published Monday, July 29th, 2013

Smith: Hands off our success: Mr. President, why Chattanooga, Tennessee?

By Robin Smith

In selecting sites to promote, again, your economic recovery policies, Mr. President, why visit a state where 90 of 95 counties voted against you in 2008 flipping control of its state legislature for the first time in its post-Reconstruction history to Republican control of both chambers? Why stand in one of the 91 counties opposing your policies and your campaign of 2012 that saw a super-majority of pro-growth Republicans in the state legislature elected for the first time in our history?

Amazon, Volkswagen, Wacker and other businesses have moved to a right-to-work state for nonunion workers, to a non-income tax state allowing more take-home pay for their employees, to an “all-of-the-above” energy state that keeps the cost of doing business lower, and to a state protected from jackpot justice of slip-and-fall trail lawyers through tort reform, just to name a few benefits.

These benefits directly result from policies planted in the garden of the free enterprise and commerce in Tennessee, cultivated and tended, weeded of thorny, invasive regulations, interests and malignant spending that choke out good growth and yielding a supply of jobs for our hard-working families.

Why not stop in Detroit, Mr. President, to tout your economic policies?

Remember, in October 2012, your weekly address proclaimed your refusal to “let Detroit go bankrupt.”

Now that city, previously known for its manufacturing muscle embodied in America’s automotive industry, is literally bankrupt. The spectacle proves that policies are consequential and that manipulated markets seized by taxes, union control and the inevitable inability to compete close businesses and, therefore, hurt middle- and lower-class workers because jobs are destroyed.

This philosophy of tax-the-rich, big-government-little-citizens being used by Detroit and many other cities is failing.

They are using your policies, Mr. President.

Back in the 2008 election cycle, your 506 campaign promises included three that were predicted then as problematic and have now proven to demonstrate failure.

“Health care for all” was your pledge to drive down the costs of health care and increase accessibility. The Affordable Care Act “train wreck,” so named by Democrat Senator Max Baucus, is actually increasing costs for the majority who will have coverage and creating havoc for small businesses.

In Tennessee, both Republicans and Democrats learned that our TennCare program almost destroyed our state’s budget. The bi-partisan reform of our Medicaid program was a solution that deserves recognition.

Your pledge to reform the Patriot Act stirred the pot of civil liberties a few years ago. Yet, ironically, it is your Department of Justice that sought the expansion of and implemented the “secret interpretation” of Section 215 of the same Patriot Act allowing access to all domestic calls and information regardless of suspicion. This tyrannical expansion of an anti-terror tool is now defended by you and many of the same civil liberties folks.

“Defend labor rights” was a third sweeping promise in your 2008 playbook that may be one of your real agenda items in Chattanooga. “Understand this. If American workers are being denied their right to organize and collectively bargain when I’m in the White House, I will put on a comfortable pair of shoes myself, I’ll walk on that picket line with you as President of the United States of America.”

Amazon, Volkswagen, and other companies that have chosen Tennessee’s environment of success are here because of leaders such as Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker, and Gov. Bill Haslam, who stand on conservative principles.

Welcome to our city, county and state, Mr. President. Please take notes. But rewriting our path to success is off-limits.

Robin Smith served as chairwoman of the Tennessee Republican Party from 2007 to 2009. She is a partner at the SmithWaterhouse Strategies business development and strategic planning firm.

Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
inquiringmind said...

I guess the President should only visit places where he received a majority? Then you'd complain he was ignoring us. The last I heard he was the president of ALL the USA.

I'd hardly call a town and county with a broken school system, one of the worst impoverished urban downtowns, and a combined storm sewer/sanitary sewer system that dumps millions of gallons of sewage in the Tennessee River "success" when we are finished paying for it, unless we get some of that Federal aid you loathe.

By the way, you are wrong about healthcare costs under Obamacare. They actually are going down as more and more people enter the plan. What may not be going down is the inflation in costs and wide variation on cost for specific procedures, but your doctor-friends would really yell if we limited those, their quaint third homes in Ireland might go the by and by.

Any so-called train wreck lies solely at the feet of an obstructionist House who refuses to exercise their constitutional duty in the rabid effort to smear President Obama regardless of the will of the majority of the American public.

Why don't you get away from political tract writing, address some relevant issues and offer some constructive solutions that imporve the lot of all people not just the rich?

July 29, 2013 at 7:35 a.m.
MyGen said...

I think it's cool that the President's coming here but dread to read how he rearranges the truth of how Chattanooga has succeeded.

July 29, 2013 at 7:59 a.m.
Facts said...

If our federal government did half the things that Tennessee has done over the last 5 years to allow workers to keep more of their money and the private sector to operate without competing with the government, we would have an authentic recovery at this moment. Our problem is the "representation" in Washington by a bunch of lawyers and academic types who really know nothing but how to campaign.

July 29, 2013 at 8:47 a.m.
klifnotes said...

Why don't you get away from political tract writing, address some relevant issues and offer some constructive solutions that imporve the lot of all people not just the rich?

Because they're too filled with hate of a black man in the WHITE PEOPLE'S HOUSE. During the president's first term, they openly stated they were going to be sure to make him a one time president. When that didn't work, they had to gather forces and go to plans B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L'em N, O, P, Q, R'er, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y 'n'er an effort to "overthrow O'BAMA'S guv'ment". Their words, honestly. Even if it means destroying America and themselves in the process. They're hatred being so great and intense, that in the end it consumes even them.

July 29, 2013 at 9:03 a.m.
SaraB said...

I am a Republican based on the issues in this article and others I've been reading about here. As a new college graduate making my way in the world, I'm not interested in being addressed based on my reproduction and gender. I want to be successful in business and have the ability to enjoy my freedoms. I can't imagine why others want to be tied to government programs instead of just working.

July 29, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
Ki said...

Miz SaraB, honey ch'ile, you've benefitted from the federal government without even realizing it. Whether you attended a private or public college, private or public school, you're the recipient in some way of those despised and much hated government *handouts Republicans and Tea Partiers are always crying about.

In fact, check out some of those Republican politicians who decry the loudest of government programs, and you'll find they've been the federal governments' largest recipients.

Did you know the poor only receive about 12% of the funds coming down from the federal government? While upper-middle-classes and the wealthy receive the 88% remaining at any given time? Ask Romney about that 15 million bailout he received from the federal government, funneling it through his church then hiding it in some offshore account in his wife's name.

July 29, 2013 at 2:36 p.m.
SaraB said...

Republicans aren't like the libertarians who want no government. It's about less government for things that can't be done by an individual. I worked every summer and through all four years of college to avoid going into debt. Why is that so strange? Why is it so accepted to spend more than you make or take from others who work? I'm not interested in a personal fight but already see that many decide not to take care of themselves because there's some program to fall back on.

July 29, 2013 at 7:43 p.m.
Ki said...

SaraB said... Republicans aren't like the libertarians who want no government. It's about less government for things that can't be done by an individual. I worked every summer and through all four years of college to avoid going into debt. Why is that so strange?

Sarah, dear ch'ile, you're talking broccoli and apples. And it makes you sounds batter than a batsy bug. Who said anything about going into debt? Receiving federal help for college education doesn't mean going into debt. And unless you're wealthy or your parents are and paid full tuition, all your books, classes etc., there is no way you paid for college on a summer job salary or while working during the college year. That is, unless you had some wealthy sugar-daddee supporting you. Or you were a drug dealer. Well, you may have received some kind of full-time college scholarship. However, upon a closer look, the dreaded government like had a hand in that in some way too.

There are more ways the government is involved in education that by way of government back student loans. I never applied for a government loan either while attending college. However, I did work as co-op for companies like Boeing (subsidized by federal government) and work other jobs, some of which too were subsidized feared towards college students by federal government-during my time in college, applied for and qualified for certain grants and scholarships, in addition to working. Your experience is not unique. So stop placing yourself on some kind of self-made pedestal. I'm proud of my accomplishment, but I don't look down my nose at others who weren't so lucky. I was always told, as we reach the top of that ladder to success the ones don't snub or step on anyone along the way. They'll likely be the only ones to cushion your fall when you come tumbling back d own.

July 29, 2013 at 8 p.m.
SaraB said...

I'm not on a self-made pedestal. I'm doing my best to avoid being "subsidized." I am also not knocking anyone on any ladder up or down. I just don't want my work to be diluted down or torn apart for the benefit of those not willing to work.

I am also not interested in some mocking dialect. I appreciate you solidifying my beliefs more. I am young. I am a female. I am willing to work very hard. I am not willing to be chided or mocked into a group that responds to pandering.

July 29, 2013 at 8:42 p.m.
soakya said...

Success? What success? You have got to be joking. Let me say first of all I'm no supporter of the president he has been a complete failure but I'm a little confused why republicans in TN are patting their self on the back for results that are worse than the nation.

You do realize the unemployment rate is greater than 10% in 48 out of the 95 counties and TN overall rate of 8.5 is .9% than the national rate of 7.6. Also the annual unemployment for 2007 for Hamilton county was 4.1% and 4.9 for TN. What recovery are you republicans talking about?

In 2006-07 we see a sharp incline in population which continues to climb until 2012. In the same time period we see a rise in the number of unemployed and a decline in the actual number of employees. Since 2007 the number of unemployed has increased by 5,550 and the number employed has fallen by 5,440. Per Capita income grew at a faster pace from 2001-2007. Per capita income grew by 26% or $7,971 dollars during 2001-07 compared to 4% or $1,829 dollars from 2007-2011. From 2007-12 the employed to civilian labor force ratio rate fell by 3.32 %. Today, more than 2 years after Volkswagen opened their doors Hamilton County has fewer workers and more unemployed and slower growth in per capita income. The debt over the same 6 years has ballooned to over 200 million.

Tennessee looks almost identical to Hamilton County. In 2007 TN had 9,400 more people working than in 2012. A massive 101,100 Tennessean’s joined the unemployment line since 2007 and we have added $1,061,526,000 in net bonded debt. Since 2007 the employed to civilian labor force ratio has declined by 3.1%. Per capita income also grew at a faster pace from 2001-07, $6904 dollars or 26% compared to $4487 dollars or 13% from 2007-12.
The only thing that has taken place is a shuffling of jobs from one industry to another and from one county to the other and from one state to another state.

The republican definition of free enterprise and the true conservative's definition apparently is not the same.

July 29, 2013 at 11:17 p.m.
soakya said...

Robin, If I were you and the republican party I would be begging Obama to please take credit for TN and Hamilton county.

July 29, 2013 at 11:53 p.m.
jjmez said...

All I know is historically, and since Reagan, the federal government has always gotten larger when Republicans are in control. So, their talk about wanting to downsize the federal government is full of cow paddies.

July 30, 2013 at 10:55 p.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

The reason there remains a Chattanooga for Obama to visit was that the Federal Government built 35+ dams on in the TN valley.

If you think private enterprise could have done that then witness Hales Bar Dam which leaked, was undersized and came in way over budget as well as years past it's scheduled completion date. Or look in amazement at the high tech dams of Ocoee 1 and Ocoee 2 also built with private money. Think free enterprise cared when it denuded Copper Hill with sulfur dioxide fumes chasing. Did the invisible hand of the free market intervene?

If you want to stop government growth quit funding the anti-terror industrial complex. If you want accountability demand better representation in Washington - less of it isn't working.

July 31, 2013 at 8:27 a.m.
Hunter_Bluff said...

I think it's great Sara worked her way through college. So did I in the carpet industry which at one point boasted almost 13% unemployment and is still above 10%. I wish everyone COULD work their way through college. When I went to college Ga Tech tuition was $292/quarter (yes we had the quarter system in the 1980s). But have you noticed that people WITH degrees can't find a job? And most of them are spending their savings not living off the government. If you think you can live off of $240/week in unemployment you must live in Haiti.

July 31, 2013 at 8:33 a.m.
jjmez said...

Hunter, sarah said nothing about working her way through college. She said she worked while attending college (which most students do) and implies she stayed away from college loans. That doesn't say or imply she never received any type of federal assistance such as grants or government backed scholarships.

But have you noticed that people WITH degrees can't find a job?

The above is usually due to the field of study they went into, and 4 year college degrees. Whereas at 2 year colleges, vocational colleges (such as Chattanooga State) and Trade schools, employers can often be found standing outside the classroom doors waiting to recruit students for work before they've even graduated. A few short years ago most all the students studying electronics at Chattanooga States Vocational college were hired by TVA where they received more training while working at TVA to become engineers in their field. And that was only a six month to one year program they were in at Chattanooga State Voc.

July 31, 2013 at 10:44 a.m.
charivara said...

soakya: Here you go again, trotting out your statistics once more. What exactly are they supposed to mean? You'd think you'd discovered the economic equivalent to the cure for cancer by learning that unemployment goes up when the economy goes down. And that when people don’t have work they don’t earn an income so per capita incomes will come down. Well....

Per capita income. A simple example. 1 income of $1 million and 9 incomes of $100,000. Per capita income = $190,000. Now, 1 income of $1 million and 5 incomes of $100,000 and 4 of $0 (because they’re unemployed). Per capita income = $150,000. The per capita income has come down yet not all individual incomes have. So in that sense, per capita income may not be a very helpful indicator of what is actually occurring. It doesn’t tell us, for instance. how income is distributed.

In fact, since 2007, the wealthiest Americans have suffered very little from the economic collapse. The per capita income may have come down but the individual decrease in incomes has been largely felt by the lower 90% (less than $150,000) of income earners. And that is a result of government policy.

One of the major functions of government is to redistribute wealth. Providing fire protection, providing public education, providing national defense, building roads, ensuring food safety, ensuring banks behave responsibly etc. are all done by redistributing wealth. The Constitution says the government’s duty is “to promote the general welfare” not the generals’ welfare, be they social, economic, political or military.

August 1, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
soakya said...

Charravarra: It might benefit you and our politicians to learn what the writers of the constitution meant by the term "general welfare." I do not think it means what you think it means. Princess Bride Endigo Motoya.

August 1, 2013 at 2:51 p.m.
soakya said...

If we can but prevent the government from wasting the labours of the people, under the pretence of taking care of them, they must become happy.

A wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government, and this is necessary to close the circlue of our felicities.

Thomas Jefferson

"A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of governement. It can only exist until the voters discover that they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury with the result that a democracy always collapses over loose fiscal policy, always followed by dictatorship. The average age of the world's greatest civilizations has been 200 years."

Alexis de Tocqueville

August 1, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.
bret said...

Max Baucus didn't call Obamacare a train wreck as Robin Smith claims. He said that insufficient awareness of how the law worked is the train wreck, not the law itself. New York recently reported that premiums there will be dropping 50% thanks to Obamacare. Spreading bogus claims about it as Robin and her ilk do every day is the train wreck. The GOP is a train wreck. And what are the "successes" in Tennessee that Robin is talking about? Is she referring to our 40+ ranking in employment or our consistent ranking near the bottom of the barrel in education? Is that what she is so proud of?

August 1, 2013 at 3:20 p.m.
charivara said...

soakya: That's how you explain what your statistics are supposed to indicate? By changing the subject?

You are no better with quotations than with statistics. For one, you quoted something attributed Alexander Francis Tyler not Alexis de Tocqueville. There is no reliable record of Tyler having even made the statement.

Are you quoting the Thomas Jefferson who said "I hope we shall crush in its birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial by strength, and bid defiance to the laws of our country."? Probably not. Your Thomas Jefferson seems to say the opposite.

So tell us what the framers meant when they wrote "general welfare" means. And while you're at it, tell me what I think it means and I'll tell you if you're right.

Or you can change the subject again.

August 1, 2013 at 3:35 p.m.
soakya said...

Oh, you were serious. I thought you were being facetious. Sorta self explanatory and I think I made it clear these numbers show the failure of the mega deals. It's not working and it needs to stop. Governments taking money from one business or from individuals to give it to another to create jobs is asinine. Governments don't create jobs nor wealth.

Why do I need to tell you what I think you mean by general welfare, you made it quite clear what you think it means.

August 1, 2013 at 4:22 p.m.
charivara said...

You really don't like answering questions, do you?

Nor do you like to explain yourself. How is it self explanatory that the decrease in the number of jobs is a result of the mega deals? Saying that it's self explanatory doesn't make it true. It only allows people who can’t support their position to delude themselves into thinking they know something.

“You made it quite clear what you mean.” And what is your problem with that? Or is that “self-explanatory” too? You have no idea of what you are talking about. That’s all you’ve made quite clear.

Your recent posts have included: Numbers that you won’t correlate to events because they are supposed to be “self explanatory”, fictitious “quotations” wrongly attributed, and a profound lack of knowledge of basic economics: “Governments don’t create jobs or wealth.” Ever hear of TVA? All you do is parrot right wing tripe.

Here’s something said by a well known right winger: "If you repeat a lie often enough it becomes the truth." It’s a tactic still practiced by the right wing today and very effective among one group of people. Those who have a functioning brain aren’t taken in by it.

I’ll leave you to wallow in your self explanatoryness.

August 2, 2013 at 10:12 a.m.
soakya said...


Governments only create more government.

August 6, 2013 at 1:28 p.m.
please login to post a comment

videos »         

photos »         

e-edition »


Find a Business

400 East 11th St., Chattanooga, TN 37403
General Information (423) 756-6900
Copyright, Permissions, Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy, Ethics policy - Copyright ©2014, Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc. All rights reserved.
This document may not be reprinted without the express written permission of Chattanooga Publishing Company, Inc.