Larry Elder

Suppose Sen. John McCain, rather than Sen. Barack Obama, won the presidency but made the same decisions and pursued the same goals to turn around the economy.

The following is a hypothetical front-page story:

After more than 50 days in office, the new President, even to some of his supporters, seems overwhelmed by the magnitude of the problems he faces. Though he calls the economy job one, he confounds critics and supporters alike with the most audacious, ideologically driven agenda since the Great Depression, if not in the history of the republic.

He plans to change the role of government in virtually every aspect of society -- from education to health care to job creation to research and development to fighting "climate change" -- all of which call for drastically higher taxes and spending.

Since the President took office, the Dow Jones industrial average has plummeted, and unemployment keeps rising. Yet one of his top economic advisers recently said, "The fundamentals (of the economy) are sound" -- an assessment that drew sharp criticism during the campaign, when the economic picture looked better.

The President expects his plans to "create or save" millions of jobs. But by saying "create or save," he virtually protects himself against failure. During a recent hearing, a senator asked the secretary of Treasury, "What's a saved job?" The secretary gave a vague, meandering response about a "rise in unemployment avoided."

The President promised to end earmarks but signed a pork-laden stimulus bill that he proclaimed "free of earmarks." Then days later, the President signed a $410 billion continuing operations budget that contains almost 9,000 earmark projects.

The President's stimulus package, the constantly changing bailout package and this year's budget threaten to triple the annual deficit. The President's new budget (ironically entitled "A New Era of Responsibility") shows a total federal debt swelling more than 50 percent from 2008 to 2011 -- almost equaling 2011's gross domestic product -- and continues rising through 2019, the last year in the budget. Yet the President insists that he crafted the recovery plan "not because I believe in bigger government. I don't."

Larry Elder

Larry Elder is a best-selling author and radio talk-show host. To find out more about Larry Elder, or become an "Elderado," visit