Patrick Richardson

Managing Editor

Two and a half years into his administration, and just about 18 months before the 2012 election President Obama is pleading with the American people to be patient on economic recovery.

This as unemployment has stagnated around a claimed nine percent with a real figure closer to 15 percent when you figure in those who have stopped looking or who have accepted part time work because it’s all they could find, we have the usual employment figures which were “unexpectedly worse that anticipated.” I’m not sure how they can be unexpected when all you have to do is look around you to see that things aren’t getting any better.

The numbers are dismal.

Obama was elected with a mandate to “change things.” Arguably every politician has that particular mandate, but the only thing I can see he’s managed to change is the national debt, and that for the worse.

He is of course out stumping, the 2012 presidential campaign is starting to rev up and he finds himself in the unenviable position of trying to defend his economic record.

We have the usual, “blame Bush” tactic, but it’s unlikely to work this far into his presidency. In the first year or so he could legitimately claim to be dealing with the problems he inherited. But we’ve had a chance to see how his economic policies work — keep in mind we borrowed nearly $1 trillion in order to “fix” the economy — those “stimulus” dollars are now mostly expiring and everyone from states to local school boards is trying to figure out how to get by without the money they’d gotten from the feds.

Obama promised if we’d just be patient he’d change many things, most of them were things I didn’t see a need to change, but even so, where is the change?

We’re still in Iraq, albeit not as heavily involved, Gitmo is still open, the Patriot Act has been renewed, we’ve tried spending our way out of debt and I’m still scratching my head over how that one was supposed to work.

Mr. President, the American people are pretty well out of patience. You’re still promoting “green jobs” which have been shown in Spain to destroy several regular jobs for every green job created. You keep telling us to hang on and things will get better, while you continue to promote policies which seem to be manifestly designed to prevent things from getting better.

To that end, here are some suggestions if you really would like another four years.

First, get off the back of business, the only sector of the economy which has consistently grown over the course of your presidency is the public sector. New bureaucrats are not the answer, they are a net drain on the economy not a benefit to it. Their salaries are drawn from the economy they do not contribute to it. You need to take a good look at the cost of doing business Mr. President, companies have, often as a line-item in their budget, the cost of regulation. The more regs you add the more it costs to do business and the more cost which is passed on to the consumer. We can barely afford to pay for essentials now, we don’t need any more expense.

On that note, get off the evil Big Oil kick. We’d all like to see us get away from dependence on foreign oil and for that matter away from fossil fuels in general. But the technology simply isn’t there yet. We have some of the largest oil reserves in the world in this country, let’s tap them. While that’s going on, if you must spend money, invest in research programs which might lead to viable alternative fuels. Ethanol isn’t, and it just drives up the cost of food. Most of us can’t afford gas which is north of $3 a gallon. Let’s get the prices down some shall we?

Let’s also get off the Evil Rich People kick. Rich people are the ones who create jobs. Moreover, I’m not sure making $250,000 a year qualifies you as “rich,” especially these days. Indeed the top one percent of tax payers are paying 40 percent of the tax burden. When just under 50 percent of the population pays no taxes at all I’m not sure asking those who do “to pay their fair share,” really is fair. Seems to me they’re already paying more than their fair share.

While we’re at it, can we address the real problem? The government doesn’t have a revenue problem it has a spending problem — more like an addiction. Here in Kansas Governor Sam Brownback told state agencies they were going to have to take an across-the-board budget cut in order to deal with a nearly $500 million budget shortfall. Those were tough decisions, even I don’t agree with all of the cuts we’ve made at the state level, but I understand it’s a time for tough choices. It’s time the federal government did the same. Most of the time when the congress critters talk about budget cuts what they’re really talking about is reducing the rate of budget increase. It’s time to get serious about cutting spending — and that includes entitlements. We can’t afford all these programs and still maintain essential services like defense. Time to get out the machete.

Just a few suggestions Mr. President. The ball’s in your court.

All IMHO, of course.

(Patrick Richardson is the managing editor of the Columbus Advocate. He can be emailed at editorial@columbusdailyadv.com.)