In 1980, incumbent Democrat President Carter lost reelection to Republican challenger Ronald Reagan in large part due to high gas prices and a weak economy. This year, not only are gas prices sky high and continuing to rise, but there is massive unemployment and a foreclosure crisis. Virtually everyone agrees that the economy is the most important issue this election year. Incumbent presidents generally lose reelection when unemployment is over 7%; Presidents George H.W. Bush, Carter and Ford all lost reelection when unemployment was between 7-8%.
Unemployment was only around 5% when Obama took office in 2009, but it soon jumped to a high of 10% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2010. It has continued to remain around 10%. The BLS reports that unemployment decreased from 10% down to 8% over the last couple of years, but that decrease is obtained only by excluding workers who have not looked for jobs in the past year due to giving up, something that was not a factor in prior years. The real unemployment rate may actually be as high as 22.5%, near the unemployment rate during the Great Depression. At the height of the Great Depression in 1933, unemployment reached 24.9%. The length of unemployment has already reached Great Depression levels.
Meanwhile, Obama presses along with his left wing agenda, refusing to relieve gas prices by authorizing construction of the Keystone pipeline, in an attempt to appease radical environmentalists. He has continued unaffordable deficit spending which does nothing to help the economy or create jobs but does plenty for the special interests contributing to his campaign coffers like Solyndra and big banks.
Realizing the American people have figured out a failed left wing agenda is not helping the economy, Obama reads cleverly written speeches from his teleprompter which do not reflect his actual left wing positions nor reality. His speeches pretend the economy is already improving, painting a rosy picture of everything. Obama repeatedly says things like this, “I believe America is on the way up.” However, unemployment and inflation are the two factors which indicate how healthy an economy is. Inflation continues to rise, with wholesale inflation increasing 0.4% in February.
It is as if he is living in another reality. He is, jaunting around the world on exotic trips with his family and playing golf. He talks about things improving in the future and ignores the present, which is meaningless because inevitably – even if it is a Republican president years down the road - things will improve. He deflects blame onto Republicans, accusing them of being negative and opposing his policies, while refusing to address the fact that his policies are ruining the economy.
Obama brags about adding 3.7 million new jobs, but the truth is 4.4 million jobs have disappeared since he became president. Corporations are relocating some or all of their facilities overseas in order to escape ever higher high taxes and regulations under this administration and its appeasement of unaffordable union demands.
When Obama took office, gas prices were at $1.84 a gallon. That has now doubled to $3.89 a gallon with no hope of relief in sight. Obama said last week, "We're going to continue to produce oil and gas at a record pace." In reality, Obama has decreased production of oil by 30% and refuses to authorize the construction of the Keystone pipeline. The only oil production that has increased has been in the private sector outside of his control. Instead of addressing the problem of high gas prices, Obama claims that his opponents are only bringing it up for campaign purposes. The reality is his Republican opponents would have authorized the construction of the Keystone pipeline, lowering gas prices and creating 20,000 jobs.
Obama took his doublespeak about the Keystone pipeline even further last week, announcing that he would authorize construction of the southern portion. In reality, the southern portion is on private property and does not need presidential authorization; it is the northern international portion that is being held up. This doublespeak allows him to pretend that he is going along with Republicans, while in reality, nothing has changed, the Keystone pipeline is still delayed for another three years.
Obama brags about cutting spending. “As you all know, last summer I signed a law that will cut nearly $1 trillion of spending over the next 10 years.” In reality, Obama has proposed to spend $45.4 trillion over the next decade, much of it borrowed, which will increase spending from $3.6 trillion last year to $5.6 trillion ten years from now.
Obama promised Americans that Obamacare would result in cost savings. Originally, Democrats promised that Obamacare would cost $940 billion, by using a gimmick that postponed implementation until 2014. That projection has now increased to $1.76 trillion over 10 years, and will continue to increase each year. Obama also promised Americans that they would get to keep their healthcare insurance and would not see their premiums rise. But a survey found that 30-60% of employers will no longer offer employer-sponsored health insurance after 2014, and premiums for group family health plans have already begun rising. They rose an average of $1,300 in 2011, a rate increase three times greater than in 2010.
I started my own bankruptcy law practice last summer solely because there were so many Americans filing bankruptcy, and I was having difficulty making any other kind of small business work in this economy. It was jarring to me to find out how many of our middle class friends, including doctors affected by Obamacare, are filing bankruptcy. It is not because of “mean Republicans,” but because Obama’s reign of excessive government spending, increasing regulations, and lack of tax relief have made it difficult for businesses to start up or expand and hire people. Everyone has less money due to a family member taking an employment-related hit and must cut back somewhere, usually on purchases from other businesses. This in turn affects anyone associated with those businesses, and it has become a vicious downward spiral.
Middle America is finally starting to see through Obama. He is reminiscent of an Orwellian empty suit bureaucrat with his controlled, sing-song teleprompter speeches full of doublespeak. Obama can pretend that fewer Americans are unemployed, but almost one-quarter of Americans know they are still unemployed. Obama pretends that he is authorizing the building of the Keystone pipeline, but Americans do not see the price of gas decreasing. The more Obama talks, the more Americans are realizing he speaks in slick platitudes. Trying to put small band-aids on the problem like extending the payroll tax cut will not fix the economy but will ultimately exacerbate problems in the long run.
Unfortunately, the drawn-out Republican primary is keeping Republicans focused on attacking each other, not Obama. A couple of the GOP presidential candidates were polling ahead of Obama a couple of months ago, now he is ahead in almost every poll. As long as Republicans can rally around a candidate soon and turn their main focus onto exposing Obama’s doublespeak and his responsibility for the Great Depression era like economy, he will have little chance at winning reelection.