Obama's Kansas Speech: Middle Class Faces 'Make or Break' Moment (Update: Al Gore Hardest Hit?)
President Obama delivered a highly partisan and highly dishonest speech in Osawatomie, KS, today. Depicting Republicans as hoping to set up one set of rules for the rich and another for everyone else, the president declared that the America in which "you can make it if you try" is gone, replaced by an America in which Republicans want "everyone to fend for themselves." Hoping to invoke Republican President Theodore Roosevelt both in his choice of location and in his rhetoric, the president cited Roosevelt's role as trust-buster to rein in the free market to bolster Obama's drive to increase power to the modern regulatory state.
Obama's regulatory state is not breaking mercantile trusts; it is driving American companies out of business. And Obama's regulatory state is not acting in the name of downtrodden consumers; it is being used to force ordinary Americans to adopt unproven but politically favored companies and the technology that they sell. Barack Obama has no business citing Teddy Roosevelt. The two have little in common, other than in Roosevelt's late career, a misguided belief in "progressivism" and the power of government to solve problems that it ends up making worse.
President Obama also explicitly rejected the Reagan-era "trickle down" economics that brought about unparalleled prosperity for Americans up and down the economic ladder. His hand-picked audience first laughed, and then applauded the president's open rejection of sound free-market economics.
The president also blamed free-market economics and a lack of regulation for the economic downturn, despite the fact that government forcing lenders to extend mortgages to millions who could not afford them led directly to the economic collapse. If under-regulation is to blame, then the president should single out Rep. Barney Frank and other Democrats for fighting Republican efforts to prevent that collapse. But he didn't.
President Obama delivered one of his most detailed class warfare critiques to date, citing statistics through which he hoped to prove that the American economy is tilted unfairly toward the rich.
Republican response to this speech should be fast and furious. President Obama exposed himself as a man who is incapable of accepting any blame for his failures or of meaningfully changing course, and who does not share the vision of economic freedom that led to strong economy of the 1980s and 1990s.
President Obama did get one thing correct, the American middle class does face a "make or break" moment. Obama's policies are increasingly breaking the backs of American industry, empowering unions at the expense of American efficiency and jobs. His policies have deepened, rather than alleviated, the economic downturn and saddled future generations with unsustainable debt. This president's legacy thus far is high unemployment and a downgrade in the nation's credit rating. His class warfare rhetoric does nothing to bring the economy back, while doing much to divide Americans unnecessarily.
Update: Now Obama's blaming the Internet for job losses. Al Gore hardest hit?
"Layoffs too often became permanent, not part of the business cycle. And these changes didn't just affect blue collar workers. If you were a bank teller or a phone operator or a travel agent, you saw many in your profession replaced by ATMs and the internet," President Obama said at a campaign event in Kansas.
Funny, I can think of a whole lot of people who have the Internet to thank for having a job. Like...yours truly.