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Decoding Obama

In the course of only five months, President Obama has reached into his bag and pulled out a dazzling number of misleading rhetorical tricks.

Let’s begin with his much-touted claim that his Administration is responsible for having “saved or created” at least 150,000 American jobs, even though we have shed well over a million jobs since Obama took office. Jesus may have turned water into wine – but even He did not claim to have turned job losses into job gains. That is the picture Obama is trying to portray. Of course, to place an empirical figure on the number of jobs Obama has “saved” is risible; if Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush had tried to get away with such a stunt, they would have been ridiculed and criticized mercilessly. Among the largely supine and compliant Obama press corps, however, the claim is reported as if it were written on tablets of stone.

Obama’s “saved and created” claim is cousin to the contention by Obama that his Administration – you know, the one which would put an end to “phony accounting” – had identified $2 trillion in savings in his budget. It turns out, though, that $1.6 trillion of this amount qualifies as “savings” under the assumption that the surge in Iraq would have continued for 10 more years. The problem is that Obama made this savings claim despite having already declared that our combat mission in Iraq will end by August 31, 2010 – and despite the fact that the Status of Forces Agreement calls for all U.S. forces to be out of Iraq by December 2011.

The President assures us that his budget moves America “from an era of borrow and spend” to one of “save and invest.” He speaks about our responsibility to our children “to ensure that we do not pass on to them a debt they cannot pay.” Yet according to the Congressional Budget Office, on Obama’s watch the national debt will double in six years and nearly triple it in 10 years. (This year alone federal spending will top $4 trillion, which equals more than 28 percent of the GDP, a level exceeded only at the height of World War II; the deficit for this fiscal year is projected to be more than $1.8 trillion; and the deficit as a percentage of the GDP, which was less than 1.2 percent in 2007, will be almost 13 percent this year.)

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