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.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

David Herman October 01, 2012 at 01:30 PM
The Heritage foundation? you mean the same right wing ideologues who said the bush tax cuts would eliminate the deficit by 2010. Obama inherited the worse mess ever. The economy was on the brink of total failure. You want facts? well here they are. Obama's accomplishments are too long to list here, but you can read a nice list with citations here: http://www.addictinginfo.org/2012/09/01/a-long-list-of-president-obamas-accomplishments-with-citations/ You want to put the same people that put us into this economic mess back into power? you want the same foreign policy team that lead us into multi trillion dollar illegal wars? then you my friend, are the one not using your head.
David Herman October 01, 2012 at 01:43 PM
In addition, I am a small businessman. The 2 above referenced small business organizations do not represent the views of the majority of small business. In fact, many polls suggest small business prefers Obama. http://www3.cfo.com/article/2012/9/growth-companies_small-business-sentiment-politics-obama-romney
Jean Jaeger October 01, 2012 at 05:12 PM
If President Obama does not win another term we will be in samw the position that put us into the recession in the first place. It is the obstructionism going on in Congress that has prevented President Obama from being able to put in place the policies that would improve the job outlook in this country. So let's put the blame where it belongs, on those people in Congress who's sole purpose has been to keep President Obama from getting another term without any regard for the people they have been sent to Washington to serve.
Pete Mock October 01, 2012 at 06:54 PM
Oh my, so scary. And even with all these horrible things, Obama's lead in the polls seems to be growing. I guess that speaks volumes about how lame a candidate Mitt Romney really is.
Fran Hopkins October 01, 2012 at 11:25 PM
David and Jean, the "they want to take us back to the policies that got us in this mess in the first place" myth was recently debunked by Bloomberg News; according to Bloomberg, most of the policies that led to the 2008 financial crisis were put into place by Democrats. Here's the link: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-12/about-those-policies-that-got-us-into-this-mess-caroline-baum.html. President Obama had two years to do something effective about jobs and the economy, when he controlled both houses of Congress. Instead of focusing on the economy, he chose to ram through The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which led the people to elect a Republican House in 2010.
Belleville Sentinel October 02, 2012 at 01:13 AM
Best Political Ad Ever! http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/27/samuel-l-jackson-to-voters-wake-the-fck-up_n_1919317.html?utm_hp_ref=elections-2012
Marion Crecco October 02, 2012 at 01:17 AM
He doesn't even meet with Congress!!
Kevin Mauro October 02, 2012 at 02:14 AM
That is exactly who you will be putting back into power. The so called mess is traceable, and the majority is traceable back to the Democrats. Hear me out. The housing crisis was not caused by Bush, but by President Clinton. The Affordable Housing Act started the financial meltdown, by forcing banks to relaxing time honored practices of lending, but was additionally fueled by President Clinton's repeal of the "Banking Act of 1933" that prevented banks from getting "too big to fail" in which created the perfect storm to get Obama elected. The foreign policy that got this country in the position, to be attacked was also Clinton's. It was a mere 8 month's into Bush's first term that 9-11 happened, and after 8 years of decline of our national defense and global status.. The total cost for this ten war was 1000 billion dollars or the equal of only one year of Obama's overspending. Obama did not inherit the worse mess ever. President Obama inherited a orchestrated crisis. President Obama was a 1980's student of Francis Fox Piven at Columbia University. Who is Ms Piven? That is why you need to know whom you elect, and America was not told anything about President Obama's past, except what he told in his books. Dave look up the Cloward and Piven Strategy, and you will see how we were played.
Kevin Mauro October 02, 2012 at 02:15 AM
Some people say that the stock market is back, I say it' is not. The reason behind my logic is this. At the time of the crash, America had only on third of the amount of currency in circulation as we do today. To put it in perspective, the market would be around 4,500 not the bogus 13,500 that is shown today. That's not growth, that's fraud.
Caldwellres October 02, 2012 at 11:06 AM
Most of the President's was as a result of the budget Bush stuck him with on the way out. What infuriates me is people like Fran expect the President, who by the way has very little actual control over the economy, to wave his hand and the economy would be back to normal. Real action requires the cooperation of Congress.
Kenneth Perkins October 02, 2012 at 12:35 PM
I am a Republican and don’t like Romney. However, I have a plan! Obama will get another 4 years paving the road for Chris Christie. Tough love is coming and well needed
David Herman October 02, 2012 at 02:42 PM
debunked by an opinion piece? hardly http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/26/business/economy/26inquiry.html as for the affordable care act, being singly responsible for the republican's taking over the house, that is certainly a large leap of logic.
Juan Gonzalez October 02, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I'm a republican, however, it was not the Democrats that led us into a war which turned out to be a huge mistake. All of your other points are salient and, as it respects mortgage lending standards, they're already prompting banks to relax those yet again. It was the relaxation of lending standards that led to disequilibrium in the market and this applied not only to the housing market, but to the credit and student loan markets as well. The republicans pushed a costly war down our throats and the democrats pushed costly lending standards down our throats. No party has a corner on stupidity. No party.
Pete Mock October 02, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Debunked? Not so much. Lending practices had a part to play in the financial crisis, but to say that it was the cause is foolish and simplistic. The lack of regulation and changes in regulation that the GOP has always fought for are at the heart of the crisis. Banks and financial firms took advantage of the easy money, knowing the government would bail them out. We’re all still awaiting serious legislation to correct the abuses that occurred, and we all know very well that the GOP will have NONE OF THAT. You also seem to forget that large tax cuts for the richest Americans and two wars might also have little bit to do with taking Clinton's surplus and turning it into the giant heap of debt we're facing now. Not sure what there is about that to debunk. You also fail to note the huge number of filibusters used by the republicans since Obama took office, and specifically the filibusters used in 2009-2010 to thwart anything Obama wanted to do about jobs and the economy. In fact, you only have to go back to last year when they filibustered Obama's jobs bill that even Moody's said would grow the economy by 2% and add 1.9 million jobs. Republicans loved the payroll tax cut and the tax breaks for investments in business equipment that Obama wanted, but because some of it would be paid for with a 5.6 percent surcharge on incomes over $1 million they remained the party of "NO" and threw the baby out with the bathwater.
henryXX October 02, 2012 at 03:56 PM
Oh, I think its very logical. Obama now wants to reneg and underwrite the warn act when it comes to notification of massive layoffs in the defense industry. He's outrageous!
InterestedParty October 02, 2012 at 04:59 PM
I thought this blog was about being unemployed? Maybe stick to that...
Pete October 02, 2012 at 07:19 PM
Well, at least I didn't have to listen to 3 hours of Sean Hannity to get all these GOP talking points!
Fran Hopkins October 02, 2012 at 08:03 PM
This is a new, separate blog I'm writing about the upcoming Presidential election.
Chris Wysocki October 02, 2012 at 09:37 PM
Fran, Thanks for compiling your litany of Obama's failures. And double-thanks to the Patch for publishing it. As you can see from the comments the delusions of the average Obama voter are legion. Sure it's Congress's fault! If by "Congress" you mean Harry Reid, who hasn't enacted a budget in 3 1/2 years. Sadly too many liberals are high on Hopium and still believe that the magic unicorns will bring prosperity just as soon as the Tea Party is declared illegal. Did you see the latest Obama campaign ad? It was only posted for a brief time on their web site. "Republicans are coming for your lady parts!" Really. That's all they've got left. Well that, and "psst, didja hear Romney is a Mormon?" An American Ambassador is dead. Killed by al Qaeda. Obama was warned. He did nothing. Unless you count playing golf and going on The View as "doing something." BTW, the guy who killed our Ambassador to Libya? He used to be a guest of the US Army. Obama released him from Gitmo. Oops. Say do you think that "kid" Obama just released (and deported to Canada) might also return to a life of jihad? His father's a big time terrorist. But nah, Eric Holder swears the kid is clean. You know, the same Eric Holder who gave all those guns to Mexican drug lords so they can murder our border agents (and a whole lotta Mexican kids too). He's the best Attorney General Evah! At least since John Mitchell. But hey, Beyonce loves President "I Candy". What could be more important than that!
Dazed not Confused October 03, 2012 at 01:10 AM
Fran, I have read some of your other columns. You are a long-term unemployed professional in a dying industry. You choose to remain unemployed rather than seeking training for a skill that is in demand and/or accepting a job for less $$ than you *think* you are worth, and it's so much easier to blame the gov't., isn't it? Newsflash: the world is a lot smaller now and there are people in developing countries who can do almost any job for a fraction of the cost than it costs here. It is delusional to think that any President can fix that. You know who can improve the economy and how? Look in the mirror and follow these 3 simple steps: 1) Work (which might mean taking a job you'd rather not do for less $$ than you *think* you are worth); 2) pay your fair share of taxes; 3) Don't spend more than what's left. One last point: no intelligent voter should pay any attention to anyone who rips apart one candidate without detailing how they think the other guy can do better.
Lauri Barger Baker October 03, 2012 at 01:43 AM
It looks like a cut and paste from the Rush Limbaugh website.
Richard Sorensen October 03, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Fran, Maybe you should contact Mitt Romney and get a job writing for a private equity firm. I've done pretty well in recent years going into New York and writing for financial services companies. But, of course, you might have to commute across the Hudson River, which you say you don't want to do. I've met Mitt, and he's not a bad guy. However, I plan to vote for Obama. The difference between your perspective and mine may be that I'm willing to go where the jobs are, and not blame the government. Richard Sorensen
Fran Hopkins October 03, 2012 at 06:51 PM
Thanks, Chris. I've just tried to present the facts of what Obama has done over the past four years. These are the actions he's taken, not his words or promises. I'm not being angry or emotional or insulting, and I don't blame "the government" for the fact that I'm underemployed. I think that voters should review his performance in the job and decide on that basis if we want to give him another four years to continue to implement his policies.
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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