Something for Iowans to consider during Obama’s visit
Like millions of Americans, Iowans are beginning to make up their minds about the upcoming fall presidential campaign and election day on November 6. Many of them will likely ponder the classic election year question: Are you better off today than you were four years ago?
While economic conditions vary from state to state, voters everywhere are affected by the nation’s overall economic health. A key indicator is the unemployment rate. Unemployment in Iowa is below the national average, but the national economic decline is sure to make many Iowans answer with a resounding “no” when asked if they are better off today than four years ago. The national economy affects everyone. Voters are highly sensitive to national economic trends and now look to the future with deep concern.
The national unemployment news for June indicates that President Obama’s approach to economic recovery has failed. Unemployment remains stalled out at 8.2%. For 41 months the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent. Yet the president predicted a rate far lower by now when he touted his nearly $1 trillion stimulus spending plan shortly after assuming office.
There are other subsurface trends buried in the unemployment data that should give voters pause. Unemployment for nearly every sector of the economy remains high. Minorities and young people see few if any job opportunities. The broadest metric for calculating unemployment, which includes workers who are underemployed and those who have given up looking for work, is an astounding 14.9 percent.
The bad news is piling up on every front. One hard-hit segment of the population is young adults with a college education. The number of these young people who cannot find a job increased by nearly 100,000 in June. These young graduates leave college with a degree and heaps of student loan debts, often to return home because they cannot afford housing as a result of the terrible employment climate.
When Iowans ask if they are better off today than four years ago and answer “no,” they might ask themselves what went wrong over the last three and half years of the Obama administration. It is a long list of missed opportunities and failed policies.
Shortly after his inauguration, President Obama faced a choice. He could put his emphasis on healing the economy devastated by the crash of 2008, or pursue his stated ambition to fundamentally transform America. He chose the latter and the results are clear for all to see.
The president’s main objective in the first year of his presidency was to overhaul the healthcare system. While the Supreme Court has ruled that the law is constitutional, reading the fine print of the law reveals that healthcare costs will increase, access will decrease, and health care decisions will be made by the federal government instead of patients and doctors.
Energy is another issue affects the national economy. The president pursues alternative energy sources that hold promise for the future but do little to meet immediate energy needs. At the same time, he bashes cheap and abundant domestic energy sources. He restricts oil drilling, strangles coal production and has now set his sights on limiting the development of low-cost natural gas.
Iowans can see clearly the results of the president’s economic policies. They know that higher taxes and more borrowing will not produce jobs for hardworking taxpayers. Only the private sector, armed with certainty about the future, can bring the economy back to life. They are not better off than they were four years ago, and they are ready for change. It will come on November 6.