Evaluating Obama’s Record After More Than Two Years as President
Recently, President Obama kicked off his 2012 reelection campaign. Looking past all the political jabbering of the talking heads and pundits, the most astounding prediction of all about the next race for the White House is that Obama is expected to raise $1 billion for his campaign efforts. Given the president’s failure to fulfill his previous campaign’s promises of hope and change, a great question to ask is, who is going to donate that large amount of money to his campaign coffers?
I mean the guy has an absolutely abysmal economic record as president. Adhering to a dogmatic Keynesian policy, in just two years he has increased the national debt by 50 percent with nothing good to show for it. Unemployment, counting the underemployed and discouraged workers, was about 19 percent when Obama took office. Currently that number is at about 22 percent. After more than two years in office, Obama’s economic policies have given no hope to millions of unemployed Americans.
Of course, all of the spending and inflating of the money supply under Obama is beginning to have a huge negative effect on the economy. Anyone who has grocery shopped or purchased gasoline lately has certainly noticed higher prices. Now, many would blame Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and his ridiculous easy money policy for current rising prices. They are correct. But, let’s not forget that Obama nominated Bernanke for a second term as chairman in 2009. The president had the opportunity to do the right thing and nominate an individual that could have brought sanity back to our monetary policy. But then again, Obama and his cohorts in Congress need Bernanke to monetize their lavish spending programs to ensure their reelections.
In fact, Obama won’t recognize his or the Fed’s culpability in bringing about inflation. Instead he is resorting to the famous political technique of scapegoating. According to Obama, speculators are potentially to blame for high gas prices and thus rising prices in general. His Justice Department is going to investigate whether speculators are driving up the price of oil and therefore harming consumers.
Well, of course speculators are driving up the price of oil because they know more about how economics work than anybody in the Obama Administration. They know that with the trillions of new dollars the Fed has pumped into the economy since 2007 oil prices which are priced in dollars are going to go up, probably way up. They would not be bidding up the price of oil today if they believed that in the future they will not be able to find a buyer for their oil futures. They are not causing harm to consumers. Fed policy under Bernanke is the culprit, but the president seems clueless about this fact. As general prices continue to rise because of Obama’s Keynesian policies, Americans will continue to lose hope that their lives are getting better.
Obama’s foreign policy is as abysmal as his economic policies. During the 2008 campaign he promised “change that we can believe in”. If by “change” Obama meant even more war than George Bush provided than he has fulfilled that campaign promise. Since taking office Obama has not ended the U.S. occupation of Iraq. He has increased troop levels in Afghanistan by about 30,000. He has increased unmanned drone attacks over Pakistan killing innocent civilians and providing a recruitment tool for Al Qaeda. He led the NATO invasion of Libya, which was supposed to be a “humanitarian” effort, but has quickly turned into a regime change operation. Obama claimed he would not put boots on the ground in Libya and then it was reported that U.S. special operations forces had been on the ground in Benghazi for three weeks training the rebels. Now, fighting between Qaddafi forces and the rebels is in stalemate and many analysts believe it will take a NATO invasion with ground troops to dislodge Qaddafi from power in Tripoli. The president has put himself in a tough spot. If his previous war-like tendencies are any indication, we can expect U.S./NATO troops to be fighting pro-Qaddafi forces in Libya soon.
Barack Obama’s first two years as president has been a catastrophe. Unemployment and prices are up and we face a national calamity because of burgeoning debt at the state and federal levels. He has increased not diminished our exposure to war by ramping up military attacks over Pakistan and leading the effort to overthrow Qaddafi in Libya. These conflicts will only waste more money we don’t have and make us less safe. Again, it should be asked, if Obama hopes to collect $1 billion in campaign contributions, where will it come from? My best guess is Wall Street and the Military Industrial Complex.
Kenn Jacobine teaches internationally and maintains a summer residence in North Carolina