Obama held a press conference last Friday, July 15 which turned out to be a purely partisan effort to increase taxes and increase the American debt. His speech and the answers he gave to cherry picked questions from the press was fundamentally dishonest: in all I counted three dozen lies, deceptions and misleading statements.
Deception 1. "make sure that the United States does not default on our obligations, and that the full faith and credit of the United States is preserved."
There is zero risk of a default to the creditors of US debt. The federal government takes in about $170 billion each month in revenues, but pays less than $29 billion each month in interest on the debt. The Bipartisan Policy Center has laid out a plan where the Treasury could pay: all debt interest, all Social Security obligations, all Medicare and Medicaid obligations, all Defense contractor bills, all Veterans payments, all active duty troops; and still have almost $7 billion left over every month for other items.
Obama is using pure political scare tactics to deceive uneducated voters into supporting his position. There is no risk to "the full faith and credit of the United States" unless Treasury chooses to default. Not raising the debt limit will cause a limited government shutdown, not a default, as Obama insinuates.
Deception 2. "I think we should not even be this close to a deadline on this issue; this should have been taken care of earlier."
The Obama administration created the present crisis with the introduction of his 2012 budget on Feb. 14, 2011. Obama's budget had a $1.1 Trillion deficit and was defeated by a vote of 97 to 0 in the United States Senate. Obama's own failure to submit a budget which could gain even a single vote directly caused the entire crisis.
Deception 3. "These are obligations that the United States has taken on in the past. Congress has run up the credit card, and we now have an obligation to pay our bills."
There is plenty of government revenue to cover the obligations the US government has taken on in the past. The entire issue is the obligations the US government will take on in the future. Republicans in Congress want to reduce those obligations -- they want to stop running up the credit card -- and Obama is saying "No, continue to spend."
Deception 4. "We could end up with a situation, for example, where interest rates rise for everybody all throughout the country, effectively a tax increase on everybody."
Obama is painting a fundamentally dishonest scenario. His strategy to continue debt spending will saddle future generations of Americans with more and more debt which will eventually result in higher taxes in the future. He is advocating increased borrowing which in reality is "a tax increase on everybody."
People globally invest in US debt because the United States of America is by far the strongest most vibrant and innovative economy on earth. The world economy is suffering and the result is demand for US debt, not a reluctance to lend. As long as Treasury chooses not to default on the US debt there will be little or no rise in interest rate. If anything, refusing to raise the limit debt would demonstrate to the world that we as a nation are finally serious about managing government spending and from a long term macroeconomic perspective the USA will be a much stronger nation.
Deception 5. "businesses that are trying to make payroll, all of them could end up being impacted as a consequence of a default."
Obama is arguing that a default will cause increased interest rates, which will have "adverse consequences." Putting aside the fact that failing to increase the debt limit will not result in a default unless Obama chooses to default, even a default and the increased interest rates will have little if any effect on most "businesses that are trying to make payroll." Unlike the US government, the vast majority of businesses do not borrow money to pay their employees. Even if interest rates did rise, payroll payments for most businesses would stay the same.
Lie 6. "We have a chance to stabilize America's finances for a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years, if we're willing to seize the moment."
At present the national debt amounts to US$14.12 Trillion: 100% of the US GDP. Deficit spending in 2011 will exceed $1.48 Trillion; over ten years spending at that rate would amount to $14.8 Trillion, doubling the US debt.
Obama's budget proposal would reduce deficit spending to $1.1 Trillion per year through a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Fourteen years at this rate would still double our national debt with $15.4 Trillion of new deficit spending.
Either scenario will put the USA in the same scenario Greece is in today. Obama is lying when he insinuates he has made an effort to stabilize America's financial future.
Lie 7. "let's still try to at least get a down payment on deficit reduction."
The notion of getting "a down payment on deficit reduction" is a lie. What is a "down payment"? It is an initial payment which by definition must be followed by more payments. If Obama wants to get a "down payment on deficit reduction" then he must plan for follow on payments. Normally, when you make a down payment, if you are unable to make the follow on payments you lose your down payment! Obama's attempt to change a single reduction into a "down payment" is a lie. Language only a lawyer could twist.
Deception 8. (continued from Lie 7) "And that we can actually accomplish without huge changes in revenue or significant changes in entitlements,"
Except that according to his own deficit commission (Bowles-Simpson) significant changes in both revenue and entitlements are required in order to reduce the deficit. Obama's insinuation that continued deficit reduction because a down payment implies future payments) can happen without "significant changes in entitlements" is another deception: his own experts are telling him otherwise.
Deception 9. (continued from Deception 8) "but we could still send a signal that we are serious about this problem."
The "down payment" Obama talks about in Lie 7 is a $2 Trillion reduction in deficit spending over ten years. He is proposal will still double the national debt in less than 15 years putting us where Greece is today. In no way could this single reduction demonstrate that the US government is serious about this problem.
Deception 10. "And I think it's important for everybody to understand that all of us believe that we need to get to a point where eventually we can balance the budget."
Nobody who has the audacity to submit a budget with $1.1 Trillion in deficit spending can be trusted when they say they "eventually" want to balance the budget.
Deception 11. "We don't need a constitutional amendment to do that; what we need to do is to do our jobs."
Obama submitted the 2012 budget on Feb. 14, 2011 with a $1.1 Trillion deficit, $3.73 Trillion in spending and revenues of $2.63 Trillion. George W Bush's 2008 budget had a $240 Billion deficit on $2.8 Trillion in spending. Spending increases account for 75% of the increase in Obama's 2012 deficit. Clearly Obama finds it impossible to do his job.
Deception 12. "And we have to do it the same way a family would do it. A family, if they get over-extended and their credit card is too high, they don't just stop paying their bills. What they do is they say, how do we start cutting our monthly costs? We keep on making payments, but we start cutting out the things that aren't necessary."
Actually, Mr. President, those drastic measures you just outlined are exactly what families do. They keep making payments, but they don't "start cutting our monthly costs", they don't "start cutting out the things that are necessary", they immediately curtail spending so they won't have to continue borrowing money because they have used up their entire credit limit. What world do you live in?
Deception 13. (continued from Deception 12) "And we do it in a way that maintains our credit rating. We do it in a way that's responsible"
Another Obama deception. He is implying that Republicans want to damage the USA credit rating. As we demonstrated in Deception 1, there is no danger to the USA credit rating if Congress refuses to increase the debt limit: the Treasury will be forced to make tough choices to pay what he is able and a limited government shutdown will ensue.
Deception 14. "I think that American consumers and American businesses would benefit from a continuation of that tax cut next year."
Obama is advocating the increase of taxes for "the rich" and in the same speech advocating extending subsidies to the unemployed. What happened to a "balanced approach"? How does he plan to pay for these subsidies if not with deficit spending? This statement reveals Obama's hypocritical ethos. He knows that tax cuts for the rich create jobs for the middle class. He knows that extended welfare subsidies foster sloth. But Obama is not about doing what is best for America, Obama is all about taking from the rich and giving to the poor and using federal dollars to bribe his constituents to make sure he is elected again in 2012.
Lie 15. "... we can, as I said before, fix this thing probably for a decade or more"
Obama restates Lie 6. in a different light, implying that Congress will not have to increase the debt limit again "for a decade or more." People who didn't listen carefully will think 'Obama's plan will solve this debt limit problem for ten years!'. In reality the present proposed $2.4 Trillion debt limit increase will only last until 2013, conveniently after the 2012 election. Its all politics.
Lie 16. "I think this notion that things got ugly is just not true."
When the President of the United States verbally threatens a member of Congress saying "Eric, don't call my bluff. I'm going to the American people on this," and then schedule a press conference specifically "to take it to the American people", that is ugly, by definition.
Deception 17. "Bowles-Simpson ... was originally bipartisan legislation that some of the Republican supporters of decided to vote against when I said I supported it"
Notwithstanding what Obama may or may not have said, in reality Obama never supported the Bowles-Simpson budget, in whole or in part. Obama's 2012 Budget with a $1.1 Trillion deficit included none of the spending reductions from Bowles-Simpson commission. Here Obama is trying to deceive the American public into believing he supported Bowles-Simpson when his actions tell otherwise.
Lie 18. "a lot of the components of Bowles-Simpson we are willing to embrace -- for example, the domestic spending cuts that they recommend we've basically taken."
Obama's 2012 Budget proposal with a $1.1 Trillion deficit is evidence of this lie.
Lie 19. "... you have 80 percent of the American people who support a balanced approach. Eighty percent of the American people support an approach that includes revenues and includes cuts."
From a July 7-10 Gallup poll. 69% of the people support spending cuts together with new taxes:
Only/Mostly with spending cuts: 20%
Mostly with spending cuts: 30%
Equal with spending cuts and taxes: 32%
Mostly with tax increases: 7%
Only with tax increases: 4%
The more subtle part of this deception is what Obama fails to mention regarding the same Gallup poll. The American public by a margin of nearly 2:1 do not want to increase the debt limit. Perhaps this is because most Americans don't believe Congress will lower the deficit enough to make a difference.
Deception 20. "It turns out that our problem is we cut taxes without paying for them over the last decade"
Obama implies that the deficits we have now have been going on for the last ten years, insinuating it is an ongoing problem from the Bush administration. The reality is that deficit spending in Obama's first three years in office is more than double the entire deficit spending of the George W Bush administration. Deficits for the last ten years:
2011 $1,500 Billion
2010 $1,300 Billion
2009 $1,400 Billion
2008 $240 Billion
2007 $161 Billion
2006 $248 Billion
2005 $319 Billion
2004 $412 Billion
2003 $374 Billion
2002 $159 Billion
US budget deficits ballooned when Obama took office. Increased spending accounts for 3/4 of the new deficit spending; reduced tax revenue accounts for 1/4. More fundamentally instead of restoring investor confidence Obama's deficit spending, a key component in Obama's failed economic policy, has resulted in a double dip recession and stagnant growth with no end in sight.
Deception 21. "what's required is that we roll back those tax cuts ... clean up our tax code ... cut programs that we don't need, and we invest in those things that are going to help us grow. And every commission that's been out there has said the same thing and basically taken the same approach, within the margin of error."
Bowles-Simpson, a commission which Obama organized outlined far more reaching cuts in entitlements (above and beyond cutting "programs that we don't need") which Obama ignores, again deceiving the American public.
Lie 22. "And they don't require "job-killing tax cuts.""
Study upon study have shown that in the short term tax cuts increase jobs for the middle class.
Deception 23. "They require us to make some modest adjustments to get our house in order, and we should do it now."
The bipartisan Bowles-Simpson commission organized by Obama suggested much more drastic measures are required to resolve the present government budget woes. Not "some modest". Obama ignores his own research and deceives America.
Deception 24. "let's at least avert Armageddon."
Another typical liberal Obama lie / scare tactic. As explained in Deception 1 there is zero risk of Armageddon or default in debt payments by the US government unless Obama chooses to default. There will be a government shutdown, but a default will only occur if Obama intentionally decides to default.
Deception 25. "I'd like to solve that second problem."
Maybe he would like to quit smoking as well but he won't. Obama was given the opportunity to solve the second problem when he submitted his budget to Congress. He ignored almost all of the recommendations from his own deficit commission. Even with increased tax revenues the deficit in his budget remained at $1.1 Trillion.
Deception 26. "... a balanced approach that includes some revenue is the right thing to do. The majority of Republican voters say that approach is the right thing to do."
Obama ignores the polling data he is citing. Only 11% of Republicans support a debt increase; 60% are against. Obama is deceiving the public when he implies that Republicans support his "balanced approach" to increase the debt limit. In fact Americans as a whole are against increasing the debt limit by nearly a 2 to 1 margin.
There is support for a balanced approach to reducing the deficit, but twice before during the Regan and Bush Sr. administrations Democrats offered conservatives the same deal except that the spending cuts never came. Obama says he is willing to accept $3 Trillion in cuts for $1 Trillion in taxes, but is he willing to accept $8.25 Trillion in cuts for $2.75 Trillion in new taxes? This is where Congress should call Obama's bluff.
Deception 27. "The question is going to be whether at any given moment we're willing to set politics aside, at least briefly, in order to get something done."
Obama misleadingly implies that he is above the fray while the other side is playing politics. In reality both sides are playing politics. In fact his entire press conference is just another example of his playing politics by "going to the American people on this." Except that it is not 2008 any longer. People already realize that when it comes to playing politics Obama is just as guilty as the next politician.
Deception 28. "I've got an infrastructure bank bill that would start putting construction workers back to work rebuilding our roads and bridges."
This statement belies Obama's ability to compromise. Just how does he expect to pay for these infrastructure bills if not with more deficit spending? This statement summarizes the distrust conservatives have for everything Obama says and does.
Deception 29. "I've got three trade deals ... being held up because some folks don't want to provide trade adjustment assistance to people ... displaced as a consequence of trade."
Again, how does Obama plan to pay for this trade adjustment assistance if not with deficit spending? Another example of Obama's bad faith in the ongoing negotiations. In this press conference he admitted that as soon as the debt limit is increased he will find at least three new ways to increase spending. This is why Republicans are reluctant to increase tax revenue: because they know the more they feed the beast the more Obama will think of new ways to spend money.
Lie 30. "I'm going to keep on trying"
This implies that Obama started trying. Deception 2 established clearly that Obama has not been trying. If anything he has been trying to cause this crisis to win political points with his constituents.
Deception 31. "American people are going to say ... if a party or a politician is constantly taking the position 'my way or the highway,' constantly being locked into ideologically rigid positions, that we're going to remember at the polls."
Classic Obama obfuscation. Is he genuinely trying to tell the voting public to throw him out in 2012? Obama began saying my way or the highway on January 24, 2009 when he reminded the Republicans after four days in office: "I won." Last week he stormed out of a meeting with Rep. Eric Cantor in the middle of negotiations when he didn't get his way. His entire press conference was his attempt to go "to the American people on this."
Deception 32. "... what the American people are paying attention to is who seems to be trying to get something done, and who seems to be just posturing and trying to score political points. And I think it's going to be in the interests of everybody who wants to continue to serve in this town to make sure that they are on the right side of that impression."
Obama is again using deception by raising an issue to imply that he above "just posturing and trying to score political points." Except the entire press conference is nothing more than political posturing by Obama! He is doing exactly what he is criticizing others of doing! A case of projection. Obama has no plan and has not submitted any revised budget since February 14. To Obama it is not important whether he is on the right side as long as he is "on the right side of that impression."
Deception 33. "I said the American people do not want to see a bunch of posturing; they don't want to hear a bunch of sound bites. What they want is for us to solve problems, and we all have to remember that. That's why we were sent here."
This statement by itself is nothing more than a sound bite. Until July Obama did almost nothing personally to try and resolve the debt limit problem. Republicans have said over and over again: "He has no plan!" But he has a silver tongue and the skill to effortlessly shift blame on to others.
Deception 34. "... we know how we can create a package that solves the deficits and debt for a significant period of time."
In Lie 6 and Lie 15 Obama previously talked about stabilizing finances for "a decade, for 15 years, or 20 years." Now Obama mentions "a significant period of time." Nothing Obama has discussed with any Republican went offered a resolution which would raise the debt limit and lower spending beyond 2014. His definition of "a significant period of time" in context with language implying a solution lasting over a decade is patently dishonest.
Lie 35. "... if you are a progressive, you should be concerned about debt and deficit ... because if the only thing we're talking about over the next year, two years, five years, is debt and deficits, then it's very hard to start talking about how do we make investments in community colleges ... how do we actually rebuild $2 trillion worth of crumbling infrastructure."
This statement exemplifies the chasm between Obama and conservatives. The Tea Party does not want to increase the debt limit because they do not trust the government to control spending. Deception 14, Deception 28 and Deception 29 all mentioned new spending initiatives Obama has with plans ready to launch. And yet he has no revised budget plan? Everything he has said about cutting the deficit and controlling spending is a lie.
Deception 36. "It would be very helpful for us to be able to say to the American people, our fiscal house is in order. And so now the question is what should we be doing to win the future and make ourselves more competitive and create more jobs, and what aspects of what government is doing are a waste and we should eliminate."
Which is a great sound bite and a wonderful note to end the bully pulpit press conference on except that Obama just finished saying he has plans to spend over a trillion dollars to finance Deception 14, Deception 28 and Deception 29. Moreover Obama made plans for more deficit spending while the fiscal house was not in order. Obama has no plan specifically outlining how to put the fiscal house in order. Pure (misleading smoke and mirror) politics.
These deceptions, lies and misleading statements define why Obama cannot be trusted to tell the truth. They also define why Congress must vote against raising the debt limit.