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Obama Is Spinning Mightily

Obama Is Spinning Mightily

By Jack Kelly - June 12, 2011

President Barack Obama visited the Jeep plant in Toledo, Ohio, a week ago Friday to tout the alleged economic benefits of his bailout of Chrysler.

The bailout kept the Jeep plant open, the president told workers there. "This plant indirectly supports hundreds of other jobs right here in Toledo," he added. "After all, without you, who'd eat at Chet's or Inky's or Rudy's?"

This week, Richard Lawrence, co-owner of New Chet's restaurant, announced it was closing its doors after 90 years.

So much for indirect benefits. And what Mr. Obama said at the Jeep plant "is one of the most misleading collections of assertions we have found in a short presidential speech," wrote The Washington Post's fact checker, Glenn Kessler. "Virtually every claim made by the president concerning the auto industry deserves an asterisk, just like the fine print in that too-good-to-be-true car loan."

On the day the president spoke in Toledo, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced the unemployment rate for May rose to 9.1 percent, the highest level so far this year. Only 54,000 net new jobs were created, barely a third of what had been forecast. The median length of time for people to be between jobs is now at a modern all-time high.

Mr. Obama is spinning mightily to try to distract attention from two damning facts: The unemployment rate today is much higher than it was when he took office (in January of 2009, it was 7.6 percent), and is higher than what his chief economic adviser at the time said it might be if his stimulus package were not passed.

The stimulus bill, the auto bailouts and schemes to prop up housing have taken great gobs of money from taxpayers and transferred a fair amount of it to the president's political cronies. But the massive debt they've incurred is crippling the economy rather than helping it. Our national debt was $10.7 trillion when Mr. Obama took office. It's $14.29 trillion now.

Still, the president is intent upon heaping additional burdens on the private sector. He held a meeting with House Republicans June 1 to discuss raising the ceiling on the national debt so the government can borrow more money. Republicans insist federal spending be cut by $1 for each dollar the debt ceiling is raised. Mr. Obama wants to reduce the deficit in part by raising taxes.

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Jack Kelly is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and The Blade of Toledo, Ohio.

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