The Obama Diet for America: A Steady Stream of Whoppers
In Elkhart, before a friendly crowd, Obama adopted the economists' supposed "may be unable to reverse" assessment and used it as a reason to push for immediate passage of the so-called stimulus bill. At the briefing, he answered Loven as if he had never said it.
The president never got around to dealing with the "talking down the economy" part of Loven's question. The AP reporter and "Democratic operative" (but I repeat myself) didn't call him on it; she may have been too stunned at how he mishandled the first part to react.
The briefing was chock full of other whoppers. Here are just a few.
He claimed that "this Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Plan ... will save or create up to four million jobs." Put aside for the moment the numerical inconsistencies with previous claims that others have noticed. Candidate Obama always said his proposals would "create" jobs. He never said "save or create" or any variation on those two words -- until after the election. Now all he talks of is "saving or creating," laughably characterizing it at the briefing as "a measure of success." Why? It's not really measurable. As long as there are over four million Americans working (the real number is over 130 million), Obama can absurdly claim that all were "saved" and declare, "Mission accomplished." The press has uniformly failed to question this astonishing abandonment of accountability since Obama's election.
In various ways, Obama called out people "who just believe that we should do nothing" as his main opposition. That is patently false. Regardless of what one thinks of the Republicans' alternative proposal, it was anything but "do nothing." In fact, it claimed that it would create (not "save or create") 6.2 million jobs in the next two years through a combination of income tax relief, small business tax breaks, extended unemployment assistance, and a credit to new homebuyers. Even the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz called Obama's characterization a "straw-man argument."
Speaking of straw men -- Obama said that "we've learned very clearly and conclusively over the last eight years, tax cuts alone can't solve all of our economic problems -- especially tax cuts that are targeted to the wealthiest few Americans." Zheesh. No one ever said the Bush cuts would solve "all of our economic problems." What was claimed was that tax cuts, especially the 2003 investment-related cuts, would lead to an economic recovery and higher federal tax receipts. They did both. After a mediocre previous two years, economic growth in the four fiscal years ended September 30, 2007, averaged 2.8% -- not bad, considering the drags of Sarbanes-Oxley and non-stop press negativity. Tax receipts continually rose, mostly dramatically, from 2003 until spring 2008.
Maureen Dowd poked fun at the size of Obama's ears in late 2006; his reaction was quite immature and a harbinger of the angry man we are occasionally seeing now. I'm starting to wonder if his nose hasn't grown a bit longer since his election. At the rate he's delivering whoppers to the American people, it won't be very long before someone's going to have to open any doors ahead of him.