25 January 2012

More Empty Promises: Obama 2012 State of the Union Address

State of the Union address 2012

From Denny: The usual suspects reared up for notice, slickly detailed into the typical State of the Union Address.  Yes, it's an election year all right.

President Obama made yet more promises to get votes.  If these promises are anything like his last three years of promises, then don't go looking for anything to happen at all.  

When the promise details are out of public sight for this Obama administration, then that means the promises are out of their mind to get done. With Team Obama it's all about sounding the right tone, delivering the inspirational speech, then sitting down on the job and turning their attention away from the country's dire problems, hoping no one is watching.

What were the promises?

1.  The call to impose the so-called Buffet Rule

Obama:  "Tax reform should follow the Buffett Rule. If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes. And my Republican friend Tom Coburn is right: Washington should stop subsidizing millionaires. In fact, if you're earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn't get special tax subsidies or deductions. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up.  You're the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You're the ones who need relief." 
With all the lobbyists and rich people both controlling Congress and in Congress, this tax reform will never see the light of day and become a reality.  
Pandering to the liberal base in the hopes they will return as the ground troops he desperately needs in the campaign is what's this promise is squarely aimed at to accomplish.  Since the XL tar sands pipeline controversy - and subsequent tabling for later consideration - former Obama loyalist ground troops threatened zero help in the campaign if he went along with this pipeline project.  People still don't trust him.

2.  The call to extend the mandatory school attendance age.

Obama:  "When students are not allowed to drop out, they do better. So tonight, I am proposing that every state - every state - requires that all students stay in high school until they graduate or turn 18." 
How controversial is this?  Everyone needs to finish high school in an ever increasing technological society.  Most states already fulfill this requirement.  If you notice there is no promise to help those with learning disabilities who have a tough time passing the exams to get their high school degree.  Kicking them out when they reach age 18 - but have not accomplished the work to get the degree - is simply not the answer either.

3. Create a Trade Enforcement Unit
Obama:  "Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you - America will always win."

A trade enforcement unit?  Is he joking?  Check out the latest trade deals - like India and South Korea - Obama has made in the past year where America jobs continue to get sent overseas by the thousands in exchange for a few hundred here.  If Obama would quit walking in the footsteps of his political hero George Bush when it comes to trade deals, he would never have continued nor created such bad deals for America in the first place.

4. Commit to Increase Job Training
Obama:  "Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. My administration has already lined up more companies that want to help. Model partnerships between businesses like Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, and Orlando, and Louisville are up and running. Now you need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers - places that teach people skills that businesses are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing."

Sounds great but will it actually produce any full time, full pay, permanent jobs?  Until Obama gets serious and twists the arms of Big Business to hire Americans at a living wage - not minimum wage - will things change for the better.  

Touting improved unemployment numbers because of temporary December jobs for the holidays is just misdirection.  By February and March the reality will bite yet again in the area of true unemployment.

Claiming the creation of 3.2 million jobs - most at low pay and many only temporary - is more illusion.  What this country needs is 31 million jobs to right the economic ship.

5. Take Up Immigration Overhaul
Obama:  "I believe as strongly as ever that we should take on illegal immigration. That's why my administration has put more boots on the border than ever before. That's why there are fewer illegal crossings than when I took office. The opponents of action are out of excuses. We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now.
But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses, defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I will sign it right away."

Sounds good Obama has turned some of his attention to the border with Mexico to prevent the drug cartel violence from spilling over into America since so many of our American law enforcement officers have been killed by the cartels.  Then why is he advocating free access of Mexican trucks along  American highways all the way up into Canada without question, searches or papers?  

Again, that's a Bush era mess Obama is continuing - to the detriment and safety of the American people.  Is this a nation of Stupid?  What nation allows unfettered access to drug cartels and terrorists anywhere along its borders and into the interior via its highways?

6. Establish a Financial Crimes Unit
Obama:  "Today, American consumers finally have a watchdog in Richard Cordray with one job: To look out for them. We'll also establish a Financial Crimes Unit of highly trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud and protect people's investments. Some financial firms violate major anti-fraud laws because there's no real penalty for being a repeat offender. That's bad for consumers, and it's bad for the vast majority of bankers and financial service professionals who do the right thing. So pass legislation that makes the penalties for fraud count."

Oh, this promise should prove interesting.  As it stands, when caught the Big Banks and other corporations  have received small FTC fines in relation to the billions of dollars stolen - and the proverbial slap on the wrist from the Obama camp.  So, the public is supposed to trust anything big is going to happen here?  Repeat offenders just grin and keep moving forward to their next billion dollar con.

7. Create Prosecutorial Unit to Protect Homeowners From Abusive Lending
Obama:  "Tonight, I'm asking my Attorney General to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorney general to expand our investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis. This new unit will hold accountable those who broke the law, speed assistance to homeowners, and help turn the page on an era of recklessness that hurt so many Americans."

This is old news.  Obama should have investigated this years ago.  Sure looks like yet another promised investigation that will quietly fade away when the public is no longer looking.  The investigation will go long past the election in November, probably to never be revealed what was found.  

Obama seems to forget that the very problem is his private contractors that are supposed to administer these "helpful" programs really are just crooks on the government dole.  How homeowners, who have been scammed by their own government and preyed upon by these government contractors, will suddenly get restitution is beyond belief.

8. Proposal to Help Homeowners Save On Their Mortgages
Obama:  "I'm sending this Congress a plan that gives every responsible homeowner the chance to save about $3,000 a year on their mortgage, by refinancing at historically low rates. No more red tape. No more runaround from the banks. A small fee on the largest financial institutions will ensure that it won't add to the deficit and will give those banks that were rescued by taxpayers a chance to repay a deficit of trust."

Earth to Obama:  Up to and maybe as much as $3,000 a year in savings is not enough to help homeowners who are underwater on their mortgages because of the real estate implosion brought about by the greed of Wall Street and the Big Banks.  

Over one-third of American homeowners owe more on their homes than they are worth.  A large percentage of homes are worth only half to two-thirds of the mortgage balance.  Is this President really so naive as to believe people will take this idea seriously?  More and more homeowners who are underwater walk away every day.

9.  Proposal For Increase in Student Aid
Obama:  "At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July. Extend the tuition tax credit we started that saves millions of middle-class families thousands of dollars, and give more young people the chance to earn their way through college by doubling the number of work-study jobs in the next five years."

Student debt is far higher than credit card debt.  I know plenty of graduated students who are in hock up to their eyeballs with high interest rates on their student loans.  Creditors are calling them at work.  The banks refuse to restructure the loans to reasonable payments on a minimum wage salary most of them can only find.  Those are the lucky graduates - many are still without jobs.  

Obama has allowed the Bush era excessive interest rates on these student loans to stand when the government student loan program was turned over to private interests.  The banks get this money at only one-quarter of one percent and yet have the audacity to charge over 16 percent to the students who have no where else to turn.  They are loan sharks and should be prosecuted.

10. Defense Department's Clean Energy Initiative
Obama:  "I'm directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I'm proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world's largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history - with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year." 
Sounds good and should have been started years ago.  This is not enough to encourage the liberal votes Obama is finding a real deficit.  The Navy and the military should be purchasing enough capacity to power 100 million homes if you are going to get real as they are such energy hogs.

What reports can we believe on any of these issues when the Obama administration has failed so miserably on its main campaign promise:  transparency?

The real question is this:  Who will do the oversight to ensure all these promises will be kept?  Stay tuned.

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