The Obama campaign, and the President himself are making the argument that the economy is headed in the right direction, and we just need to give his policies more time to restore the economy to the growth and strength we want. This is not what he said when he was pushing his agenda in early 2009. In order for us to believe this latest appeal, shouldn’t we evaluate what he said before, and how the results matched up with those predictions?
Upon being inaugurated the President set about passing legislation to deal with the bad economic situation. His priorities were a stimulus package and Healthcare reform. He passed the stimulus package, which cost taxpayers over $800 billion. He also passed “Obamacare”, which was supposed to reduce the deficit and help the economy. In June of 2009 he said, “…we can build a health care system that gives Americans the best care at the lowest cost; a system that eases up the pressure on businesses and unleashes the promise of our economy, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs, making take-home wages thousands of dollars higher, and growing our economy by tens of billions more every year.” How’s that working out?
Republicans at the time disagreed with a majority of the provisions in both packages, so the bills passed with only Democrats in Congress voting for them. Some say without these laws things would have gotten much worse. That may or may not be true, but what the President predicted was much better than our current circumstances. He said that if the stimulus passed, unemployment would not go above 8%, and that we would be down to 5.6% by now. Unemployment, in fact, went to 8% shortly after the bill passed, and hasn’t fallen below it since. He said that healthcare reform would reduce the deficit, bring down healthcare costs, and help the economy. The latest report from CBO is that “Obamacare” will add $2.3 billion in debt, healthcare costs have continued to rise, and one of the biggest reasons that businesses cite for not hiring is the cost of healthcare.
Why should we think that today’s predictions will be accurate? Has he made any changes to the plans due to the lack of results? Has he made adjustments? Has acknowledged what he has learned from the failure of these initiatives? Actually, he has proposed a “jobs bill” that would spend $100 billion that looks an awful lot like the stimulus bill only smaller.
In judging the likelihood that the President knows what he is talking about in terms of the economy, we must look at his record. The President assessed the problem, enacted his solutions, predicted the effect, and we have seen the results. He was incorrect then, and has not changed course, so how can we trust his prescriptions going forward? If your mechanic worked on your car, took twice as long, cost ten times more than estimated, and your car didn’t run, would he still be your mechanic?