As President Obama’s first and possibly only term begins to draw to a close, it is fitting to look back over the past three years and evaluate his performance. President Obama began with an ambitious reform agenda that included leading the nation out of the Great Recession, enacting what became his signature piece of legislation, the Affordable Care Act, and changing the image of America abroad, in part by closing the detainment facility for terrorists at Guantanamo and withdrawing from Iraq.
Some of these goals have been accomplished while others obviously have not. In the case of the accomplished goals, often the result has been far from what the president intended. There are several questions that we must consider in light of the past three years.
First, given that Democrats began President Obama’s term with strong majorities in both houses of congress and were able to pass whatever legislation they wanted over ineffective Republican attempts at filibusters, how do liberals explain the abject failure of their multiple Keynesian stimulus laws to recover the economy? Recent statistics show that the U.S. economy has experienced virtually no growth over the past two quarters and unemployment remains above nine percent. In Georgia, unemployment remains at 9.9 percent, almost a full percentage point above the national average, according to Georgia Department of Labor. The recovery is proving to be an illusion.
Second, how do we resolve the problem of the federal debt? The federal debt has increased markedly from 2008 to 2011. The increase is even more stark when examined in terms of control of Congress rather than the presidency. Since 2006 when Democrats gained control of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, the debt has grown from $8.68 trillion to $14.34 trillion according to data from treasurydirect.gov. This is a 65 percent increase in the federal debt over a five year period.
In budget debates so far this year, Democrats have resisted virtually all attempts to cut federal spending. The recent debt limit compromise brought the government to edge of default to enact a measly five percent in spending cuts. Vastly larger cuts will be needed since federal spending will still outpace tax revenues by a large margin. America’s future will be like that of Greece and the other European basket-cases if we continue along the path toward a European-style social democracy.
Under Keynesian theory, government theory can provide a boost to the economy. Alternatively, when the stimulus spending is removed, the economy must necessarily contract. When do liberals and Democrats believe that it is ever proper and beneficial to reduce spending or are we doomed to ever-increasing budgets in order to prevent another recession or depression?
Third, what do liberals suggest for a foreign policy since President Obama’s theories of engagement have failed? Polls show that the U.S. is even less popular in the Arab world under President Obama than under President Bush, a remarkable feat in itself. Far from giving up its nuclear program, Iran is stepping up enrichment of uranium and growing ever closer to a nuclear weapon. Such a weapon could target Atlanta if launched from a cargo ship just beyond Savannah’s territorial waters. Further, President Obama’s engagement of dictators just as Libya’s Gadhafi, Syria’s Assad, and Iran’s Ahmadinejad have not stopped them from ruthlessly cracking down on democracy protests. Russia’s Putin and Medvedev and Venezuela’s Chavez have also expanded their power under Obama’s tenure.
The Atlanta Conservative Examiner would welcome a serious response from liberals and Democrats in answer to these questions. Please leave your answers in a comment below or email them to the address listed in the author’s profile. The definition of insanity is said to be doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. Regardless of party affiliation we should examine the mistakes of the past and open a dialogue on how to avoid making similar mistakes in the future.
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