14 April 2009

UPDATES: President Obama's Address on the Economy at Georgetown University

UPDATE 1: Full text of the speech can be found here.

Standard intro's and thanks, with plenty of ums and uhs before spitting out names.

"... even our critics will agree that we've been busy."

"... I want to explain our strategy as clearly as I can. ... Each policy we pursue is driven by a ... vision ... that will generate 'good jobs...'" (what's a 'good' job?).

"This recession is different. ... This recession was caused by a perfect storm of poor-decision-making."

At least he briefly holds home-buyers also responsible for bad decision-making, as well as lenders who offered bad loans, before moving on to the standard 'bad guys' list.

"We had no choice but to attack all fronts of our economic crisis simultaneously. ... My Administration boosted demand by passing the largest economic recovery plan ever [I'll say] ... "
He went on to make the 3.5M jobs claim again, and that the stimulus is not responsible for increasing the deficit and debt (huh?). He then stated that dealing with the long-term deficit (a contradiction in terms; deficit refers to annual negatives not to long-term accrual of debt) and national debt is all about getting health care costs under control, not about actual government spending. What a bizarre argument.

The President is claiming that the 'nationalization argument' doesn't work (implying that no nationalization is occurring), because it would cost more in the long-run. But then argues that intervention and forced restructuring is OK (and apparently isn't nationalization). I'm not sure if he sees the internal contradiction. If borrowers can't repay TARP funds when they want and in full, than the government is regulating that as well. If we're nationalizing, we should at least admit to it and deal with the fallout. Case in point, he's just started discussing requiring new business plans from GM and Chrysler.

Ahh, on to the G-20. "All agreed to [stronger] regulatory reforms ... and to triple [lending by the IMF] ... This is not charity because America's success depends on our ability to [export]."

"The actions are starting to generate ..." work, jobs (cited the Fire Station House that has screamed that gov't. funds had nothing to do with the stoppage of their lay-offs), credit, etc.

Concluding the first part with calling for regulatory reform (it sounds like he's bought into the notion that bad regulation is the real reason for the recession), new education, clean energy (says that we're behind other nations on this. Hmm - like France (nuclear), Britain (oil), Spain (oil), etc.?), etc. In other words, the only way to stop a recession from coming again is to spend, spend, spend (but apparently only the government because he mentioned moving to a saving and spending society), and regulate everyone and everything. I'm hearing no details here, just a restatement of his goals that have been out there since the campaign. Used the parable of the house on the rock vs. the house on the sand, to say that moving on his agenda will put America's house on the rock.

Major points ("pillars of our new foundation"):
1. Regulate Wall Street much more toughly
2. 20% higher college graduation rates; tax credits for college-attendees; teacher-performance pay; movement of students into fields that cause them to 'make things' (what - are you going to dictate degrees?)
3. Green energy. "We've allowed a lot of other countries to outpace us ... the investments we've made in the recovery act will double America's supply of renewable energy in the next three years." Big claim! Sticking with cap and trade on carbon.
4. Stop "sky-rocketing [health] insurance premiums," move to electronic records, make "quality healthcare affordable for everyone." "We've made a committment to fully fund health care reform without [raising costs]." Pure BS, that one. Efficiencies won't fund what you're proposing.
5. Get rid of the debt after economic recovery. Mr. President, by the time recovery comes around, we'll be so deeply in debt, it won't be paid for three generations! Tinkering with savings on the margins isn't going to cut it.

He wants us to focus on the "... medium and long-term budget picture." He's basically making the arguement that investment and spending now will eventually pay off. How do we know this? I've yet to see anyone on his economic team present data that shows why their projections would work, and there's nothing on the recovery.org site that gives this either. He slams entitlement programs (but includes the defense budget in that -huh?), and says we "... will need to get serious about entitlement reform ... by getting serious about health care reform." He's not letting go of that bone. Says that SS-reform and shutting down tax loopholes along with health care reform will balance out the budget long-term.

"That is the house upon the rock: proud, sturdy, and unwavering ..." The American Dream is now the House Upon the Rock - just a leeetle bit out of the context.

1 comment:

  1. This article is very timely and relevant. As I quote Cameron Muir, an economist, "Home sales are unlikely to fall much further..That being said we expect home sales not to decline much further."

    But it's never too late, with the right business plan set up, it will lead to valuable outcome. This is what most counselors would give as an advise.


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