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Presidential policy? Plan 9 from Outer Space

August 24, 2012 12:10 am

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ANYONE WHO has lived through the last four years knows the tragic trajectory of our economy and the futility of this administration's policies regarding job growth. And as much as the president's re-election campaign has tried to change the subject with a barrage of false attack ads against Mitt Romney, poll after poll suggests that the overriding concern of the American people remains the economy.

To be sure, the current administration has gone in for government intervention as the overriding theme of its economic policy. Unfortunately, during its time in the White House, such intervention has proven to be useless at best, and counterproductive at worst. It is also the reason we need a change at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

There are four significant areas where the president's government-first, liberty-last policies have failed us: energy, health care, banking, and stimulus.

Energy fuels our economic activity on the most basic level. Without secure, abundant sources of energy, businesses cannot plan, prices go up, and job growth suffers. Our whole economy languishes.

Yet the president came into office with a stated goal of decreasing the national reliance of fossil fuels, particularly coal, and "investing" in green energy sources. What became of this plan?

For starters, it has led to a war on coal that has turned us all into economic casualties. Coal provides not only 40 percent of American electricity but thousands of jobs (including right here in Virginia), as well as important price competition for other sources of energy. EPA regulations have blocked the construction of new, cleaner coal plants.

Moreover, the current administration has prevented any new drilling off our coasts, costing Virginia thousands of jobs as well as more domestic sources of energy. It then "doubled down" on its bet against oil by preventing the construction of the Keystone pipeline, which could have given us access to cheap fuel from our friendly neighbors in Canada and created thousands of jobs here in the U.S. Instead, Canada is looking to sell its oil to Asia, and gas prices now sit at $3.49 in our region, higher than the levels seen on Inauguration Day.

Meanwhile, the government's "green investments" in companies like Solyndra have been proved to be politically tainted, totally ineffective, and a waste of taxpayer money.

HEALTH CARE 'REFORM'?

Then there is health care. The president's attempt at reform does nothing to address the growing health care shortage in America. Obsessed over "cost curves" and indifferent to expanding the health care industry, the president's Plan 9 from Outer Space is expected to cost nearly $2 trillion according to the Congressional Budget Office, push Medicare years closer to bankruptcy, and still leave more than 30 million Americans uninsured. Is it really a surprise that a majority of Americans support the repeal and replacement of this Rube Goldberg scheme?

Speaking of complex plans that collapse under their own weight, we have the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, whose burdensome new requirements placed at the feet of consumers and businesses have all but halted new lending. Thanks to a misdiagnosis of the Panic of 2008, the president concluded too-big-to-fail should be replaced by too-restricted-to-try--and those are just the parts of Dodd-Frank that have been implemented.

Why should banks--or anyone else--take the risks necessary to advance the economy when the government can replace some or all of a private company's board of directors if it doesn't like the company's direction? How can anyone in the private sector guess the effect of more than 200 sections of the bill that are left to bureaucrats to write and execute? In the midst of this uncertainty, business expansion and the bank loans that fuel them have practically halted.

STIMULUS BOONDOGGLE

All of these failures would have been catastrophic in and of themselves, let alone all at once. Yet even they pale in comparison to the president's $750 billion-plus "stimulus." This massive boondoggle sacrificed the economy on the altar of Keynesian theory--just as the academic revolt against the rigid, inflexible, and unadaptable Keynesian methods broke out into mainstream discussion. Thanks in no small part to this debacle, all four of the president's budgets (Congress refused to pass the appropriations bills for much of FY2009 until the president assumed office) will have deficits of more than $1 trillion. No president before him ever had deficits of half a trillion. Not one.

What does the president have in mind to fix the mess that we admit he inherited, but that he refuses to acknowledge he made worse? He offers nothing, except various plans to tax wealthier Americans, which would even further reduce business investment while barely registering on the federal budget, and invective against Mitt Romney.

Romney, by contrast, has proposed tax reductions for all Americans (instead of tax increases), supported reforming Medicare to make it stronger (instead of raiding it to make it weaker), backed greater use of America and her neighbors' national resources (instead of less), and proposed making the business climate more friendly to innovation and entrepreneurship (versus sclerotic regulation and fear).

This is the better path for America's economy, and it is why Mitt Romney must be elected instead of the incumbent this November.

Steve Thomas is chairman of the Spotsylvania Republican Party. D.J. McGuire is an adjunct instructor of economics at Germanna Community College and former Lee Hill District Republican chairman.





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