Free Markets, Free People

Obama: Excuses R Us

It has been fairly well established that unless something that happens on his watch reflects well on him, President Obama is in the habit of trying to pass off all bad things to someone or something else.

In the case of our economic woes, the latest pass off target is Europe.  But the Wall Street Journal does a pretty darn good job of taking that argument apart.  First with history:

In 1997 Asia’s economy imploded. Currencies collapsed, countries had their ratings downgraded to junk, millions of people lost their jobs, governments were replaced, regimes fell. In October a jittery Dow, fearing the effects of "Asian contagion," lost 7.2% of its value in a single day. Trading had to be halted twice.

And yet the American economy was unscathed. In 1997 GDP grew by 4.5%. In 1998 it grew again by 4.5%, this time despite the Russian ruble crisis. In 1999, annual growth reached 4.9%, a pace it hasn’t exceeded since. Unemployment fell to 4.2%. The government ran a surplus.

Obama claims that Europe is our “largest trading partner”.  Well, they’re not:

Europe is not our largest trading partner. Canada is. Followed by China. Followed by Mexico. Followed by Japan. "Europe" only counts as America’s largest trading partner in an aggregate sense. An honest apples-to-apples comparison would find that U.S. trade with North America or East Asia dwarfs trade across the Atlantic.

And, tossing his blatantly false claim aside, is trade where our problem really lies?

Now take the question of how much trade matters to America. In 2009, foreign trade accounted for 24.3% of the U.S. economy. By contrast, the foreign-trade-to-GDP ratio was 51.9% for China, 71.1% for Canada and 89.2% for Germany. When it comes to foreign trade, the U.S. is the world’s least dependent major economy.

That’s right, it isn’t Europe and it isn’t trade that’s the problem.  It is economic policy. Domestic economic policy and a rudderless ship of state, the captain more interested in fund raising and re-election than doing the hard work of trying to turn the situation around. 

Which brings us to another excuse  – Congressional Republicans:

Again, a little history is in order. The Bush tax cuts of 2001 passed the Senate 58-33 in an evenly split chamber. Bill Clinton managed to do business with a GOP that controlled both houses of Congress for six of his eight years in office. Ronald Reagan passed all of his economic agenda through a House that was under constant Democratic control.

Somehow it is only Barack Obama—whose party, in an inconvenient truth for his campaign, still runs the Senate—who seems incapable of working with any Congress not under full partisan control. (And even then he had trouble.) Americans expect their presidents to be able to assemble coalitions of the politically willing in order to achieve pragmatic and relatively popular results. The Obama administration method, by contrast, has been to shove what it can down the public throat, then act surprised when the public gags, or throws up.

Leadership, of course, makes a difference – Clinton, Reagan and Bush were able to exert the sort of leadership necessary to work with Congress to get what they wanted.  Obama seems to think “working with” means he dictates and Congress passes what he dictates.  And when that doesn’t happen, well, it’s off to another fund raiser.

Peggy Noonan talked about politicians “laying down lines” before an event so they can spin what happens in a positive way even if what happens isn’t at all positive.  That’s what you see here – the President of the United States laying down a line of BS about Europe and trade so, if and when Europe collapses he can point his finger across the Atlantic and blame that continent for the problems here.

For the record, it isn’t the first or last time:

As president, Mr. Obama has attempted to make scapegoats of bankers, bondholders, private-equity firms, insurance companies, energy companies, ATMs, the Chamber of Commerce, the Catholic Church, opponents of illegal immigration, European politicians, Supreme Court justices and even Japanese tsunamis.

But he got bin Laden, didn’t he?

However, the 14.3% unemployed are not particularly impressed.

Forward!

~McQ

Twitter: @McQandO

13 Responses to Obama: Excuses R Us

  • Head-winds, McQ.  The poor man has had to fight vicious, unprecedented head-winds.  And racism.  My gawd, its a wonder he’s been able to do as much as he has with the racist, mean-spirited Republicans holding the economy back on purpose…like never before in history…and intentionally not hiring people, just to make him look bad.
    (sob, shudder, wail…)

  • Somehow it is only Barack Obama—whose party, in an inconvenient truth for his campaign, still runs the Senate—who seems incapable of working with any Congress not under full partisan control.

    During the 2008 campaign, candidate Obama talked repeatily about …

    One of the things I’m good at is getting people in a room with a bunch of different ideas who sometimes violently disagree with each other and finding common ground and a sense of common direction.

    But in his first meeting with Congressional Leaders, the room was treated to that now imfamous “I Won.”
    For the last 3 & 1/2 years, we have seen probably the worst political negotiator in a generation.

    • Because all he’s done is replace “I won” with “I got Bin Laden” – the common factor being “I”.   Hrmmmm haven’t called him President Imeme in a while, and campaign season is a perfect time to renew that sobriquet.

      • … but he was supposed to be “good at” finding common ground and a sense of common direction.
        Does anybody really want 4 more years of a President who can’t even do what he claims he is “good at” ?

        • I personally don’t think he’s real good at anything, except dividing the country.  Usually being good at screwing up is not what people call “good”.

          • “Gifted and talented…?”

          • Obama Spends Entire Presidency Blaming Bush For Bad Economy, Now Complains Romney Blaming Him For Economic Woes
            “The challenge is because folks are still hurting right now, the other side feels that its enough for them to just sit back and say, ‘Things aren’t as good as they should be and it’s Obama’s fault,’” Obama said.

  • “As president, Mr. Obama has attempted to make scapegoats of…”
    How did she leave off those EVIL speculators????


  • “And, tossing his blatantly false claim aside, is trade where our problem really lies?

    Now take the question of how much trade matters to America. In 2009, foreign trade accounted for 24.3% of the U.S. economy. By contrast, the foreign-trade-to-GDP ratio was 51.9% for China, 71.1% for Canada and 89.2% for Germany. When it comes to foreign trade, the U.S. is the world’s least dependent major economy.”

    don’t appreciate the logic here.
    People worried about trade don’t believe all trade is bad.  In fact, being a net exporter is golden and being a net importer is the suck.  So just making some blind trade correlation regardless of where it ranks in the net export/import situation is meaningless.   And the US considers the money it borrows for the deficit as an offsetting export.  So not sure which numbers we’re looking at here.

  • Obama Will Say and Do AnythingLying. Dissembling. Peddling half-truths. Redefining words. Taking credit for something in which he had no part. Those words/phrases describe what President Barack Hussein Obama has said or done and is now saying or doing.

  • Not to worry though; in his next term he’ll focus laser like on Climate Change. Someone wake me from this nightmare.