Obama promises up a storm, but haven't we heard all this before?
The Kansas City Star
President Obama’s big speech Thursday night had an odd feel. At times, he sounded as if he were running for his first term, not his second. Out flowed the sort of rhetoric you’d expect from someone fresh and new, offering, yeah, hope and change.
But there wasn’t much change on offer here. We heard the usual bashing of millionaires and oil companies, while at the same time he bragged that America’s oil imports had gone down. Sorry, but you can’t attribute that to the tooth-fairy energy policy that drives this president.
He served up the same tired blather about “investing” in wind and solar and clean coal. If past is prologue, this means more taxpayer-backed loans to bankrupt solar-panel and battery makers.
He offered the now-familiar bloated promises: a million manufacturing jobs, a 50 percent cut in oil imports by 2020, a 50 percent cut in the growth rate of college tuition over 10 years, 100,000 math and science teachers over the next decade…
Oh yeah, he would reduce the deficit. Remember when he was going to comb through it line by line? The budgets he actually produced were laughed out of the Senate, which is controlled by his own party.
Much of Thursday’s speech was recycled from 2008. Back then, he also promised to recruit “an army” of new teachers, cut the deficit and end U.S. dependence on Middle East oil.
Thursday night, he promised to “reform and strengthen Medicare” but under his policy, Medicare’s growth will be cut by more than $700 billion to help fund Obamacare. He said he’d strengthen Social Security, but didn’t say how.
A key admission came early on, when he said “Our problems can be solved. Our challenges can be met” — an acknowledgement that he has not solved them or met them. In large part that’s because he has recoiled from the tough choices.
A real laugher came when he said, “Now, I’m still eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission.” He had his chance and missed it. The moment and the opportunity were there.
Two key members of that panel from opposite ends of the spectrum, Sens. Dick Durbin and Tom Coburn, endorsed the concept of carving out deductions and lowering the top marginal tax rate. The plan would not have been revenue neutral; it would have brought in more money for the Treasury. It would also have been a true compromise, of the sort Obama praises in rhetorical gesture but is reluctant to approve in reality.