”.

Barack Obama is an economic catastrophe, and the sooner he is out of office the better off we will all be.