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Story Archives: Obama's first year a failure
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|Obama's first year a failure|
By now most Americans who remotely follow current events are probably aware that the proverbial wheels fell off President Obama's administration last week.
Though polling confirmed it weeks ago that the American people were growing tired of Obama's performance in office, Massachusetts voters made it patently clear that the people are in no mood for games. They did it by electing a little known Republican state senator to the U.S. Senate seat a member of the Kennedy family occupied for the better part of the past 60 years. In short, Washington was sent a message.
I suspect the average person on the street did not appreciate the significance of Scott Brown's win in Massachusetts. That's understandable since far too many people have a tendency to tune out politics in general. I don't blame them, though. It can be gut-wrenching at times.
For political observers, though, Brown's election in a state where Independents comprise roughly one-half of all registered voters was remarkable. It was more remarkable once one remembers how much Democrats outnumber Republicans there, about three to one.
Yet, the outcome of the special Senate election in Massachusetts told us that Obama and his grand plan to remake America are in trouble. The American people aren't buying into all of that hoopla about "change we can believe in."
The trouble extends to Democrats in the Congress, particularly those so-called moderates who were elected in the not-too-distant past in what we would describe as "swing districts," or congressional districts that are just as likely to elect a Republican to office as a Democrat. To put it bluntly, unless something drastic occurs over the next 10 months, the mid-term elections will be bloodbath for the Dems.
Who can blame the people for being a bit perturbed?
The national unemployment rate when President George W. Bush left office hovered around an alarming six percent. It's been 10 percent for weeks and shows few signs of improving in the near future.
Corporate America and its subsidiaries and small businesses, too, have been shedding jobs quicker than you can say Merry Christmas—about two million jobs nationally in 2009, Obama's first year in office.
Last month, existing home sales sank 16.7 percent to a pitiful 5.45 million annual rate. The dire news about home sales wouldn't be as shocking if interest rates weren't so low. Borrowing money today for a home purchase or a refinance is a no-brainer, assuming your credit is in good enough shape to do it.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate is considering a $1.9 trillion increase in the country's debt limit. If the measure is approved by the Congress, the U.S. Treasury's legal borrowing ceiling will rise to $14.3 trillion. Let's not forget the Congress approved a $290 billion debt limit raise last month.
The Congress needs some breathing room on the debt front because it's spending more money than the government collects in taxes. Remember, the Obama administration and the Democratic-controlled Congress have quadrupled the national debt since they took office one year ago.
Where does the money come from to prop up deficit spending?
Uncle Sam either borrows it from foreign governments, namely China, or it prints it, which, in time, will cause inflation to heat up. If and when that time arrives, the Federal Reserve will have no choice but to raise interest rates as a means to clamp down on inflation.
Hanging over heads, of course, is health care reform and the tax increases the American people are expected to absorb to help pay for it. However, in light of what occurred last week in Massachusetts, Obama and the Democratic congressional leadership would appear to be rethinking their decision to shove health care reform down the throats of the American people.
Over the weekend, Obama announced that the biggest of the nation's Big Banks will be hit by new fees. Make no mistake. Those new fees are new taxes.
The decision to levy new taxes on Big Banks, according to Obama, was made easy because Big Banks made money in 2009. He says they should share their wealth with the government since the government loaned Big Banks money when the economy fell apart in 2008.
Ironically, Obama said little about the status of the loans Big Banks were granted during those turbulent times. In other words, he failed to acknowledge that most of those loans are being repaid at a pretty good clip. Obama also failed to acknowledge what Big Banks will do when they're hit with those new taxes. No, Obama didn't acknowledge that those new taxes will be passed along to—you guessed it—the consumer.
Earlier this week, Obama declared that he was calling on the Congress to freeze all discretionary domestic spending. Laughable. It's laughable because it means little, and Obama knows it. Instead, Obama's "spending freeze" announcement was a purely political move to curry favor with voters, who are concerned with the country's out-of-control deficit spending.
If Obama was serious about reigning in government spending, which he isn't, he would call on the Congress to tackle entitlement programs, including raising the age in which one could collect Social Security and Medicare benefits. That's another topic for another day, though.
In all seriousness, we can look back on Obama's first year in office, reflect upon his accomplishments and conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that it was a failure.
The question is how much more failure can we afford?