Obama should focus on economy



Following last week’s electoral “thumping,” President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats need to refocus.

After months of misdirecting their attention towards a now most likely defunct health care bill, voters sent a clear message: Stop out-of-control government spending and focus on jobs.

Obama began with high hopes and now faces a grim reality. According to a recent Rasmussen poll, his recent approval rating is at a record low (43 percent strongly disapprove compared to 25 percent that strongly approve).

Obama can turn around his doldrums by coming out strong on the economy. He needs to speak plainly and extend his hand to Republicans, and together they need to address the issues facing all Americans: out of control spending, jobs and economic recovery.

After a year of bailouts, it’s time to rollback the Troubled Asset Relief Program. The much-criticized program continues to have little accountability, jeopardizes taxpayers and exacerbates the “too big to fail” mentality. TARP continues to be a revolving door as banks repay loans while others receive more. Obama has correctly tapped into the populist demand for financial institutions to return taxpayer dollars swiftly.

However, his proposed “bank tax” is punitive and fails to address the complexity underpinning the crisis. Obama’s tax will jeopardize balance sheets and discourage future lending. Instead, Congress needs an exit strategy with TARP. Banks that can repay need to do so, and quickly. Banks that cannot repay should be forced to file for bankruptcy.

Additionally, the government needs to liquidate its ownership of General Motors to shield taxpayer liabilities.

With much talk of Stimulus 2.0, voters are growing increasingly skeptical of out-of-control government spending.

Only 21 percent believe that an additional stimulus spending will be effective. After a year of stimulus spending, unemployment has risen from 8 to 10 percent, and much of the stimulus has been criticized for “creating or saving” non-existent jobs.

Furthermore, 62 percent of voters favor tax cuts over increased government spending, citing in a poll that “taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their own money.”

Obama should end the ineffective stimulus and enact an across-the-board tax cut. Unleashing the power of the free enterprise system will undoubtedly be more effective than any government jobs program.

As households and businesses receive more of their own hard-earned money, they will begin to purchase more, hire more and invest more.

Obama rode into Washington because many voters trusted him to deliver a sound economy, not resurrect the old Left; he would do best to align as a centrist, heed voters and focus on restoring economic prosperity.


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