Saturday, 16 February 2013

Talking back - Part 1

Below is an annotated version of the State of the Union address, with helpful headings:

Lie #1:
Our housing market is healing.

For those suckers willing to sign over their firstborn to the unreformed, criminal mortgage banking industry.

Disturbing truth #1:
[We buy] less foreign oil than we have in twenty [years].

Why is this good? Because when Antarctica disappears, it will disappear due to U.S.- produced emissions? I feel so proud.

Rosy prediction #1:
Our stock market is rebounding.

Taking credit for what happens in stock markets: quite a risky bet. So you plan to take the blame if/when it tanks?

Lie #2/Whopper #1:
Consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.

Oh, please. Because the banks promise not to do those naughty things any more?

Disturbing truth #2:
Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion. As a result, we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.

Great, so we will impose austerity, given that it’s worked so well in Europe.

Lie #3:
Now we need to finish the job.

The ‘job’ being further deficit reduction. Says who? Folding the Republican austerity meme into the ‘we’ bipartisanship b.s. means we are screwed..

Disturbing truth #3:
[A]bout a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts [will] automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.

THIS is what we should mourn? That is this the silver lining, ergo highly unlikely to last.

Disturbing truth #4:
[T]he biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population.

True except not just for the aged, and when you say it that way, it sets up the inter-generational war that you and everyone else keeps saying we should avoid.

Lie #4:
[W]e can’t just cut our way to prosperity.

In fact, we can’t cut our way to prosperity at all. WTF with the word ‘just’ here?

Lie #5:
[B]road-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share.

The fair share for some meant losing their jobs and homes, if not their pensions. They remain screwed, but we why fix that? Much more fun to start cutting back on their remaining safety net like Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security.

Lies #6 & #7:
On Medicare, I’m prepared to enact reforms that will achieve the same amount of health care savings by the beginning of the next decade as the reforms proposed by the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles commission.

There WAS no proposal from the cat-food/Simpson-Bowles ‘Commission’. They couldn’t come up with a document that obtained the necessary support, so it died. Beltway Bandits keep resuscitating the dead thing and pretending it’s alive. It isn’t.

The Catfood/Simpson-Bowles Commission was ‘bipartisan’ only insofar as you appointed two austerity fanatics, one from each party.

Rosy prediction #2:
Already, the Affordable Care Act is helping to slow the growth of health care costs.

Correlation is not causation even if there is some slowing of costs. Also, infinite acceleration is not possible except in black holes.

Rosy prediction #3/Disturbing truth #4:
We’ll reduce taxpayer subsidies to prescription drug companies and ask more from the wealthiest seniors.

Good luck with the first part, but by pretending to try to get it, you will undoubtedly be able to pass off the latter part as a nice, reasonable, centrist, fair package, and then be able to say —oops!— when only the ‘ask more’ part gets enacted.

Rosy prediction #4:
We’ll bring down costs by changing the way our government pays for Medicare, because our medical bills shouldn’t be based on the number of tests ordered or days spent in the hospital. They should be based on the quality of care that our seniors receive.

Disturbing truth #5:
And I am open to additional reforms from both parties, so long as they don’t violate the guarantee of a secure retirement.

Define ‘secure’.

Disturbing truth #6:
To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target. . .

GOP Kool-Aid alert. Austerity meme alert.

Lie #8:
Now is our best chance for bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit.

No, the best chance for that was in 2009 with a huge Democratic majority in both houses. Instead, we got bank bailouts and the Tea Party.

Disturbing truth #7:
The American people deserve a tax code that . . . lowers incentives to move jobs overseas,

True! So to get one, we’re going to dismantle the ship-jobs-to-China strategy, NAFTA and the Pacific free-trade scams that have made the elites insanely rich and ripped industrial jobs out of Rust Belt! Oh goody! At last!

Disturbing truth #8:
I realize that tax reform and entitlement reform won’t be easy.

Why are these two things always linked? And why does Obama use Republican language? Oh, I guess calling it ’cutbacks in Social Security and Medicare’ wouldn’t sound as nice.

Lie #9/Whopper #2:
The greatest nation on Earth . . .

By any measure other than GDP and armaments, utterly false and delusional.

Disturbing truth #9:
. . . .drifting from one manufactured crisis to the next. . .

Like the entitlement crisis/budget deficit panic that you have spent half this speech banging away on?

Lie #10:
Now, most of us agree that a plan to reduce the deficit must be part of our agenda.

No, and in fact there are whole schools of economics that absolutely do not agree, but you Beltway types have managed to suppress those dissident voices.

Disturbing truth #10:
But let’s be clear: deficit reduction alone is not an economic plan.

In fact, it’s a really bad idea, but coming from you with all sorts of nice things attached to it, it will go forward as the main element of said plan. Did I mention that it has been really successful in Europe?

Rosy prediction #5:
A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs – that must be the North Star that guides our efforts.

Disturbing truth #11/Rhetorical question #1:
Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores?

You mean the ones we shipped over to the Communist Party bosses in China to be filled by their slaves? Oh, and BTW, would this be the time we mention jobs with union protections for workers, or would that be controversial?

Disturbing truth #12/Rhetorical question #2:
How do we equip our people with the skills needed to do those jobs?

Why, by setting up for-profit schools run by hedge funds and ripping out teachers unions, that’s how!

Rhetorical question #3:
And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?

Why does work have to be ‘hard’? Because people prefer handouts? I thought the other guy pushed that line. Why can’t a decent living be obtained through mere ‘work’ instead of ‘hard work’? Are we all welfare queens if we don’t suffer enough?

Disturbing truth #13:
I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for.

Perish the thought they actually cost money that isn’t taken from somewhere else! That only applies to bombers and battleships.

Disturbing truth #14:
[N]othing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.

Repeat of Republican shibboleth.

Rosy prediction #6:
It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government.

And is ‘bigger’ government incapable of solving the problem because it IS the problem? Are we echoing Saint Ronald?

Rosy prediction #7:
Our first priority is making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.

Because we are going to reverse polarity on that NAFTA/free-trade magnet that pulled them out in the first place. Right-o!

Disturbing truth #15:
After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. Caterpillar is bringing jobs back from Japan. Ford is bringing jobs back from Mexico.

Yes, in non-union Georgia (Caterpillar) and Flat Rock Assembly Plant in Michigan (Ford), where Mazda is at the same time removing auto jobs and putting them in Mexico.

[end of Part I]

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