The Corner

Obama: ‘I Don’t Believe the Government Is the Answer to All Our Problems’

In case you didn’t devote 54 minutes of your life today to watching President Obama’s speech, which was supposed to reframe his campaign message, here are some highlights.

His allusion to the private sector “doing fine” gaffe: 

So, Ohio, over the next five months, this election will take many twists and many turns, polls will go up and polls will go down, there will be no shortage of gaffes and controversies that keep both campaigns busy and give the press something to write about.

You may have heard I recently made my own unique contribution to that process.

It wasn’t the first time. It won’t be the last.

On how the Romney campaign will talk about him:

From now until then, both sides will spend tons of money on TV commercials. The other side will spend over a billion dollars on ads that tell you the economy is bad, that it’s all my fault…that I can’t fix it because I think government is always the answer or because I didn’t make a lot of money in the private sector and don’t understand it or because I’m in over my head or because I think everything and everybody is doing just fine.

That’s what the scary voice in the ads will say. That’s what Mr. Romney will say. That’s what the Republicans in Congress will say.

Well, you know, that may be their plan to win the election, but it’s not a plan to create jobs.

On how he doesn’t think government will solve everything always:

So, no, I don’t believe the government is the answer to all our problems. I don’t believe every regulation is smart or that every tax dollar is spent wisely. I don’t believe that we should be in the business of helping people who refuse to help themselves.

UPDATE: Below the jump, the chunk of the speech where Obama bashes tax cuts and decreasing regulations … and the chunk of the speech, delivered a little bit later, where Obama touts how he has cut taxes and slowed down the growth of regulation.


The tax-cuts-are-bad segment:

We were told that huge tax cuts, especially for the wealthiest Americans, would lead to faster job growth. We were told that fewer regulations, especially for big financial institutions and corporations, would bring about widespread prosperity. We were told that it was OK to put two wars on the nation’s credit card; that tax cuts would create a enough growth to pay for themselves.

The failure to pay for the tax cuts and the wars took us from record surpluses under President Bill Clinton to record deficits. And it left us unprepared to deal with the retirement of an aging population that’s placing a greater strain on programs like Medicare and Social Security.

Without strong enough regulations, families were enticed and sometimes tricked into buying homes they couldn’t afford. Banks and investors were allowed to package and sell risky mortgages. Huge reckless bets were made with other people’s money on the line. And too many, from Wall Street to Washington, simply looked the other way.

For a while credit cards and home equity loans papered over the reality of this new economy. People borrowed money to keep up.

But the growth that took place during this time period turned out to be a house of cards. And in the fall of 2008 it all came tumbling down with a financial crisis that plunged the world into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

On his own record:

Over the last three years I’ve cut taxes for the typical working family by $3,600.

I’ve cut taxes for small businesses 18 times.

I have approved fewer regulations in the first three years of my presidency than my Republican predecessor did in his.

And I’m implementing over 500 reforms to fix regulations that were costing folks too much for no reason.

To be fair, Obama could argue that he opposes tax cuts for the wealthy, not for working families and small businesses, and that he wants to maintain certain regulations in the banking industry, but not all regulations. But still, it’s striking — and an indication of how conservative ideology may be popular with the mainstream on these issues — that Obama feels obliged to mention his tax cuts and regulation reform.

Katrina TrinkoKatrina Trinko is a political reporter for National Review. Trinko is also a member of USA TODAY’S Board of Contributors, and her work has been published in various media outlets ...


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