ISTOOK: Reading between the lines of Obama's 66-Minute Better Bargain

President Obama's plan would bring back the recession and a financial meltdown.
Photo: White House

GALESBURG, Ill., July 24, 2013 — It took 66 minutes to deliver but a lot longer to untangle President Barack Obama’s Knox College speech. His policies would push us back into recession and financial meltdowns.

Thankfully, the White House provided a 6-item checklist that beats the transcript’s 25 pages of small print. But those six items need interpreting. Obama’s words were chosen to be what people like to hear, like the title, “A Better Bargain.” That’s because Obama distorts the normal meanings of words when he applies his promises to his policies.

We’ll hear the same catchphrases pounded into our heads for weeks by a willing media. To help you understand without getting bruised or dizzy, here is your reading-between-the-lines checklist of Obama’s six points:

 1. Job security with good wages

Obama was super-selective; he only pledged to help people get into the middle-class. No help is planned for the vast majority of Americans who are already there. He ignored that family budgets are being crushed by higher costs, lower wages and lost jobs due to Obamacare and overzealous regulations.

His promise excluded the existing middle class, as he said, “We’ve got to rebuild ladders of opportunity for all those Americans who haven’t quite made it yet … to give every American the chance to work their way into the middle class.” He promoted a higher minimum wage, but that would not create jobs; instead, it prices the weakest workers out of any job.

The President also stayed mum about how Obamacare is pushing millions of workers down into part-time-only work, again lowering take-home pay.

 2. A good education

It’s during their teen years that students are tempted by sex, drugs and rock and roll, and that’s when they, their schools and their parents fall farthest behind. Obama said nothing about those years and those topics.

His plan is to give government schools an earlier start on indoctrinating pupils, with universal pre-school for 4-year-olds.

He pledged to keep more students in hometown community colleges instead of going off to universities. On higher education, Obama bragged that he kicked private lenders out of the student loan business; he pledged lower interest rates on the federal loans that replaced them (at taxpayer expense).

The President condemned rising costs of college, but offered nothing but a vague promise to deal with them later: “In the coming months, I will lay out an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs, and improve value.” That sounds on a par with his promise that someday we will learn the truth about Benghazi.

 3. A home to call your own

This one’s going to be a doozy. Obama has quietly launched a plan, bypassing Congress, that will repeat the mortgage loan mess that created our recession.

What he said at Knox College is, “I’m also acting on my own to cut red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage but the bank is saying no.”

What it means is that his Consumer Financial Protection Board  already issued a law rendering ability-to-re-pay only a lesser concern in making mortgage loans (and other loans, such as car loans).

A quota system comes first. Every minority and sub-group must be granted loans according to their share of the population; otherwise it’s automatically deemed illegal discrimination by the lender. This is based on a controversial liberal canard called “disparate impact theory,” which already is being challenged in court.

Obama is re-imposing the government-mandated loose lending that wreked our economy a few years ago. But it’s only “fair,” liberals claim, that everyone who wants a home can have one.

 4. A secure retirement

The President glossed over details. But he hinted that government should contribute money to middle-class retirement accounts. And he claimed that immigration reform would mean illegal workers get put on the books and would pay into Social Security. He failed to mention that the newly-legalized workers also could collect from Social Security, easily offsetting what they pay in. Within a few years, that net cost would be $180-billion a year.

5. Affordable healthcare for when you get sick

Obama voiced his usual claims about how great Obamacare is. Rather than re-printing them here, they can be looked up in Aesop’s Fables.

 6. More opportunity and less inequality

This is about income redistribution.

Obama’s words sounded like a backdoor promise to bail out Detroit: “We need a new push to rebuild rundown neighborhoods. We need new partnerships with some of the hardest-hit towns in America to get them back on their feet… . We cannot turn our backs when bad breaks hit any of our fellow citizens.”

What can we expect next from the White House?

Slick politicians persuade people to accept carefully-phrased ideas, unaccompanied by any specific details. Only after inducing the public to bite on those slick claims, do politicians pull a bait-and-switch as the details are unveiled. By then, the public is expected to be lulled into sleep. After all, Obama’s speech did drone on for an hour and six minutes.

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More from Ernest Istook: Knowing the Inside
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Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook spent 25 years in public office, including 14 years in Congress. He was rated one of the top 25 conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then was a Heritage Foundation fellow and a fellow at Harvard's Insitute of Politics, where he led a study group on Propaganda in American Politics Today. 

Now as a radio host and a commentator, Ernest aims to expose Washington's gimmicks--to help you avoid the pitfalls. He brings clarity out of the confusion. 

Native to Texas, Ernest transplanted to Oklahoma after graduating from Baylor University.

Contact Ernest Istook


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