Recapping the yapping: Reviewing Obama's visit to Chattanooga

Recapping the yapping: Reviewing Obama's visit to Chattanooga

July 31st, 2013 in Opinion Free Press

A speech to forget

In President Obama's speech at Chattanooga's Amazon distribution center on Tuesday, he laid out a series of steps that he believes will help create jobs and revive the U.S. economy. Realistically, the overwhelming majority of his ideas were illogical schemes to increase government spending and allow government to hand-select winners and losers in the marketplace.

There were, to be fair, a few market-oriented aspects to his proposal that deserve more attention. His declaration of support for natural gas exploration likely made some environmentalists' heads spin. However, the safe, clean energy source is vital in order to grow the economy while weaning America off of foreign oil.

For the sake of America's manufacturing sector, we need to eliminate trade barriers and pave the way for more free trade. Getting American goods in the hands of consumers across the world is necessary to safeguard this nation's long-term economic viability. Fortunately, it seems Obama understands this.

Finally, Obama's pledge to work with Republicans to simplify and lower America's uncompetitive corporate tax code is heartening. For too long, the United States has had one of the highest corporate tax rates of any country in the developed world. As a result, companies have fled oversees to take advantage of other countries' more business-friendly tax climates. Lowering the corporate tax and making it fairer to businesses of all types and sizes would create jobs and spur America's economy.

As a whole, however, if Obama presents his new jobs plan to Congress as an all-or-nothing, take-it-or-leave it proposition, federal lawmakers would be wise to leave it. Ultimately, Obama's plan will do more harm than good to America's job creators and the economy.

Phony scandals

Obama's Chattanooga speech marks the fourth straight address in which he claimed that Republicans were more interested in focusing on his administration's "phony scandals" than working on solutions to help Americans. Despite a negative reaction to the downright offensive claim, Obama continues to hammer away at the ridiculous assertion.

By declaring that the scandals plaguing the administration in recent months - from the Benghazi terror attack, to the revelations about the surveillance power of the National Security Agency to the IRS' selective screening of conservative groups - are "phony," Obama belittles the people who suffered (and in the case of Benghazi, died) from his administration's decisions. He also indicates that he has no interest in taking responsibility for wrongdoing that he, ultimately, is accountable for correcting.

VW snubbed

During his speech, Obama again took credit for saving the auto industry and praised General Motors (which had to be bailed out with tax dollars because of the company's unsound business practices) and the UAW (which caused much of GM's financial woes) for creating jobs in the formerly shuttered Saturn plant in Spring Hill, Tenn.

The lengths to which Obama went to avoid mentioning the thriving VW plant that sits down the street from the Amazon facility where he delivered his speech was stupefying.

Volkswagen's Chattanooga assembly plant is thriving without his policies - and without the UAW. As a result, he must've figured there was no use in celebrating the company or its employees. It was a truly tacky move.

Sticky Fingers, grubby paws

Sticky Fingers, the regional barbecue chain with locations in Hamilton Place and downtown Chattanooga, had the honor of catering the meal enjoyed by Obama and other dignitaries on Tuesday.

It's only fitting that Sticky Fingers cooked for a president who raised taxes on 77 percent of Americans last year and passed a health care plan that contains 20 new or higher taxes on families and small businesses. Sticky fingers, indeed.

Republicans stayed away

U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann who represents Chattanooga area in Congress, declined to attend the event. Last week Fleischmann sent out an Internet postcard to Obama celebrating Tennessee's pro-growth, right-to-work policies and criticizing the burdens that Obamacare puts on businesses.

Fleischmann was not the only high-profile Republican to stay away from the president's speech at the Amazon distribution center. In fact, it looked like "Senior Skip Day" for Republicans. There are more PhDs at a monster truck rally than there were Republican officials at the Amazon facility.

Gov. Bill Haslam scheduled events that ensured he would be far from Chattanooga on Tuesday. Sen. Bob Corker, a former Chattanooga mayor, released a statement welcoming Obama to "a great place to live and work." State Republican Party Chairman Chris Devaney criticized Obama for "persistently high unemployment, unchecked wasteful spending that has led to unprecedented debt," and hoped that the president could learn from Tennessee's low-tax, right-to-work business environment.

No area Democratic members of Congress or members of the Tennessee state Senate were in attendance, either. That's because - largely thanks to having to share a ticket with Obama back in 2008 - there are none.