By Alan Caruba
It is interesting to see how intently foreigners are watching the run-up to the 2012 national elections, particularly as regards whether President Obama could be reelected. Hardly a day goes by that I do not receive inquiries from places like South Africa, Israel, or England. Some offer comments on my Facebook page, but the concern is the same, can Obama be defeated?
To borrow a phrase from Bill Clinton’s 1992 race, “It’s the economy, stupid.” That will be the deciding factor as Democrats , Republicans, and independents go to the polls in November. The news for Obama is bad. Unfortunately, the news for millions of out-of-work Americans it is even worse.
On February 28, the National Federation of Independent Businesses and a coalition of business groups were in the D.C. Court of Appeals to argue their challenge to the Environmental Protection Agency’s rules regarding greenhouse gas emissions. The fact that there is no correlation between such gases—mainly carbon dioxide—and a non-existent global warming probably won’t even be discussed. A spokesperson for the NFIB said, “For the small business community, the constant churn of costly and carelessly promulgated regulations has become too great a burden to bear.” Guess who all those small business owners will be voting against in November?
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) keeps doing something that is unexpected from most government agencies; it keeps telling the truth. In mid-February it issued a report which said that, after three years of Obamanomics, the nation has seen the longest period of high unemployment since the Great Depression in the 1930s. Trust a Democrat President to repeat all the errors of Franklin Delano Roosevelt who prolonged the Depression for ten years while he held office.
The “official” unemployment rate has hovered around or exceeded 8 percent and this is expected to continue through 2014. The CBO noted that the level of long-term unemployment—those looking for work for more than six months—is over 40 percent! That is the highest since 1948 when the data was first collected.
Hans Bader, Counsel for Special Projects with the Competitive Enterprise Institute, recently noted that “The official unemployment rate is going down, but that’s partly because many long-term unemployed people went into Social Security Disability, citing ailments such as depression. Now they have a monthly government check, they are never, ever going back to work, and they are no longer treated by the government as unemployed.” This is governmental slight-of-hand to lower the rate of unemployment while contributing to it.
Writing in OpenMarket.org in February, Bader noted that a good part of the unemployment problem in the nation is a severe shortage of skilled factory workers. “In recent years, government officials have depicted white-collar jobs for college graduates as the way to go,” said Bader who noted that, while seeking to increase spending on colleges, the administration has been “slashing spending on more useful vocational education that could lead to work in manufacturing.”
An indication of how poorly the government solution to the need for skilled manufacturing employees has been is the fact that the private sector has stepped up to solve the problem. The National Association of Manufacturers has endorsed a National Manufacturers Skills Certification System to fill the gap. In partnership with community colleges and trade schools, the program offers “a relatively inexpensive path to meeting the human capital demands of U.S. advanced manufacturers.”
It has not gone unnoticed that Obama’s stimulus billions did not produce any “shovel ready” jobs and wasted public funds on a range of “green” industries, many of whom, like Solyndra, have gone belly up. Overall, the “green” industries involving solar panels, wind turbines, and electric cars have proven to be sinkholes of money that generate few jobs compared to the rest of the nation’s manufacturing sector.
Finally, after three years of the most anti-energy administration since Jimmy Carter, the rising price of gas is going to have a devastating affect for Democrats and Obama on public perceptions on Election Day.
To those foreign correspondents asking whether Obama will be reelected, I keep saying that the present economy with its slow “recovery” and the high rate of unemployed, combined with the government’s crushing load of irrelevant and odious regulations, is as good an indicator as any regarding the outcome of the November general elections.
If foreigners are as much concerned with U.S. elections as Americans, all the debates, daily silliness of political news coverage, and largely irrelevant social issues suggest that November will represent, like the 2010 elections, a massive voter movement away from “hope and change” to a Republican candidate that offers an alternative economic policy to four more years of the disaster called Barack Hussein Obama.