- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 7, 2012
President Obama is busy attempting to make this election about small things and ridiculous distractions, but no matter what, Americans cannot escape the harsh realities of the Obama economy. Even a trip to the grocery store has become more difficult for struggling families.
To help illustrate this, consider Julia, the fictional character created by the Obama campaign.

Let’s say Julia goes shopping. She buys the groceries she purchases regularly—produce middle-class Americans might obtain on any given trip to the store. White bread, ground beef, red apples, beans, flour, turkey, and so on.

As it happens, Julia has a receipt from just before Obama took office for the same items. Same groceries, pre-Obama. What does she find? She’s now paying higher prices. There’s been a nearly 15 percent increase since Mr. Obama took office.

Over the last three and half years, we’ve seen median incomes fall. Workers are making less, provided they have jobs at all. Unemployment has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months, and over 23 million people are struggling to find enough work.

Behind those numbers are real families that are hurting. Every time they go to the store, things get a little more difficult. Milk is more expensive. The price of bread has ticked up.

Based on stats from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, middle-class families are paying more at the check-out line, after already paying more at the pump. Or, if they cannot afford to pay more, they are forced to make do with less.

A trip to the grocery store is a regular reminder that times are tough in the Obama economy. There’s no relief in sight. As last month’s gross domestic product report showed, the economy is actually slowing down. Unemployment is on the rise. By most metrics, we are moving in the wrong direction. And what does the president say? “Forward.”

Yes, we are heading toward higher prices, a weak economy and prolonged high unemployment; and Mr. Obama has chosen “Forward” as his campaign slogan.

We need a new direction. Mitt Romney has a plan for job creation that will unleash the private sector and get Americans back to work. Unlike President Obama, he will not push policies that hurt the economy and handcuff job creators. He will reduce taxes on job creation and cut government red tape that restricts economic growth.

Better jobs, a stronger economy and lower unemployment will mean less sticker shock at the grocery store. It will mean a more prosperous middle class.

The first four years of the Obama presidency have been hard on American families—from the grocery line to the unemployment line. Another four years would be devastating.

Reince Priebus is chairman of the Republican National Committee.

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