Obama’s highly political “economic policy” speech in Parma

Listening to a speech billed as revelatory of Obama’s economic proposals, I was hard-pressed to identify any new direction in White House economic policy.

Before a cherry-picked audience of Cleveland-area Democrats, Obama tried to fire up his political base in advance of the November elections.  His remarks were enthusiastically received by those in attendance, but my own take on Obama’s address was that it was the very epitome of political double-speak.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list of all the double-speak featured in Obama’s speech, so feel free to add to the list in the comments section:

  1. He decried inheriting a deficit of a trillion plus from the previous administration.  Then he portrayed his actions of the following year, also incurring a deficit of a trillion plus, as a rescue from a national financial meltdown and as an investment in the future, particularly an investment in education.
  2. He called for tax breaks for small businesses.  Most small businesses are not corporations.  A large number of small businesses are owned by private individuals, and such businesses report their profits or losses on the business owner’s personal income taxes.  Taxes on annual incomes over $250,000 are set to increase dramatically as temporary tax cuts expire, thus increasing the tax burdens for a significant number of small businesses.
  3. He stated that he favored a free marketplace, yet the policies he is pursuing, especially redistribution of wealth and government investment in industries that aren’t self-sustaining, continue the trend toward a centrally-planned economy.
  4. He stated that the middle class didn’t reap any economic benefits when the legislative and executive branches of federal government were controlled by Republicans.  He stated that the middle class was shrinking under Republican rule, and that he intended to grow the middle class starting with making temporary middle class tax cuts permanent.  On the other hand, he acknowledged a high unemployment rate with a forecast that it will take a long time for private sector employment to rebound.  Widespread unemployment has hit the middle class hard, and threatens to shrink the size of the middle class.
  5. He derided our largest corporations and our most influential industries for being left to regulate themselves while taking credit for saving our nation from a financial meltdown.  The most influential industry that regulated itself was the financial industry, and the largest corporations within that industry, who were the most egregious with their excesses, were the beneficiaries of bailouts that Obama supported.  As for self-serving regulators and bad actors in the financial industry instrumental in its demise, it should be noted that, in the Obama administration, Ben Bernanke, Tim Geithner, and Larry Summers are charged with the responsibilities of financial industry oversight.
  6. Though acknowledging that he and his party have the clout to enact laws without the help of the Republican Party due to the overwhelming Democrat majority in the current Congress, Obama, over and over again, scapegoated the Republican caucus for thwarting the legislation that the White House sought to advance.

One of the most astonishing claims that Obama made was that Ohio’s economy had grown over the past several months.  Is that what Ohio’s economy looks and feels like to you?  To me, the comment was designed to bolster the faltering Strickland gubernatorial campaign.

His frequent negative references to John Boehner alongside his criticisms that Congressional Republicans wanted to revert to failed economic policies of the past that put our nation’s economy in the ditch indicated to me that Obama is alarmed at the number of Ohio’s Congressional races now rated as tossups rather than rated as leaning toward the Democrat incumbents.

Stemming the Republican tide in the polls leading up to the general election, particularly in the swing state of Ohio, was clearly the main aim of the President’s speech.

Congressional Republicans must indeed share in the blame for our nation’s economic collapse.

Republicans (and Democrats) aided in distorting the marketplace, thus short-circuiting the natural corrections characteristic of a free marketplace.  These marketplace distortions create an uncompetitive business climate (with the health care coverage provider industry among the least competitive).  These marketplace distortions take many forms, from regulations that favor some industries and corporations over others; to earmarks and government investments in enterprises that aren’t self-sustaining; to regulatory bodies comprised of the agents of the largest corporations in an industry to the exclusion of smaller businesses and neutral, disinterested, independent parties; to forging private-public partnerships and forming hybrid private-public companies; to steering government contracts; to government marketplace intervention in the interest of political expediency; to carving out exceptions to the tax code for politically connected companies.  Lobbyists secure these marketplace advantages using incentives such as political campaign contributions.

Republicans (and Democrats) have enacted federal budgets that have run up deficits and incurred more government debt.

The business community is complicit in these machinations that have brought about our nation’s economic plunge beyond what has already been stated.  For example, the business community has clamored for greater government transparency and accountability, yet transparency and accountability should apply to the business community as well.  The Wall Street meltdown should never have happened after the debacle of Enron and the related demise of the Arthur Anderson accounting firm, but unethical business leaders continue to sidestep accountability, as the recent bailouts clearly illustrate.

These are the factors that ran our economy into the ditch–not free market capitalism, not limited government, not austere government spending, and not low tax rates.

In this speech, President Obama states that our nation has already tried the “failed” Republican approach of free market capitalism, limited government, austere budgets, and low tax rates.  Personally, I think the Congressional Republicans have talked the talk, but have not walked the walk, thus the approach Congressional Republicans give lip service to has NOT been tried.  Rank-and-file Republicans, independents, Libertarians, and even clear-thinking Democrats hope that Congressional Republicans have gotten the message (a message delivered through public polling that shows the electorate’s overwhelming disapproval of Congress and through rallies such as those organized by Tea Party groups) and finally mean what they say.

So, as we approach the November elections, should we support Congressional Republicans or Congressional Democrats?  Isn’t there a risk that Congressional Republicans still won’t walk the walk?  For myself, at least the Congressional Republicans are saying the right things about free markets, limited government, budget cuts, and tax cuts, while the Congressional Democrats and the President, himself, eschew such principles, leading me to support the Republican candidates for Congress.  After all, who is more likely to deliver on those right things?  I think since the leading Republicans are at least talking about pursuing those right things, they are more likely to deliver on them than leading Democrats are, since the Democrats are talking about pursuing an opposite approach.

We need Republicans back in the majority of the Ohio House of Representatives

You see the title of this blog post?

I really mean it.

“But wait a minute,” you might protest, “didn’t Republican domination of the Ohio General Assembly for years and years and years bring Ohio to it’s knees long before the Democrats seized the Ohio House?  Isn’t that the reason why the Democrats have the majority in the Ohio House now?  Weren’t Ohioans fed up with Republican legislative screw-ups in Columbus?”

That is so true.  When Larry Householder and Jon Husted served as back-to-back Speakers of the Ohio House, I was unhappy with the blatantly pay-to-play legislation they advanced just to help them set campaign fundraising records. Pay-to-play legislation only distorts the marketplace, creating a playing field that is not level across all companies and industries, thus making Ohio anti-competitive.  That Ohio’s business climate isn’t competitive with those of other states should be painfully obvious.  As Speakers, they were not fiscally conservative, having ballooned the state budget during the economic boom years that proved to be totally unsustainable during the lean years.  We should have had a state government budget that didn’t bank on an absence of future economic downturns.

I’m also dead serious when I say that Armond Budish, whose middle name might as well be “I’m-for-sale,” has compounded his propensity for pay-to-play politics by further painting state government into a fiscal corner.  The only solutions forthcoming from Democrats are to increase state revenues through imposing greater burdens upon businesses and Ohio residents.

Disastrously, they looked to increase state revenues for gambling, trying to expand the Ohio Lottery without allowing a referendum in an effort to get more people addicted to gambling.  This action emboldened the backers of the devastating casino ballot issue, as they proclaimed, “Morality is dead.  The moral arguments against casinos are now swept away.”  I still don’t forgive Ted Strickland for his betrayal that gave the casino backers such ammunition.  On the topic of gambling, Speaker Armond Budish declared himself to be unprincipled and spineless–a prime target for the lobbyists of special interests–which is partly why I say his middle name might as well be “I’m-for-sale.”

Tax and fee increases to further bolster the gluttonous state government will only further oppress Ohioans and businesses that are already being battered by an economic maelstrom.  Yet, somehow, the Democrats feel that the programs administered by state government can alleviate the plight of the least fortunate Ohioans, thus fee and tax increases are justified.  This is madness.

Under a Democrat governor and Democrat Ohio House, the least fortunate Ohioans are now the prey upon which the casinos will feed (as if the Ohio Lottery hadn’t already harmed them with the false advertising promises that they can get lucky by playing the lottery).  Blatant redistribution of wealth from the least fortunate Ohioans to the to the most fortunate Ohioans, especially to the money pit of those who are gambling addicts, will only increase the overall number of Ohioans who are less fortunate.

Using redistribution of wealth to level the socio-economic playing field among Ohio households only pulls the whole population economically downward.  When thrift and productivity are rewarded rather than punished, thus resulting in increased prosperity, there can be an upward economic lift for the whole population, as the pace of economic activity picks up, along with employment and investment prospects.  Instead of growing the tax rates, Ohio ought to grow the tax base.

William Batchelder, current Ohio House Minority Leader who would become Speaker if the Republicans regained control of the Ohio House, is no Armond Budish.  He is no Jon Husted.  He is no Larry Householder.  He’s more principled than the three prior Speakers put together. He was not a go-along-to-get-along stooge while Husted was Speaker.  Batchelder led a more principled faction that rivaled the one led by Husted.

Batchelder has changed the apparatus for the campaign fundraising of the Republican Caucus.  The Ohio House Republican Campaign Committee (OHRCC) that operated under Householder and Husted is no more.  It has been replaced with the Ohio House Republican Organizational Committee (OHROC), and the emphasis is on the work ethic, not on abandoning principles in exchange for donations.

Batchelder better fits the label of “fiscal conservative” than those 3 House Speakers already mentioned.  He sees the punishment of economic success and the redistribution of wealth as an assault upon liberty, itself.  He wants to examine and review each component of state government and fund or defund each according to its merits or lack thereof as part of a budget-cutting effort that will spare Ohio’s taxpayers from being further burdened.

The Republican Caucus in the Ohio House has rallied to support principled efforts, as well, as they’ve introduced a number of bills during this session of the General Assembly that are designed to stimulate business expansion in Ohio, especially through cutting bureaucracy and repealing ill-advised state regulations.  Cutting Ohio’s state government budget will allow for a more favorable tax climate to take hold than Ohio has seen for many many years.

They can hardly be considered the party of “no.”  If they just sat on their hands and voted no on every Democrat bill in the Ohio House, that would be the party of no.  Instead, they’ve been prolific in the amount of legislation they’ve sponsored that rivals Democrat legislation and offers a competing vision.  The Republican Caucus is showing that they are prepared to govern.    They just need a net gain of four more Republicans to retake the chamber.

I’ve often posted guest editorials and press releases here at Buckeye RINO that were issued by Ohio House 58th District incumbent Terry Boose.  We still need Terry Boose.  But we need to add Jeff Krabill in the 80th District, Ray Lynn Brady in the 57th District, Skip Lewandowski in the 56th District, and Rex Damschroder in the 81st District, among others.  I hope to include more information about these candidates in the upcoming weeks, perhaps even guest blog posts from the candidates themselves so that you can hear their messages in their own words.

I’ve often been chastised by the Libertarians and independents for shilling for the Republican candidates.  They rightfully point out that the troubles our government has caused for the citizens have been the doing of both Democrats and Republicans.  Besides pointing out the differences between the current Republican leadership, current Republican caucus, and current Republican and the failed ones of the past, I also need to point out that there are not enough independent or Libertarian candidates for Ohio House for them to capture a majority of the chamber.  The Ohio House majority caucus must either be a Democrat caucus or a Republican caucus.  Those are the two choices.

The Democrats who are currently accelerating Ohio along a downward spiral path are proving to me that they are not the party that can effectively govern during economic crisis.

Boose, with Krabill, Brady, Lewandowski, and Damschroder, are not of the brand of Republicans that followed in the footsteps of Householder or Husted.  Each one of them will improve the integrity of the Republican caucus and the Ohio House of Representatives.  William Batchelder is a capable leader.  I have confidence in them, and I hope voters will also express confidence in them with their votes during this election cycle.