The President is in a bind. Nothing has really worked economically; you may accept the argument that rests on the attempt to prove the negative that it would have been worse absent the President’s policies. It’s a minority viewpoint that disregards the President’s early focus on Stimulus, Health Care, Clunkers and Financial Reform. There has been no job growth or economic recovery. The majority argument is that it hurt, not helped, the economy; yet to see the worst of the Health Care legislation come out to dance.
The President blames Bush, the Tsunami, Europe, Oil prices, weather, natural disasters, prescription drug benefits his party supported and wars his party supported. Problem is; it sounds like snarky whining. Presidents are supposed to be stand up guys who can take the bullets and keep up the good fight, occasionally stand above it all, maintain good humor. No one likes the kid who always has an excuse.
The President’s policies are redistributive and redistributive policy does not encourage capital investment, job growth or risk taking. The threat of redistribution as guiding policy has the same effect as actual redistribution; it limits or removes motivation.
The Soviet Union may have been spent into capitulation but it was also innovated into capitulation; by highly motivated, creative individuals. At the same time too many Soviets just did not care anymore. Why should they? Redistribution encourages heading for the hills with your money if you’re fortunate enough to know where the hills are and can get to them thar hills. “Fairness, balanced approach, the right thing” are all code words for Robin Hood economics, for redistribution. It’s not a moral imperative, it’s economics, some systems work and some have proven that they don’t!
The President is not backing off. Today, he repeated the same talking points related to his commitment to spending as did Senator Reid. There is no hint of a significant policy change on the horizon that will have a positive impact in the 16 months remaining to Election Day. Large economies don’t move that fast absent dramatic change which the President has signaled is not going to happen. Changing patent law process as a key policy initiative (one of five addressed today) is simply not going to get it done.
Prior to inauguration day 44% of Americans said their personal finances were good to excellent. Today that number is 31%, a 30% drop. One would have to assume that the much valued middle class Democrats claim to protect make up a fair portion of that 30% drop and they should be worried about that number.
Many still apportion guilt to Bush, Okay, but Bush is long gone as are his policies. When Bush engaged stimulus it was to put money directly in your pocket; remember those $1,200 checks? What stimulus consists of is as stark a comparison between two views of policy. That dead horse you’ve been beating; it’s dead, really, you can trust me on this.
Layoff announcements over the past two weeks are the highest in two years. There is essentially no chance that unemployment will recover to any large degree prior to Election Day. The charting of consumer spending looks like either the brain wave pattern of a schizophrenic or an E-Ticket ride at Disney. Consumer confidence has fallen into a deep well of; yes, I’ll say it, malaise.
Europe and others have major fiscal and economic problems of their own leading to a basic question. If nearly everyone is in severe deficit is the money really worth anything, and how long until it’s not? How do you “pay off” a worldwide deficit under the current trends and circumstances? What happens when we no longer collectively agree that a piece of paper has tradable value?
Pundits want the President to pick a “disposable” program to demonstrate his credibility on limiting spending; really? Apparently of the opinion we’re too dumb to figure that one out, the pundit’s “brilliant” idea would be seen for what it is; desperate trickery, lacking in fundamental commitment. We don’t need any more of that.
Criticism isn’t hard so in the spirit of contributory commentary here is what the President can do.
Ask me to go along with a tax increase, I’ll do it! I’ll do it if the President commits to cut 15% from every non military; non intelligence, non security related government agency over a two year period. I’ll do it if he authors an early retirement program aimed at a 20% work force reduction in non essential job classifications.
If the President wants more of my money he has to demonstrate he grasps the problem in its entirety and that he’s willing to lead. I’ll pay more if I can be convinced the problem is being addressed as the crisis it actually is. Tell me half of the people who pay no taxes will pay a little bit, tell me it’s important that they have a little skin in the game and I’ll come along with my W4 and my checkbook.
Show me I can lift the debt burden off of my children and I’ll step up to higher taxes, but lead me to believe, as you did today Mr. President, that higher taxes simply support more spending and I’m out of here. Continue to use the spending, big government code words, continue with the exact same rhetoric we’ve seen for the last month and I’ll fight back as best I can; hoping for change 16 months from now