I managed to catch a little of President Obama’s weekly address yesterday (sorry, I tried to avoid it, but wasn’t quick enough) and one of his (and a lot of liberals’) standard talking points finally rubbed me wrong enough to get irritated. See if you can find the problem in this quote:
Some Republicans in Congress have said that they agree with certain parts of this jobs bill. If so, it’s time for them to tell me what those proposals are. And if they’re opposed to this jobs bill, I’d like to know what exactly they’re against. Are they against putting teachers and police officers and firefighters back on the job? Are they against hiring construction workers to rebuild our roads and bridges and schools? Are they against giving tax cuts to virtually every worker and small business in America?
Let me spell it out for you folks who are only as smart and educated as, say, a Harvard-educated Constitutional law teacher: Obama here is talking about Congress raising taxes and collecting money. That is federal money. And very, very, very little federal money goes to pay “teachers and police officers and firefighters.” Those people are paid by taxes, yes — but mainly from local taxes, and to a lesser degree with state money. The federal contribution is minimal (excluding those professionals who work directly for the federal government, like the US Marshals, the FBI, and so on.) Further, the states take care of a good portion of their own “roads and bridges and schools.”
What Obama is arguing for is for the federal government to take more money from folks (decreasing how much they can be taxed at the state and local level), have the federal government take its cut for overhead and whatnot, and then redistribute it back to the states — at the whim of Congress, who, of course, NEVER plays favorites. For example, the fact that a good chunk of my own state of New Hampshire is lumped into the “Greater Boston metropolitan area” means that our highways are part of the same general district as Massachusetts — and we have two representatives to their ten, and until recently they had the Senate power team of Kennedy and Kerry. Coincidentally, of course, we routinely got boned when it came to federal highway funds.
Now we come to the key question: this is a simple matter of federalism. Certain responsibilities are delegated to the federal government, while others are reserved to the states, or the people (through the lesser levels of government, like county and city/town). The vast majority of police, fire, and schools are handled at the local level, with some at the county and state. And they don’t depend much on money from Washington to run their affairs.
As alluded to before, President Obama is a Harvard-educated lawyer who lectured on Constitutional law. Further, he’s been a legislator at both the state and federal level. He literally has no excuse for not knowing this.
So, is he really that ignorant, or does he think we are?