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Lame Speech, Lame Duck

- August 22, 2013

Obama Officially Embraces His Lame-Duck Status By Doing What He Does Best - Giving Another Speech With No Record To Show For It


Today, Obama Will Begin A Bus Tour In New York And Pennsylvania That Will Discuss How To "Reign In The Skyrocketing Costs Of Education." "Vice President Biden will join President Obama for the Scranton, Pa., leg of a 'fun and informative' bus tour on college costs, the White House said Monday. Spokesman Josh Earnest said that the president would discuss how to 'reign in the skyrocketing costs of a college education.' 'It is going to be hopefully both fun and informative,' Earnest told reporters at the daily press briefing. 'The president does plan to have some new proposals that he's going to be talking about.' When Earnest was pressed what specifically would be "fun" about the college tour - which will also swing through New York with stops in Buffalo, Syracuse and Binghamton - he said that he didn't expect the president to swing by any fraternity parties." (Justin Sink, "Biden, Obama Planning 'Fun' College Tour," The Hill 's Blog Briefing Room , 8/19/13)

  • FLASHBACK: It's Not The First Time Obama Has Offered This Speech - In January 2010, Obama Also Called For Creative Ways To Lower The Increasing Costs Of Higher Education. "Now, one thing I have to say, though. Even as we put more money into the Student Loan Program, we are also trying to reach out to university presidents and administrators to figure out how can we reduce the inflation in higher education -- because the fact is, is that the only thing that has gone up faster in cost than health care is -- guess what. Higher education. And the problem is, if we're not thinking about ways to curve the inflation, then even if we put more money in, what that money is buying becomes less and less. And so trying to find creative ways for universities to do more with less is going to be important." (President Barack Obama, Remarks During A Town Hall Meeting, Elyria, OH, 1/22/10)

For Obama, "Lame Duck" Is "Appearing In More And More Headlines" Only Months Into His Second Term. "And, as for Clinton, her 'retirement' following a term as secretary of state has lasted about five nano-tweets. She already is out talking about voting rights and plans an address in Philadephia next month on 'the balance and transparency need in national security,' as Bloomberg's John McCormick reported Aug. 13. All of which may have something to do with the term 'lame duck' appearing in more and more headlines involving President Barack Obama, only seven months into his second term." (Mark Silva, "Obama's Clock: Fast-Forward To 2016," Bloomberg, 8/19/13)

  • Clinton's Increasing Visibility Is Speeding "Up The Process Of President Obama Becoming A Lame Duck." "Speeding up the president's lame-duck status: There's another unintended consequence of Hillary already beginning to enter the 2016 fray: It speeds up the process of President Obama becoming a lame duck. It's one thing for the Chattering Class to begin looking ahead to 2016; it's another thing for rank-and-file Democrats start turning to the party's next standard-bearer, especially at a time when the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has a lot on his plate -- immigration reform, the upcoming budget battles with Congress." (Chuck Todd, et al., "First Thoughts: Hillary's Early Start Produces Unintended Consequences, Including For Obama," NBC News , 8/19/13)

Cook Political Report's Amy Walter: "I Guess The Word Is Lame Duckness…" AMY WALTER: "Well, I think the situation in Egypt is just another reminder of the lack of influence that this president has right now and it sort of -- I guess the word is lame duckness, both internationally and domestically." (CBS's "Face The Nation," 8/18/13)

  • Walter: Obama Is Going To "Go On Another Bus Tour Around The Country, Which Is Going To Once Again Not Move The Needle At All." WALTER: "So the President's job is he's going to come back vacation, go on another bus tour around the country, which is going to once again not move the needle at all." (CBS's "Face The Nation," 8/18/13)

Obama's Record For Students Is One Wrought With Failures

From 2009 To 2011, College Students' Debt In Pennsylvania Rose From $27,066 To $29,959. (Project On Student Debt, Accessed 8/20/13; Project On Student Debt, Accessed 8/20/13)

  • Graduates Of Four-Year Institutions And Private Non-Profit Four-Year Institutions In Pennsylvania Face The Second Highest College Cost Burden In The Entire United States. (Project On Student Debt, Accessed 8/20/13)

From 2009 To 2011, College Students' Debt In New York Rose From $25,739 To $25,851. (Project On Student Debt, Accessed 8/20/13; Project On Student Debt, Accessed 8/20/13)

Student Loan Debt, Which Now Exceeds $1 Trillion, Has Made It Harder For Millions Of Younger Americans To Get Ahead To Such A Degree That It Is Now Becoming A "Drag On Growth." "The anemic economy has left millions of younger working Americans struggling to get ahead. The added millstone of student loan debt, which recently exceeded $1 trillion in total, is making it even harder for many of them, delaying purchases of things like homes, cars and other big-ticket items and acting as a drag on growth, economists said." (Annie Lowrey, "Student Debt Slows Growth As Young Spend Less," The New York Times , 5/10/13)

"Student Debt Now Exceeds Aggregate Auto Loan, Credit Card, And Home-Equity Debt Balances-Making Student Loans The Second Largest Debt Of U.S. Households." "Student debt now exceeds aggregate auto loan, credit card, and home-equity debt balances-making student loans the second largest debt of U.S. households, following mortgages. Student loans provide critical access to schooling, given the challenge presented by increasing costs of higher education and rising returns to a degree. Nevertheless, some have questioned how taking on extensive debt early in life has affected young workers' postschooling economic activity." (Meta Brown and Sydnee Caldwell, "Young Student Loan Borrowers Retreat From Housing And Auto Markets," Federal Reserve Bank Of New York , 4/17/13)

"Student Loan Debt Is Not Only Constraining Young Adults, But Also, At Least In The Near Term, Holding Back The Recovery Itself." "Student loan debt is not only constraining young adults, but also, at least in the near term, holding back the recovery itself, some economists say. The shadows might remain even as the economy picks up, by making young workers more cautious when it comes to decisions about their careers and their finances." (Annie Lowrey, "Student Debt Slows Growth As Young Spend Less," The New York Times , 5/10/13)

Obama's Promises To Address College Costs Have Drawn "Tepid Responses" From Educational Groups. "The steps that President Obama promised in his State of the Union address to control college costs and give consumers more information on the prices and values of individual colleges drew tepid responses on Wednesday from educational groups, who said the measures seemed generally positive but had many blanks to be filled in." (Richard Perez-Pena, "Scorecard For Colleges Needs Work, Experts Say," The New York Times, 2/13/13)

"Tuition Continues To Outpace Inflation And Growth In Family Income." "But the rapid growth of federal grant aid in recent years also appears to be leveling off, and tuition continues to outpace inflation and growth in family income." (Mary Beth Marklein, "College Costs Going Up At Slower Rate," USA Today, 10/24/12)

  • The Figures Highlight That Higher Education "Is Devouring An Ever-Increasing Share Of Family Incomes, Which Are Lower Than A Decade Ago." "Altogether, the latest figures send mixed signals. They highlight that higher education, while increasingly essential economically, is devouring an ever-increasing share of family incomes, which are lower than a decade ago." ("Latest College Cost Hikes Modest, But Still Bite, College Board Figures Show," The Associated Press , 10/24/12)

Due To A Decrease In Pell Grants, "The Average Family Is Now Paying $960 More Per Year For A Public College Education Than It Was Three Years Ago, A 49 Percent Increase In Net Costs." "Overall, federal grants declined to $49 billion last year, after doubling from $26 billion in the fall of 2008 to $52 billion for the 2010-2011 school year, according to the College Board. Policy changes, falling enrollments and economic conditions are all factors behind this drop. A significant cause was the end in 2011 of a three-year experiment that allowed students to qualify for two Pell Grants per calendar year and attend school year-round. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has said the decision to cut the program was made in order to sustain the Pell's maximum grant at $5,500 amid budget deficits. As a result, the average family is now paying $960 more per year for a public college education than it was three years ago, a 49 percent increase in net costs, the College Board said." (Kathleen Kingsbury, "College Costs Stall As Borrowing Falls, Study Says," Reuters, 10/24/12)


Since Obama Took Office, The Unemployment Rate For Youths 20 To 24 Years Of Age Has Increased From 12.5 Percent To 12.6 Percent. (Bureau Of Labor Statistics, Accessed 8/20/13)

"Many Young People Left The Labor Force Last Month Discouraged From Persistent Lack Of Opportunities. There Are Still Over 4 Million Unemployed Millennials Ages 18 To 29." "It turns out that the millennial unemployment rate fell, in part, because many young people left the labor force last month discouraged from persistent lack of opportunities. There are still over 4 million unemployed millennials ages 18 to 29." (Rory O'Sullivan and Tom Allison, "We Should Be Very Worried About The Drop In Millennial Unemployment," PolicyMic, 8/2/13)

As Of June 2013, Fewer Millennials Worked Full Time Than Did So In June Of 2012, 2011, And 2010. "Fewer Americans aged 18 to 29 worked full time for an employer in June 2013 (43.6%) than did so in June 2012 (47.0%), according to Gallup's Payroll to Population employment rate. The P2P rate for young adults is also down from 45.8% in June 2011 and 46.3% in June 2010." (Dennis Jacobe, "In U.S., Fewer Young Adults Holding Full-Time Jobs In 2013," Gallup, 7/26/13)

"The Starting Salary For A Graduate Is $27,000, 10% Less Than Five Years Ago." " The starting salary for a graduate is $27,000, 10% less than five years ago, the Rutger's study found. 'Unlike those who graduated five years ago,' Zukin says, 'the long-term expectations of this generation are not being met.'" (Quentin Fottrell, "Trading Caps And Gowns For Mops," The Wall Street Journal, 8/23/12)

"Hit Disproportionally Hard By The Recession, The Millennial Generation Is Much More Likely Than Older Workers To Be Laying Out Merchandise At Retail Stores, Selling Cell Phones Or Performing Other Low-Skill Jobs, According To The Study." (Tiffany Hsu, "Younger Workers Are Unsettled," Detroit News , 9/3/12)

  • This Is Occurring Despite The Generation's High Level Of Education . "And that's despite the generation's high level of education. About 63 percent of full-time professional workers in that generation have a bachelor's degree, 12.8 percent have a master's degree and 1.7 percent have doctorates." (Tiffany Hsu, "Younger Workers Are Unsettled," Detroit News, 9/3/12)

"More Of Today's Twenty- And-Thirty-Somethings Are Living With Their Parents Than In Generations Before Them." (Rosa Ramirez, "Study: More Young Adults Living With Parents," National Journal, 8/1/12)

  • 24 Percent Of 20-34 Year Olds Lived With Their Parents In 2009, Compared To 17 Percent In 1980. "About 17 percent of the adults between the ages of 20 to 34 lived with their parents in 1980, compared with 24 percent during the Great Recession period, which the study describes being between 2007 and 2009." (Rosa Ramirez, "Study: More Young Adults Living With Parents," National Journal , 8/1/12)
  • With More Young People Living At Home, The Rate Of Household Formation "Is Now On Par With The 1940s." "With more young people living at home, the rate of household formation - a leading driver of housing demand - is now on par with the 1940s, according to a Harvard study." (Shannon Bond, "Jobless Generation Puts Brakes On US," The Financial Times , 7/30/12)
  • Due To Increasing Student Loan Debt, "Millennials Might End Up Buying Less Expensive Homes Or More Often Choosing To Rent Than Previous Generations." "Millennials might end up buying less expensive homes or more often choosing to rent than previous generations." (Annie Lowrey, "Student Debt Slows Growth As Young Spend Less," The New York Times , 5/10/13)

The Problem Of Youth Unemployment "Has A Unique Flavor In The US, Where The Weak Job Market Has Collided With Record Levels Of Educational Debt." "Youth unemployment has reached crisis levels around the world, with almost 13 per cent of the global youth labour force out of work this year, according to the International Labour Organisation. But the problem has a unique flavour in the US, where the weak job market has collided with record levels of educational debt - about $25,000 for the average graduate. Together, they pose a threat to the future earning power of young Americans such as Mr Grzywacz - and could have long-lasting effects on US growth." (Shannon Bond, "Jobless Generation Puts Brakes On US," The Financial Times , 7/30/12)

The Majority Of Jobs Taken By College Graduates Do Not Require A Bachelor's Degree. "And while 63% of "Generation Y" workers - those age 18 to 29 - have a bachelor's degree, the majority of the jobs taken by graduates don't require one, according to an online survey of 500,000 young workers carried out between July 2011 and July 2012 by, a company that collects data on salaries." (Quentin Fottrell, "Trading Caps And Gowns For Mops," The Wall Street Journal, 8/23/12)

  • "Half Of Graduates In The Past Five Years Say Their Jobs Didn't Require A Four-Year Degree And Only 20% Said Their First Job Was On Their Career Path." "Another survey by Rutgers University came to the same conclusion: Half of graduates in the past five years say their jobs didn't require a four-year degree and only 20% said their first job was on their career path." (Quentin Fottrell, "Trading Caps And Gowns For Mops," The Wall Street Journal, 8/23/12)

"America's Young People Are Facing An Unemployment Crisis And Their Outlook Isn't Set To Improve Any Time Soon." (Dedrick Muhammad, "Survival Tips for Unemployed Youth," Huffington Post, 7/1/13)

  • 10 Million Americans Under The Age Of 25 Are Unable To Find Full-Time Work. "A newly released report from the Center for American Progress says that 10 million Americans under the age of 25 are unable to find full-time work. That is more than the entire populations of New York City, Boston and Washington, D.C., combined." (Dedrick Muhammad, "Survival Tips for Unemployed Youth," Huffington Post, 7/1/13)
  • "Youth Unemployment Figures Are Even More Alarming For Young Minority Workers -- Black Teen Unemployment Rose To A Staggering 40.5 Percent In April." (Dedrick Muhammad, "Survival Tips for Unemployed Youth," Huffington Post, 7/1/13)
  • "In Fact, Young People Who Have Been Out Of Work For Six Months Can Expect To Earn $22,000 Less Over The Next 10 Years Than They Could Have Earned If They Had Not Been Unemployed." (Dedrick Muhammad, "Survival Tips for Unemployed Youth," Huffington Post, 7/1/13)

Bloomberg Senior Economist Joseph Brusuelas: Youth Unemployment May "Cause The Nation To Lose Up To $18 Billion In Earnings Over The Next Decade." "This crisis has far-reaching implications that affect more than just youth: unemployment among young people could cause the nation to lose up to $18 billion in earnings over the next decade, according to Bloomberg senior economist Joseph Brusuelas." (Dedrick Muhammad, "Survival Tips for Unemployed Youth," Huffington Post, 7/1/13)

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