In Tuesday night’s Prime Time news conference, President Barack Obama asked the country to be patient as he tries to bring us back to prosperity. He might continue to be over exposed, appearing on national TV every night, but he obviously believes he is the only one that can make the argument for his policies. Mr. Obama made sure (once again) to take no blame for the current situation, making sure that others are responsible. I was glad that he finally has gotten over his tennis spectator-like waving of the head that has dogged him as he has used his teleprompter.
“We will recover from this recession,” the president said. “But it will take time, it will take patience, and it will take an understanding that when we all work together; when each of us looks beyond our own short-term interests to the wider set of obligations we have to each other — that’s when we succeed.”
When asked about why he doesn’t ask the American people for more sacrifice (something liberals constantly attacked President Bush on), Mr. Obama basically stated that people are already sacrificing. I guess the President forgot that his predecessor said the exact same thing. So I guess, when a liberal is in office you don’t need sacrifice on a national scale.
Obama also tried to push support of his massive $3.4 Trillion budget, which has come under fire from not only Republicans but Democrats as well. “The budget I submitted to Congress will build our economic recovery on a stronger foundation, so that we do not face another crisis like this ten or twenty years from now. At the end of the day, the best way to bring our deficit down in the long run is not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led to a narrow prosperity and massive debt. It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth by moving from an era of borrow and spend to one where we save and invest.”
Democrats are fighting back, omitting both a middle class tax cut and cap-and-trade. Obama appeared to be hinting that a permanent middle class tax cut is out of the question because of Congress, but was vague on the issue. Additionally, he again voiced support of reducing the tax deduction for donations, which both parties oppose. As a person running his own charity, his statement is absurd beyond belief. Reducing the tax deduction for charitable giving will certainly reduce donations. Look at the U.S. versus the rest of the world; we have the largest tax deductions for charitable giving, and the most charitable dollars. There is a simple correlation.
Obama said he doesn’t like running up the deficit, but did not really give a good answer on how realistically he is going to narrow the deficit. His main answer was health care reform; of course, the Catch-22 is that it will cost a lot of money to get health care reform, which in turn will increase the debt. Chuck Todd of NBC contested several of Mr. Obama’s claims on the budget. The most important? The Obama administration’s economic growth projections are more optimistic over the next five years than those of the Blue Chip Consensus, a monthly average of 50 economic forecasts from the private sector. Again, like most of his budgetary projections, another gamble that may or may not pay off.
Obama tried to further explain the toxic assets plan presented by Mr. Geithner this week, as well as explained his view on A.I.G. and their bonus flap. He made a pointed remark when asked why he waited several days to respond to the bonus issue; his response? “I like to know what I am talking about when I speak.” Is he implying that those members of Congress that commented on the issue were clueless? That is what is sounded like to me. He made particular note of how an organization like the FDIC could provide oversight that is now lacking over these non-bank entities, believing that the new proposals will allow the government to intercede when necessary.
Obama also started a push for more international cooperation in response to the economic slow down, although the recent G20 meeting was less than optomistic on that front. There is international cooperation going on, but not the kind Mr. Obama will support: various countries, including China and Russia, are calling for a new global currency to replace the U.S. dollar. Why, you may ask? Because they feel that the Obama policies are likely to devalue the dollar, and thus, decrease their holding in U.S. Treasuries. Obama specifically stated that he feels there is no need for a global currency.
I will say that overall this was Obama’s best performance as President. He was decisive and firm in his answers. No teleprompter (actually he had a huge monitor instead, as you can see below…), no gaffes, no hesitancy. Compared to the last few weeks with Geithner fumbling, wrong speeches on teleprompters, and challening the disabled’s ability to bowl, that was certainly an improvement.