President Obama is speaking today at the University of Wisconsin in his first campaign rally since 2008.
Nearly two years ago, Senator Barack Obama captured the hearts and minds of young people everywhere when he promised he would bring unity to a divided nation, change to a broken Washington D.C. and hope to many who saw our nation sliding in the wrong direction. Yet today, as the President speaks at Library Mall, our nation remains deeply divided: Washington continues with business as usual, a 9.5 percent unemployment rate and an economy which is sluggish at best. Many who once had so much hope are now questioning whether or not the policies of this administration have helped or hurt them.
In fact, according to a recent POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground Poll, only 38 percent of Americans say that the President deserves to be re-elected.
Americans, including many college students, are unhappy with a slow economy, unheard of deficit spending, and a health-care law that was passed using the very backroom politics Democrats promised to erase. Now, a refreshed Republican party with new ideas and solutions is expected to win the House of Representatives and possibly the Senate come November.
While many students may still support President Obama on some issues, many also feel he has failed to deliver the real change he promised. On the night of his election, he spoke eloquently about unity in uncertain times. His words articulated that together we could solve the financial crises, promised that together we could find solutions for an out-of-control federal deficit and assured us that together we could restore our government to what the founders intended.
His words are no longer enough. For two years the Obama administration, along with Nancy Pelosi and the Democratic-controlled Congress, have pushed legislation after legislation through without, in many cases, even reading the bill, much less discussing it with the American people. Nancy Pelosi even famously declared,”We have to pass the [health-care] bill so you can find out what’s in it.” The health-care law which, according to an average of polls from pollster.com, a majority of Americans disapproved of, was passed in the face of bipartisan opposition using a procedural method known as reconciliation. While the Senate has yet to take up the measure, Cap-and-Trade legislation will cost families, seniors, and those who already are suffering financially thousands of dollars more per year, all to satisfy the increasingly powerful environmental lobby that exists in Washington D.C. today.
President Obama and Democrats in Congress promised to give top priority towards fixing the economy. Instead, President Obama chose to tackle issues such as health care despite the fact that our economy is still hurting. Today, the economy which President Obama promised would never see eight percent unemployment has now been lingering at 9.5 percent for months. Many leading economists such as Vanguard’s Chief Economist, Joe Davis, now fear a double dip-recession. Yet the only the solution the President has come up with is to spend even more money on top of the billions of dollars that have already been spent through the economic stimulus.
Many on the left argued that President Obama had to spend those billions of dollars to “fix the mess” left by President Bush and save the economy. With this justification, according to a recent report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, in one stroke of his pen President Obama spent more money than George W. Bush spent on the entire Iraq war by signing the $862 billion stimulus package. Now many economists say the so-called stimulus package did next to nothing to stimulate the economy. Even if, as many on the left contend, the stimulus saved jobs, it did so at a cost of hundreds of thousands of dollars per job and added to an already unsustainable deficit.
The deficit, which President Obama promised to cut in half, has now more than doubled. To address this issue of an unsustainable deficit, President Obama wants to allow parts of the Bush tax cuts to expire; something that both the Congressional Budget Office and leading economists have said will severely hamper any economic recovery. President Obama has claimed he wants to extend the Bush tax cuts only for the middle class, but history will show that a tax increase on anyone, especially small business owners who make up a large portion of the so called “rich”, would be extremely damaging to an already fragile economy. Now members of both parties are petitioning the President to extend all of the Bush tax cuts.
While President Obama’s campaign rally today will excite many, the millions of Americans without jobs will continue to wonder when their rally is coming. The hundreds of thousands of graduating seniors who so fervently supported Obama in 2008 are now staring at an economy that offers little opportunity for them. It’s time the President does more than address college students, but also address the issues and problems that face this country today.
Matt Payne is a junior majoring in Chinese and economics. Please send all feedback to [email protected]