- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 20, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Election season is heating up, and more Americans are turning their attention to the choices they’re called to make in the polling booth. Even in the midterms, Ronald Reagan’s famous measure of political effectiveness remains useful when selecting between Republicans and Democrats. Are you better off now than you were when Barack Obama took the oath of office as president? Based solely on the numbers, the answer for most Americans is an emphatic no.

As time passes, it’s more difficult for the Obama administration’s defenders to pin the blame for the present economic malaise on George W. Bush. The fact remains that each and every taxpayer has been saddled with exactly $21,734.82 in debt accumulated on Mr. Obama’s watch. That figure represents a 20 percent jump in each taxpayer’s share of the total national debt. At the current rate of spending, Mr. Obama will have burdened each taxpayer with $37,303 in debt by the end of his first term in office. That’s more than the cost of an average new automobile and more than a year’s tuition at Harvard University.

Forty-six years ago, the Gipper made the famous “A Time for Choosing” speech, which kicked off his political career. He explained how running massive government deficits gave him an “uncomfortable feeling” about the future. In 1964, the government spent $17 million more than it took in every day. Adjusting for inflation, Obama’s daily deficit spending of $4.8 billion is 40 times higher. As a result, Americans are forced to work 99 days out of every year just to keep Uncle Sam in business, according to the Tax Foundation. The figure is misleading because if the 2010 deficit were paid off this year, it would mean another 38 days of working for the government. Liberals are just putting off the day of reckoning.

Policies based on centralized control failed in the Great Society just as they are failing today. Adding new government programs on top of old government programs didn’t end poverty. Spending “stimulus” dollars on top of stimulus dollars isn’t ending unemployment. To the contrary, unemployment has risen under Mr. Obama. A Gallup survey released Monday suggests the November jobless figures will increase sharply, perhaps reaching 10 percent.

Next month’s midterm elections offer a choice to place Congress in the hands of more fiscally responsible leaders. Restraining federal spending has never been more important for our future.

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