Four years ago, a then president-elect Barack Obama stood before a massive crowd assembled in Chicago’s Grant Park to tell the world what he would do with his next four years in office.
At a time of great uncertainty his words that night inspired millions of Americans to have a little hope. Hope that the economy wouldn’t collapse. Hope that the days of politics as usual were finally gone. Hope that we could bring about a lasting change. And later, in a 2009 interview with the NBC Today Show, he told us that should he fail to do these things, that this would be “a one term proposition.”
That’s why I bought into the message of hope and change. I honestly believed that when he took the oath of office and became President, that he would reach across the aisle and tackle the biggest issues of the day – our weak economy, a runaway deficit, and healthcare reform.
Well today, four year later, I have lost that hope. Millions of people are out of work, the growth of our economy has all but stopped, and day by day the possibility of a double dip recession becomes all the more real. As a college student, these are not the realities I want to face as I enter the job market.
I do not dispute the fact that President Obama inherited an economic mess from his predecessor. However, after four years in office, what signs are there that his efforts to turn that mess around are working?
For 42 consecutive months the national unemployment rate was above 8 percent and in the last quarter alone our gross domestic product grew at a mere rate of 1.3 percent. These are not the tell-tale signs of an economy on the rebound rather they indicate an economy struggling to stay afloat. After four years in office, it’s time for President Obama to stop blaming his problems on the previous administration.
Right from the get-go, he promised us that things would be different. In 2009 he said, “by the end of my first term, I will cut the deficit in half.”
But like his predecessor, he continues to run up the deficit, exploding that number from a half a trillion dollars a year in 2008 – President Bush’s final year in office – to well over a trillion dollars a year in 2012 (the projected budget deficit for 2012 is $1.1 trillion). A broken promise, that becomes all the more disappointing when you realize that President Obama balked at several big opportunities to address this issue head on.
He failed to embrace the Simpson-Bowles Plan, which sought to reduce the federal deficit by raising $1 in revenue for every $3 in spending cuts. Next, the President failed to work with Speaker Boehner to come to an agreement on the budget, leaving the American people to deal with a messy piece of legislation.
Another messy piece of legislation that the American people are now stuck with is the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This complex, thousand page bill was rammed through Congress without a single Republican vote in either the House or the Senate. Perhaps this is why beyond the fact that it expands coverage to the uninsured the act does little to address the ever-rising cost of healthcare in America.
The President’s lack of effort in trying to find bipartisan support for this monumental bill and for the necessary reduction of our federal deficit is reason number one for why I have lost hope. At the end of the day, President Obama lied to millions of other Americans and me when he said he would change the ways of Washington.
Governor Romney has been channeling his inner Ronald Reagan throughout the campaign, asking Americans if they’re better off today than they were four years ago.
President Obama has opened himself up to this attack with his countless failures and broken promises. However, elections aren’t solely about pointing out your opponent’s flaws; they are about the candidates getting specific and providing the American people with their vision for the country.
That’s why I’m disappointed in the president. Because at that town hall meeting in Hempstead, New York, President Obama didn’t provide the American people with a vision for the next four years, he launched personal attack after personal attack at Governor Romney.
With millions of people struggling to find work and our economy growing weaker by the day, the American people need to hear what each man’s vision for America is. So far each time the two men have taken the debate stage only Governor Romney has looked the American people in the eye and said this is my vision for America and if you elect me this is how we will get there.
Four years have passed since that cold autumn night in Chicago and a lot of things have happened but none of them justify me making this a two-term proposition.
Come Nov 6, it’s time again to embrace change.