Obama in danger of failing
Grading a president is hard to do because they are responsible for so many different things. When it comes to grading Barack Obama at this point, it’s only fair to grade him on what he has done with the economy up until this point.
It’s the most pressing issue to Americans right now. And, ultimately, Obama was elected not only because he was a good speaker but because the public thought he would be better suited to solve our economic woes than a Republican as president.
This wasn’t, of course, based on anything concrete but rather more on the message he ran on. “You’ve seen what republicans have done.” People agreed they didn’t really like what George W. Bush had accomplished or didn’t accomplish as president, so that was a powerful message.
But because people accepted that message for what it was, Obama was never held responsible to lay out anything to get the economy moving forward again. Instead, we were left in wait-and-see mode. What we have seen so far is a smart and talented speaker with no business experience trying to drive the world out of the largest economic struggle in the last 30 years.
How has he handled the burden of getting the economy moving forward? Well to this point, he has outright failed with flying colors. So far since Obama has taken office, the country has buried itself into more debt then all the presidents before him combined. We are in a recession, and the country now faces its biggest deficit of all-time.
So what has Obama decided to do? Spend like a teenage girl on one of those “sweet 16” birthday parties. When Obama took office, the U.S. deficit was $455 billion, but most of that deficit was not from Bush. Rather, $323.5 billion of that deficit came from the bank rescue bill Obama pushed for in the fall.
Since Obama has taken office, the U.S. deficit has swelled to an estimated $2.2 trillion by the end of 2009. To put that ludicrous number into some perspective, the entire federal budget in 2003 was $2.2 trillion.
We’re spending all this money but where has it gotten us? No where very good. When Obama took office, his administration and counterpart cronies in Congress urged the American public to rush through a $787 billion dollar stimulus bill. Their main reason for rushing the bill was people was losing their jobs. Fair enough. But they also said there was no time to read it through, meaning there was no time for the American public to understand its possible – and likely – lack of efficiency, not to mention the addition to the deficit.
The unemployment they were concerned with the stimulus’ addressing at the time was at 7.6 percent and government said that, if the stimulus passed, they could limit unemployment by the end of the third quarter of this year to eight percent. The National Economic Director Larry Summers said on CNN, “You’ll see the effects begin almost immediately.” Obama went as far to say that the money from the stimulus would, “go directly to… generating three to four million new jobs.” That was the projection. But when the third quarter actually started, unemployment was at 9.5 percent. For those keeping score at home, that’s 1.5 percent above the projected maximum, and unemployment is still on the rise.
About 2.6 million people who had jobs when Obama took office no longer do. All of this despite the fact that the stimulus had been rushed through, packed with wasteful spending because Congress didn’t have the time to address all of its inefficiencies. But, worst of all, the American people were misled.
It makes me wonder if Obama learned anything from Bush’s mistakes. Bush was criticized for misleading the American public as well. Wasn’t that the turning point for Bush in the eyes of the media and public perception when we didn’t find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq?
People had felt they had been misled by their president into a war many didn’t think was warranted. Well, here is Obama doing the same thing, but instead of putting American lives at stake he is putting our American currency and financial future into the garbage disposal.
And how does Obama defend his statements and assurances made prior to the stimulus passing? He is now lying about what he wanted the stimulus to accomplish. Defending his stimulus bill Obama is now saying that his stimulus was “from the start, a two-year program.” He points out that not all of the money from the stimulus has been spent, and we shouldn’t be feeling the positive effects of it entirely yet.
Why, when this bill was in Congress, was he saying things such as most of the stimulus money “will go out the door immediately” when really only 7.7 percent of the stimulus was spent in the six months after the bill was passed?
Obama is constantly contradicting himself and his administration. This is because he knows his stimulus isn’t working the way he envisioned it would, but he still needs to buy himself more time. Obama knows if he loses the support of the American public, and, in turn, the rest of congress – much like Bush did – he will become helpless and he won’t be able to fulfill the rest of his apple pie high in the sky campaign promises such as universal healthcare.
Obama gets a failing grade through his first nine months as president but the grade is clearly incomplete because maybe Obama’s stimulus bill really will end up working. After all, government has never let us down in the past.
Alex Perry is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.