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The Real Side | Commentary by Joe Messina
| Monday, Feb 18, 2013

mug_joemessinaWhen I was a kid, February was an exciting month. I didn’t necessarily have a Valentine, but I had Dorothy.

Yes, February was always the month that “The Wizard of Oz” played on TV – in the days before VCRs, DVDs and NetFlix. It was a big event that I looked forward to and scheduled around. I couldn’t wait for it.

Those days are gone. “The Wizard of Oz” can be ordered up on demand and is no longer an annual event.

Speaking of fiction and looking forward to annual events, let’s discuss the president’s speech last week. If I were his speech writer, I would have started with: “Once upon a time in a land known as the United States,” and ended with, “They all lived in a government-induced welfare coma ever after.”

I recorded the president’s speech so I could go back and forth over the statements he made so I wouldn’t feel like I missed anything while I was caught up in the excitement of it all.

It sounded nothing like a State of the Union address, but more like a speech he would give to the press club.

Unfortunately, there was little truth in the speech. Statistics were flying around like feathers in a rooster fight. Let’s start with the easy stuff…

Border crossings: The president said there has been a record low number of border crossings under his watch this past year.

The truth: Border agents are suing the government because they have been told not to capture and return aliens crossing the border. So did he tell the truth, yes. Of course there’s a record low number of RECORDED crossings; they aren’t arresting anyone to record. Did he really tell the truth? No. And he’s not doing the will of the people.

Affecting the budget: The president made many statements about the budget that were quite confusing – comments like, “This won’t add one dime to the budget;” “This will decrease the budget by;” and “This will not affect the budget in any way.”

I ask, what budget?? Harry Reid and his crew of senatorial misfits (who are controlled by the Democrats) refuse to – not that they can’t, but they won’t – bring a budget to the floor for a vote. So, many spending extensions have been given by Congress – you know, that legislative body controlled by the Republicans (the “party of no”). Why? Because the Democratically controlled Senate won’t pass the budget that the president said won’t be affected by any of his plans.

The truth: The president did tell the truth. His policies won’t affect the budget because there is nothing to affect.

Jobs: President Obama said, “After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three.”

The truth: If he started his presidency in 2010 he would be close – as close as the East is to the West.

The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the U.S. economy has added 489,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010, so President Obama was pretty close on that one. However, that’s only from 2010. Was he not in charge in 2009? Picking 2010 as his starting point instead of the beginning of his term a year earlier allows the president to do what he does so well: spin the numbers.

When you look at his full four years and not just three, there is a big difference. President Obama took office in January 2009 and there were 604,000 more manufacturing jobs than there are now. More than 2 million manufacturing jobs were lost between June 2008 and January 2010.

But Obama wants us to understand that everything is getting better, and the economy is on its way back. “We are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances.”

This is an old tactic by his favorite economists, many of whom are now running away from the president’s decisions in the belief that his his plan, or lack thereof, is too weak and won’t help anyway.

Deficit reduction: President Obama says $2.5 trillion in deficit reductions have already happened, and another $1.5 trillion would be enough for now. But wait.

The truth: People who have an economic clue, including former Clinton budget director Alice Rivlin, ex-Clinton National Economic Council Director Laura Tyson and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker say Congress and the White House need to find another $2.4 trillion in savings to make sure deficits actually decline.

To add insult to injury, that was before we decided to fund the Hurricane Sandy relief bill, which wiped out all of the cuts set aside for this year. Yes, all of them. This was a $50-billion-plus bill and, sadly, $23 billion of it does nothing to help Sandy victims – much like most of the lines in the presidential speech will do nothing to help change the fate of this county for the better.

There were many more fictional fairy tales in the speech, but I’ve already exceeded my space allotment, and you get the idea.

We are still in for a world of hurt. Batten down the hatches.

 

Joe Messina is host of The Real Side (TheRealSide.com), a nationally syndicated talk show that runs on AM-1220 KHTS radio and SCVTV [here]. He is also an elected member of the Hart School Board. His commentary publishes Mondays.

 

 

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