With millions of Americans out of work, unemployment is marching ever higher. Gasoline prices soar, painfully hitting family budgets with every fill-up. As fall approaches, an incumbent President holds a narrow lead, intent on gaining a second term. The key to victory is a relatively small group of undecided voters; a conflicted electorate who respect the President, but recognize his policies have failed to lift the economy out of a recession. Do they give the President a second chance and hope for the best? Or take a risk on a pro-business Governor who talks about economic freedom? While this scenario sounds familiar, this is not actually describing the current situation in 2012, but instead 1980.
That incumbent president was Jimmy Carter, who held a low single-digit lead until late in the fall, when the American people finally answered a clarion call from a California Governor named Ronald Reagan, who said that the solution to our economic crisis would not come from a bigger, more expansive government but instead from soaring economic freedom.
At the rate movie themes and characters are recycled these days, it’s clear we are living in a remake world. But it isn’t just movies anymore; we’re seeing the political plot line of 1980 repeated in 2012. But in politics, while the plot may be the same, the ending is not yet written, because the American people have not yet made their decision.
Our country today is faced with 43 straight months of unemployment over 8%. That’s more Americans unemployed for longer than under the last eleven presidents combined. Gas prices have nearly doubled in four years, averaging more than $3.80 a gallon. The abysmal economic “recovery” is now the self-made crisis of the Obama Administration, which continues its empty calls for more jobs, even as more and more Americans leave the workforce entirely. We’ve been through nearly four years of failing policies that make the current “recovery” almost indistinguishable from the recent recession.
In 1980, the choice between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan was similar to what voters are facing today.
Many of us remember 1980 clearly, but for my younger children this is their first opportunity to choose between big government or private enterprise. It is this generation’s turn to decide if they will stick with an incumbent President’s tax and spend policies despite the stagnant economy, or if they will support a challenger who promises to work for economic freedom. The actors have changed, but the policies remain very much the same.