Rocked by spiraling approval numbers fueled by a weak economy, President Obama has introduced a massive $350 billion spending stimulus package in a desperate and cynical attempt to buy votes for November’s election. If the election was a football game, we are now in the fourth quarter and both sides only have a few plays left. And this looks like a transparent political attempt at what is known in football as a “Hail Mary” pass, a last ditch effort to protect Democrats from heavy losses in the midterm elections.
After Obama and the Democrats were swept into office, they had the opportunity to pass a bipartisan economic rescue package that would help businesses save and create better paying jobs. Instead, they chose to pass a nearly $1 trillion partisan stimulus plan that did little to help Americans (see the 9.6 percent unemployment rate). And against the wishes of a national majority, the Obama administration chose to spend a year on passing a $1 trillion healthcare bill which has placed further economic burdens on hardworking families.
The federal government now spends a record $31,000 per household. This year, our deficit will be 10 percent of GDP, the same level seen in Greece and other troubled European countries. The U.S. debt is on track to outpace the size of the total U.S. economy. And some economists predict U.S. debt will outpace U.S. GDP by 2012.
The negative trend has created an enthusiasm gap among Republicans and Democrats as we get closer to November. A recent CNN poll has swing voters overwhelmingly supporting Republicans over Democrats, approximately 51-32 percent.
Left with an angry electorate who watched the Democratic majority spend a summer trying to sell Americans that we are in a recovery, President Obama decided the best route is to create a sham proposal blending spending and tax cuts. But this package is not based in reality. Actually getting a bill of this size through Congress would take months. Without real legislative language, thoughtful bipartisan negotiations and input from the experts, there simply isn’t the time or the will power to pass another stimulus measure. And how would it be paid for? No answers are really there. That’s why it simply looks like what President Obama often refers to as “partisan talking points.”
A responsible approach, like that offered by House Republican Leader John Boehner, would be to pass a bill that cuts spending back to 2008 levels before all the fiscal craziness started. He also proposes to have a two-year freeze on all current tax rates and stop the tax hikes that are coming with the expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
We have a spending problem, not a revenue problem. The Tax Policy Center has found that to raise income taxes to try to close the deficit would require a top tax rate of 77 percent, which economists say would significantly hamper productivity. Our current level of government spending is unsustainable and hampers economic growth. Congress needs to change its ways, become responsible and cut spending. It seems too late for the Democratic majority to steer in another direction, giving Republicans some of the responsibility to do so.