Monday, August 13, 2012

The case against the president’s re-election

The case against the president’s re-election

His economic policies turned a bad situation worse and are killing our recovery

Anyone who has lived through the last four years knows the tragic trajectory of our economy and the futility of this Administration’s policies regards to job growth. And as much as the president’s re-election campaign has tried to change the subject with a barrage of false attack ads against Mitt Romney, poll after poll suggests the overriding concern of the American people remains the economy.

To be sure, the current Administration has gone all-in on government intervention as the overriding theme of its economic policy. Unfortunately, during its time in the White House, such intervention has proven to be useless at best, and counterproductive at worst.

It is also the reason we need a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

There are four significant areas where the president’s government-first, liberty-last policies have failed us: Energy, Health Care, Banking, and Stimulus.

Energy fuels our economic activity on the most basic level. Without secure, abundant sources of energy, businesses cannot plan, prices go up, and job growth suffers. Our whole economy languishes.

Yet the president came into office with a stated goal of decreasing the national reliance of fossil fuels, particularly coal, and “investing” in green energy sources. What became of this plan?

For starters, it has led to a war on coal that has turned us all into economic casualties. Coal provides not only 40% of American electricity, but thousands of jobs (including right here in Virginia), as well as important price competition for other sources of energy. EPA regulations have blocked the construction of new, cleaner coal plants.

Moreover, the current administration has prevented any new drilling off our coasts, costing Virginia thousands of jobs as well as more domestic sources of energy. It then “doubled down” on its bet against oil by preventing the construction of the Keystone pipeline, which could have given us access to cheap fuel from our friendly neighbors in Canada and created thousands of jobs here in the US. Instead, Canada is looking to sell its oil to Asia, and gas prices now sit at $3.49 in our region, double the levels seen on Inauguration Day.

Meanwhile, the government’s “green investments” in companies like Solyndra have been proved to be politically tainted, totally ineffective, and a waste of taxpayer money.

Then there is health care. The president’s attempt at “reform,” does nothing to address the growing health care shortage in America. Obsessed over “cost curves” and indifferent to growing the health care industry, the president’s Plan 9 from Outer Space is expected to cost nearly $2 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office, push Medicare years closer to bankruptcy, and still leave over 30 million Americans uninsured. Is it really a surprise that a majority of Americans support the repeal and replacement of this Rube Goldberg scheme?

Speaking of complex plans that collapse under their own weight, we have The Dodd-Frank act of 2010, whose burdensome new requirements placed at the feet of consumers and businesses have all but halted new lending. Thanks to a complete misdiagnosis of the Panic of 2008, the president concluded too-big-to-fail should be replaced by too-restricted-to-try – and that’s just the parts of Dodd-Frank that have been implemented.

Why should banks – or anyone else – take the risks that are necessary to advance the economy when the government can replace some or all of a private company’s board of directors if it doesn’t like the company’s direction? How can anyone in the private sector guess the effect of over 200 sections of the bill that are left to bureaucrats to write and execute? In the midst of this uncertainty, business expansion and the bank loans that fuel them have practically halted.

All of these failures would have been catastrophic in and of themselves, let alone all at once. Yet even they pale in comparison the president’s $750-billion-plus “stimulus.” This massive boondoggle sacrificed the economy to the altar of Keynesian theory – just as the academic revolt against the rigid, inflexible, and inadaptable Keynesian methods broke out into mainstream discussion. Thanks in no small part to this debacle, all four of the president’s budgets (Congress refused to pass the appropriations bills for much of FY2009 until the president assumed office) will have deficits of over $1 trillion. No president before him ever had deficits of half a trillion. Not one.

What does the president have in mind to fix the mess that we admit he inherited but that he refuses to acknowledge he made worse? He offers nothing, except various plans to tax wealthier Americans (which would even further reduce business investment while barely registering on the federal budget), and invective against Mitt Romney.

Romney, by contrast, has proposed tax reductions for all Americans (instead of tax increases), supported reforming Medicare to make it stronger (instead of raiding it to make it weaker), greater use of America and her neighbors’ national resources (instead of less), and making the business climate more friendly to innovation and entrepreneurship (instead of sclerotic regulation and fear). This is the better path for America’s economy, and it is why Mitt Romney must be elected instead of the incumbent this November.

Steve Thomas is a member of the State Central Committee, and the former Chairman of the Spotsylvania Republican Party. D.J. McGuire is an adjunct instructor of Economics at Germanna Community College and former Lee Hill District Republican Chairman.


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