A) The President and his party have a persuasive response to the economic woes they have created – more of the same: President Obama’s domestic agenda has done almost the exact opposite of what it was supposed to do. To be fair, at the end of his first term the American financial system was certainly more stable than it was when he first took office. Beyond that, his policies have driven the cost of healthcare upward, created both a disincentive for working and for hiring, and have stifled lending and credit (thanks to the Dodd-Frank banking “reform” bill). As foolish as it may seem, Americans may very well support his response to the very misery that he has created: an emotional appeal to address so-called “income inequality.” People who know better are quick to dismiss this, but for a society that cares little about history and economics the President’s rhetoric is compelling.
B) There are few effective communicators who can articulate an Obama alternative: There are plenty of Americans who disagree with, and disapprove of the President’s agenda. But among Americans who actually care enough to vote, most do not vote “against” an agenda so much as they vote “for” an alternative. But what is the alternative to Obama’s agenda and who can articulate it? The Republican congressional leadership – Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – can scarcely string coherent sentences together, and the party has yet to articulate a compelling defense of private enterprise and government limits. Without something to vote “for,” the makeup of Congress is likely to not change much regardless of what current polling data says, which leaves the country with more of the same in terms of domestic policy.
C) Outside the beltway Americans are detached from their policy makers and paying little attention to their government – Whether anyone realizes it or not, the week of January 24th, 2014 marked a new low for the American electorate. During that week, over 8 of the developed nations around the world (including France, China and Venezuela) all reported dire employment and fiscal news; American retailers reported the worst holiday shopping season (2013) since 2008; American tech firm Intel announced the layoffs of 5,000 employees; the nations of Italy and Spain set new all-time highs for nationwide unemployment; and the Dow closed the week with a 170 point loss.
Despite all these signs of domestic and global economic trouble, the most searched-for news in America that week was the story of Justin Bieber’s drunk driving arrest. Call it un-serious news for an un-serious nation. Americans, for the most part, are simply not paying attention to the devastation of their own nation, let alone the damage done to the nations of the world by their own government.
Will Americans choose prosperity for its future? Conditions may have to become significantly worse before we, the people care enough to choose more wisely.
Austin Hill is an Author, Consultant, and Host of "Austin Hill's Big World of Small Business," a syndicated talk show about small business ownership and entrepreneurship. He is Co-Author of the new release "The Virtues Of Capitalism: A Moral Case For Free Markets." , Author of "White House Confidential: The Little Book Of Weird Presidential History," and a frequent guest host for Washington, DC's 105.9 WMAL Talk Radio.