Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The State of the Union Address Was a Great Reminder of What This Election is About

While in the midst of some intense internecine warfare within the GOP it is sometimes easy to forget exactly what this election is about. It is about getting Barack Obama out of office and making America great again (which will involve fixing all of his numerous mistakes). Anyway, last night's State of the Union address was an excellent reminder of all of this. It's hard to read such tripe even to make fun of it by below are some key excerpts with color commentary from myself:

On the day I took office, our auto industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said we should let it die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen. In exchange for help, we demanded responsibility. We got workers and automakers to settle their differences. We got the industry to retool and restructure. Today, General Motors is back on top as the world's number-one automaker. (Applause.) Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company. Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and factories. And together, the entire industry added nearly 160,000 jobs.

Basically, he screwed over Chrysler bondholders for the simple reason that "he could" in order to help out his union buddies who continue to pump out instant lemons like the Chevy Volt. If you took a poll and you asked people what the #1 automaker in the world is, would anyone actually say GM? Stuffing the channel is not really the same thing as sales. On Chrysler, I recently went to a Chrysler dealership to look at the Town and Country. After talking with the salesman about what I want and how much I wanted to pay, he suggested I go to a Honda or Toyota dealership. He said because Hondas and Toyotas are much more dependable their resale values are higher so he really can't be anywhere close to competitive on lease terms (the higher the resale values the less money you have to pay over your lease term). Great job Obama! They might be growing but even their dealers admit they still make crap that will be worthless in just a few years.

What's happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.

Wait, so you want what happened to Detroit to actually happen to other cities? Empty lots, high crime, no jobs and a football team that has won 1 playoff game in about 50 years? I hope the citizens of Cleveland and Pittsburgh, especially, were holding on to some rosaries and saying some hail maries after that one.

We should start with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and everyone knows it. So let's change it.

Well, one way to change it would be to lower our tax rates so they aren't one of the highest in the world. But I guess that would be TOO EASY! No we want to have a complex bureaucracy which attempts to stop companies from keeping their costs down, hence keeping inflation in check. Places like Wal Mart with its cheap imported goods help Americans of limited means live like kings, at least relative to the rest of the world and to even just 2 decades ago. More than 2/3rds of poor households have more than 1 television and 78% have air conditioning. As the folks at GaveKal research have said in the past, "it's never been so cheap to be poor".

No American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. (Applause.) From now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.

So wait, any company that does business in the US will have to pay a basic minimum tax even if they don't have any operations here? That just screams "unintended consequences" like acting as a disincentive to do business here if you are based overseas. That reduces competition on the margin and will increase prices. Also, the tax itself will probably be passed on to consumers, raising our prices and making us poorer. I guess price increases of 83% for gas, 24% for beef and 22% for bacon aren't enough for the man. But then again, he has $4 million vacations paid for by others so he doesn't feel the effect of price increases on everyday items anyway.

And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay here and hire here in America.

Third, if you're an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you're a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deduction you get for making your products here. And if you want to relocate in a community that was hit hard when a factory left town, you should get help financing a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.

I'm sure nothing could possibly go wrong having the government decide, who should be punished, who should be rewarded and who should get a waiver. Once again, companies will have an incentive to bribe, err I mean donate to the campaigns of, the right people in their search for pull.

So my message is simple. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America. Send me these tax reforms, and I will sign them right away.

Unless, of course, those American jobs piss off one of his key constituencies (e.g. the environmentalists who killed the Keystone project). But then again, political corruption is pretty simple.

Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements we signed into law, we're on track to meet that goal ahead of schedule. (Applause.) And soon, there will be millions of new customers for American goods in Panama, Colombia, and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, and Toledo, and Chicago. (Applause.)

You mean the free trade deals you held hostage for almost 3 years so that your union buddies could get more money?

Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China.

I'm sure the Chinese will love the idea of police focused on all the goods they send to the US. Nothing like a good trade war to get the economy moving. Hawley-Smoot, anyone, anyone? Bueller?

I also hear from many business leaders who want to hire in the United States but can't find workers with the right skills. Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job. Think about that –- openings at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work. It's inexcusable. And we know how to fix it.

Yeah, school choice would be a great way. That would rescue millions of kids from failed schools where spending might be $20,000 per pupil but only a fraction actually goes to learning. The rest goes to bureaucrats and unions.

States also need to do their part, by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down.

Easier said than done due to the fact that Medicaid is eating away at their budgets. A situation that will only get worse with Obamacare.

I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That's why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That's why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office.

There are fewer crossings because the economy has been in the crapper for the last 3 years. So I guess technically, Obama is responsible for that so, my bad. Maybe there is a side benefit to Operation Fast and Furious, if the border is more dangerous, less people will want to cross. Brilliant!

You see, an economy built to last is one where we encourage the talent and ingenuity of every person in this country. That means women should earn equal pay for equal work.

Bring back the ERA! This guy must be in love with the 1970's, he is doing his best to bring them back with the horrible economy and his Jimmy Carter like policies.

I will not cede the wind or solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we refuse to make the same commitment here.

You mean the commitment to socialism?

In the next few weeks, I will sign an executive order clearing away the red tape that slows down too many construction projects. But you need to fund these projects. Take the money we're no longer spending at war, use half of it to pay down our debt, and use the rest to do some nation-building right here at home.

More infrastructure spending? Because it worked so well the first time. It's just pissing away money and has nothing but a temporary impact. But then again, he only needs it to last long enough to go until November 2012. Who cares if he will be spending possibly $1.3 million per job like some estimates say he did with the original stimulus. We are talking about a government that paid $30,000 per house to wire them for Internet!

And that's why I'm sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates. (Applause.) No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won't add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust.

This sounds like an insane idea. This will have a major negative impact on the mortgage bond market because when mortgages get refinanced, the value of the bonds go down. And this impact will continue into the future as any future investor will know that the government can ram through programs like this, adding to the risk of the investment. While this may temporarily decrease the cost of mortgages, in the medium to long term, mortgage rates will go up because of this program as there will be fewer buyers for mortgages.

We've all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who couldn't afford them, and buyers who knew they couldn't afford them. That's why we need smart regulations to prevent irresponsible behavior. (Applause.) Rules to prevent financial fraud or toxic dumping or faulty medical devices -- these don't destroy the free market. They make the free market work better.

Faulty medical devices? Oh yeah because industry purposely sells faulty medical devices. Also, aren't there rules against this already?

I will not go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny your coverage, or charge women differently than men.

I guess they never taught him at Harvard how insurance is supposed to work (and if they did, he must not have received a good grade but we will never know as we have never seen his transcripts). Insurance companies don't have to offer pyromaniacs fire insurance or cancer patients life insurance. This would increase the costs for everyone. So why are they required to cover everyone who walks in the door no matter how sick they are? One of the central tenets of the free market is that you don't have to do business with anyone you don't want to do business with. It's about choice, both for consumers and for companies. But I guess he (and Romney) don't believe that there should be such a thing as choice in healthcare.

And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules. The new rules we passed restore what should be any financial system's core purpose: Getting funding to entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and getting loans to responsible families who want to buy a home, or start a business, or send their kids to college.

Too bad these policies has led to extreme levels of carnage on Wall Street so that people with multiple degrees and great experience have had to move in with their parents. Somehow construction jobs are more important than highly skilled professional jobs for this President. But then again, those involved with construction tend to vote for him and his cronies.

But we need to do more, and that means making choices. Right now, we're poised to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was supposed to be a temporary tax break for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans. Right now, because of loopholes and shelters in the tax code, a quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.

This is such an illogical statement. So a small minority of millionaires pay lower taxes than a small minority of middle class households? So? And by the way, if Obama was any good at math he would realize that to close the deficit with tax increases would crash the US economy. To close the budget gap, the tax rate on those making over $200,000 a year would have to be over 100%!

In fact, if you're earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions.

Millionaires are abusing the tax code by giving to charities! This is just so nonsensical. Private charities are almost always more efficient than government entitlement agencies, so what sense does it make to hurt a major source of their financing. It only makes sense if you want to make people even more dependent on government handouts. Only a one dimensional character in an Ayn Rand novel could be that cynical, right? Oh, I forgot, Obama is a one dimensional character who belongs in an Ayn Rand novel.

Now, you can call this class warfare all you want. But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.

I think most Americans would call it common sense not to reduce the incentive to invest capital, especially when an economy is still in shambles. The fact that capital gains taxes are lower than regular income taxes is one of those incentives.

For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a simple rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.

Again, it doesn't seem like they taught him very well at Harvard. Our system of government is based on the idea that the majority will rule but the minority will have rights. The U.S. Senate, especially, was formed in that idea in mind so that the states with large populations couldn't simply ram legislation through without the consent of some of the smaller states. Our current system makes sure that appointees are properly vetted and no extremists come in. I realize this means that we lose some very qualified people when Republicans are in charge of the White House, but it is a small price to pay to keep radical extremists like Elizabeth Warren from getting an important position.

The executive branch also needs to change. Too often, it's inefficient, outdated and remote.

That is exactly what we are working on for election day 2012! Seriously, did his speech writers even read what they wrote?

Ending the Iraq war has allowed us to strike decisive blows against our enemies. From Pakistan to Yemen, the al Qaeda operatives who remain are scrambling, knowing that they can't escape the reach of the United States of America.

Huh? Since when did the fact that we had troops in Iraq hamper our efforts to strike Al Qaeda? Didn't Osama bin Laden die while we had troops there? Also, long term, he really shouldn't be so smug as Iraq is looking like a disaster recently, thanks to the pullout.

As the tide of war recedes, a wave of change has washed across the Middle East and North Africa, from Tunis to Cairo; from Sana'a to Tripoli. A year ago, Qaddafi was one of the world's longest-serving dictators -– a murderer with American blood on his hands. Today, he is gone. And in Syria, I have no doubt that the Assad regime will soon discover that the forces of change cannot be reversed, and that human dignity cannot be denied.

Seriously, does he not even get briefings on foreign policy anymore? 72% of the seats in the Egyptian parliament went to islamists who are more likely than not to tear up the peace treaty with Israel. On Syria, it is amazing that he helped force Mubarak out after some mass protests but he does nothing to get rid of Assad after he murdered several thousand of his own people.

Anyway, there you have it. A speech full of idiotic policy proposals that help his special interest groups in time for the election, half-truths (when we were lucky) and just utter nonsense. On the positive side, if that is the best he can do, November shouldn't be that tough for the GOP.


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