The attempted field goal went wide left in the final moments of the Baltimore Ravens 23-to-20 loss to the New England Patriots on Sunday. Poor snake-bitten Billy Cundiff! If that had been Barack Obama instead of him doing the kicking, the president would have split the uprights -- with the exact same kick.
The trick is to kick first, and then move the goal posts into the desired position.
If you tune into tonight's State of the Union address, you will see how the president snatches victory from the jaws of defeat in his telling of recent economic history.
He does it with a hypothetical field goal -- claiming credit (even in dismal economic circumstances) for saving the country from a far worse financial and economic disaster.
When President Obama gave his first address to Congress three years ago, he spoke of how the so-called American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would transform the flagging economy. He stated:
Over the next two years, this plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs…. Thanks to our recovery plan, we will double the nations supply of renewable energy over the next three years…. We have also made the largest investment in basic research funding in American history -- an investment that will spur not only new discoveries in energy, but breakthroughs in medicine, science, and technology.… We will soon lay down thousands of miles of power lines that can carry new energy to cities and towns around the country.
Never mind that the U.S. economy actually had a net loss of more than two million jobs over the same period of time that the Obama administration had projected would see the creation of more than three million new jobs.
And never mind that we haven't seen a real boom in renewable energy or the creation of thousands of new power lines carrying new energy to cities and towns across the U.S. Instead of that we have witnessed a series of debacles involving Solyndra and other clean energy startups that sucked up hundreds of millions of dollars of federal subsidies before going bust.
Obama's hypothetical field goal -- the what-if projection of what might have been in the absence of the stimulus program -- is based upon a computer model which assumes (against a large body of contrary evidence) that every $1 of government spending will yield $1.50 or more in higher GDP. On this basis, the president claims that he has "created or saved" several million jobs. The logic here is -- 'It is assumed, therefore it is."
Still more, this assumption is based on the logic -- or illogic -- of thinking that it is possible to enlarge the public sector (through borrowing or taxes) without depressing the private sector.
No one -- even Obama -- expresses much satisfaction over the actual performance of the economy. That best he can say is that it could have been worse. Hence the focus on fairness -- the divvying of a pie that no one assumes will be growing from one year to the next.
According to a front-page story in this weekend's New York Times, Obama is working toward his vision of "an America where everyone gets a fair shot, every does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules."
But when the president talks of everyone playing by "the same set of rules," it seems that what he really means is an ever-changing set of rules -- which can be endlessly adjusted for any lapses between planned and actual outcomes, and further adjusted to accommodate his personal preferences as to what may be fair or unfair any given situation.
Hence all the Obamacare "waivers" and countless examples both of crony capitalism and of special treatment for political allies in the trade unions and environmental circles.
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