When we all heard his speeches during the 2008 campaign, it was something akin to the Lesley Gore’s Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows. He promised more transparency and a return of civility in politics. He was everything George Bush wasn’t, which provided the hot air that led him to the presidency. Bush did run deficits and the orgy of spending and corruption scandals that plagued Republicans in 2006, that were not forgotten in 2008, allowed Democrats to control the narrative on a key Republican issue: Taxes and Spending. The “tax and spend label” that usually sinks liberal candidates, or at least makes the race a competition, faded away. Obama vowed to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term and that was music to the ears of independent voters sick of Dubya. However, when the ballots closed that miserable day in November, Barack Obama rode that wave of “hope and change” into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on a flawlessly executed campaign that ushered in our first black president. However, after a $800 billion dollar stimulus, a trillion dollar new entitlement program, stagnant economic growth, a volatile job market, and high unemployment, the banner of hope and change is looking more like a Kafka-esque nightmare. We’ve all transformed into beetles.
As for the so-called “stimulus,” we should thank the president. He finally and irrevocably proved that government spending doesn’t spur economic growth and, therefore, killed the cornerstone of Keynesian economics. We’ve had eleven recessions and recoveries in the past sixty years and, as Harvey Golub wrote in the Wall Street Journal yesterday:
This recovery is near the bottom of all 11. Cumulative nonfarm job growth is just 1.9% 34 months into recovery, the ninth-worst performance and well below the average job growth of 6.5%. Cumulative GDP growth is just 6.8% 11 quarters into this recovery, less than half the average (15.2%) and the worst of all 11…fiscal policy, under the control of the president and his party, increased expenditures by about $700 billion per year since 2008 and launched a spending package of about $800 billion (along with various “targeted” temporary tax reductions), all of which resulted in an increase in national debt of over $5 trillion. In other words, we borrowed $5 trillion, for which we will pay interest for who knows how long, in order to stimulate the economy now.
Moreover, Obama’s concerted effort to pass health care reform at the expense of job creating-centered policies, only created more uncertainty in the economy. Furthermore, Obama’s cornerstone of his health care reform is that it would curb costs and save trillions over the long term. However, the $940 billion dollar price tag for this monstrosity actually has doubled to $1.76 trillion over the next ten years. In all, the cost of this bill will incur $3.5 trillion dollars in deficits through 2022. For liberals, this is the apotheosis of fiscal discipline. Moreover, for this bill to be SLIGHTLY palatable, Democrats would need to cut Medicare by $500 billion, institute the Medicare Doc Fix, and tax union “cadillac” health care plans by 2014. None of which was expected to happen on The Hill. It was nothing more than a surreptitious expansion of the state and quietly edge away individual rights and liberties. Concerning transparency, that pledge was hastily broken during the Obamacare negotiations. Talk about changing the culture in Washington.
When this bill is fully implemented in 2014, 20 million Americans would be dropped from their coverage, while another 49 million will be dependent on government run health services. This comes after reports show the Dependency Index, which decreased under Ronald Reagan, has increased 23% over the last two years. That’s an additional 67 million Americans dependent on government services. Lastly, since the beginning of this year, 1200 companies have received HHS waivers highlighting Obamacare’s crushing costs and regulatory arduousness. Sadly, I think the President missed what George Will stated on This Week some two years ago that eighty-five percent of Americans had health insurance and ninety-five percent of the insured liked their insurance.
Concerning the unemployment rate, the Obama team promised if the stimulus was passed we would have robust economic growth and unemployment never to rise above 8%. As the events played out, unemployment has been over 8% for the past thirty-eight months. Treasury Secretary Geithner considers it a success, but I digress. No president has been re-elected with unemployment above 7.2% since FDR and with an additional $5 trillion in new debt and nothing, but anemic growth to show for it; Barry should be updating his resume. In fact, Jeffrey H. Anderson of The Weekly Standard wrote
Over the past quarter of a century (a total of 300 months), dating back to May 1987 and the Reagan administration, here are the 30 worst months (that is, the bottom 10 percent) for the employment-population ratio, along with the president who happened to be in office at that particular time.
1. (tie) July 2011, 58.2 percent, President BarackObama
1. (tie) June 2011, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) November 2010, 58.2 percent, Obama
1. (tie) December 2009, 58.2 percent, Obama
5. (tie) August 2011, 58.3 percent, Obama
5. (tie) December 2010, 58.3 percent, Obama
5. (tie) October 2010, 58.3 percent, Obama
8. (tie) April 2012, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) October 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) September 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) May 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) April 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) February 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
8. (tie) January 2011, 58.4 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2012, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) January 2012, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) December 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) November 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2011, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) September 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) August 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) July 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) June 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) March 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) February 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) January 2010, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) November 2009, 58.5 percent, Obama
15. (tie) October 2009, 58.5 percent, Obama
29. February 2012, 58.6 percent, Obama
30. (tie) May 2010, 58.7 percent, Obama
30. (tie) April 2010, 58.7 percent, Obama
30. (tie) September 2009, 58.7 percent, Obama
Interestingly, the 30 (or 32, including ties) worst months for employment in the past 25 years have all come after the most recent recession ended, in June 2009. In other words, they’ve all come during the Obama “recovery.”
Yes. Let’s go Forward.
As the election draws closer, we have a president who simply cannot run on his record. He is trying to strike it rich with this narrative of fairness. A political tactic that is not gaining traction with the independent voters, of which 57% think that American society is fair. As Alexis Simendinger wrote on Real Clear Politics, “these voters care about the size of government and debts and blame Congress more than Wall Street and special interests for gridlock and policy myopia.” Issues that don’t necessarily favor the political left. It gets even more bizarre with Obama’s position about private equity.
He bashed Romney in a rather apocryphal ad that showed how Bain Capital, the private equity firm Romney founded, closed down a steel plant, GST Steel, in Kansas City, Missouri. What is interesting about this two minute exercise in inaccuracy is the fact that Romney left Bain in 1999 and GST Steel closed in 2001. The managing director for Bain at the time was Jonathan Lavine who happens to be an Obama bundler and raised between $100-200,000 for the president. This guy was still around when GST Steel was shut down. Yet, the president accepts money from him. Additionally, Anderson Cooper commented on the hypocrisy when Obama attended a fundraiser hosted by Tony James of Blackstone Group, a private equity firm, on the very same day the Bain attack ad was released. Can you smell the cynicism?
As a result, many on the left have flocked to the support of private equity, including some of the president’s staunchest supporters. Not the result you want in a time where you’re fighting for your political life. This makes the second political blunder, the first being the Life of Julia that detailed the sixty-five year presidency of Obama, by what was thought to have been an inerrant political campaign. One that has rapidly lost its luster. I think we can safely say that Obama’s political acumen was not gauged properly four years ago.
A student of the far left, Barack Obama’s presidency is marred by high unemployment, increased debt, sky high deficits, a new trillion dollar entitlement that failed to curb costs, and a government sponsored recovery package that is painfully anemic. He failed in his promise to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term and has peddled a dependency agenda that is inherently dangerous to the socio-economic health of the nation. He has prevaricated at every event to tackle our debt and deficit responsibly by nixing Simpson-Bowles and creating a “Super Committee” in the fallout of the debt ceiling debacle last summer to avoid taking on the issue personally. We cannot afford another $5 trillion in new debt. We cannot afford Obamacare. We cannot afford another four years of Barack Obama. It’s 2012 and I’ll do everything I can to see that Mitt Romney is elected. I look forward to saying goodbye to this terrible, horrible, no good very bad presidency. Game on!