It is Time to Choose
The November election, for which absentee voting has already started, has been described as the “most important of our lifetimes.” Can that really be the case? Are Obama and Romney that different?
Deficits, new entitlements, foreign policy mistakes, polarization, corruption – these have all happened when both parties have been in power. Jimmy Carter projected weakness and gave us the Iran hostage crisis, high unemployment and inflation. Ronald Reagan ended the cold war, but gave us Iran-Contra and failed to control spending. George H. W. Bush left Saddam Hussein in power and raised our taxes. Bill Clinton raised them higher and gave us continuous scandals while enjoying a comfortable economy fueled by the Internet boom. And George W. Bush brought us back from the brink of 9/11, but added a new entitlement, grew the deficit and bogged us down in two wars through his preemptive strike doctrine. What of our current President?
Barack Obama has said he wanted to “transform America” – and has begun to do so. He has rejected “American Exceptionalism” and apologizes for what he sees as our transgressions – racism, colonialism, exploitation of the poor, and destruction of the environment. In setting about to “right these wrongs”, no other President in our history has attempted to change the very essence of America in such a fundamental way.
Our vote in this election is a referendum on this transformation, and perhaps our only chance to accept or reject what will likely become permanent in a second Obama term.
Why has America “worked” for 236 years?
Our first founding document, the Declaration of Independence, created a basic framework – our “first principles”, if you will.
- We are endowed by our creator with “certain inalienable Rights”, and among them are “Life, Liberty, the Pursuit of happiness”
- Governments are instituted to protect these rights.
- Governments serve at the consent of the governed.
These principles of our founding have led to the basic characteristics of American life – that we have the freedom to make our own choices in life, that we have the right to own property, that we are guided by the rule of law not of men, and that we have the opportunity to rise to whatever level of society and wealth that our abilities permit. These characteristics have produced the world’s largest and most dynamic economy, equality of opportunity for all, and an immigration magnet that has drawn people to America from all over the globe.
With individual incentives to succeed, by making our own choices, creating our own wealth and keeping what we create, 300 million Americans exercising our own choices in pursuit of our own dreams create an environment that lifts us all, in ways that can’t be predicted. A few central planners, deciding what should be produced, the kinds of energy we are permitted to develop and use, how we can use our property, how our health care will be delivered – that sort of thinking is foreign to a successful, productive, innovative America.
Barack Obama is not the first to reject these positive forces as regressive and “unfair”. He is not the first to champion the “redistribution of wealth”, where the government takes from some through taxation and disburses to others it deems more worthy. He is not the first to use the force of government to intervene in the markets, picking winners and losers through crony capitalism where it is more important to have a good lobbyist than a good product or service. He is not the first to impose oppressive regulations through the EPA, the NLRB, the Interior and Energy departments, to stifle business growth and concentrate economic power in the hands of the state. He is the first American President in recent times though, to campaign on these principles as “fairness”, and castigate the producers and job creators as the enemy of the middle class, while encouraging dependence through unprecedented growth in the welfare state through food stamps, and the use of Social Security Disability as a kind of permanent unemployment insurance.
The President has been open about his plans and value system and there is very little left to the imagination. He actively promotes tax increases on the wealthy, limits on energy use through restricting permits and canceling the Keystone Pipeline, supports uneconomic enterprises like Solyndra, compromised religious freedom through the Obamacare contraception mandates, limited right-to-work laws by attacking the Boeing plant in South Carolina, and weakened property rights by intervening in the auto bailout to stiff the GM bondholders and Delphi pensioners. These are all detrimental to the economic engine that powers our success.
What has happened in the last four years and why has the economy not improved?
The Economic crisis of 2008: Preceded by the collapse of the housing bubble, itself precipitated by government intervention in markets (Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie/Freddie), global banks and investors were left with mortgage backed assets that were difficult to “mark to market” – precipitating a liquidity crisis. In response, TARP, the Troubled Asset Relief Program, was introduced. Supported by both sides as necessary to inject liquidity into markets and prevent them from grinding to a halt, some would say TARP accomplished its goal, although others complain that some banks should have been allowed to fail. In any case, TARP was implemented during the Bush Administration and had bi-partisan support. All the subsequent economic actions taken by Barack Obama were implemented against the wishes of the Republican minority.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: ARRA, (aka “the stimulus”) pumped over $700B into state and local governments to prevent layoffs of union employees, green energy companies like Solyndra, and projects favored by Democrat politicians for their districts. (Note – this is not to single out Democrats – many Republicans including Paul Ryan asked for and received stimulus money for their districts. Since the Democrat majority wrote the bill though, most of the money favored their interest groups.) One estimate puts the amount of the stimulus that went to “shovel ready” infrastructure jobs (roads and bridges, etc) at less than 5%. The ARRA bill had no Republican support in Congress. Since this money was new, off-budget spending, it did not come from tax receipts but was borrowed – much of it from China.
The Auto Bailout: The “managed bankruptcy” of GM and Chrysler turned much of the ownership over to the United Autoworkers Union, stiffed the bondholders who would have been favored in a conventional (ie. court managed) bankruptcy, erased the pensions of Delphi employees and other non-union workers, closed a large number of dealerships owned mostly by Republicans, and left the taxpayer on the hook for tens of billions even to this day. This also had little bipartisan support.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: PPACA, (aka “Obamacare”), was delegated to the Democrats in Congress to write, and they returned a 2400 page monstrosity that many on both sides of the aisle admitted they did not read. In spite of a full year of noisy opposition in town halls, large rallys in Washington DC, polls showing overwhelming opposition to the bills, and 100% Republican opposition in Congress, it was rammed through by using a reconciliation process after the election of Scott Brown in Massachusetts took away their filibuster-proof majority. Burdening one sixth of the economy with what will become a command and control health care system, Obamacare has done more than any other action to inhibit businesses from expanding and hiring. It should be noted that other major entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security had broad bipartisan support for passage.
In other actions, Barack Obama:
- Reduced oil and gas leases on federal lands and offshore and blocked the Keystone Pipeline
- Promulgated EPA regulations that will make it impossible to build or maintain coal fired power plants
- Tried to prevent Boeing from building a plant in right-to-work South Carolina
- Served up 4 years of deficits exceeding a trillion dollars
- Raised the national debt to over 16 Trillion
- Passed Dodd/Frank – which enshrines “too big to fail” and makes it difficult for small regional banks to survive
- Grew the payroll of the Executive Branch by 25% to $177B in 2012
- Rescinded ‘welfare to work’ requirements, implemented the “Dream Act”, and a cybersecurity policy by executive order against the will of Congress
How does Mitt Romney Describe it?
In answer to a question during the second debate at Hofstra, this was Mitt Romney’s summation of the Obama record:
We can’t afford 4 more years like the last 4 years:
- He said by now unemployment would be at 5.4%, the difference from reality is 9 million Americans out of work
- He said he would reform medicare and social security because they are on the road to bankruptcy – he hasn’t even made a proposal
- He said he would put out an immigration plan to deal with our challenges – he didn’t even file one
- He said he’d cut in half the deficit – instead he doubled it
- He said families would see $2500 reduction in health care premiums – instead they went up by that much and full implementation of Obamacare will cost another $2500
- The middle class is getting crushed under a president who doesn’t know what it takes to get economy working again
- He claims creation of 5 million jobs – that’s after losing 5 million jobs – the number of people still looking for work is still 23 million
- One out of six people are in poverty, 32 million on foodstamps when he took office – now 47 million
- The economy is growing more slowly this year than last year, which was slower than the year before
- The policies he put in place – Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, tax policies, regulatory policies, have not let the economy take off and grow like it could have
- 5 million jobs doesn’t keep up with population growth, and the unemployment rate is down because people have left the workforce
- Obama is great speaker but has been unable to fix anything – cut the deficit, reform medicare and Social Security, or get rising incomes (down $4300 per family)
- This election is about who can get the middle class a bright and prosperous future
So why would Mitt Romney be a better choice?
You have heard the case AGAINST Barack Obama. Here is the case FOR Mitt Romney:
Experience and skills
- Mitt Romney was Governor of Massachusetts, successful even with an 83% Democrat legislature.
- Mitt Romney has been a successful Business Creator – both with Bain Capital itself as well as the many companies they helped start or recover.
- Mitt Romney is a Humanitarian, with a track record of good works at the local level through his church and personal philanthropy.
- Mitt Romney is a Problem Solver – he rescued the 2002 Olympics from bankruptcy and disaster.
Knowledge and worldview
- Mitt Romney understands and respects the founding, the unique nature of the country, our keys to success
- Mitt Romney had the proper reaction to the out of control debt and spending (“road to Greece”)
- Mitt Romney has clear and simple spending priorities – “Is it worth borrowing the money from China to do this?”
- In spite of months of negative ads from the Obama campaign casting Mitt Romney as a liar, a scoundrel, an out-of-touch plutocrat, a woman-hater, a racist and many other despicable things, he has continued to run a positive campaign and after the first debate where the country saw him for who his is, is now respected and trusted by a majority in the polls.
Time to Choose
It is time to choose. You may agree with my assessment of the choices or you may not. You may approve of the transformation that is taking place or you may oppose it strenuously. Or you may feel that economic recovery is the task before us, not transformation, and it should have been for the last 4 years. Keep in mind that elections have consequences, and some of them are world-changing. It is now in your hands. Please choose wisely.