Obama can’t make up his mind about the economy
June 19, 2012
President Obama can’t decide whether or not he’s responsible for the state of the U.S. economy. Upon news such as rising stock market indices or increased consumer confidence, he is quick to claim credit, declaring his administration has brought the economy “back from the brink.” The president is in control.But much of the recent data suggests the American engine of commerce is sputtering. Who’s responsible for that? Well, Obama claims it’s because an array of “headwinds” trump his power to influence the economy. The president is not in control.While President Obama struggles to decide whether he has the power to implement economic change, voters are making up their mind about the president. In November, they’ll be pulling the plug.We’ve been trampled by an unending parade of media sound bites praising government intervention over the past four years: the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (a.k.a. $787 billion stimulus) averted a catastrophe, the government rescue of the auto manufacturing industry prevented nationwide economic collapse, the $700 billion Toxic Asset Relief Fund (TARP) saved the credit market and granted salvation to homeowners facing foreclosure.As recently as November 2011, President Obama asserted that his administration prevented America from going into a Great Depression. Obama points to the stock market, which has risen 65 percent since the low point in March 2009. The Occupy Wall Street hooligans may not see that as a positive development.Hooligans aside, when the news is good, the president would have us believe he’s the reincarnation of Captain John Paul Jones, our first naval hero, guiding the U.S. economy through the treacherous waters of liberty and capitalism. Maybe he’s convinced himself. It could be why he asserted, “The private sector is doing fine,” in a rare press conference on June 8. The president is in control.Millions of Americans who’ve given up looking for work would disagree with the president. So would businesses in the shadow of pending increases in taxes and health care costs. It’s crystal clear to most people that the private sector economy is not doing fine.Forget about John Paul Jones. Obama is more like Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez, as he runs our economy aground on the shoals of socialism.Since President Obama took office, nearly 90 million people have left the workforce. One out of seven people in the United States is now on food stamps. More than 25 percent of homeowners owe more than their homes are worth. And the national debt has increased by almost $5 trillion in the past three years. It’s no surprise that Standard & Poor’s has no plans to raise the nation’s credit rating.The pesky facts don’t fit the teleprompter script for an election year. That’s why the president hurried back to the podium on June 8, said the economy is not doing fine, and pointed the finger of blame. The president is not in control.Among the myriad “headwinds” usurping the president’s control are high gas prices due to the Arab Spring, the tsunami in Japan that interrupted supply chains, and a warm winter that reduced a spring hiring surge. Clearly the deck is stacked against America.According to President Obama, another insurmountable obstacle is all those European nations with massive debt. They’re dragging down the U.S. stock market.There are plenty of headwinds right here at home, too. The president castigates congressional Republicans for blocking his potentially game-changing proposals to give tax breaks to businesses that hire and to provide mortgage refinancing for underwater homeowners. And in the last couple weeks, Obama proclaimed, “The big challenge we have in our economy right now is state and local government hiring has been going in the wrong direction.”Here’s a tip for the president. At this point, the majority of American voters don’t care who is to blame for the current crisis. They are demanding solutions. Such solutions will be founded on free markets and private enterprise, not government control.If Obama is intent on convincing Americans that he is powerless to foster the circumstances for economic recovery, why would we give him a second term?The November election is looming closer, and voters are already waving goodbye to the president. Who will Obama blame for that? It’ll be a tough decision.”Right Angles” appears on the third Tuesday of the month. James D. Kellogg of New Castle is a professional engineer, the author of the novel E-Force, and the founder of LiberTEAWatch. com. Visit JamesDKellogg.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.