Just the Economic Facts: Use Your Head, not Your Heart, When You Vote on Nov. 6

Let's review the current state of our country after President Obama's four-year effort to "turn things around." Do you think he's earned another four years? In my view, the facts say "no."

It’s only about five weeks until the 2012 presidential election and I am very worried. I am so afraid voters will re-elect Barack Obama to a second term.

Why we would do this, I don’t know. All you have to do is look at the facts. After four years of Obama’s efforts, it’s obvious America remains in dismal financial shape in Oct. 2012. Let's review some of these facts, with a focus on the economy.

First, did you know the recession actually ended in June 2009?  Unfortunately, this has been the worst “recovery” from a recession since World War. In fact, it’s been said this recovery is worse than the recession that preceded it. Take a look at some of the “highlights” of this recovery under President Obama's leadership.

Unemployment, for example: no President has ever presided over average annual unemployment of 8 percent for three years running – until President Obama.  Some 23.5 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed.  And the labor force participation rate keeps shrinking as more and more Americans give up hope of finding work

Our median incomes are falling and the number of Americans living in poverty is at nearly record high levels. This undoubtedly explains why, as of June 2012, one in five adults receives government assistance in the form of food stamps.

The gross domestic product (GDP) of our country is barely growing.  It was up just 1.3 percent in the second quarter and declined from the first quarter, when it grew 2 percent. The historic average from 1947 through 2012 is 3.3 percent.

Speaking of GDP, under President Obama, government spending as a percentage of GDP is the highest it’s ever been: around 25 percent each year, when under previous presidents, it’s averaged less than 20 percent.  His annual deficits have topped a trillion dollars four years in a row.  The previous highest deficit was less than half a trillion. As Forbes.com puts it, “…in just one term President Obama will have increased the national debt as much as all prior presidents, from George Washington to George Bush, combined.”

I can tick off many other areas in which we’re performing poorly: gas prices, manufacturing, home values, foreclosures, homelessness, household net worth.  All these negatives paint a gloomy picture. 

Yet if President Obama wins a second term, don’t expect things to get better anytime soon.

On Jan. 1, 2013, just three months from now, we can look forward to numerous new taxes and tax increases that will affect all Americans. I’ve seen total tax hike estimates ranging between $423 billion and $494 billion next year. The Heritage Foundation calculates that taxes will increase between $857-$4,223 per household (the low figure is for retirees and the top one, for Baby Boomers).

At the same time, mandated federal spending cuts totaling close to $110 billion will kick in Jan. 1. Half of this will hit our defense budget and the other half, domestic programs.

If the president and Congress do nothing to stop these scheduled tax increases and automatic spending cuts – the impending “fiscal cliff” we’ve heard so much about – the Congressional Budget Office predicts “Such fiscal tightening will lead to economic conditions in 2013 that will probably be considered a recession.” 
Yes, there’s another recession headed our way next year, according to the government’s own bean counters.

Add to this the enormous regulatory burden imposed by this administration.  Earlier this year, the Heritage Foundation wrote, “During the first three years of the Obama Administration, 106 new major federal regulations added more than $46 billion per year in new costs for Americans. This is almost four times the number—and more than five times the cost — of the major regulations issued by George W. Bush during his first three years." 

Overregulation hurts business expansion and job creation.  Small businesses create two-thirds of the jobs in this country, but government regulations have a disproportionately negative effect on their ability to grow and thus help the economy recover, according to the National Federation of Independent Businesses.

“The U.S. is in peril of becoming Europe, a slow-growth economy facing even more serious fiscal troubles,” says the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council.

The president's plans for a second term, from what I've read, are for more of the same. He says that all he needs is "more time"; not different policies, just more time to implement the same ones.

So for me, the question is simple: based on where he’s taken this country during his first term, do you want to hand President Obama another four years to keep doing what he's been doing? I don’t.

I know that lots of people like President Obama. He’s an historic president. But the decision we’ll make on Nov. 6 must be made with our heads, not our hearts.  It can't be based on President Obama's place in the history books. 

If you can look at the facts I’ve outlined and approve of the course we’re on, then vote for President Obama. 

If you can’t, then please, don’t.

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David Herman October 03, 2012 at 07:20 PM
with all due respect fran, that's bs. you are presenting "facts" that are totally one sided. what about the lengthy list of "actions he's taken" i posted above. If you were so interested in presenting us with the facts, why not at least also tell us about at least one of the hundreds of positive accomplishments that Obama has achieved?
Fran Hopkins October 05, 2012 at 07:12 PM
David, I did go to that site and reviewed the list. It includes laws President Obama has signed, executive orders, initiatives he's supported, with no indication of their impact or results. I summarized the results of Obama policies that are hurting our economy. I'll take another look at that list to see if it includes actions by the President that have significantly helped the economy.
David Herman October 08, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Fran, anything Obama tries to do to help the economy is blocked by the Republican house: Jobs bill (2011) - blocked wall street reform- blocked fair pay act - blocked and defeated dream act - blocked anti rape amendment - blocked small business jobs act - blocked twice benefits for homeless veterans - blocked health care for 911 first responders -blocked political ad disclosure bill -blocked tax on companies that ship jobs overseas -blocked american recovery and investment act -attempted block oil spill liability -blocked immigration reform -blocked affordable health care for all americans- voted 33 times to appeal unemployment extension bill HR-4213 blocked so just what are the republicans doing to make the economy better? lowering taxes on millionaires and and billionaires? still waiting for that trickle down to materialize.
Ann S. November 07, 2012 at 10:08 PM
Just curious: How many years have YOU had to do something effective about YOUR job situation? And how have those "effective" actions worked out for you? oooof.
Ann S. November 07, 2012 at 10:09 PM
Caldwellres: well said.


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