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The Promises of Obama And Other Cant

President Obama made some big promises yesterday when he told recently laid off Caterpillar workers they would be rehired if the stimulus bill was passed. But it wasn't meant to be.

CAT employees learned today that there was no hope and change in the president's empty promise when CAT CEO Jim Owens admitted that the company would not be recalling employees any time soon:

Obama has said twice in the past two days that Caterpillar CEO James Owens indicated his company would be able to rehire some of the 20,000 recently laid-off employees.

"Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that if Congress passes our plan, this company will be able to rehire some of the folks who were just laid off," Obama said today in Peoria.

But when asked today if the stimulus could do that, Owens said, "I think, realistically, no. The honest reality is we're probably going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."

Even for a tin eared president permanently stuck in campaign mode this was an unusually cruel promise to make solely for the purpose of scoring cheap political points. These CAT workers likely face months if not years before they are rehired for many reasons, not least of which is the absence of any tax incentives for small business investment in the Pelosi/Reid/Obama political payback spending bill. Unable to get beyond the class warfare that paralyzes their better judgment, the Democrat spending bill ironically sentences heavy equipment workers like CAT's to many more months of unemployment.

President Obama's crass manipulation of unemployed workers is another chorus of the unrelenting anti business legislation and rhetoric emanating from Washington. This anti growth demagoguery is getting the attention of some executives and they are letting it be known that they will not be cowed into silence by the hope and change mob. In response to the corporate jet loathing that has so consumed House Democrats lately, Cessna chairman and CEO Jack Pelton noted (along with other industry execs) today:

"We think it's time the other side of the story be told, and that support be given to those businesses with the good judgment and courage to use business aviation to not only help their businesses survive the current financial crisis, but more quickly forge a path toward an economic upturn," said Jack Pelton, Cessna's chairman and CEO.

Companies have long argued that it makes no sense to pay CEOs millions of dollars only to have them waste time in airport lounges while flying commercial. "Do you really want a major executive to show up three hours late to a big meeting because of flight delays?" said Robert Baugniet, director of corporate communications for General Dynamics Corp.'s Gulfstream Aerospace, which makes some of the higher-end jets.

While this message is anathema to the Barney Franks of Washington, it might sound familiar to conservatives that remember the havoc brought about by the luxury tax of the 1990's and the change in tax policy that fiscal debacle wrought. In light of the Democrat's recent accomplishments (failed Cabinet appointments, tax cheats everywhere, trillion dollar budget deficits, no plan for the financial crisis and no shortage of soaring rhetoric) Republicans should heed Napolean's dictum and not interfere with an enemy in the process of destroying itself. If this week is any indication, conservatives should prepare to party like it's 1993 all over again.


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Comments (11)

Yeah, I remember what the "... (Below threshold)

Yeah, I remember what the "luxury tax" did to the private boating industry in San Diego. It all went overseas. Nice job guys. People still buy luxury boats.......now they spend their money overseas.

President Obama made som... (Below threshold)

President Obama made some big promises yesterday when he told recently laid off Caterpillar workers that Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said that they would be rehired if the stimulus bill was passed.

There, fixed it for you.

I remember what it did to t... (Below threshold)

I remember what it did to the small aircraft market, too - plus the litigative environment that basically boiled down to a point where every time a general aviation aircraft crashed - no matter the cause - it was assumed the company was at fault. Pilot drunk? Lousy maintenance? Birdstrikes? Flying outside the pilot's competence? Hell, flying into a mountain? A lawyer would argue it was all the fault of the manufacturer, either of the engine or the airframe - and the cost of the plane had to be jacked up to cover the insurance costs.

The late '80s, early '90s weren't good for general aviation for a number of reasons, but the Luxury tax darn near killed Cessna and Piper.

No need to fix it brian. Th... (Below threshold)

No need to fix it brian. There's enough confusion about who said what, including Gibbs' bactracking:

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Caterpillar "did communicate to the White House" that it plans to reevaluate its employment situation, particularly in Peoria and downstate Illinois, based on "a big investment that could be coming shortly to put Americans back to work."

I think the CAT CEO, better schooled in the SarBox world of forward looking statements, would never say what Obama says he said. Put another way, Obama stumbled again.

There's enough confusion... (Below threshold)

There's enough confusion about who said what, including Gibbs' bactracking:

That's not backtracking. It's consistent. Even in your very own post, you cite:

Obama has said twice in the past two days that Caterpillar CEO James Owens indicated


"Yesterday, Jim, the head of Caterpillar, said

So you twice have Obama quoting Jim, and then you mangle this by claiming:

"Obama ... told recently laid off Caterpillar workers they would be rehired"

No, he just told them what Jim said. And then Jim backtracked.

Caterpillar CEO James Owens... (Below threshold)

Caterpillar CEO James Owens has more credibility in this matter then the White House.

Obama lied, workers cried.

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Two... (Below threshold)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Two former members of Gov. Bob Riley's administration will receive $195 per hour for helping oversee money that Alabama gets from a federal economic stimulus package.

An emergency contract signed by the governor provides for Drayton Nabers and David Perry of the Maynard, Cooper & Gale law firm in Birmingham to receive the payments for two months.

Paralegals from the law firm will receive $85 per hour.

The contract provides for a maximum of $50,000 to be paid for work through March 26.

Nabers was Riley's state finance director from 2003 to 2004, when Riley appointed him to be chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.


I saw Owens say on-camera ... (Below threshold)

I saw Owens say on-camera that passage of the stimulus package would enable his company to re-hire some laid off workers and prevent more lay-offs that had been planned. And, now, because Obama repeated the Catepillar CEO's comments Obama is lying?

What crap! This is the kind of partisan, polarizing speech that has all but paralyzed our government for years. Why don't you people shut up. You're part of the problem, not the solution.

#8 JohnRJ08Share a... (Below threshold)

#8 JohnRJ08

Share a link to that with us. Until then I'll go with what the state newspaper of record said.


Like most liberals JohnRJ08... (Below threshold)

Like most liberals JohnRJ08 probably doesn't care about the actual facts. He will keep repeating the lies until the lies are accepted as fact.

This isn't your grandfather... (Below threshold)
John S:

This isn't your grandfather's depression: We have no manufacturing base for these workers to be rehired to. In this service economy, the 25 million jobs that disappear will be gone for good. Wal-Mart can't absorb all of us. Whatever level your standard of living sinks to in the next 5 years is where you'll stay (until you're finally euthanized by an Obama-appointed healthcare bureaucrat).

And, by the way, that last car you bought? It's the last car you will ever buy. Hope it's Japanese and hence good enough to run 25 years.






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