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10/10/2011 | US: Mourning In America

Responsibility: The president admits that Americans are not better off than they were four years ago — a fact he can hardly deny. But he steadfastly refuses to own up and take blame for his policy failures.


It was more than three decades ago, but the Great Communicator’s simple, potent question still echoes today. Over the weekend, ex-Bill Clinton operative George Stephanopoulos of ABC News posed President Obama with the question Ronald Reagan asked Americans in 1980:

“Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

“Well, I don’t think they’re better off than they were four years ago,” the president responded.

Amen to that. In October 2007, the unemployment rate was holding at 4.7% and 7.2 million Americans were out of work.

Today — roughly a year and a half after the administration touted its “Recovery Summer” — unemployment is 9.1% and more than 14 million are without work.

The president, with an eye on November 2012, followed up his response by setting out to make a silk purse from the sow’s ear that is the Obama economy.

“I think that what we’ve seen is that we’ve been able to make steady progress to stabilize the economy,” Obama contended, saying it is “so critical for us to make sure that we are taking every action we can take to put people back to work.”

The president, in fact, is not taking every action he can take to put people back to work. A leader focused on results — rather than appeasing the Democratic Party’s liberal base — would recognize by now that stimulus spending and selective, jump-through-the-hoops tax relief have failed.

And he would look to American economic history for things that did work — the simple, across-the-board tax cuts of Reagan, Kennedy, Coolidge and, yes, George W. Bush.

Instead, this president is blaming others — most notably successful Americans. The president’s class warfare has become so heavy-handed, even Black Entertainment Television President Robert Johnson, a liberal Democrat, advised him to “recalibrate his message.”

Appearing on Fox News Sunday, Johnson warned that “you don’t get people to like you by attacking them or demeaning their success.”

The sad irony is that a president who ran on a platform of “hope” has drained the most naturally optimistic people in the history of mankind of their economic expectations for the foreseeable future. The most recent Gallup Poll finds six out of 10 believing that the economy a year from now will be as bad or worse than it is today, a significantly more pessimistic outlook from the public perceptions of last year, as well as the year before.

The blame rests unequivocally with the current occupant of the Oval Office. During his first two years, he and his party had large majorities in both the House and Senate. They shoved aside the loyal opposition, put their trillion-dollar “jobs program” into effect, had the government grab control of health insurance, and sent pending free-trade agreements into deadlock.

Meanwhile, they falsely promised that unemployment would top out at 8%, and decline from there, if only stimulus were passed. It was, but joblessness shot above 10% and even today remains above 9%.

What would the shareholders of a great company do with a CEO who made such fundamental blunders after issuing ironclad promises of success?

Obviously, they would vote him out. In fact, it would be the rare CEO who would be lacking in shame enough to try to tell his stockholders that his failures are really successes, the same way this president has been misleading the American public.

When Reagan was up for re-election in 1984, it was so abundantly clear that his policies had succeeded he ran TV ads proclaiming it “Morning in America” again.

Today, it’s the American voters who believed Obama’s 2008 promises who are mourning. (Estados Unidos)


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Center for the Study of the Presidency
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