The most obvious reason not to vote for President Obama’s reelection is the economy. Even though the economy has officially been recovering for the recession for more than three years, most Americans still do not feel the recovery. Unemployment remains high. The poverty level is higher than it was when President Obama took office. Despite an increase in the U.S. population, fewer Americans are working today than when President Obama was inaugurated. In August, twice as many Americans went on food stamps as found jobs according to Forbes.
Much of the blame for the lagging recovery belongs to President Obama. In spite of his 2008 campaign promises, President Obama has passed a bundle of tax increases for the middle class as well as the wealthy. The most infamous of these is the individual mandate, which was ruled by the Supreme Court to be a tax, but Forbes lists seven additional taxes that hit the middle class. Obamacare itself contains a bevy of new taxes in addition to the individual mandate. Investor’s Business Daily found 20 more taxes totaling more than $675 billion.
In addition to taxes, President Obama has also dramatically increased the number of expensive regulations with which businesses must comply. The American Action Forum estimates that Obama’s regulations, including Obamacare and the Dodd-Frank financial regulation law, cost the economy more than $488 billion. The paperwork required to comply with these regulations is equal to what it would take to build 220 Empire State Buildings.
These factors combine with the federal debt that has increased by more than 40 percent under President Obama and the looming fiscal cliff, which is comprised of even more tax increases coming at the end of this year, to create uncertainty for businesses. This uncertainty and the cost of the tax increases that Obama has promised if he is reelected make businesses hesitant to expand and hire and consumers reluctant to spend.
An additional factor in the country’s economic difficulty is President Obama’s hostility to oil-based energy. As Examiner noted last spring, approvals for drilling permits under President Obama have fallen from 73 percent to 23 percent. Time for approving a permit has increased from 60 days to more than 90. Obama has canceled oil leases issued by the Bush Administration, issued new regulations to discourage fracking, and rejected the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring Canadian oil to U.S. refineries. The cumulative effect of these policies is to drive up the prices of oil and gasoline. High energy prices contribute to the poor state of the economy.
On foreign policy, Obama has had one big success, the killing of Osama bin Laden. His failures are only now becoming apparent. The fiasco and subsequent cover-up surrounding the al Qaeda attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is only the tip of the iceberg. More serious and far-reaching are Obama’s policies regarding Israel and Iran.
President Obama claims to be a friend of Israel, but his actions tell a different story. President Obama seems to see a moral equivalence between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian terrorists. He is the only president to ever propose that Israel go back to its pre-1967 borders. This would leave Israel with an indefensible and narrow frontier. More recently Obama declined to meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, and his administration has reportedly pressured Israel not to attack Iranian nuclear facilities.
With respect to Iran, President Obama is fond of pointing to the tough sanctions in place on the rogue regime. What he fails to mention is that congress passed those sanctions over his objection. President Obama also issued 20 waivers to the sanctions. Countries receiving waivers include China, Iran’s largest trading partner. Yahoo News notes that Obama will have to decide whether to renew the sanctions after the election.
Iran is not intimidated by President Obama and or the sanctions. It has scarcely been a year since Iranian agents attempted to assassinate the Saudi ambassador with a terrorist attack in Washington, D.C. In the Jerusalem Post, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is gleeful that America’s debt is weakening the country. “How long can a government with a $16 trillion foreign debt remain a world power?” he asks.
President Obama’s term has also seen the erosion of personal freedom. The freedom not to buy a government mandated product is only the most obvious loss. Freedom of religion has also been disregarded by the administration, most notably in the Health and Human Services mandate that requires all insurance policies to cover contraceptive and abortifacient drugs.
Most disturbing, during and after the September 11 attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Middle East, the Obama Administration was openly critical of the freedom of speech. Even before the Benghazi consulate was attacked, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt released a statement condemning the anti-Islamic film that allegedly sparked the attacks. The text of the statement, available on Politifact, says, “We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” Fox News reports that when he spoke to the United Nations later in the month, President Obama said that the “future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” The man responsible for the film was arrested in California on charges that he violated his probation.
If Obama’s record so far is disturbing, even scarier is what might lie ahead. Reuters reported last March that President Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that “This is my last election ... After my election I have more flexibility.” The exchange evidently related to missile defense, but the same logic applies to every controversial issue from abortion to gun control to taxes.
Given that Obama has shown that he is willing to circumvent congress with executive orders, there is no practical limit to what he can do as long as congress does not override his veto. The president has used executive orders or rulemaking by executive branch agencies to change U.S. immigration law, implement net neutrality, and implement a cap-and-trade carbon regulation system. Further, the president unilaterally launched a war in Libya without informing congress and made several recess appointments while congress was still in session.
Some leftists have opined that a benevolent dictator might be what the United States needs to break the gridlock in Washington and get things done. Such an executive, who does not blanch at using his autocratic powers, might very well be what we get in a second Obama term. The problem with this idea is that the American economy is simply too complex to be micromanaged. And a benevolent dictator is still a dictator.
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This article was first published on Examiner.com