Friday, January 27, 2012

State of the Union Address Was Recycled Pablum

Did some of the State of the Union speech sound familiar to you? Turns out a lot of it was just recycled parts of previous speeches. No wonder it was so boring and uninspiring. We've heard it all before.

And, though President Obama claims to have single-handedly rescued the American auto industry, that is a stretch, charitably speaking.

GM’s recent profits speak only to the fact that politicians committed more than $50 billion to the task of rescuing those companies and the United Auto Workers. With debts expunged, cash infused, inefficiencies severed, ownership reconstituted, sales rebates underwritten and political obstacles steamrolled — all in the midst of a recovery in U.S. auto demand — only the most incompetent operations could fail to make profits.

But taxpayers are still short at least $10 billion to $20 billion (depending on the price that the government’s 500 million shares of GM will fetch), and there is still significant overcapacity in the auto industry.

Obama enjoys the use of straw men in his speeches and in this case, he likes to say that "some" didn't want to allow the auto industry to survive. In fact, conservatives wanted the companies in the industry to be allowed to declare bankruptcy and begin again. Ford Motor Company, it should be noted, stayed on its own and reaped the benefits of grateful taxpayers in increased sales.

And, the president's blather on instructing the Senate to do away with the 60 vote rule?

For starters, I ask the Senate to pass a rule that all judicial and public service nominations receive a simple up or down vote within 90 days.

Isn't President Obama touted as a Constitutional scholar? What about the separation of powers?

Setting aside the offensive nature of a President suggesting changes in the Senate rules (ever hear of the separation of powers?) the fact is that his proposal wouldn’t have mattered in the case of his recent “recess” nominations. First, Cordray was given a vote, with a required 60 for moving to consideration. He didn’t get 60. There’s nothing in the Constitution that defines Senate “consent” as a simple majority. Obama’s unconstitutional NRLB nominations weren’t even in the Senate for 90 days (his apparent standard).

Our founding fathers purposely created a system that made it hard, not easy, to legislate. The very existence of both a House and Senate is evidence they rejected simple majority rules for legislating. One of the many things I learned from working in the Senate, and having spent more time on the Senate floor than Obama, is that dealing in good faith can almost always get you to an broad agreement. If Obama feels his legislative agenda has come to a halt, he has himself to blame, not the Senate rules.

Isn't this the man who was said to be able to bring people together to fix a broken system?

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