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Obama Doubles Down On Auto Bailouts, Same With Health Care, Stimulus, Drilling Moratorium | Missouri Political News Service

Obama Doubles Down On Auto Bailouts, Same With Health Care, Stimulus, Drilling Moratorium

August 2nd, 2010 by mopns · No Comments

Recently, President Obama’s political strategy on policies that are problematic or controversial has been to double down instead of reevaluating or changing course.

When polls showed the overwhelming majority of Americans disapproved of the massive health care bill during the winter and Massachusetts voters sent an unmistakable message by electing Sen. Scott Brown, who campaigned on opposition to the bill, the President didn’t decide to change the bill. Instead, he pushed Democrats in Congress ever harder to ram the bill through via reconciliation.

Meanwhile, unemployment has been hovering near 10%, and millions of jobs have been lost since the $862 billion stimulus was passed in February 2009, despite promises from the Obama administration that it would keep unemployment around 8% and create 3.5-4 million jobs. Yet in the face of clear evidence that the stimulus has failed to live up to the promises of the administration that I would spur an economic recovery, the Obama White House is touting this summer as “Recovery Summer,” and trying to claim the stimulus bill is working.

In the aftermath of the explosion and massive oil leak at the Deepwater Horizon drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico, the Obama administration declared a moratorium on further oil drilling in deep ocean, disregarding the impact such a ban would clearly have on the economy of the Gulf Coast and on American energy supplies. But a district court judge, and later the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, blocked the moratorium, “ruling that, in issuing it, Obama and interior secretary Ken Salazar had trivialized the economic impact of the moratorium,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Again, though, the administration doubled down, with Salazar issuing a new moratorium just days later, despite Democrat Louisiana Senator Mary Landrieu declaring, “Even the revised moratorium will force thousands of hard-working Louisianians and others along the Gulf Coast into the unemployment lines.”

Friday, The New York Times reported, “Mr. Obama will be delivering the opening salvo in a White House effort to argue that government bailouts, now the most charged phrase in the political lexicon, actually worked in the case of the auto industry” when he visits a GM plant in Michigan today. He’ll be doing so “as the majority shareholder surveying the government’s investment in a company the White House called ‘moribund’ just 18 months ago” and defending a bailout that poured over $60 billion of taxpayer money into GM and Chrysler. According to the AP, “The most recent government estimate found that taxpayers will lose $24.3 billion on the auto bailout.”

But the auto industry is not the only place the Obama administration is doubling down on bailouts today. The Wall Street Journal editors write, “President Obama has been trying to rebut the claim that he’s antibusiness by promoting something called the Small Business Jobs Act, which would provide loans and temporary tax cuts to small businesses. If you’ve been paying attention over the last 18 months, you’re probably asking, what’s the catch?” “[T]he most expensive provision of the bill,” the WSJ editors explain, “creates a new Small Business Lending Fund.” This fund, the editors point out, may as well be the “Son of TARP”: “Hard as it is to believe, the fund would operate as a new TARP program in which Uncle Sam would take an ownership stake in small banks. The bill authorizes Treasury to purchase up to $30 billion of stock in small, community banks across the country. The banks in turn would agree to issue as much as $300 billion in loans to small businesses that they wouldn’t otherwise lend to. You can bet that many businesses that get the loans will be engaged in not very profitable, but politically correct activities, such as diversity investing and renewable energy. Sound at all like subprime mortgage loans?”

Over the last 18 months, President Obama has gotten quite good a doubling down on policies that are either demonstrated to be ineffective, like the stimulus, harmful, like the drilling moratorium, or meet massive public resistance, like the health care law and now the auto bailouts. Certainly, this makes it easy to see why the Washington Post/ABC News poll earlier this month found Obama’s approval rating at an all-time low and that “51 percent . . . would rather have the Republicans run Congress ‘to act as a check on Obama’s policies . . . .’” At what point will President Obama and Democrats in Congress decide that maybe they should listen to the American people and rethink how they’re governing instead of doubling-down on their flawed policies?


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