In a speech about the economy at Smith Electric Vehicles in Kansas City, MO, President Obama set out not only to highlight jobs being created in the green energy sector, but he also jabbed at Republicans for distorting his record on tax cuts. Obama said, “We immediately cut taxes, that’s right. You wouldn’t know it from listening to folks, but we cut taxes for working families…”
Even though he is labeled a socialist by his critics, Obama said that government doesn’t have all the answers, “And we made that kind of decision all across America last year. And we were guided by a simple idea: Government doesn’t have all the answers. Ultimately, government doesn’t create all the jobs. Government can’t guarantee growth by itself. But what government can do is lay the foundation for small businesses to expand and to thrive, for entrepreneurs to open up shop and test out new products, for workers to get the training that they need, and for families to achieve some measure of economic security. And that role is especially important in tough economic times.”
He then took a shot at Republicans for distorting his record on tax cuts, “And that’s why, when my administration began, we immediately cut taxes — that’s right. You wouldn’t know it from listening to folks, but we cut taxes for working families and for small business owners all across America to help them weather the storm. Through our small business loans, and our focus on research and development, and our investment in high-tech, fast-growing sectors like clean energy, we’re helping to speed our recovery by harnessing the talent and the drive and the innovative spirit of the American people. So our goal has never been to create another government program, our goal has been to spur growth in the private sector.”
Later Obama criticized the GOP’s strategy of obstruction, “We’re not there yet. We’ve got a long way to go. But what is absolutely clear is we’re moving in the right direction. We are headed in the right direction. And that’s — the surest way out of this storm is to go forward, not to go backwards. There are some people who argue that we should abandon some of these efforts — some people who make the political calculation that it’s better to just say no to everything than to lend a hand to clean up the mess that we’ve been in.”
The President discussed the current recession but also expressed confidence that the nation would emerge stronger than before, “I mean, this has been a difficult time for America right now: two years of brutal recession, a decade of economic insecurity. And there are going to be some hard days ahead. That’s the truth. It’s going to take a while for us to dig ourselves out of this hole. But what you are proving here — each and every one of you who work here at Smith Electric — is the promise of a brighter future. What you’re proving is that if we hold fast to that spirit of entrepreneurship and innovation that’s always defined America, we’re not just going to emerge from this period of turmoil, we’re going to emerge stronger than we were before.”
A couple of the right wing’s favorite attack lines against Obama are that he is a socialist, and that he is going to raise taxes. On the tax cut front, Republicans have been able to bash Obama because the administration and Democrats have done a woeful job in pointing out that Obama has passed the biggest one year tax cut in history. Obama has cut taxes more than any Republican president. This fact is completely ignored by the right.
Obama speech demonstrated just how out of touch the rhetoric of the right is with reality. He discussed cutting taxes, government not being the answer, growing the private sector, and entrepreneurship. These are not the buzz words of a socialist. What is interesting about Obama’s recent outings, including this one today, is that he is getting more willing to take on his critics. He is leading the charge, and helping to set the agenda for his party. This is a trait that was often missing during his first year in office. Just as we were able to watch Obama grow as a candidate in 2008, we are now seeing Obama grow as a president. Obama always had the tools, but with each passing day he is getting more comfortable with the power of the presidency, and this is not good news for the GOP.