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5 Questions Americans Want Answered

- May 11, 2011

Obama Holds A Town Hall On The Economy, And There Are A Few Things Americans Want To Know…   

“In The Afternoon, The President Will Participate In A CBS News Townhall Meeting On The Economy At The Newseum In Washington, DC.”(Lynn Sweet, “President Obama official schedule and guidance, May 11, 2011. Poetry night,” The Chicago Sun Times’ “Sweet” Blog, 5/11/11)

5 QUESTIONS FOR OBAMA

 1.     President Obama, You Still Have Not Presented A Credible Plan To Reduce The Deficit And Have Instead Fallen Back On Partisan Attacks. Is This Contributing To Why Americans No Longer Trust Your Ability To Manage The Budget?

 2.     Gas Prices Have Doubled From When You Took Office. When Will You Stop The Policies Your Administration Has Put In Place That Discourage Domestic Energy Production?

 3.     You Promised To Save Millions From Foreclosure Yet Your Housing Program Was A Failure And Now The Housing Market Is In The Midst Of A “Double Dip.” Why Has Your Administration Largely Ignored Struggling Homeowners?

 4.     Your National Labor Review Board Is Denying Boeing The Right To Open A Plant In South Carolina That Will Create At Least A Thousand Jobs. Will You Defy Your Union Bosses And Condemn This “Shocking And Frightening Display Of Washington Interference?”

 5.     Just Last Year You Were Intensely Critical Of Outside Campaign Spending Groups, Now Your Own Campaign And Former Aides Are Encouraging Them To Assist Your Reelection. How Can You Prioritize Political Convenience Over Something You Believe To Be “A Threat To Our Democracy?”

______________________________________________________________________

1.     President Obama, You Still Have Not Presented A Credible Plan To Reduce The Deficit And Have Instead Fallen Back On Partisan Attacks. Is This Contributing To Why Americans No Longer Trust Your Ability To Manage The Budget?

58 Percent Of Americans Disapprove Of Obama’s Handling Of The Deficit With 47 Percent Strongly Disapproving. (Washington Post/ABC News Poll, 1001 A, MoE 3.5%,4/14-17/11) 

 “Obama Has No Plan To Balance The Budget — Ever.” (Robert Samuelson, Op-Ed, “Obama Abdicates On The Budget,” The Washington Post4/24/11)

 “We Aren’t Having This Debate, And President Obama Is Mainly To Blame. His Recent Budget Speech At George Washington University Was A Telling Model Of Evasion, Contradiction And Deception.” (Robert Samuelson, Op-Ed, “Obama Abdicates On The Budget,” The Washington Post4/24/11)

CBS News' Mark Knoller: "Even if every provision of President Obama's deficit reduction plan is enacted - and he concedes it won't be - there still won't be a balanced budget on the horizon. And the National Debt will continue to expand by trillions of dollars." (Mark Knoller, "Obama Deficit Reduction Plan Leaves Deficits,"CBS News, 4/13/11)

Instead, Obama’s Supposed Budget Proposal Was Nothing More Than A “Reelection Speech.” “President Barack Obama gave a terrific reelection speech Wednesday. It wasn’t billed as that. It was supposed to be a number-packed speech about budgeting and spending and all manner of fiscal gobbledygook.”(Roger Simon, “Barack Obama To Soak Rich, Please Democrats,” Politico, 4/13/11)

  • NBC’s First Read: “Yet The Speech Also Was Inconsistent By Blasting The GOP Idea But Then Calling For Both Sides To Still Come Together.” (NBC’s “First Read,” 4/14/11)
  • The Atlantic’s Clive Crook: “The Speech Was More Notable For Its Militant--Though Ineffectual--Hostility To Republican Proposals Than For Any Fresh Thinking Of Its Own.” (Clive Crook, “Obama’s Speech Was A Waste Of Breath,” The Atlantic, 4/13/11)

2.     Gas Prices Have Doubled From When You Took Office. When Will You Stop The Policies Your Administration Has Put In Place That Discourage Domestic Energy Production?

Gasoline Prices Have Doubled Since Obama Took Office. “Feeling pain at the pump? Gas prices have doubled since Mr. Obama took office.” (James S. Robbins, “Gasoline Up 100% Under Obama,” The Washington Times’ “Water Cooler” Blog, 3/30/11)

Obama’s Anti-Drilling Policies Will Result In A Loss Of 375,000 Barrels Of Oil Per Day This Year. “[T]he Obama administration stopped awarding permits for deep-water drilling until late February. The drilling suspension, along with a new, slower permitting process, will result in the loss this year of about 375,000 barrels of oil a day, according to energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie. That is roughly equivalent to one-third of the production in Libya that remains shut down because of political turmoil there.” (Angel Gonzalez, “Spill's Toll On Oil Output Grows Clearer,” The Wall Street Journal4/20/11)

Obama’s Dragged Out Policies On Approving New Drilling Permits Essentially Created A “Permatorium.” “In the months after lifting the ban, the administration slowed drilling permits to a crawl, effectively creating what some have called a ‘permatorium.’ Dismayed by the delays, in February U.S. District Court Judge Martin Feldman tried to force the administration to act on seven pending permits, calling the inaction on permits ‘increasingly inexcusable.’ Permitting has picked up recently, thanks in part to increasing political pressure, but remains far below pre-spill levels.” (Joseph Mason, Op-Ed,  “Time For A Cease-Fire In The War On Oil,”The Wall Street Journal4/25/11)

In December 2010, The Obama Administration Moved Beyond The Gulf And Banned Offshore Oil Drilling Along Most Of The U.S. Coastline. “Interior Secretary Ken Salazar announced Wednesday afternoon that the Obama administration will not allow offshore oil drilling in the eastern Gulf of Mexico or off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts as part of the next five-year drilling plan, reversing two key policy changes President Obama announced in late March.” (Juliet Epstein, “Obama Administration Reimposes Offshore Oil Drilling Ban,” The Washington Post, 12/1/10)

Obama’s EPA Decision Not To Grant An Air Permit To Shell Is Costing Alaskans Jobs And Americans Vital Energy. “Shell’s biggest impediment has been obtaining an air permit from the Environmental Protection Agency for temporary exploration operations off the Alaska coast, Odum said. ‘The delay is frustrating and disappointing and it undermines confidence in the American regulatory system,’ he said. ‘Beyond that, you might call it irresponsible. Thousands of men and women were counting on those jobs, local businesses were counting on the revenue and communities were counting on the tax boost.’” (Kim Chipman, “Shell Says Slow U.S. Drill Permits In Alaska ‘Irresponsible’,” Bloomberg, 4/26/11)

3.     You Promised To Save Millions From Foreclosure Yet Your Housing Program Was A Failure And Now The Housing Market Is In The Midst Of A “Double Dip.” Why Has Your Administration Largely Ignored Struggling Homeowners?

PROMISE: President Obama Promised That His Housing Program Would Prevent 7 to 9 Million Families From Foreclosure. “And we will pursue the housing plan I'm outlining today. And through this plan, we will help between 7 and 9 million families restructure or refinance their mortgages so they can afford—avoid foreclosure.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks On The Home Mortgage Industry In Mesa, Arizona, 2/18/09)

FACT: Only One In Four Of 2.7 Million Homeowners Seeking Assistance From Obama’s Mortgage Relief Plan Succeeded In Getting Their Payments Reduced. “Just one in four of the 2.7 million homeowners who sought to participate in the Obama administration's signature mortgage assistance program have succeeded in getting their monthly payments reduced.” (Alan Zibel and Louise Radnofsky, “Only 1 In 4 Got Mortgage Relief,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/28/11)

Inspector General Neil Barofsky, Who Oversaw HAMP, Said That The Program “Continues To Fall Short Of Any Meaningful Standard Of Success.” “The program has faced sharp criticism. Neil Barofsky, the departing special inspector general overseeing the program, has faulted the administration for launching it with inadequate analysis and only partially developed guidelines. This led to delays and confusion, and the program ‘continues to fall short of any meaningful standard of success,’ he said a report released in January.” (Alan Zibel and Louise Radnofsky, “Only 1 In 4 Got Mortgage Relief,” The Wall Street Journal, 2/28/11)

“It's Official. Home Prices Have Double Dipped Nationwide, Now Lower Than Their March 2009 Trough, According To A New Report From Clear Capital.”(Diana Olick, “National Home Prices Double Dip,” CNBC, 5/5/11)

 “Home Values Posted The Largest Decline In The First Quarter Since Late 2008, Prompting Many Economists To Push Back Their Estimates Of When The Housing Market Will Hit A Bottom.” (Nick Timiraos, “Home Market Takes A Tumble,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/9/11)

The Oregonian: “Economists Who Once Predicted That Prices Would Bottom Out Sometime This Year Now Are Saying, Well, Maybe In 2012.” “Lenders have filed more than 300,000 foreclosures against American families every month for almost two years. As long as that's occurring, the housing numbers will stay bleak. Home prices nationally have fallen for 57 consecutive months. … Economists who once predicted that prices would bottom out sometime this year now are saying, well, maybe in 2012. ” (Editorial, “American Housing: Underwater And Still Sinking,” The Oregonian, 5/9/11)

Home Values Have Fallen Due To “An Abundance Of Foreclosed Homes.” “Home values fell 3% in the first quarter from the previous quarter and 1.1% in March from the previous month, pushed down by an abundance of foreclosed homes on the market, according to data to be released Monday by real-estate website Zillow.com.”(Nick Timiraos, “Home Market Takes A Tumble,” The Wall Street Journal, 5/9/11)

4.     Your National Labor Review Board Is Denying Boeing The Right To Open A Plant In South Carolina That Will Create At Least A Thousand Jobs. Will You Defy Your Union Bosses And Condemn This “Shocking And Frightening Display Of Washington Interference?”

The National Labor Relations Board Has Declared That Boeing Opening A New Plant In South Carolina Would Be “Illegal.” “At issue is whether Boeing, which is slated to open a plant this summer in North Charleston and create thousands of jobs, can legally do so. The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) contends in a complaint recently filed against Boeing that the company can’t open its plant in ‘right to work’ South Carolina because the move is allegedly motivated by an attempt to avoid strikes and thus intimidate Boeing workers elsewhere.”(Kathleen Parker, Op-Ed, “The NLRB Fires A Shot South Carolina Can’t Ignore,” The Washington Post4/22/11)

 “[The NLRB] Filed A Complaint Demanding That An Administrative Law Judge Halt The South Carolina Plant (Set To Open In July), And Force Boeing To Move Production To Washington.” (Editorial, “Congress Vs. The NLRB,” The Wall Street Journal,5/4/11)

Boeing Has “Already Poured Billions Into The Facilities And Have Hired 1,000 Workers.” “Boeing, a vital U.S. company, wants to build a plant in South Carolina and bring good-paying manufacturing jobs to the state. They've already poured billions into the facilities and have hired 1,000 workers. But the NLRB filed a lawsuit last month to force Boeing back to Washington state, where workers would be represented by a union.” (Editorial, “Killing Jobs In South Carolina,” The Denver Post, 5/2/11)

Savannah Morning Herald: The NRLB’s Action Against Boeing Is “A Shocking And Frightening Display Of Washington Interference.” “In a shocking and frightening display of Washington interference, the National Labor Relations Board has taken unprecedented legal action against The Boeing Company to prevent it from expanding production in the Palmetto State. Why? Because the federal board claims that a private company that creates jobs in a right-to-work state like South Carolina is engaging in an ‘unfair labor practice.’”(Editorial, “Boeing Plant: Job Killing In S.C.,” The Savannah Morning Herald, 5/5/11)

  • Savannah Morning Herald: The NLRB’s Action “Is An Attack On States That Have Faster Job Growth And Faster Income Growth Than Forced Unionism States.” “The attempt by the NLRB to block Boeing is an attack on states that have faster job growth and faster income growth than forced unionism states. Mr. Obama must live up to his pro-job promise and show that right-to-work states are part of America, too.”(Editorial, “Boeing Plant: Job Killing In S.C.,” The Savannah Morning Herald, 5/5/11)

5.     Just Last Year You Were Intensely Critical Of Outside Campaign Spending Groups, Now Your Own Campaign And Former Aides Are Encouraging Them To Assist Your Reelection. How Can You Prioritize Political Convenience Over Something You Believe To Be “A Threat To Our Democracy?”

Obama Called Outside Spending Groups “A Threat To Our Democracy.” OBAMA: “Now, that’s not just a threat to Democrats -- that’s a threat to our democracy.  Every American business and industry deserves a seat at the table, but they don’t get to a chance to buy every chair.  We’ve seen what happens when they do.  They put the entire economy at risk and every American might end up suffering.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Philadelphia, PA, 10/10/10)

  • OBAMA: “And thanks to a Supreme Court decision called Citizens United, they are being helped along this year by special interest groups that are spending unlimited amounts of money on attack ads -- attacking folks like Patrick Murphy, attacking folks like Joe Sestak -- just attacking people without ever disclosing who’s behind all these attack ads.  You don’t know.  It could be the oil industry.  It could be the insurance industry.  It could even be foreign-owned corporations.  You don’t know because they don’t have to disclose.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Philadelphia, PA, 10/10/10)
  • Obama: Don’t “Let Special Interests Drown Out The Voices Of The American People.” OBAMA: “So you can’t let it happen.  Don’t let them hijack your agenda.  The American people deserve to know who’s trying to sway their elections.  And you can’t stand by and let special interests drown out the voices of the American people.” (President Barack Obama, Remarks At Campaign Event, Philadelphia, PA, 10/10/10)

Now Obama’s Former Deputy Press Secretary Is Organizing Two Groups Which Will “Take Advantage Of Campaign Finance Loopholes President Obama Had Previously Decried.” “Former Obama deputy press secretary Bill Burton announced the long-expected formation of Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, twin groups that will take advantage of campaign finance loopholes President Obama had previously decried.” (Michael O’Brien, “Obama Alumni Launch New Outside Group To Boost Reelection,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog4/29/11)

  • Burton Left The Administration To Found The Groups After Attacking The Conservative Groups He’s Emulating. “Obama and many of his top White House officials (including Burton, who left the administration to co-found Priorities USA), had decried the unchecked spending by conservative groups in the 2010 election, using the closing weeks of the campaign to launch high-profile attacks against Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, in particular.” (Michael O’Brien, “Obama Alumni Launch New Outside Group To Boost Reelection,” The Hill’s “Briefing Room” Blog4/29/11)

The Groups Will Abandon Obama’s Rules Against Special Interest Donations While They Spend Money For His Reelection. “To According to Burton, the organizers debated abandoning the president’s rule against donations from lobbyists and political action committees and accepting secret donations. They ultimately concluded that ‘the Supreme Court changed the rules and made this a completely different environment’ and ‘we won’t be boxed in by a double standard.’” (Jeanne Cummings, “Exclusive: New Dem Money Group To Take On GOP,” Politico, 4/29/11)


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