Politics

Obama's WTF Tour: Cleveland is Home to "industries of tomorrow"!

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President Barack Obama is sliding deep into a "Win the Future" (WTF) tour, during which he battles economic stagnation and his own ruinous spend-and-regulate-til-the-cows-come-home policies (and those of his immediate predecessor) by the profligate use of cliches. His latest stop was in Cleveland, Ohio, dubbed "the most miserable city" in the U.S. just last year by Forbes magazine.

In search of support for a budget that even his fans found pathetic and some votes in 2012, Obama spoke as if he had transported back to 1950, when "the Mistake on the Lake" was peaking in population growth. Presidential nippets from an address at Cleveland State University to entrepreneurs, small business leaders, and the like:

"As the economy changed, a lot of people wrote off Cleveland as a shell of its former self. But you . . . knew differently." [ellipsis in original news account; bonus points for filling it in with something printable]…

"We've got to invent new (industries), and that's what you're doing here."…

"When small businesses do well, we do well."…

"It's small businesses like yours that help drive America's economic growth."

"If we can get businesses to partner with local community colleges or local universities and have them help design the training process for the jobs that already exist, it's a win-win."

The forum lasted three hours and I'm betting the cliches-to-hour ratio was pulling somewhere north of 60: 1. Just to make sure Obama isn't the only person talking exclusively in useless aphorisms, The Plain Dealer ends its account with a participant gushing that the 'Bama admin "gets it. They actually get it. The question now is: How do we leverage this to benefit Cleveland?"

Wasn't that supposed to be the freaking point of the forum? If you're walking out of an hours-long meeting and the big insight is that people in Washington understand that Cleveland is a dying city, well, it was nice knowing you.

The bromance of small business is one of the phoniest apparitions to cloud America since its founding, a veritable Funky Phantom of misdirected policymaking. The government counts any enterprise with fewer than 500 employees as "small" and it's a definition that covers about 99.7 percent of all businesses. However, it's that puny 0.3 percent of other super-humongous-gigantic businesses that account for about half of all private-sector employment. As the National Federation of Independent Business and other groups would tell you when they're not trying to shake down the feds for subsidized loans via the generally wasteful and unnecessary Small Business Administration, entrepreneurs don't need special tax treatment and subsidies as much as they need a stable, predictable tax and regulatory environment (just like big business!). It's hard enough to make a go of it in the marketplace, they don't need wild overspending by government at all levels and an endless bevy of new rules that countermand past rules etc.

Cleveland and the larger region of Northeast Ohio is in a decades-long funk for a lot of reasons, some of which they can't control (such as the end of highly protected industries that start to hit the skids in the 1960s if not before) and many that they can absolutely control (high and complicated local and state taxes, shitty and expensive public schools, 19th-century zoning and planning schemes, idiot legislators who would rather spend money they don't have on high-tech garbage cans than loosen up the business environment).

Can this city be saved? You bet it can, but not through the sort of high-profile pow-wows that just took place. The city's and region's leaders need to drink deep not of yesteryear's cliches and failed ideas but of exactly the sort of proven policies that Reason spent a year documenting in "Reason Saves Cleveland with Drew Carey: How to fix the 'Mistake on the Lake' and other once-great American cities." Go here for more info and research up the ying-yang. Or shut your office door and spend the first hour of the work day learning what can make cities thrive once again:

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116 responses to “Obama's WTF Tour: Cleveland is Home to "industries of tomorrow"!

  1. WHIP INFLATION NOW!

  2. [ellipsis in original news account; bonus points for filling it in with something printable]…

    “folks”

    1. “rubes”

    2. Anybody who guesses anything other than “motherfuckers”…..

      1. Fucking! “But you fucking knew differently.”

        What do I win? Besides the future, that is?

        (flashes big fucking grin)

      2. Yeah. I think that counts as printable. On the internet.

    3. Mendicants.

    4. “As the economy changed, a lot of people wrote off Cleveland as a shell of its former self. But you knew fuckin’ economies, how they work and knew differently.”

  3. Hey, don’t be dissin’ Cleveland.

    After all, all the little chicks with the crimson lips go “Cleveland rocks!” Twice.

  4. Obama stole my idea! WIN was originally MY idea!!!!

    1. WTF was Obama’s idea.

      1. Was it? I thought one of us infiltrated and snuck that into his teleprompter.

        1. If it comes from the teleprompter, it’s Obama’s idea.

          1. Unless if fails to poll well.

            In that case, it belongs to whomever he decides to throw under the bus.

            1. those fucking pussies didn’t have the balls to make that ‘The’ any bigger?

  5. Invent new industries? In THIS economy? First we need to invent smaller government.

    check and mate, Mr President.

  6. Yes Obama, Cleveland is reliant on small business… because all the big business collapsed.

    1. collapsed? yep after the gobp “free” traders exported manufacturing overseas & imported the trade deficit. if the gobp ran a baseball team, it would export wins & import losses like…the cleveland indians!

      1. And did government do anything to cause these businesses to move out? Come on, you get it if you try real hard!

        1. u mean other than relocation tax incentives & retraining subsidises?

          1. u mean other than relocation tax incentives & retraining subsidises?

            What the fuck does this even mean?

            1. I wondered the same thing.

              Apparently the highly-educated workforce in Cleveland has nothing to do with employers fleeing either.

      2. Thanks, I was looking for a severely strained metaphor this morning.

  7. You might be able to save the city, but I fear there is no hope for the Browns.

    1. Least they aren’t the Lions.

    2. The only time the Browns go to the superbowl is after I eat Taco Bell.

      1. I certainly hope you aren’t a Washington fan. Leave your redskin out of the bowl.

  8. So many roads and intersection were closed yesterday because His Pigfucking Majesty was in town. Fuck Obama for having his security hordes inconvenience thousands of people for nothing but a worthless early campaign speech.

    1. Do you even know how many jobs were saved or created by the security theater? No, didn’t think so. Stop asking questions.

  9. I fear there is no hope for the Browns.

    Who are these “Browns” of whom you speak?

    There was, once upon a time, a football team of that name, but they, like the other smart rats, abandoned the listing, rusty hulk which is Cleveland.

    1. And won a Super Bowl, furthering mocking your pain.

      1. As a former Houstonian, this is not funny to me.

        1. Well, at least Houston and Cleveland have one thing in common…

          1. Fat people?

            1. I resemble that remark.

    2. and went to Baltimore? WTF!?

      1. Win
        The
        Future!

        1. But, what do I win? I already have the future.

          1. Oh, okay. Well, you’re exempt then.

  10. Fuck Obama for having his security hordes inconvenience thousands of people for nothing but a worthless early campaign speech.

    KNEEL, and avert your insolent gaze, peasant!

    1. Sigh. If only Zod had taken power in 2008.

      1. At least we would have a robust space policy.

        1. That’s right. Launch by Zod. Pay Zod sufficiently, and he will throw whatever you want into orbit. Or, more accurately, he will command Non to throw it into orbit.

          1. Hey, we could break our path dependence on rocket technology. Zod/Hillary 2012!

            1. And we’d have no need whatsoever for any military.

              Indeed, even Zod’s potential conflicts would be ended by his assumption of office. For is Son of Jor-El not dedicated to fighting for the American way? What’s more American than President Zod?

              1. Yeah, but then you’d have those birthers seeking Zod’s long form birth certificate. And then there would be those bitter-clingers claiming that he is a secret Raoan.

                1. Don’t be silly. Zod will simply fly into orbit at high speeds, travel back to 1789, and make a small correction:

                  No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States OR OF THE PLANET KRYPTON, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States, EXCEPT FOR ZOD.

                  1. I’m still not sure…he’d still have to tangle with the Kochtopus, and we all know that is the most potent force in American politics…

                    1. They, like all other residents of Planet Houston, shall kneel before Zod.

  11. The official band for the WTF tour should be Talk Talk…that’s all the POTUS seems capable of.

    1. I just wish our prez could cover “Silent Lucidity” on a continuous loop for the next 22 months.

  12. Introduce dolphins into Lake Erie so all the kids who want to be dolphin trainers can fulfil their desires. What else is hot these days? Sports therapists? TV announcers? Models?
    Roadies? Surely Cleveland can get with it so their community college students can be all they want to be.

  13. It’s funny how someone with absolutely no clue about a particular subject can stand up, mouth some cliches, and think they’ve done anything but make themselves look foolish.

    “We’ve got to invent new (industries)..” Ok, sure..but how, Kemo Sabe ? He’s got no idea, and why would he ? The tough work it takes to start a business, sustain it, grow it is as mysterious to him as the dark side of the moon. He’s profoundly ignorant, yet has credentials that tell him that he’s a smart guy, therefore qualified to tell others what to do. It’s a continuing mystery why people support an arrogant twit they’d never be able to tolerate in the workplace.

    1. It’s funny that none of his advisers pointed out that WTF already stands for something.

      1. I thought he was an Internet zenmaster? Not knowing what WTF means is like not knowing that all of your base are, indeed, belong to us.

        1. His new initiative will be called “They Set Us Up the Bomb.”

          1. For great justice.

      2. Of course he knew this. It’s his way of saying, “I’m the president and I’m ironic!”

        1. He’s not just dreamy. He’s hip.

  14. “We’ve got to invent new (industries)..”

    Peasant: But- WHY do we gotsta, Meestah Praisydint?

    Exhalted Leader: In order to tax them, you fool! Guards- remove this verminous peasant, and bring me a cucumber and arugula sammich. And make damned certain the crusts are properly trimmed, this time!

    1. Change “cucumber and arugula sammich” to “bacon cheeseburger” and that is pretty much spot-on.

      1. Let me be perfectly clear…

  15. It’s funny that none of his advisers pointed out that WTF already stands for something.

    It’s an ominous portent when Sarah Palin is more dialed in than the people “advising” you.

  16. And those city council members we saw in that Drew Carey video, who were in such denial about the state of their own goddamn city, were probably drooling and peeing themselves like teenyboppers when their hero Obama came to town. Now we’re SAVED! they said.

  17. Ha ha. “Cleveland needs to become more business-friendly”.

    Gee, maybe I saw an early cut. I didn’t see anything in the film about how the town was flattened in the 80s by…business. Let me check again.

    Nope, nothing about the economic terrorism of big steel and auto corps sending Cleveland’s jobs to Asia and South America in droves. Not a word about the complete amorality of the boardroom’s pursuit of growth at the direct cost of cratering a great city.

    Speaking of Asia – I did see the Wal-Mart though. Ha ha.

    Sure, sure, we all know why these employers left. It was the fault of those damn sourpuss black politicians wearing Sunday hats. It was’t the free market or anything, hell no! It wasn’t the global fluidity of unfettered and conscience-free capital. Of course not!

    It was… “red tape”.

    Uh huh.

    1. Just curious, how do you expect Cleveland to have an active economy without businesses?

      1. Just curious, how do you expect Cleveland to have an active economy without businesses?

        I don’t. What I would prefer is that when business obliterates a city, we tell the truth about that fact and use it in our formulations for recovery. That we become more, not less skeptical of arguments that blame the poor and middle class and their elected representatives for what was done by nobody but the captains of industry when they pulled the rug.

        1. Why was it that the ONLY industries in Cleveland were heavy manufacturing? Why is it that cities with diverse, dynamic business cultures seem to be able to weather the hard times? How do those cities get diverse and dynamic business cultures in the first place? Could it be less government intrusion? Could it be government not favoring one or two industries with tax incentives to teh exclusion of all others?

          I love how you Clevelanders know how rotten your city is, but all you can do is bleat about the glorious past instead of actually figuring out how to get the fuck out of the situation you’re in now. I have not heard one single, solitary good idea on ho wto make Cleveland great from one single, solitary current Cleveland resident.

          1. How do those cities get diverse and dynamic business cultures in the first place? Could it be less government intrusion? Could it be government not favoring one or two industries with tax incentives to teh exclusion of all others?

            Accidents of history. Chicago would be Detroit or Cleveland were it not for it being situated on the conjunction of rail, the Great Lakes and the Mississippi. Unlike the others, Chicago has thrived on North America’s trade and commerce that has no choice but to move through it.

            I realize that caprice is an explanation that seems unsatisfying at first, but it becomes easier to understand when you notice how truly shallow the roots of this culture are. None of these cities are older than two centuries and all of them were built following a mass murder of the people here before. Against the backdrop of that kind of radical change in such a tiny time frame, it should be easier to recognize that the global playground of capital is prone to leaving a behind a trail of victims of mass economic murder.

            Dwell on historical reality for a second before you resume your hunt for scapegoats among the middle class, the poor and their elected representatives.

            Oh, and about the film: Houston? The #1 corporate welfare city in the US, thanks to the DOD and subsidy to the oil industry headquartered there. Ha ha. Look at the glibertarian cheerleaders for the “free market” jumping up and down in praise of corporate welfare.

            1. Most of the cities of the Upper Midwest are on the Great Lakes, on a tributary of the Missippi and on rail lines. Some are doing better than others, even some that are missing one or more of the three elements you’ve brought up.

              1. Sure, but Chicago is the only one that lies at the confluence of all three. It’s not a coincidence that no Upper Midwest city can touch Chicago in any of these departments: population, employment, capital availability, diversity of economy, cultural institutions.

                The point being that the rust belt absolutely includes Chicago (Gary works); but the city thrives nonetheless and didn’t turn into Detroit or Cleveland by virtue of its historic location and role, certainly not by some magic of privatization and beating back government. Far from it. If government and organized labor is such a city-killing problem, what’s this “Chicago machine” right-wingers can’t seem to shut up about?

        2. Describe “use it in our formulations for recovery”.

    2. “Nope, nothing about the economic terrorism of big steel and auto corps sending Cleveland’s jobs to Asia and South America in droves.”

      Well, with all the workers there without jobs, surely some other business would see a huge opportunity to open up a new factory! Ha, ha, ha.

      Sorry, labor needs the same advice as women — sometimes, the reason you can’t keep a long term relationship with a (man/business) is you.

      1. Glibertarianism, cynical is indeed thy name.

        1. On the other hand, politically powerful central planners act only with genuine concern about the welfare of their fellow men.

          1. As history has shown again and again and again.

            And again.

        2. I like libertarians, if I’m dealing with mainstream Team Red or Team Blue I’ll even use that label for their convenience, but my voting registration says: Independent.

      2. Ooooh! Now the capitalists are “economic terrorists”. I’m a-skeered. Guess I’ll vote Democrat so they can raise my taxes, implement socialism, and gut what’s left of our economy.

        You got in the “terrorist” claim, but I notice you forgot to also call them nazis, racists, and baby killers.

    3. Guess Cleveland is lucky to be rid of all those evil capitalists, then. Problem solved, there is no problem.

    4. Time for you to take a 100 level class in History and Economics. Corporations are great at producing services and products; the highest quality and/or the lowest cost.

      They’re like an animal. For example a cat that’s great at catching mice. Wouldn’t it be stupid to preach morality to the cat? To expect it to treat some mice with compassion? No, instead you train and control the cat just like elected governments regulate and control corporations.

      So stop bitching about the corporations; they did what they should have done and what our Dem/Repub govts allowed them to do. And get this straight: the corporations didn’t ruin Cleveland. The corporations were driven out of Cleveland (and the rest of the US) because of unsustainable labor costs due to excessively powerful unions. And oh yeah…the crime rates and pathetic schools might have contributed a bit too.

      1. No, instead you train and control the cat just like elected governments regulate… corporations.

        Whoa, settle down with the heresy, there, pal. This is Reason, you know. Tax is theft. Regulation is slavery. The Jacket is a genius.

        No, instead you train and control the cat just like elected governments… control corporations.

        Yeah, no. There’s a 100-level class needed here, and it’s not me that needs it, it’s you. If “elected governments control corporations”, how come I couldn’t find Lloyd Blankfein on my ballot yesterday so I could vote against him?

        Ha ha.

  18. Invest
    Dollars
    In
    Our
    Technology

  19. -or-
    Invest
    Dollars
    In
    Our
    Current
    Youth

    1. HEy! I reSemble thaT!

    2. Can I get that printed on a nice, slim-T. about a Large, maybe in a nice muscle-shirt cotton fabric? I’m thinkin deep blue background with white print.

  20. I for one am thrilled to see an article on Cleveland. I was just saying we need to hear more shit on Cleveland-Reason you are doing a great job. Please have another post on Cleveland today.

    1. We should just nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure, after all.

  21. I’d be behind a “STFU” tour 100%.

  22. the economic terrorism of big steel and auto corps sending Cleveland’s jobs to Asia and South America in droves.

    And people say American corporations can’t engage in long term planning.

    “Now, what we’re gonna do is build this large profitable manufacturing center, and then, just as the rubes get settled into thinking the gravy train will last forever, we’ll pull the rug out from under ’em, and move it all to Paraguay! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!”

    *twirls moustache, lights cigar with hundred dollar bill*

    1. There’s a scene in the original Family Guy run where a bunch of Evil Tobacco Executives gleefully replace clay targets with puppies for shooting practice. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think corporate executives actually are like that.

      1. Have you seen the price of clay?!

      2. Tobacco executive are concerned about childhood obesity-they were ahead of their time

      3. Puppies wobble too much

      4. I’m pretty sure a lot of people think corporate executives actually are like that.

        Yeah, not me. I am a corporate executive. I know what we do. Adam Smith knew what we do:

        People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices.

        Ha ha. That’s the invisible hand, fisting you.

    2. “*twirls moustache, lights cigar with hundred dollar bill*”

      You need to point out that the hundred dollar bill was stolen from the pile of bills in the Social Security Trust Fund to give the full picture of the evil plutocrats.

    3. Uh, you missed one step bozo. THe manufacturing center moved overseas because it was no longer profitable in the US. It was no longer profitable because all-powerful unions jacked wages and benefits to unsustainable levels. Rather than scale back costs in the 1970s, the unions said “f**k you”…go ahead an lay off the new hires instead. So, the workforce was slowly shrunk in the 1980s until even that was unsustainable. Then China/India ramped up their market economies and the jobs moved overseas.

      But, you can’t see this can you? No, it’s just eeeeevil capitalists (I picture a fat guy with a top hat, spats, and a bag of gold….probably a jew, eh?) intentionally destroying their own industries in order to gleefully screw over “the working man”.

      1. Uh, you missed one step bozo. THe manufacturing center moved overseas because it was no longer profitable in the US.

        Prove it. Show me the years in the 80s that Cleveland’s manufacturing tenants showed a loss on their annual report. Surely they waved such things around as they left – how hard could they be to find?

        Make a case that they had to leave or take a loss, I fucking dare you and any of the other middle-class-hating shills that infest this place.

        1. He missed out one word, “as”.

          “THe manufacturing center moved overseas because it was no longer AS profitable in the US”…

          If it had continued to be as or more profitable, it would have stayed in the US…

  23. Cleveland only exists because it was a rest stop on the trip from Buffalo to Chicago. Can’t we let the place die instead of trying to keep it alive like Terry Schaivo?

  24. I realize that caprice is an explanation that seems unsatisfying at first

    Almost as unsatisfying as “things change” apparently.

  25. I am thinking of doing some internet marketing ourselves, what do you think of using a website and newsletter like this
    http://marketing-mistress.com/…..etter.html

  26. Replace big government with big business to save the economy? Out of the frying pan into the fire of Plutocracy.

  27. “Let’s replace democracy with plutocracy!” -Tea Party

    1. I think the word you are looking for is “liberty,” not “plutocracy”

      Although I can understand your choice of word since it has all them fancy syllable-thingys.

    2. In the last few days I’ve seen the word “plutocracy” mentioned more times than in the last 20 years combined. Seems like every Leftist blogger, and half the posters are using the term. Sounds like Party Central has a new talking points memo out. I guess “racist”, “facsist”, and “teabagger” aren’t gaining traction so they’ll try name-calling with “plutocracy”.

      1. A bit like “gravitas” when talking about Cheney and Bush.

  28. The Left is obsessed with messaging; they’re convinced their ideology is so utterly superior that the only reasons voters reject it in droves is they’re too stupid to undestand it. Thus, better messaging is the answer, and we get WTF. But, is this the best the Left can do? I know “hope and change” has worn out its welcome, but WTF is as lame as Nixon’s Whip Inflation Now (WIN) buttons. Also, it appears all those oh-so clever ivy leaguers failed to realize that WTF also stands for something much more earthy.

  29. It only takes a day to get a sign permit in my city.

  30. “If we can get businesses to partner with local community colleges or local universities and have them help design the training process for the jobs that already exist, it’s a win-win.”

    Why do we want to train people for jobs that already exist? What does this mean? Maybe for job-opportunities that already exist? With unemployment that doesn’t make any sense. Then we can have MORE qualified people unable to find work in a certain sector.

    How about we let people find their own way, create new markets, etc.

    1. More “education” is hardly what is needed. There are plenty of educated and experienced people out of work. The colleges are filled with barely-literate and desperate people who don’t belong there and aren’t being trained to do anything that people will pay them for.

  31. Re: filling in the ellipsis (“but you. . .knew better”), how about “but you thought you knew better”?

  32. I fled Cleveland a year ago immediately after graduating college. I’d lived there my entire life. About half way through college, I began to realize there was something deeply and abnormally wrong with the region and the people that lived there.

    Clevelanders take a kind of sick pride in the degeneracy of the place, and mostly insist that there is nothing wrong with it. It’s all they’ve ever known, and the few problems that are acknowledged are blamed on external factors.

    The culture is thoroughly rotten. The people are bigoted, rude, illiterate drunks. The men of Cleveland exist for no purpose other than drinking, fighting over ugly women who think they’re hot stuff, and rooting for low-end sports teams then crying about it when they predictably lose.

    Cleveland is doomed and Clevelanders are to blame. Anyone with any drive and talent is driven far away from the city.

  33. “I’m betting the cliches-to-hour ratio was pulling somewhere north of 60:1.” Haha! I saw the President and the First Lady on this tour. Question: it looked to me like Michelle wears Indian remy lace wigs. Can anyone confirm this?

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