Video: 58 trillion dimes and the parade of cliches

posted at 4:01 pm on February 13, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

State of the Union speeches are known for their reliance on empty promises and well-worn clichés, but last night’s SOTU has one that’s even emptier and well-worn than most.  The RNC produced this video at practically the same time Barack Obama was telling the nation, “Let me repeat: Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime.”  If that sounds familiar, well, it should:

His list of proposed programs include a national pre-school program, government aid in getting low-interest mortgages to millions of homeowners, a project to repair houses, more job-training programs and an increase in the minimum wage.

The GOP reacted promptly to Obama’s speech, which began at 9.00 pm. EST.

“FYI, Obama is right, he hasn’t added a single dime to the debt, he’s added 58.6 trillion dimes,” said a 9.41 p.m. message from Joe Pounder, the research chief at the Republican National Committee.

The committee quickly released a video showing Obama’s repeated claims that his policies would not cost a dime, and contrasting those claims with the $5.8 trillion in new debt created during Obama’s first four years.

However, Obama suggested that his extra spending will be offset by increased taxes, and should not increase the government’s near-$1 trillion annual deficit.

In order to cover just the current annual shortfall, Obama would need tax increases of nearly a trillion dollars each year.  Even his original position in the fiscal-cliff standoff over the expiring tax rates — hiking marginal taxes on those earning over $250,000 a year — would have only produced $80 billion in revenue under static tax analysis … or 800 billion dimes a year, if you prefer.  That’s only 8% of the annual budget deficits Obama has run in his first four years in office.  It would take a tax increase of more than twelve times that amount to balance the budget for Obama’s current spending, let alone the additional money he needs for his SOTU proposals.

Andrew Malcolm calculated that Obama spoke 6,419 words and nearly as many clichés:

Obama used to be known as a Real Good Talker. He made his initial national bones with a speech.

But the last two — his Inauguration and State of the Union — are tired, boilerplate, bits and pieces of campaign rhetoric cut and pasted into recycled collections of empty phrases that sound swell — until you read them. Obama’s top speechwriter, overpaid at the top White House salary of $172K, recently abandoned ship for even better Hollywood dough. …

It was stunning last night to hear and then read among the 6,419 words likely the most colossal collection of yawn-inducing clichés in recent American political history.

Be sure to read Andrew’s catalog of the most prominent, although “dime” didn’t make the list.

On the other side of the aisle, Kirsten Powers was just as unimpressed with Obama’s “same old, same old”:

If the State of the Union address Tuesday night is any indication, it appears President Obama’s chief speechwriter has been replaced by a cliché-generator circa 1960. His erstwhile oratory was a melee of cringe-inducing lines ripped straight from a sit-in.

The commander in chief waxed about children being important for our future and how we should be a country where “if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead.” Which we are for the most part, anyway. Also, isn’t there a rule about how many times you can use the same line in a speech? Doesn’t basic etiquette and decency prevent us from ever hearing this again: “A tax code that ensures billionaires with high-powered accountants can’t pay a lower rate than their hard-working secretaries.” Yes, we know: Warren Buffett is your friend and his secretary pays a higher tax rate that he does. Is this really the only way to demonstrate the tax code needs to be reformed?

The president has only a few opportunities to speak to the nation, and he blew this one. It was so hackish, so devoid of any theme or purpose, that it makes one wonder whether part of Obama just wants to see how bad he can be before his cultists in the news media can see it. Every speech is exactly what they wish it to be, regardless of reality. His mainstream inaugural speech was treated as a liberal call to arms when it was no such thing. Of course, conservatives thought that. If Obama had announced he just joined the Tea Party, Rush Limbaugh would have seen it as proof that he was a socialist. But why liberals would confuse a boilerplate middle-of-the-road inaugural speech with Das Kapital will be forever befuddling.

It was more of a spending call to arms than anything else — and like Kirsten says, the same-old, same-old spending call to arms.

Ah, well.  I think this advice will be shown as prophetic in the next four years (NSFW):


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