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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Press Conference Review: Let's Just Say It Wasn't the President's Best Night

Watching the entire press conference became something near painful by the end. The president's answers were so long that I often forgot what the question was. The answers NEVER actually answered the questions and they were full of cliches. That's the good part. The rest is even worse. The president was often totally clueless, and at other times, he was duplicitous and misleading.

At one point, he said that his plan to modify loans for troubled lead directly to lower interest rates. That is nonsense of the highest order. There is absolutely no correlation between the two and frankly rates didn't even go down very much the day the plan was announced. Furthermore, he said credit has been open to more people under his administration. That's nonsense. Credit has continued to tighten since he took office. I just tried to do a loan for a borrower with near 800 credit score to 85% of the value of the property. I tried to split the loan into two (80% and 5%) and in the middle of the process all banks eliminated any second mortgage for anyone no matter how perfect a borrower they are. On top of this, Mortgage Insurance is more difficult to get and it costs more.

Even worse, at one point, the president said that we got into this mess because people maxed out their credit cards and overspent. Yet, he has proposed massive spending that we will pay for by borrowing. The absurdity is unspeakable. At one point, we need an economy built on growth in tangible products like green energy. On the other hand, in his view, the economy was built on growth in financial instruments. Of course, that's nonsense. The economy was built on growth in real estate. The houses, condos, two flats, and other buildings that were built were real and tangible.

Then, he said that we need to control health care spending for sustained long term growth. Yet, he just announced that he would increase spending in health care by 600 billion Dollars in the next ten years. How exactly does that work?

Then, he appeared to insult the Prime Minister Designate of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. In answering a question, the president indicate that peace was now more difficult with his election. He never made the same sort of observation about anyone in the Palestinian leadership. Furthermore, it appears that peace in the Middle East will take "persistence", whatever that means.

What was missing was some sort of simple guide for how we get from here to there. I don't think anyone knows exactly how this economy is going to recover in the short term. We all know that the key to long term success is energy independence, affordable health care, and good education, but we don't know how those things will get us short term prosperity. How will the banks start to lend again? How will more jobs be created? The president has done a good job of hammering the talking points of better health care, energy independence, and education, but he hasn't made the connection between those three things and the current crisis. The reason for that is of course a banking crisis has nothing to do with any of those.


Anonymous said...

That Netanyahu will make it harder to come to agreement is fact. He has dedicated the past 20 years of his career to destroying Oslo and largely succeeded. There's no telling what he'll try this time.

mike volpe said...

That's a bit of a distortion but what exactly has Hamas done in the last 20 years, yet, the president didn't seem to mention them.

Furthermore, there is a proper way to approach diplomacy and a wrong way. Saying that the new leader of an ally will make it harder to achieve peace is the WRONG way.