Thursday, 26 January 2012

Obama’s Administration Contradicts His State of the Union Claims

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The Obama administration really needs to get its act together. According to, at least two of the claims President Barack Obama made during his recent State of the Union address have been directly contradicted by his own administration. One of them, in fact, was contradicted by his administration at the very moment he was uttering it!

The first contradicted comment: “I will not back down from protecting our kids from mercury poisoning, or making sure that our food is safe and our water is clean.”

Leaving aside the fact that under the Constitution no branch of the federal government is charged with “protecting our kids” from anything except foreign invasion, the truth is that “Obama’s promise stands in opposition to his administration’s environmental efforts to make the [Compact Fluorescent Light Bulb (CFL)] the only choice for American consumers,” observes.

Under the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act — which, it must be noted, was passed with significant Republican support and signed into law by Republican President George W. Bush — traditional incandescent light bulbs were set to be phased out in favor of CFLs beginning January 1, though that has been temporarily blocked by the House of Representatives.

Unlike incandescent bulbs, CFLs contain mercury; if a CFL breaks, that mercury can be emitted into the air. As a result, cleaning up after a broken CFL is significantly more complicated than simply sweeping up the broken pieces and discarding them, as can be done in the case of a broken incandescent bulb.

In fact, it’s so complicated that the Environmental Protection Agency has created a three-page guide to CFL cleanup. The EPA first recommends getting all people and pets out of the room, airing it out for several minutes, and shutting off central heating and air conditioning. Then it provides complex instructions for cleaning up the glass fragments and powder. It recommends not vacuuming unless absolutely necessary because doing so “could spread mercury-containing powder or mercury vapor.” Afterward it suggests continuing to air out the room and leaving central heat and air conditioning “shut off, as practical, for several hours.” Then, when vacuuming the room “the next several times,” the agency calls for again shutting off central heat or air conditioning for several hours, opening a window or door to the outside, and discarding the vacuum bag afterward.

Because of the obvious risks — not to mention added expenses — involved in widespread, mandated use of CFLs, Congress sought to repeal the ban on incandescent bulbs last year. However, “the Obama administration vigorously defended against efforts to repeal the law,” reports. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, in a display of typical Washington arrogance, actually said, “We are taking away a choice that continues to let people waste their own money.”

So, on the one hand, Obama insists he’s “protecting our kids from mercury poisoning,” while on the other, his administration is fighting tooth-and-nail to force Americans to fill their homes and schools with mercury-laden light bulbs that even his own EPA recognizes are hazardous.

In his State of the Union speech the President also had this to say: “Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began leaving our shores. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. Folks at the top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most hardworking Americans struggled with costs that were growing, paychecks that weren’t, and personal debt that kept piling up.”

At that very moment, persons watching the White House’s “Enhanced Livestream” webcast of the speech were treated to a split screen featuring Obama on one side and a graph showing the percentage change in after-tax income, adjusted for inflation, for the years 1979 – 2007, broken down by income levels. It showed the top one percent of earners’ income increasing by over 250 percent and the middle 60 percent of earners’ income increasing by about 40 percent.

The data was drawn from a Congressional Budget Office (CBO) report released in October. That report did indeed show essentially what was displayed on the screen. It also found that the lowest 20 percent of earners had an inflation-adjusted income increase of 18 percent over the same time period. “According to the CBO report,” writes, “American households in all income brackets had higher inflation-adjusted incomes in 2007 … than they had in 1979” — putting the lie to Obama’s assertion that Americans outside of the very rich had “paychecks that weren’t” growing during that period. Their paychecks may not have been growing as fast as those of the top one percent, but they were growing.

The next time the President makes a speech, he just might want to run it by the rest of his administration first to make sure they aren’t going to contradict him, particularly right in the middle of his oratory. Then again, with an administration overflowing with contradictions — calling for the government to stay out of family matters while pushing ObamaCare, for example — that may be well-nigh impossible.


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