Did we get the Hope and Change we were expecting?

by Jeff Niland, GilbertWatch Contributor
In 2008 our country voted for a better America.  

There was excitement for uniting the country, creating non-partisan politics, cutting the deficit in half, having a transparent and effective government that truly serves the people, eliminating special interest groups, getting the economy back on its feet, and ending the wars and contention in the Middle East.

Instead, we have seen:
  •          Gas Prices have more than doubled ($1.80 to $3.75) as energy production dropped in the United States.
  •          The Federal Deficit has nearly doubled to $16T. We continue to add over $1T per year.
  •          We are forced to borrow $3.5B every day, to help pay for all the new spending.
  •          Unemployment is up, and has been above 8% for 44 months.
  •          The value of the US Dollar internationally has declined from 83 cents to 79 cents. 
  •          For those able to find work, wages are down 6%. 
  •          The Poverty rate has hit a 20 year high.  (1 in 7 are now living in poverty)
  •          Food Stamp spending has doubled to $80B per year, with half the country receiving Food Stamps.
  •          The United States Global Competitiveness Rating has dropped from #1 in the world to #7.
  •          The credit rating of the United States was “Downgraded,” the first time in our history.
  •          Our position and relationship with the World is failing; our embassies are on fire throughout the Middle East (20 have been attacked).
We Have Seen Huge Waste in Government

In addition, we see frequent stories of scandals and huge waste in government;  the Government Services Administration sponsors lavish million dollar “training” meetings; nearly a trillion dollars was spent on the “Stimulus” package with almost nothing to show for it (see the above metrics); nearly a billion dollars has been wasted to support several companies like Solyndra (which donated heavily to the President’s campaign), that declared bankruptcy shortly after receiving their loans.

The President repeatedly tells us he inherited the worst economic “mess” since the Great Depression.

If you study each of the 13 recessions since the Great Depression you will find that our current recession is similar to the recessions of 1945 to 1947, and 1980 to 1983 (which Reagan inherited from Carter).

The fact is, President Bush inherited a recession from President Clinton as the dot.com bubble burst, and was followed shortly by the 9/11 Terrorist Attacks.  President Reagan inherited one of the worst economies from President Carter.  Inflation hit nearly 18% along with high unemployment, yet President Reagan never talked negatively about President Carter, instead he quickly went about resolving the problems and created the longest peace time economic growth our country had ever seen.

The problem is that, while these other recessions are similar to our current recession, they recovered much more quickly with a fraction of the government spending (even when adjusted for inflation).

The current approach to “helping” end this recession has been to spend billions and even trillions of dollars in areas that have had little effect, and in some cases actually hurt the recovery. 

It is the mishandling of this recession that may turn it into the worst recession since the Great Depression.

Since the 2008 election our country has been running without a proper budget, while government spending and borrowing continues unchecked.

As for promises of transparency and getting rid of partisan politics, the first two years were dedicated to arm twisting, closed door Health Care meetings, resulting in the most partisan, most expensive bill ever passed, and prior to its passing we were told, "You need to pass it to know what’s in it."  The Health Care bill alone is one of the key reasons our economy remains in a recession.

In just 4 years we have become more divided.

We have unimaginable debt; for those who are able to find work, their wages are down, unemployment is up, and millions are so discouraged they have stopped looking for work.  The value of our dollar has fallen, and commodity prices (like food and gasoline) continue to rise.   Our stature in the World has fallen, and for the first time ever, our Credit rating has been downgraded.  I struggle to see any pattern of success.

Essentially we have gotten the exact opposite of the Hope and Change we expected.