After nearly four years of economic stagnation, massive unemployment, record-setting debt and government intrusions into the economy that have paralyzed the private sector, the United States needs a new direction. For this reason, The Dispatch urges voters to choose Republican Mitt Romney for president in the Nov. 6 election.
In 2008, The Dispatch warned of the problems that would result if Barack Obama were chosen as president. Noting the scant experience that Obama offered the nation in 2008 — eight unremarkable years in the Illinois Senate and less than one term in the U.S. Senate — the newspaper said:
“A resume containing so little evidence of leadership and accomplishment leaves in question Obama's ability to handle the most responsible and difficult job in the world, especially at a time when the nation faces a combination of problems so large and complex that they would challenge even the most seasoned leader.”
Four years later, the nation is in the grip of the worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.
The Dispatch also noted: “Nor does it seem likely that a man who has traveled in the left lane of American politics for his entire adult life really is the bipartisan centrist that he claims to be.”
The Dispatch accurately predicted what would happen if Obama were elected president while Democrats held a majority in the U.S. House and Senate: “A return to majority status is likely to unleash pent-up demand to enact a Democratic wish list of new and expensive social programs when the nation can't afford the ones it has.”
Indeed, the president’s first order of business was to ram through a massive, one-party overhaul of health care, thrusting the government into the driver’s seat for a sixth of the U.S. economy. This ham-fisted power play — accomplished with bald political bribery and backroom deals — was rebuked by voters just a few months later, when they fired dozens of Democratic members of Congress and handed the U.S. House back to the GOP. This put an end to further Democratic policy adventures.
Four years after promising hope and change, and after a deficit-driving $787 billion stimulus program, here is the result:
• 12.1 million unemployed, with an unemployment rate above 8 percent for 43 of the past 44 months.
• 8.6 million working part time because they can’t find full-time work
• 2.5 million who wanted to work, but have stopped looking for jobs.
• In 2009, real median household income was $52,195. By 2011, it had fallen to $50,054
• In 2009, the U.S. poverty rate was 14.3 percent. By 2011, the poverty rate climbed to 15 percent.
• On Obama’s watch, 12 million more Americans joined the food-stamp program, which has reached a record of more than 46 million enrollees.
• Annual federal budget deficits above $1 trillion for the past four years, increasing the national debt to an all-time high of $16 trillion.
On that last point, it was freshman U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, who said on March 16, 2006, as he prepared to vote against raising the debt ceiling to (a mere) $9 trillion:
“Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.' Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.”
Americans do deserve better, and the fact that the president now regrets his 2006 stand is another reason why he is unsuited to a second term.
Here is another: On Feb. 23, 2009, the year the federal deficit would total $1.4 trillion, Obama said, “Today I am pledging to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office. ... I refuse to leave our children with a debt that they cannot repay, and that means taking responsibility right now, in this administration, for getting our spending under control."
Instead, he has given the nation $1 trillion annual deficits ever since.
Obama has failed. That is why Mitt Romney is the preferred choice for president. Romney’s adult life has been spent turning around troubled private and public institutions. These turnarounds include scores of companies acquired and restructured by Bain Capital, the investment firm he founded in 1984. Not all were successes, but that is because to a significant degree, many of the companies Bain took on were high-risk. In 1999, he was asked to take over the scandal-plagued and fiscally mismanaged 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He quickly streamlined its management, fixed its finances and guaranteed its security, turning it into a success. As governor of Massachusetts, he made tough decisions to lead the state out of a budget deficit, and he did so in a state dominated by Democrats.
As a career businessman and former governor, Romney brings a wealth of executive experience in the private sector and the public sector that dwarfs that of Obama. From working both sides of the government/private-sector equation, he understands how that relationship can aid or impede prosperity. His election would be an immediate signal to the private sector that someone who knows what he is doing is managing the nation’s economic policy. The effect on business confidence would be dramatic and immediate, and business confidence is the vital ingredient needed to spur investment and hiring, the two things that the United States so desperately needs.
In 2008, Americans made a leap of faith when they elevated the inexperienced Obama to the White House. That faith was not rewarded. This time, voters should place their hopes for change in experience, by electing Romney.