- - Wednesday, August 7, 2013


During the past couple of weeks, the Obama administration’s favorite word — with everyone on message from the White House to the Cabinet to the liberal media — has been “phony.”

The use of Internal Revenue Service records against political enemies is a phony issue.

The failure of President Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton when secretary of state to protect a U.S. ambassador from assassination is phony — old news, according to Mrs. Clinton.

The apparent, repeated perjury of the U.S. attorney general before Congress: phony.

The stonewalling of Congress on all of these issues: phony.

The president tells us not to get distracted and to focus on the important stuff, i.e., the domestic economy.

OK, let’s talk about the president’s budgets, economic programs and their impact on the economy. Now we are really talking phony.

The White House has submitted budget after budget for the past five years that have been almost unanimously rejected by (drumroll) the Democrat-run Senate. Now, that’s phony. For the most part, the Obama administration has operated without any approved budget at all. The president is fond of pointing at Congress and screaming that members are obstructionist and that there is partisan gridlock. But when he can’t even get the Senate to go for his ideas, that’s not gridlock, but rather, pure failure — his failure. When it comes to developing viable budgets, this White House has been completely incompetent. Jack Lew, who developed and presented all of those budgets and was then promoted to secretary of the Treasury, calls the IRS scandal phony. After his apparent failure at the Office of Management and Budget, submitting phony budget after phony budget, it is singularly odd that he would use the word.

The enactment of Obamacare was, of course, phony. It starts with the name itself, since Mr. Obama had virtually no involvement in the development or enactment of Obamacare. As a program to offer quality health care to Americans and control costs, it is certainly a fraud. Medicare, especially with accelerated health care cost increases and restrictions on care, is moving even faster to bankruptcy, and that train wreck will fully derail anything that remains of Obamacare. The next administration, no matter who is elected, will need to move urgently to save Medicare, probably by moving it to the private sector to use competitive market forces to provide access to high-quality care and cost control — none of which have been hallmarks of Medicare, Medicaid or Obamacare.

The Obama jobs program is also phony. Unemployment in America is very high — and increasingly invisible. Sluggish U.S. growth has led to little real job creation. The fabrication of, generally part-time, government jobs has had little effect on overall U.S. employment levels. The “decline of unemployment” to 7.4 percent is one of the most phony statements in Washington. The statistic has been falling, not because people are finding work and economic relief, but because a record number of people have become discouraged and have dropped out of the job market altogether. The rising stock market does not reflect economic growth or job creation, but can be traced to the easy-money policy of the Federal Reserve, a Ponzi scheme that may lead to full economic collapse in the near future. Certainly, it will dominate the next administration, whoever is unlucky enough to win the job. Does Mrs. Clinton really want to clean up after these guys?

The real tragedy and deception of the Obama “jobs” program is that its failure falls most heavily on the poor and minorities. In terms of driving more people into poverty, the impact of the administration’s policies has been breathtaking. The president has done everything he could, from Obamacare to his tax proposals, to discourage private-sector investment that would have been the key to creating real jobs and moving tens of millions out of poverty. His claims that his policies are designed to help the poor and the middle class are the most disingenuous and phony of all.

The Obama alternative-energy initiatives are, of course, phony. After hundreds of billions of “investment,” alternative energy remains elusive — that is to say, phony. Solar energy meets a tiny fraction of U.S. annual electricity demand, and wind power, after scarring a large chunk of America’s scenery and after enormous federal and state lobbying, generates a little more than 3 percent of that electricity. America’s electricity still comes from coal, nuclear power and natural gas. For all practical purposes, exotic electric cars burn coal. Welcome to the 19th century. I might be tempted to call all of that phony.

Now the president is asking for another trillion dollars to pick up right where his previous policies have failed. The result will be more arrogance, more scandals, more failure and more Americans on welfare.

It is troubling that this administration and its policies reflect a deep disdain for the American people, and especially the poor. What is even more troubling is that Congress and the Republicans have been so hapless in calling this hollow administration to account.

Grady Means was an assistant to Vice President Nelson Rockefeller and an economist at the former U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare.

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