Donald Lambro

But the unspoken reality is that the Bush tax cuts have been the central economic policy throughout the past four years of Obama's presidency. In fact, it can be argued that Bush's lower, across the board tax rates that affect every income bracket have help the economy weather the storm of the subprime mortgage scandal and the recession that it ultimately spawned.

Moreover, as much as Obama has raged against the Bush tax cuts, he agreed at the end of 2010 to extend them for another two years amid signs the economy -- in spite of all his efforts -- remained dangerously weak. And many Democrats supported him in that decision.

Now, Obama is campaigning for a second term on the proposition that we end the tax cuts he's continued over the course of his presidency.

Those temporary tax cuts are due to expire at the end of this year. But not everybody in Obama's party is happy at that prospect.

Former President Clinton urged last week that the tax rates be extended for an additional period of time because of the economy's weakness. He was slapped down by the White House for his proposal, but the economic problems he pointed to are not going away.

Retail sales fell in the last two months as consumers cut back on spending. New manufacturing orders have fallen in the past couple of months as well, while worker productivity is declining, a sign that businesses have too many workers in the face of declining demand.

Mark Zandi, the major news media's go-to-economist at Moody's Analytics, says it is critical that the tax increases be delayed while the economy is showing further signs of distress. "I don't think we want to have a fiscal head wind in our face going into 2013," he says.

Others are forecasting even more frightening prospects in the months to come. "The U.S. economy is drifting toward recession," says University of Maryland business school economist Peter Morici.

Meantime, Obama made clear last week that he doesn't have any understanding the economy's dire situation when he told a news conference that "The private sector is doing fine."

Nor does he acknowledge the key role his own remedial policies have played in extending what should have been a two year recession into a four-year recession that could last several more years if he's re-elected to a second term.

In a $15 trillion economy, he is proposing that we spend billions of dollars more to build roads and bridges and give more money to the states to meet their payrolls.(Especially in battleground states he needs to win a second term.) It didn't work before. It's not going to work now.

What will work is an economy-wide policy of lower taxes to make the U.S. a place where businesses will to invest in again, applying the brakes on spending, boosting energy production here at home, including the Canadian pipeline, reducing job-killing regulations, and repealing Obamacare. Raising taxes now, as Obama wants, would discourage the capital investment needed to build businesses that will put Americans back to work and open up opportunities for generations to come. Romney is correct when he says "this election is a watershed election, which will determine the relationship between citizen and enterprise and government." The stakes couldn't be greater. It's a choice between more spending, bigger government, higher taxes and less freedom, or stronger economic growth, plentiful jobs and a more prosperous future.

Donald Lambro

Donald Lambro is chief political correspondent for The Washington Times.