Obama: “Pass this jobs bill now”

“Pass this jobs bill.” President Barack Obama uttered that statement 16 times in his 33-minute speech. “This jobs bill” is the $447 billion American Jobs Act, which bundles tax cuts and increased spending.

President speaks — Obama lectured the joint congress to stop political fighting. Photo credit: Eli Overbey

The bill includes elements such as cutting the 6.2 percent payroll tax in half while closing tax loopholes for businesses. It calls for increased spending for teachers, firefighters, police and construction workers — the latter through infrastructure repairs like roads and bridges. The American Jobs Act also pushes increased unemployment benefits.

“Everything in this bill will be paid for,” Obama said. “Everything.”
The president did not actually say how the bill would be paid for. No plan was given for it. Instead, Obama said that he would explain “a week from Monday,” Sept. 19, when he will release “a more ambitious deficit plan.”

Additionally, Obama asked the committee charged in July with cutting spending by $1.5 trillion to cut enough extra to cover his plan. So, he does not actually have a way to pay for the bill except by replacing some other spending projects.

“Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs?” Obama said. “Right now, we can’t afford to do both.”

In philosophy, this type of reasoning is a logical fallacy called a false dilemma — when only two choices are given while excluding other viable options. The president’s speech Thursday night was riddled with such fallacies.

“Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy,” Obama said. “Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations.”

Speaking directly to conservative politicians and their Tea Party backers, small government with limited regulations being the Tea Party foundation, Obama set up another false dilemma.

“…But what we can’t do — what I won’t do — is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades,” Obama continued. “I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety.”

The president concluded his speech by listing the myriad benefits his plan is supposed to bring, such as employing “hundreds of thousands” more U.S. citizens, rebuilding America’s crumbling infrastructure and helping “working class families” — all without adding to the debt. He said the only way to accomplish all of it, however, was by working together and passing the bill.

“This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math,” Obama said. “These are real choices that we have to make.”

The President of the United States addressed his third non-State of the Union Joint Session of Congress — reserved only for inaugural or State of the Union addresses or serious matters like President George W. Bush’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks — to act like the grown up in the room and call for the end of “the political circus.” Is that not political grandstanding?

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