Once upon a time, not too long ago, American presidents were able to impact the direction of the economy with a strike of their pen. They could deal with Congress when “compromise” was not considered a dirty word. In the past, the president and congress could come to an understanding on the initiation of full-size programs requiring either massive spending or substantial budget cuts. They could implement programs affecting particular segments of the economy, general employment and unemployment levels, inflation levels and more.
Not any longer.
In the past two years of the Obama administration, following the Republican takeover of Congress, the president was unable to implement any fiscal policy that included significant programs to help improve the ailing US economy. President Obama’s chief blunder, subsequent to his swearing in, was not his inability to turn the economy around in the second half of his first term; it was not making the most of the opportunity to further stimulate the economy when the Democrats were in command of Congress during his first two years in office.
Following the Republican congressional victory in 2010, and their avowal to unseat the president at all costs, Republicans were able to stop any economic program that had a chance to pull the economy out of the deep ditch it had fallen into in 2008. The GOP's number one objective has been – and still is – unseating Obama. The Republicans knew that a damaged economy would turn the public against an incumbent; therefore, they have made sure the US economy stays in the gutter. Consequently, President Obama had no muscle to prop up the moribund economic conditions. Obama may have had the right ideas, but was unable to execute under the hostile atmosphere in Washington; his hands were tied behind his back.
This is why we should not hold Obama responsible for the slow recovery; likewise, we should not bid him too much credit if unemployment takes a sudden dive. It is simple: for the past two years the president has NOT been in control of the economy. The only governmental agency able to shape economic conditions in the US has been the non-political Federal Reserve (the Fed). Unfortunately, the Fed has run out of its heavy artillery shells. The few bullets still in its possession may not be sufficient for winning the war.
In the present environment, regardless of who the next president is, it seems unlikely that he will be able to reshape the economy. If Romney wins and the Democrats gain control of Congress or retain over 40 senators in the upper house, they are certain to take revenge and block Republican legislation proposals affecting the economy. If Obama is reelected and Congress continues to dwell under a Republican control, the president’s economic initiatives will continue to be dead on arrival.
The only areas where the next president may be able to effectively put his agenda into practice are foreign policy and homeland security. Independent voters should consider foreign policy philosophy the chief factor in determining who the best candidate is.
The next US president will not have an impact on the economy. He will, however, be able to reshape foreign policy; it’s the war on terror; it’s whether or not Iran will become a nuclear power; it’s whether or not the US will promote an Egypt ruled by Sharia hungry Islamists seeking to modify the peace treaty with Israel; it’s about whether or not the US will be able to convince Russia and China to cease their support of evil regimes.
This time, it’s NOT about the economy. It’s only about the future of the rest of world.
From the Jerusalem Post:
The writer is currently a talk show host at Paltalk News Network (PNN). He served as an intelligence expert for the Israeli government and was a professor at Northwestern University. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories distinguished staff member and manager, and a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to UN International Standards body. He is the author of Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks, and more recently, 72 Virgins. For more information, visit www.aviperry.org.