Four more years. That is what President Obama seeks, and it is only the second time in our history that we are being asked to elect a president to a second term for a third straight time.
At a time of relative instability, we are being asked to endorse stability in the executive branch. That alone is rare, but for a long time President Obama said nothing – not even platitudes – about what he might want to accomplish if reelected. But recently, he has provided us with some hints as to what his plans would be.
The limited insight we have comes from two sources. The first is his speech at Cuyahoga Community College regarding his economic plan. The second is a column written by Ryan Lizza for the New Yorker magazine. Lizza was provided access to members of the Obama team that we mere mortal columnists would never obtain.
Trying to decipher what Obama’s 53 minute speech – when printed, it’s 17 pages! – actually says about his proposals on economic issues is, at best, painstakingly difficult. One has to scratch through his slicing and dicing of Governor Romney’s proposals or let us say his interpretation of them and multiple statements of “fact” as stated by President Obama which in reality are just Mr. Obama’s poll-tested opinions on these matters, to determine what he wants to do takes at least two readings.
The President characterized his plan by stating “This is my vision for America: education, innovation, infrastructure, and a tax code focused on American job creation and balanced deficit reduction.” The President may have a vision, but from this speech it’s extremely unclear how he plans to get there.
The speech contained some following assertions:
• He claimed that he asked Congress for the authority to reorganize the federal government for the next century. Does anybody remember that? And where’s the bill? Was it presented in the House and was there a hearing?
• He maintained that he intended to reduce our domestic spending to its lowest level – measured as a percentage of the economy – in nearly sixty years. This is particularly difficult to believe, because every analysis that I’ve read keeps federal spending at or close to its current record-high levels.
• Finally, he stated that “I don’t believe the government is the answer to all our problems. I don’t believe every regulation is smart or that every tax dollar is spent wisely. I don’t believe that we should be in the business of helping people who refuse to help themselves.” Sounds wonderful, but what has he ever done to support any of those principles? On the contrary, it’s easier to conclude that he believes that every person in America – including illegal aliens – is worthy of receiving federal benefits. After all, in the past 3 years, his administration has certainly expanded benefits to the point where there is no indication of who might not be eligible.
Obama went on to say that while his plan for education does not rely on more money, we have to “invest more” in education and training. He claims to have a plan to provide two million more Americans with the opportunity to attend community college, and another plan to make it easier for people to afford higher education. In addition, he wants to double down on clean energy, and spend more on infrastructure.
How would be pay for this? He says by asking the wealthiest Americans to pay a “little more.” He speaks in platitudes about debt reduction, but boasts excitedly about new federal spending on his personal priorities. There appears to be no material difference between what he is doing now and what he would push for in his next term. Certainly, there’s no defined process to balance the budget. In fact, there is no mention of it at all.
Lizza’s 19-page column gives one additional indication of what the President wants to achieve in a second term. One concept that clearly emerges is that Obama wants to accomplish something big, but that he is torn over which of several different ideas he wants to pursue.
The options mentioned by Lizza are:
1. Apparently Obama has stated that the most important policy he could address is “climate change.” He sees this as something that could fundamentally improve the world for decades to come.
2. Nuclear proliferation is another big picture issue that Obama would love to tackle.
3. An issue that may be forced on Obama is deficit reduction. That would mean a significant rise in taxes, starting with the enormous tax increases currently scheduled to begin in January.
4. Lizza speculates the second term may include tax and entitlement reform, but does not provide any basis for that conclusion.
5. Obama’s advisors suggested that a big idea would be housing reform. Former financial advisor, Austin Goolsbee, suggested that the $700 billion in negative homeowner equity has to be eaten by someone and that the federal government would be a logical place to bury the losses. Apparently, there was no discussion on eliminating the problem by way of a stronger housing market based on a more robust job market.
6. White House officials stated Obama is most passionate about infrastructure. It appears that he wants a signature project like the Hoover Dam or the Interstate Highway System.
There you have it. We have a president who wants to achieve something on the scale of ObamaCare in his second term. He wants to leave a distinctive mark on our society through an expansionist program that, in one way or another, fulfills the dreams of the far Left.
There is virtually no discussion of the fiscal crisis at hand, and any reference to it is offset by huge expansions of programs. Nowhere is there any serious focus on job creation within the private sector or increased revenue through improved economic conditions. Nor is there any earnest consideration of a balanced budget.
You now have a reasonable idea of what a second Obama term would look like – and that’s without even including the full implementation of ObamaCare. If you want this kind of government, then by all means vote for Obama. If you want to see something completely different, your choice is Romney.