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Editorial: Seeing Through the Rhetoric

“We've created and saved…at least 150,000 jobs.” —Barack Obama

Having relied on vague intangibles during the campaign, Barack Obama—staying true to form—is back to the same-old, same-old.

While “creating or saving jobs” sounds nice, the claim is entirely improvable—and therefore extremely politically convenient. As Wyatt Andrews of CBS News explains, Mr. Obama's claim is

“…basically an assertion that in the 150,000 jobs, there are also jobs that have been saved, workers that have not laid off. 

"But the reality is you can't count layoffs that don't happen.

"‘It would be absolutely impossible to measure with any precision how many people have kept their jobs,' MacGuineas said.”

Nevertheless, Obama's “assertion” has become part of the White House's daily talking points. Again predicting the future, Mr. Obama said, “The goal here is that we're going to create or save 600,000 jobs over the next 100 days.”

Unfortunately for him, however, this latest political trick isn't working too well. Some rather inconvenient poll numbers bear witness.

According to a Rasmussen Reports survey released last week, 48% of Americans believe the stimulus spending does not create jobs as Obama claims. A mere 31% say it does.

Even with his teleprompter carefully crafting his flowery language and platitudinous arguments, the American people are slowly beginning to see through the rhetoric. His claim to “create or save” jobs is about as vague and nebulous as his pledge to bring “hope and change.” And having been once burned, the American people are now twice shy. In other words: they're not buying it this time around.

Nevertheless, Barack Obama—and his acolytes in the media—are trying their hardest to package and sell it. Claiming to have “inherited” the crisis, Mr. Obama justifies his actions as follows:

“Had we done nothing…we could have really gone into a tailspin. We decided to move swiftly and boldly.”

The truth is, of course, that when it comes to tailspins, Mr. Obama is a past master. When he took office in January, national unemployment was at 7.6% (up from 6.7% at the time of his election in November). Five months later, that number has rocketed to a staggering 9.4%. Barack Obama's swift, bold actions, it seems, have swiftly and boldly exacerbated the recession.

And the American people are fed up with his swiftness and boldness. According to the aforementioned Rasmussen survey, 45% of Americans say the government ought to cancel the rest of the stimulus spending (as compared to 36% who say otherwise). That's right: outright cancel it.

Given the media's enthusiastic championing of Barack Obama's every move and positive shaping of the stimulus narrative, 45% is a considerably high number. On top of that, 44% of Americans say increased spending in general will be bad for the economy (compared to 39% who say otherwise).

Simply put, when faced with the decision, the American people would rather the government do too little than too much. It's almost as if the Jeffersonian axiom has been given life anew: “That government which governs least, governs best.” With the added corollary, “Even when encumbered by he who talks most.”

At least Barack Obama's so-called greatest asset—his veil of communicative talent—has been punctured. The American people are finally seeing the reality through the rhetoric.


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