By Ed Rogers August 4 at 6:24 PM
With the frightening calamities overseas growing with menacing momentum and all the shallow and cynical talk about gridlock and impeachment here at home, it is easy to get distracted from what will really matter to voters less than 100 days from now, when they go to the polls for the 2014 midterm elections.
There is no chance the economy will be strong by November, even if we see some improvements between now and then. The real questions are how weak it will still be and to what degree voters will want to send a message that they are unhappy with the Democrats’ stewardship of the economy.
Obama apologists will point to the most recent quarter of gross domestic product growth as evidence that the economy is improving. Well, even the boost from this one quarter of good growth under President Obama – which is still subject to revision – means that GDP growth for the year is now an anemic 0.9 percent.
One lesson to derive from the Obama administration is that not all growth represents good policy. To achieve the paltry growth we have seen in the past five years, Obama has resorted to economic steroids in the form of federal bond-buying programs and worse, economic meth in the form of debt. Obama has increased our country’s debt by more than any other president in history. Think about that. Since he was first elected, Obama has overspent by more than $1 trillion per year (on average), resulting in a total of $7.1 trillion added to the national debt under his watch so far.
In other words, thus far the Obama administration has added over $61,000 per American household to our national debt.
In a campaign, it is difficult to talk about abstract “trillion dollar deficits” and dollars per household, but there is an easy question Republican candidates should pose to voters. They should ask, “Do you think you’re getting your money’s worth from the government?” That is, do voters feel that the extra $61,000 the Obama administration has spent above and beyond the federal budget has resulted in additional, tangible benefits for their families?
These numbers are so frightening it’s no wonder the Democrats want to talk about anything else. And if they are backed into a corner, they inevitably resort to blaming President George W. Bush. But at some point, Democrats will be forced to admit that the colossal Obama debt makes the debt added under Bush look tiny.
Here are the facts:
From 1776 to 2001, we accumulated approximately $5.7 trillion in debt. During the eight years of George W. Bush’s presidency, the debt increased by about $4.9 trillion to $10.7 trillion. Under Obama so far, the debt has escalated by over $7 trillion to $17.7 trillion.
The Democrats’ overspending is indefensible, so they mostly don’t even try to defend it. Instead, they change the subject – or worse, they suggest our increasing debt is not a problem. This is worse than irresponsible; it is sinister to try to convince voters that the bills won’t ever have to be paid and that future generations won’t pay a price for the debt we are incurring.
Democrats would have you believe that the top issues for voters ahead of the midterm elections are global warming and social issues, such as abortion. But recent Gallup polling makes plain that economic issues are No. 1 in voters’ minds. In a poll from July 7-10, 2014, 41 percent of voters said they believe our net economic problems are “the most important problem facing this country today.” Among the non-economic problems facing our country, the environment/pollution is seventeenth on the list, with less than one percent of voters listing it as the most important issue. And, oh by the way, abortion is 25th on that list. So in fact, Democrats are speaking to a very narrow audience.
Democrats are eager for a smokescreen, and just about any distraction will do. Republicans shouldn’t take the bait and let the Democrats drive the discussion. With fewer than 100 days left to go, Republicans can’t talk about the economy too much.