Obamateurism of the Day

posted at 8:05 am on April 23, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

In his Earth Day speech yesterday in Iowa, Barack Obama celebrated by giving us a pair of Obamateurisms in the space of a few moments. See if you can spot the Classic Obamateurism, and the New Improved Obamateurism in this passage:

Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we have begun to modernize 75% of all federal building space, which has the potential to reduce long-term energy costs by billions of dollars on behalf of taxpayers. We are providing grants to states to help weatherize hundreds of thousands of homes, which will save the families that benefit about $350 each year. That’s like a $350 tax cut.

Consumers are also eligible as part of the Recovery Act for up to $1,500 in tax credits to purchase more efficient cooling and heating systems, insulation, and windows in order to reduce their energy bills.

And I’ve issued a memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators. Through this step, over the next three decades, we’ll save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.

We are already seeing reports from across the country of how this is beginning to create jobs, as local governments and businesses rush to hire folks to do the work of building and installing these energy efficient products.

First off, saving $350 a year on energy savings is not “like a tax cut”.  He tried making that same argument about lower interest rates on mortgages, too.  The grant helps in paying for the weatherization, but the cost savings are just that.  A tax cut is when government takes less of your money, not when energy companies take less of your money.  By that definition, a broken lightbulb is like a tax cut, too, and thanks to cap-and-trade, it’ll get you used to the dark, too.

The second, newer Obamateurism comes from Obama’s assertion that local governments and businesses are rushing to hire “folks” to work in these construction and repair jobs to do this work.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics begs to differ.  Construction has lost jobs for three successive months, shedding 126,000 of them in March alone.  Government jobs dropped by 5,000.  Specialty trade contractors have 83,000 workers in March, the bulk of the construction jobs lost — and this is at the beginning of spring, traditionally when these firms add staff for the expected jump in demand.  Of all industries, only manufacturing and professional/business services did worse.

The only “rush” Obama’s created with his stimulus package so far is either a rush to the unemployment line, a rush of capital out of the market, or both.

Got an Obamateurism of the Day? If you see a foul-up by Barack Obama, e-mail it to me at obamaisms@edmorrissey.com with the quote and the link to the Obamateurism. I’ll post the best Obamateurisms on a daily basis, depending on how many I receive. Include a link to your blog, and I’ll give some link love as well. And unlike Slate, I promise to end the feature when Barack Obama leaves office.

Illustrations by Chris Muir of Day by Day. Be sure to read the adventures of Sam, Zed, Damon, and Jan every day!


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Might want to look into that one. I’ve got a 25YO AC unit that is about ready to give up the ghost.

I won’t feel guilty, I pay over $15K in taxes every year. (Not over 30 years) It will be nice to get something back for once.

MarkTheGreat on April 23, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Look HERE
Especially this:
The law specifies installation costs include: “expenditures for labor costs properly allocable to the onsite preparation, assembly, or original installation of the property.”
.
I question the original installation versus a replacement installation to qualify for the credit, unless it is a geothermal heat pump.

News2Use on April 23, 2009 at 11:25 AM

I’ve got a 25YO AC unit that is about ready to give up the ghost.

MarkTheGreat on April 23, 2009 at 9:40 AM

Wow. Your AC unit has lasted 25 years? I’m guessing you don’t live in Arizona.

AZCoyote on April 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

Many voters evidently think like this & that is why they love Obama.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 11:09 AM

Ah but Obama has convinced these people that it will be other people’s money. There is nothing an Obama supporter loves more that other people’s money.

Jvette on April 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

News2Use on April 23, 2009 at 11:25 AM

You will probably have to choose from a list of approved installation companies.
They will of course charge more for their services bcs they are ‘licensed’ to do such work.
This reminds me of the homeland security $$ that went out to local communities for things like firetrucks & equipment, tractors for airports, fencing, etc…
Our local fire dept in a town of about 350 people received a brand new firetruck from homeland security.
There was a special bed that had to go on the pick-up so a man could sit on the back & run a hose.
There was a place in town that did work like this, but the govt said the bed had to be ordered from one place & then the pick up had to be driven down many hundreds of miles away to get the bed put on, costing thousands more than it should have. But that was the only way they could get most of the truck paid for.
Another case in point:
our local air strip received a mandate from homeland security & $$ to buy a tractor to clear snow & debri off of the runway.
The govt required our small town of about 950 people to purchase a 4 wheel drive brand new spendy tractor for this purpose-a SUPREME waste of $$.
This TARP $$ & all these grants will be spent the same way.
Wasteful.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 11:46 AM

Wow. Your AC unit has lasted 25 years?
AZCoyote on April 23, 2009 at 11:42 AM

I’m guessing the unit was probably not made in China, either.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 11:48 AM

This line also looks fishy:

Through this step, over the next three decades, we’ll save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.

Coal provides about 23% of our energy, I think. So he’s saying our energy use will be cut by 46%? Or is he saying our energy use is going to grow, but grow less than some straw-man projection? (Sort of like how he’s “saving money” by not funding a decade of Iraq surges.)

joe_doufu on April 23, 2009 at 11:57 AM

joe_doufu on April 23, 2009 at 11:57 AM

It’s Obamanomics. Inflate your tires and we no longer need the oil industry. Weather-strip your doors and windows and we no longer need the coal industry. Ain’t life grand?

Mallard T. Drake on April 23, 2009 at 12:01 PM

I’m the Messiah. Facts & accurate details are for losers.
/”I won.”

bluelightbrigade on April 23, 2009 at 12:08 PM

Will someone a liberal will hear and believe call Obama on these ‘distortions’? If not, then his ‘truth’ triumphs. Heck, even if his statements are somehow corrected and retracted, he got his version of ‘I’m a good guy’ story out there, which won’t be entirely forgotten. I hate the kool-aid.

AnotherOpinion on April 23, 2009 at 12:11 PM

You will probably have to choose from a list of approved installation companies.

Last December I had to replace my water heater. The last time I had to, I had a neighbor who knew how to install it help. He charged me nothing, I gave him a twelve pack of beer.

This time however, I found out that a new law had been passed that said that a licensed plumber had to install all appliances. The cost for installation was now at least $300.00 on top of the cost of the heater and the county had to issue a permit at a cost of another $200.00.

Talking to one of the plumbers I had contacted for an estimate, he told me that in the last local election, a plumber had been elected to the assembly and introduced the bill that was eventually passed.

But, hey, after about 20 years of usage, I should save a couple hundred dollars in water heating bills. So, I got that going for me.

Jvette on April 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

Jvette on April 23, 2009 at 12:20 PM

I am so glad I live in the country.
I can build just about any damned thing I want & no one is going to come out & ‘inspect’ me.
On the other hand, if I want to insure it, I may be forced to play by those stupid rules.
After over 20 yrs of being insured with the same company (NODAK Mutual)-they dumped us unceremoniously bcs of our old wood stove in the entryway-the same wood stove they approved of for all of those 20+yrs.
And then they had the nerve to keep billing us, even though they dropped us!
So we went with Farmer’s Union. I hope they don’t pull the same crap in 20yrs.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 12:24 PM

I was told that if I installed the heater myself, then if something happened the insurance company could refuse to pay.
They get you coming and going.

Jvette on April 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM

I am truly scared by this. When gas prices shot up at $4 a gallon, that hurt us. Badly. It really did a number on our budget. Not to mention food prices, went up considerably.

When we were hit by hurricanes Rita, and Ike….we were without power completely, for a week. A generator helps, but when gas prices are so high, you really have to be discretionary on what you use it on, and how much you use it. We used it for the fridge, and the washing machine. After Ike, we used it at night for a small window a/c, just so we could sleep. After Rita, we were hit with 100 degree days, every day we were without power. It wasn’t easy, and heat stroke was always near, on a daily basis.

Now to have this forced on us, because some people decided global warming was here….they force their beliefs on the rest of us. Why do I have a feeling this won’t bother any of those in Washington, since we’ll probably be paying for their electric, and gas bills.

I’m so damned angry about this. This is insane!!!

capejasmine on April 23, 2009 at 12:41 PM

This qualifies as an “amateurism”?

At worst, this is (unfortunately) standard mucking up of statistics to make a political point. Hardly amateurish.

It’s fine if you want to point out where you disagree with how Obama is using the numbers here. Totally fair game. But to call this amateurish is a bit silly.

That’s kind of the problem you run into when you create a daily feature without being sure you’re actually going to have content to fill it.

orange on April 23, 2009 at 1:18 PM

One place (maybe the only place) the “stimulus” has worked so far is in the guns and ammo sector. Obama should be named the firearms salesman of the year.

el rey on April 23, 2009 at 1:56 PM

Jvette on April 23, 2009 at 12:31 PM

That $hit is criminal. And so are insurance companies.
Legalized extortion.
I certainly hate being forced to have a Farm/Ranch policy.
Nearly $2500/yr for liability just bcs someone trespassing might get hurt & sue me.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 2:38 PM

This qualifies as an “amateurism”?

At worst, this is (unfortunately) standard mucking up of statistics to make a political point. Hardly amateurish.

orange on April 23, 2009 at 1:18 PM

Standard mucking up of statistics is being amateur bcs it relies upon the public being ‘amateur’ enough not to understand any of it.
He’s making a political point by deliberately ‘mucking up’ the facts which = LYING.
I guess you may in fact be right in that Obama is not an amateur when it comes to lying.

Badger40 on April 23, 2009 at 2:41 PM

ATTENTION CAPTAIN ED — IT’S EVEN WORSE, THESE AREN’T OBAMA’S CUTS!

Ed, the tax credit for windows and doors and insulation are NOT NEW — They aren’t Obama’s to claim credit for!

They were there for the past few years, up till the 2008 tax year that is, They were not reauthorized, most likely because it is an annual authorization and congress decided to be petty and not pass an actual budget instead allowing Obama to start on day one with HIS budget.

This allowed the credit (10% on new windows, doors, insulation) to expire but left in place the credit on solar or alternative energy systems.

It was then reinstated for 2009 in the budget — amazingly screwing every person who planned on it for 2008. It cost a good friend of mine $800 because the did windows in November and not January! He got the credit the previous year ($300) on new doors.
David

LifeTrek on April 23, 2009 at 4:11 PM

Construction has lost jobs for three successive months, shedding 126,000 of them in March alone. Government jobs dropped by 5,000. Specialty trade contractors have 83,000 workers in March, the bulk of the construction jobs lost — and this is at the beginning of spring, traditionally when these firms add staff for the expected jump in demand. Of all industries, only manufacturing and professional/business services did worse.

Yeah, but think of how much worse it would have been if Obama hadn’t “saved” an unknowable amount of jobs.

RightWinged on April 23, 2009 at 4:38 PM

Or you might get a letter in the mail on electricity that usage is not in the equation anymore. For me it started in February. Now the calculation is # of people in the household +x square footage X some Obama math that only he knows = 40% increase! Dont think I am fibbing…..I will send you a copy! Just wait till you get yours!

Coastal Paradise on April 23, 2009 at 7:54 PM

First off, saving $350 a year on energy savings is not “like a tax cut”. He tried making that same argument about lower interest rates on mortgages, too. The grant helps in paying for the weatherization, but the cost savings are just that. A tax cut is when government takes less of your money, not when energy companies take less of your money. By that definition, a broken lightbulb is like a tax cut, too, and thanks to cap-and-trade, it’ll get you used to the dark, too.

Gotta call you to task for this one. For the first time ever, by the way.

To the individual receiving the benefit, the $350 in energy cost reduction is no better or worse than a $350 tax cut. They are financially equivalent. Yes, the money may be directly coming from the energy companies, but the savings is a result of the government intervention. The government caused a $350 per year cost savings for this person. If you’re only worried about yourself, who cares where it comes from? Is it the same as a tax cut? No. But it is “like a tax cut” from the individual’s financial perspective.

IMO, the real questions about this government intervention are the following:

1) Why benefit only select individuals instead of everyone?

2) Is the money being spent judiciously?

3) Is it the government’s place to decide how to invest our money?

viking999 on April 23, 2009 at 8:59 PM

Such programs are fine…but don’t try to pass it off as some kind of panacea for the country’s economic woes…TOTUS, pleeez.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 23, 2009 at 9:50 PM

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