BEDFORD: The top 10 stupidest points in the State of the Union

Christopher Bedford | Editor in Chief, The Daily Caller News Foundation

It’s Wednesday morning, and thanks to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union, the country is now give-or-take 6,439 words stupider.

Now, some folks may not have caught it, but don’t worry. Here at The Daily Caller, we’ve boiled down an hour of crowing into its ten stupidest points, and we condensed those ten points into 64 simple words, presented in three simple sentences:

“Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses; create disincentives for immigration; and create disincentives for hiring. Finally, let us come together to pass laws that already exist, and to re-define words to cancel out laws that once existed.”

Because it turns out the president’s speech wasn’t just long-winded, it was simplistic. And here — right here at TheDC — we’re going to lay out all ten, point by point, starting with the president’s speech, and ending with it really means for Americans.

Stupid point #1) Instead of cuts…

The president’s speech went like this:

In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness. They’d devastate priorities like education, energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as “the sequester,” are a really bad idea.

Now, some in this Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse.

Well now we know a whole lot, don’t we? We know that the president thinks the sequester he signed into law is “a really bad idea” because it is “harsh, arbitrary,” and would hurt “our military readiness”; and we know that he doesn’t like it because it would cut government involvement in his “priorities,” including “hundreds of thousands of [government] jobs.”

Then we find out that Mr. Obama thinks the idea of shifting disproportionate cuts in military preparedness to entitlement and stimulus spending “is even worse.”

So if not “job training” or “Medicare” or “military readiness,” then what?

2) Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes…

The president’s speech went like this:

Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans and independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share …

To hit the rest of our deficit reduction target, we should do what leaders in both parties have already suggested, and save hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. After all, why would we choose to make deeper cuts to education and Medicare just to protect special interest tax breaks? How is that fair? Why is that deficit reduction is a big emergency justifying cuts in Social Security benefits, but not closing some loopholes? How does that promote growth?

Because “revenue” (read: taxation) is what the president really wants. Never mind that government taxation for 2013 is projected to bring in more money than any other year in U.S. history; never mind that Mr. Obama and his allies have never defined what tax rate they think is a “fair share”; never mind that the president repeatedly calls for tax loopholes and handouts for “the well-off and well-connected” when they are unions, green energy firms and other Democratic donors; and never mind that confiscating the entire $15.7 trillion 2012 GDP of the United States wouldn’t cover the $16 trillion we owed that year. Tax hikes are what Mr. Obama wants, and any combination of military or other cuts simply aren’t “fair.”

So why does Mr. Obama want more money? Well, that’s easy.

3) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending…

The president’s speech went like this:

It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth …

We’ll work with local leaders to target resources at public safety, education, and housing. We’ll give new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest.

When a private citizen says “invests,” he typically means a free expenditure that may reap losses or returns, depending on market forces and quick thinking; when the government says “invests,” it means “spends” — on their favorite new project.

Oh, and remember how Mr. Obama plans to close the loopholes on “the well-off and well-connected”? Well, “new tax credits to businesses that hire and invest” is a fancy way of saying tax loopholes for “the well-off and well-connected.”

But exactly what projects does the president plan to start with?

4) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready…

The president’s speech went like this:

Tonight, I propose a “Fix-It-First” program to put people to work as soon as possible on our most urgent repairs, like the nearly 70,000 structurally deficient bridges across the country. And to make sure taxpayers don’t shoulder the whole burden, I’m also proposing a Partnership to Rebuild America that attracts private capital to upgrade what our businesses need most: modern ports to move our goods; modern pipelines to withstand a storm; modern schools worthy of our children. Let’s prove that there is no better place to do business than the United States of America. And let’s start right away.

Folks shouldn’t spend one more second wondering where they heard “Fix-It-First” before: They first heard it over 50 months ago, when Mr. Obama told “Meet the Press,” “When I met with the governors, all of them have projects that are ‘shovel ready’ — that are going to require us to get the money out the door, but they’ve already lined up the projects and they can make them work. And now, we’re going to have to prioritize it and do it not in the old traditional politics first wave.”

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.


5) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready.

The president’s speech went like this:

In the meantime, the natural gas boom has led to cleaner power and greater energy independence. That’s why my administration will keep cutting red tape and speeding up new oil and gas permits. But I also want to work with this Congress to encourage the research and technology that helps natural gas burn even cleaner and protects our air and water…

I’m also issuing a new goal for America: Let’s cut in half the energy wasted by our homes and businesses over the next twenty years. The states with the best ideas to create jobs and lower energy bills by constructing more efficient buildings will receive federal support to help make it happen.

In case anyone was wondering, that’s the same Mr. Obama whose administration’s “red tape” has held up the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would create a predicted 20,000 jobs while pumping affordable gas into the United States’ economy — instead of China’s.

Oh, and that “federal support to help make it happen”? Guess who that goes to: Yup — “the well-off and well-connected.”

But what does he have planned for the rest of us?

6) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses…

The president’s speech went like this:

But even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, too many families with solid credit who want to buy a home are being rejected. Too many families who have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being told no. That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it. Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before.

If this sounds as familiar as “Fix-It-First,” it’s because it is: The government forcing banks to change the terms of their loans to allow people who can’t otherwise afford homes to get into homes is very familiar, and it’s the kind of federal meddling that caused the housing bubble, which, when it burst, helped send the U.S. economy into a tailspin. Oh, and he’s totally right: “Democrats and Republicans have supported it before.”

But what else did the economic tailspin lead to?

7) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses; create disincentives for immigration…

The president’s speech went like this:

Real reform means strong border security, and we can build on the progress my administration has already made — putting more boots on the southern border than at any time in our history, and reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.

And there he goes again, patting himself on the back, this time for “reducing illegal crossings to their lowest levels in 40 years.” But we’ll let Rachel Maddow explain: “The president is a president who is presiding over net negative illegal immigration because the economy has been so soft we have not been attracting people.”

So there we have it. The quickest path to a secure border is a country that no one wants to go to, because no one can work in it. Maybe the anti-immigration folks should like Mr. Obama’s work in the end.

But what about the American citizens looking for jobs, and the American employers looking to hire?

8) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses; create disincentives for immigration; and create disincentives for hiring.

The president’s speech went like this:

Tonight, let’s declare that in the wealthiest nation on Earth, no one who works full-time should have to live in poverty, and raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour.

Here’s the problem: Even though “minimum wage” sounds nice, the evidence that it hurts the most vulnerable in society is overwhelming. Basically, stupid people assume that businesses have an infinite amount of cash that they simply choose to keep from their employees, but the reality is they don’t have an infinite amount of cash, and a business that could afford to hire someone at, say, $6 an hour, can’t afford to pay $9 an hour. Nine dollars, by the way, is a higher rate than every state except Washington — higher even than California, Massachusetts or New York.

The Wall Street Journal reports “that fewer than 20 percent of people who earn the minimum wage are poor, and most poor people already earn more than the minimum wage.” And if that is not enough, minimum-wage laws hurt young black males more than twice as much as young white males.

But that’s all in a day’s work for a president who is poised to make history by passing some laws that already exist.

9) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses; create disincentives for immigration; and create disincentives for hiring. Finally, let us come together to pass laws that already exist…

The president’s speech went like this:

Overwhelming majorities of Americans — Americans who believe in the 2nd Amendment — have come together around commonsense reform, like background checks that will make it harder for criminals to get their hands on a gun. Senators of both parties are working together on tough new laws to prevent anyone from buying guns for resale to criminals.

One of the progressives’ most tiresome traits is their penchant to react to someone breaking a well-defined law by making up new ones. For example, even though Connecticut has stringent background checks in place, and even though Vice President Joe Biden admitted that “we simply don’t have the time or manpower to prosecute everybody who lies on a form,” the president called for stricter background checks to prevent the next Newtown. (BEDFORD: The hidden message in Obama’s gun decree)

And last we checked, the only time “buying guns for resale to criminals” was allowed was if you worked for the the Department of Justice. Which brings us to our final bit of Doublespeak.

10) “Instead of cuts, let’s raise taxes to pay for more spending on projects that are shovel-ready — unless they actually are shovel-ready. Let us also get people who can’t afford houses into houses; create disincentives for immigration; and create disincentives for hiring. Finally, let us come together to pass laws that already exist>, and to re-define words to cancel out laws that once existed.”

The president’s speech went like this:

We are citizens. It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status. It describes the way we’re made. It describes what we believe.

And finally, in his concluding paragraph, the president gets to unabashed doublespeak. Because the Oxford English Dictionary is quite clear on this one: A citizen is “a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.”

But if there’s one thing the left understands, it’s the power of words. And Mr. Obama uses that power to his considerable advantage. What is “fair”? What is “invests”? What is “the free market”? What is “life”? What is “citizen”? What are “we”?

If Americans believe the crap Mr. Obama was peddling Tuesday night, what “we” are is “screwed.”

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