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What is Obama’s “New Economic Patriotism”?

President Obama has a new booklet—a glossy, 20-page spread called “The New Economic Patriotism: A Plan for Jobs and Middle-Class Security.” The title is completely Orwellian, since the plan—which is nothing new—would actually kill jobs, harming the middle class.

As expected, the “new patriotism” means paying more in taxes for those small business owners who create many of the nation’s jobs.

This isn’t the first time the President has invoked patriotism to describe economic plans.

When he was running for President, Obama condemned George W. Bush for adding $4 trillion to the national debt over eight years, calling it “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic.” Now—in less than four years—Obama’s Administration has already added almost $6 trillion to the debt. And he’s on track to add another $4 trillion over the next decade.

So the definition of what it actually means to be an economic patriot is still a bit confusing. But as for the President’s plan, it hasn’t been changed or updated. CNN’s Jessica Yellin reported that “there’s not anything significantly new in here. It’s just all compiled in a nice booklet now.”

The nice booklet starts off with the claim that President Obama has overseen the creation of 5 million jobs—which Heritage has debunked.

It touts the plan to raise taxes on small businesses that create jobs and reminds us that the President already has plans for the “money saved from responsibly ending wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.” But spending “war savings” is simply an old budget gimmick. It would be like saying we have new “savings” when the temporary, failed stimulus plan ended, and then spending the same amount of money on…more stimulus. These savings are phony.

Not only does it have a phony definition of “savings,” but the nice booklet also includes the familiar refrain of “investing” in things like roads and bridges. Don’t be fooled, though—this is just more stimulus spending. As taxpayers and American workers painfully learned during the past few years, stimulus spending is good for racking up deficits and debt, but not so good at growing the economy or creating jobs.

Other ideas? More teachers and green jobs!

The “New Economic Patriotism” recycles the President’s plans for the future that we’ve heard hundreds of times. And its version of the past four years is pretty rosy, despite persistently high unemployment. Let’s examine a few of its claims:

  • Has the President created 5 million jobs? No.
  • Has the President “strengthened Medicare”? Definitely no.
  • Is the President “leading the fight to safely and responsibly develop all sources of domestic energy”? No and more no.

President Obama’s plans do nothing to address the major problems with the U.S. economy. He does not tackle the fundamental budgeting problems, which would require reforming entitlement programs and halting out-of-control federal spending.

The Heritage Foundation has a real plan that makes the hard choices and puts American workers first. The Saving the American Dream plan would do just that—keep the American dream alive for the next generation and generations to come.

It would reform entitlement programs to strengthen and preserve them and make them affordable. It would return to limited government by focusing on the core functions of government, ensuring that national defense is fully funded while returning productive resources to the private sector. It would consolidate and reform duplicative programs. It has a real growth agenda with its New Flat Tax, a fundamental tax reform plan that would set us back on a path to economic growth.

This is the type of plan America needs—one that is truthful about our circumstances and offers concrete solutions. How about a permanently balanced federal budget, without tax hikes? A tax system that is simple, stable, fair, and pro-growth? Actual reductions in the debt? These are all possible, and Heritage’s experts have laid it out here.

We have a booklet, too. But it steers America on the right course to freedom and prosperity, not rehashed ideas that have failed the nation.

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