The midterm elections next Tuesday are likely to be remembered as the moment when Americans drew a line in the sand and told the Democrats that there is no room for government from the political extreme. For four years, Democrats have controlled both houses of Congress with large majorities. Under their watch, the nation has fallen into recession, accumulated $3 trillion of additional debt, and witnessed the ignominy of a president of the United States who spends his time on foreign trips, apologizing while literally bowing to unsavory autocrats. Even the singularly weak and ineffectual administration of President Carter was able to inspire Americans more than today’s; it took Carter four years to sink the nation into a malaise, while Obama has managed to do so in a record-breaking two.
The problem is that the Democratic leadership has attempted to steer the country hard left rather than respond to the concerns of the American people. The economy entered a freefall two years into the Democratic takeover of D.C., and Obama entered the Oval Office with the public clamoring for him to fix it. Americans wanted a pragmatic recovery and jobs; they had no stomach for radicalism. Obama deserves some credit for continuing the financial rescues begun by the Bush administration — an unpopular but likely necessary step — but his subsequent economic moves were abject folly.
Obama tried to initiate a recovery with a huge government stimulus package, which, in theory, could have been effective — if Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress had devoted all of it to infrastructure development and research, which tend to deliver high yields on investment and create many jobs. Instead, the Democrats decided to bribe retirees, the group least harmed by the financial crisis, using public funds; they spent the lion’s share of “infrastructure” funds on inefficient handouts to cronies rather than repairing the nation’s crumbling road, rail and port systems. Although they claimed that they would deliver stimulus funds to “shovel ready” projects, last week leading Democrats sheepishly admitted that there is no such thing as a “shovel ready” government project; bureaucrats slow the pace of government work to a crawl.
Immediately afterwards, Obama and Congressional Democrats turned their backs on the economy and focused on their true passion: redistributing wealth. Despite a lackluster recovery and nonexistent job growth, Democrats focused every ounce of their energy and political capital on a new, trillion-dollar entitlement program for healthcare. The final bill gave handouts to major unions (the Democrats’ most loyal special interest group), paid for by increasing income tax, as well as taxes targeted at small businesses.
The Democrats’ boondoggle of a healthcare bill punishes businesses for hiring more than 50 employees, virtually guaranteeing a slowdown in job creation. It does nothing to deal with healthcare’s ballooning cost, which is growing at a rate that vastly exceeds inflation. Rather than dealing with this fundamental issue, the Democrats simply put the growing cost on the tab of small businesses and taxpayers, then claimed victory. Last week, Obama claimed that the poor and middle class will pay nothing for the bill and gain access to heavily subsidized insurance on the backs of the top 1 percent. This is a mathematical impossibility, especially given the ability of the top 1 percent to move their money elsewhere.
In March, after passing their poorly-designed Obamacare bill, the Democrats put a final nail in their coffin when they failed to address the economic woes of middle America, and instead focused on financial “reform” — that is, arbitrary new regulations on banks that fail to address the systemic risk that actually led to the crisis. They still refused to admit that the stimulus bill had been a failure. Instead, they claimed that all America needed was to let Congress borrow another trillion dollars and try a stimulus all over again. The Democrat leadership forwards no new ideas — just do-overs of policies that have already failed. The only new ideas they have are taxes, like the infamous Cap and Trade Carbon Tax, which is supposed to create endless “Green Jobs.” The Dems neglect to mention that each “Green Job” would come at the cost of other jobs in the manufacturing and energy sectors.
Next Tuesday, the American people will boot out the extreme Democrat leadership in at least one house of Congress and possibly both. They have soured on radical Democrat leaders, and have turned to a new generation of Republicans who care more about the economy than petty “Culture War” conflicts. Currently, American businesses are sitting on $1 trillion in emergency reserves. The new Republican sheriffs in D.C. will guarantee that Democrat radicalism is at an end, and give companies the confidence they need to invest in American business expansion, creating jobs and prosperity. This midterm is about refocusing D.C. by putting a refocused Republican leadership in command. Vote for the Republicans on Tuesday, and remove Pelosi and Reid from their positions of power. As it stands, fiscal conservatives are likely to win the day next Tuesday; for that, we should all be grateful.
Trevor Wagener is a senior in Pierson College and President of the Yale College Republicans.