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Presidential sweepstakes will undermine economic recovery

Published: Thu, January 26, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

President Barack Obama and Dem- ocrats on Capitol Hill should disabuse themselves of the idea that Republicans will put country before political self-interest and work with them to energize the tepid national economy. The words of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, serve as the foundation of the GOP’s approach to governance this year: “ ... the single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” Those words were spoken last year, and were reiterated by McConnell in a television interview when he was asked if he stood by them.

“Well, that is true, [making Obama a one-term president is] my single most important goal along with every active Republican in the country,” the minority leader said on Fox News in July. “But that’s in 2012.”

It’s 2012, and the Republicans have wasted no time in launching their campaign against the president.

Consider this disingenuous comment from McConnell Tuesday, hours before Obama delivered his third — and final, if he fails to win re-election in November — State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress: “It’s hard not to feel a sense of disappointment even before tonight’s speech is delivered. The goal isn’t to conquer the nation’s problems. It’s to conquer Republicans. The goal isn’t to prevent gridlock, but to guarantee it.”

This from the man who laid out in clear terms the strategy of Republicans in Congress.

President Obama and Democrats on Capitol Hill will have to face political reality: Bipartisanship is dead for the year. The GOP has no intention of doing anything that may benefit him and his party in the general election. Indeed, Senate Minority Leader McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, can be expected to not only block Obama’s legislative agenda, but to plant political land mines in the hope that the president and his allies will step on one or more of them.

Therefore, the question: Will there be any substantive legislation passed to spur the economy, thus creating jobs? The answer is no. Republicans believe that if the unemployment rate remains at what it is today, 8.5 percent, their chances of making Obama a one-termer will be vastly improved.

Different visions

In his State of the Union speech, the president sought to draw a distinction between his vision for the country and the one articulated by the candidates for the Republican nomination for president by talking about fairness and the free market.

Obama stressed that the economic revival he envisions and is pursuing will benefit all Americans, not just the rich. The goal is to make sure that America does not become a nation of haves and have-nots.

The economic agenda Obama intends to push this year will boost manufacturing, once the heartbeat of the Mahoning Valley, energy and education.

In his speech, the president repeated his call for the rich to pay more in taxes, which coincided with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, one of the leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, releasing his tax returns for 2010 and an estimate for 2011.

The returns show that Romney, who has harshly criticized Obama’s management of the economy, earned nearly $22 million in 2010 and paid an effective tax rate of about 14 percent. That’s a lesser rate than many Americans pay because of how investment income is taxed in the United States.

The contrast between Obama’s call for fairness and the taxes paid by the rich, as illustrated in Romney’s tax returns, will be highlighted in the general election.

It’s clear the economy is improving, albeit too slowly for many, but it’s just as clear that the Republicans aren’t interested in working with the administration.

Such partisanship does not benefit the nation.


1Dan_Moadus(33 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

So Mitch MC Connell thinks the single most important thing is seeing that Obama is a one term President. Does anyone think that Obama doesn't think the single most important thing is that he is a two term President? What's the difference? Seems to me that Bertram makes too much of this.

We must face this fact. There is a war between liberals and conservatives in this country, and there is going to be no compromises. Very little will happen until one side or the other is vanquished.

Bertram and others think the Republicans wouldn't go along with any idea proposed by the Democrats, even if it was good for the Country. But the truth is that either side would go along with the other, in any idea they thought good for America, but the ideologies are so far apart that it seldom occurs.

Bertram asks, then answers, "Will there be any substantive legislation passed to spur the economy, thus creating jobs? The answer is no."
But how could there be, when the Democrats think more regulation and spending is needed, and the Republicans believe the opposite?

Bertram parrots the liberal mantra of more and higher taxes, citing Romney's 14 percent tax rates on investment income. Surely he knows that taxing something more, means getting less of it. Does he want higher taxes on investment? Doesn't he understand that we will get less of it? Does he have any idea of how important investment incomes are to many retired people? Doesn't he care if they're hurt?

It's sad to see Bertram, who is so often so accurate in his commentary to fall prey, so blatantly, to the propaganda of the left.

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2300(573 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Dan, you need to learn about economics before you go posting such nonsense. Unearned income is taxed at a ridiculously low level, and by raising its rate the government would bring in more revenue. You're taking an argument that is applied, in theory, to earned income. Namely, I'll sit at home rather than work if the state starts to take too much.

The problem with your understanding of this is that you don't understand why tax receipts rose in the 90s when tax rates were cut. This is why I said that you need to educate yourself before spouting this nonsense about how lower rates bring in more revenue, and higher rates bring in less.

Also, why should money that is made by no physical effort (not even showing up in an office) be taxed less than that made by activity? Worrying about the "poor" retiree who's got several hundred thousand, or a few million, invested is truly absurd. It's like the comments that say that the minimum wage shouldn't be increased because they might have to pay an additional nickle for a hamburger (with absolutely no thought given to the person who prepares that hamburger).

I know that you think you're informed because you've read a few economic opinion books, you learned about the Austrian school, and you're probably surrounded by others who are equally uneducated. You're not a voice of reason, you're the voice of the over-opinioned pensioner with too much time on his hands.

I also love how you see this as some sort of death battle between liberals and conservatives. Simplistic thoughts for a simplistic man.

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3VINDYAK(1824 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

And the propaganda is just beginning. Already liberal pundits are spinning and weaving stories to prop up the President's agenda, which is to circumvent Congress and shred our Constitution in an attempt to press on with his agenda.

If you thought the 2008 election was nasty, just wait for this summer, when over a billion dollars will be wasted on propaganda spending.

This election process is getting so far out of hand, consuming so much money and time our country is being held hostage for over a year with its drama. Enough is enough, our elected officials are spending more time campaigning than they are working for us as our representatives...this has to change!

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4redeye1(5354 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Obama thinking is that he hopes to make people not be so successful. Let's face it if you raise taxes on the rich to pay the lazy slobs to stay home. Where is the initiative to make more money. You can see by the posts here that the liberals want what i worked hard for so they don't have toThat's BS

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5doubled(210 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

MOadus -- please explain to me how the president's jobs bill, that deals primarily with stabalizing America's crumbling infrastructure is, as you put it, bad for America. It create's decent paying jobs for American's to fix things that everyone of us uses and depend on everyday of our lives. Our bridges, water/sewer systems, underground wire/cable systems, public utility lines, dams, highway systems, power grids, etc, etc, etc....Theses things are all in desperate need of upgrading and/or repair. This will need done sooner rather than later. Recently, the USA's inftrastucture received a grade of "D" after a comprehensive study done by civil engineers retained for that purpose. So please explain how the gop/tea party sees obama's jobs plan as being bad for our country and its people, other than the fact that it was proposed by obama? And don't say we don't have the money because if this stuff doesn't get done in the next 10 yrs, it's going to cost us one hell of a lot more to completely rebuild it. IF your furnace breaks down in the middle of January, you get it fixed, no questions or arguments about it, you get it fixed b/c you have to. The president has proposed a way in which to create millions of decent jobs for AMERICANS to do something that we have to do. And the gop/tea party says "no"....I have to ask why?

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6cambridge(3615 comments)posted 3 years, 10 months ago

Just a little follow up on the article. The writer states that the republicans will not be working with Obama in the coming year. My question would be, how is that any different that the past three years?

The article also mentions romney's 14% tax rate but fails to mention that romney wants to eliminate the capital gains tax so he would actually pay no taxes.

If you want to know what the teabagger/republican agenda is it is contained in the link below, about yet another record quarterly profit for chevron while being subsidized by the American tax payer.


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