Misstatement of the Union Address

Suzann Darnall

My actual feeling about Obama's State of the Union Address is that it is the "Bull-hockey of the Union Address", but I thought perhaps that wasn't quite a dignified enough title even for an online, political commentary. For those of you with less rural roots to your colloquialisms, bull-hockey would be known as manure, cow pies, bull ____, etc. Just use your imagination to fill in the blank in the manner you might surmise I was most likely thinking!

And, lest some of you think the word "misstatement" is misused, let me assure you it says exactly what I think about Obama's platitude laden babblings. A misstatement is defined as an incorrect statement, an untrue declaration, canard, cock-and-bull story, falsehood, falsity, fib, fiction, inveracity, lie, misrepresentation, prevarication, story, tale, untruth, fish story, tall tale, and whopper. I think Obama pretty much covers all of the above as he tiptoes around actually facing up to the mess he's made of things.

By the way, a platitude is a trite, meaningless, biased, or prosaic statement that is presented as if it were significant and original. This sums up so much of Obama's speech technique. I know most politicians and other motivational speakers lean heavily on platitudes to get the crowds to respond favorably to their message. Platitudes are an easy way to make your point. But, I am amazed at how many platitudes they can string together in even one sentence of an Obama speech. Dang, it's a pert-near awe-inspiring gift they have for avoiding any kind of unique commentary that just addresses the issues in real-life terms. Much better to dance around it and not commit to anything factual. Sort of a modern day spin on Aesop's Fables is what comes to my mind.

But, I really must get to the point of what inspired me to put something on paper before I'd even completed listening to the speech. I DVRed it so I could go back and listen at my leisure. I also looked up the transcript online so I can verify that what I thought I heard is what he said. He said one thing early in the speech that jumped out at me and made me mad!

Obama said, "… we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. (APPLAUSE) Most, but not all. To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. Now... (APPLAUSE) Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea, but if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need."

I'm not a big financial or business expert, but I do have a little in-home hobby business making quilts. People contact me in person, by phone, or online. In addition to local business, I have mailed quilts to many parts of the country.

If the cost of fabric increases, I have to raise my quilt prices. Simple math. No big mystery. If it costs me more to make my quilts, I have to charge people more for them. By the same token, if the cost of postage rises, I have to charge customers more for shipping. Not hard to understand. I pass along my expense to my customers, as do most (if not all) businesses. You can't stay in business long if you fail to not only cover your costs plus make a profit.

So, I find it hard to believe that the banks, big or small, aren't going to pass along the expense of the fee to customers. It only makes sense. Banks will probably do this in a variety of ways that will trickle down to pick the pockets of bank customers. Fees, lower interests paid, etc. They will likely do it to people who have, want or need checking accounts, savings accounts, CDs, money market, credit cards, loans, and so on. Big banks will doubtless pass some of the cost along to smaller banks, who will almost certainly pass it along to consumers.

So, ultimately, if Obama gets his "fee" and it turns out as I suspect, it is the common citizens who will bear the burden of Obama's bank fee. He is, in essence, proposing to make the taxpayers pay themselves back for a bailout most of them were against in the first place. Does this make any kind of sense at all?

© Suzann C. Darnall, JANUARY 2010

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