PJ Media

What's 'Phony' Is Obama's Economy

During his one-hour, six-minute snoozer of a speech supposedly about the economy in Galesburg, Illinois, on Wednesday, President Barack Obama denounced Washington’s “endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony scandals.”

“Phony”?

The rest of the president’s speech was so utterly devoid of new ideas that even ordinarily reliable apparatchik Chuck Todd at MSNBC couldn’t handle it, aptly observing of Obama and his administration: “They have nothing new to say.”

Obama, whose flunkies presented his speech as yet another “pivot” back to jobs and the economy, didn’t even identify employment growth as his top priority. Instead, he said that it was reducing income and wealth inequality (“reversing these trends has to be Washington’s highest priority”). That’s pretty funny, because his administration’s policies, in coordination with Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s “quantitative easing,” now simply known as “stimulus,” have driven recent increases in those inequalities.

Let’s address those supposedly “phony” scandals.

Scandal” is defined as “a disgraceful or discreditable action.”

Disgraceful or discreditable actions define this administration’s everyday modus operandi. Its contemptuous conduct has generated far too many genuine scandals to address in a single column. While recognizing that certain older scandals, particularly Operation Fast & Furious and Benghazi, are more serious because innocent people died as a result, I will only address the three which broke this past spring.

Go to members of the press — but first get them individually behind closed doors with guaranteed anonymity, because they apparently can’t publicly admit that they disagree with anyone in the Obama administration without losing their precious “access,” let alone their credibility among their peers. Ask them one by one if they believe that Eric Holder, who signed the search warrant for Fox News reporter James Rosen’s private emails, lied under oath when he said the following at a congressional hearing:

As to potential prosecution of the press for the disclosure of material, that is not something that I’ve ever been involved in, heard of or would think would be a wise policy.

Then ask them if lying under oath to Congress about going after a journalist as a potential criminal is a form of disgraceful or discreditable behavior.

Ask members of Congress — the ones who, like Democratic Senator Ron Wyden, aren’t knee-jerk Obama koolaid drinkers — if Director of National Intelligence James Clapper engaged in disgraceful or discreditable behavior when he lied to Congress during a March hearing when he was questioned by Wyden about the extent of the National Security Administration’s collection of data on the activities of everyday Americans. Go one step, further, and ask how scandalous it is that even though Clapper has admitted to his egregious lie, he appears to have suffered no negative consequences for his deception.

As to the IRS scandal, it primarily involved but was by no means limited to the targeting of not-for-profit status applications from conservative and tea party groups for harassing scrutiny and inexcusable delays. At this point, it’s beyond meaningful dispute that the enterprise’s deliberate mission was to mute opposition efforts during the 2010 congressional and 2012 general elections. The targeting’s comprehensiveness during the year or so before 2012 balloting — along with the fact that its existence, though common knowledge in the White House in early 2012, was not disclosed until this year — for all practical purposes has delegitimized Obama’s 2012 electoral victory as a genuine expression of the will of an informed electorate.

We can go to Obama himself for proof that the IRS targeting, which we now know was orchestrated by IRS officials in Washington and not low-level rogue employees in Cincinnati, was scandalous. (The current completely predictable stonewalling, obfuscation, and obstruction are also scandalous, but I digress.)

In May, Obama, who claimed that he read about the IRS targeting in the papers like everyone else, said the following:

This is pretty straightforward. If in fact IRS personnel engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported, and were intentionally targeting conservative groups, then that’s outrageous. There’s no place for it.

“Scandalous” is a synonym for “outrageous.”

IRS personnel, Obama appointees, and White House officials have been shown to have “engaged in the kind of practices that have been reported,” and more. Sorry, Mr. President: Since it was outrageous then, it’s scandalous now. Therefore, since it wasn’t phony then, it can’t be phony now. Your attempt to describe it as phony now is itself scandalous.

What is undoubtedly phony (“false or deceiving; not truthful; concocted”) is our current economy.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said something very important but really scary at a hearing of the House Financial Services Committee on July 17. How do I know it was important? Because the establishment press, with the exception of the wire service AFP, didn’t have a single story which referred to it.

During the question and answer session after his prepared testimony, Bernanke said the following:

I don’t think the Fed can get interest rates up very much, because the economy is weak, inflation rates are low. If we were to tighten policy, the economy would tank.

(The link is to “Q&A highlights” at Reuters, but that wire service’s related coverage also did not contain the quote.)

Keep in mind that “tightening” in the current context involves reducing, or “tapering,” the $85 billion per month in money Bernanke is electronically printing so he can buy government debt and mortgage-backed securities.

What kind of economy needs continuous artificial injections of $85 billion out of thin air every month to be kept from “tanking”?

  • One whose government continues to run unustainable deficits and which probably could not borrow enough money from other sources to finance them without those artificial injections.
  • One where any hint that Bernanke might start tapering is treated by the stock market as a reason to start scoping out the exits.
  • One where the stock market treats indications that the employment market or economic growth might finally start accelerating — in other words, what you and I would consider “good news” — as reasons to sell. Why? Because Big Ben might start tapering.
  • One which has had trillions and trillions of dollars in artificial stimulus from fiscal deficits and the Fed, and yet, as seen in the recent reductions of analysts’ second-quarter growth estimates from about 1.7 percent to below 1 percent, still can’t generate acceptable economic growth.

In other words, a phony one.