Just how much would a continued weak economy hurt President Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection chances? There are a few different ways of looking at this — and none of them seem particularly promising for the man currently occupying the Oval Office:
The White House believes America’s debt problem is an important issue, but not an urgent one. Bond rating firm S&P seems to think differently:
So the House just passed Paul Ryan’s highly-detailed “Path to Prosperity” Plan. It almost immediately achieves primary balance and reduces debt as a share of the economy. It balances the budget in the 2030s and eliminates outstanding debt in the 2050s by cutting and restructuring government healthcare spending. And it does all this without raising taxes while also lowering tax rates on companies and investors, both big and small. Even more impressive, the plan uses the slow-growth economic assumptions of the Congressional Budget Office, which, by the way, has scored the lengthy fiscal blueprint.
It’s not just the labor market that worries Team Obama:
“We are making progress on jobs and need to make more progress on jobs,” said David Axelrod, a former senior White House aide who is part of Obama’s 2012 campaign team. “But people are also grappling with stagnant wages and rising prices. That’s a legitimate, important concern for people and we have to pay close attention to it.”
The president told Fox’s Bill O’Reilly that he hasn’t shifted to the center. “I’m the same guy,” Obama says. Right, he’s the same guy — a guy who will try and push through as much of his left-of-center agenda as he can. If he had the votes, for instance, Obama would certainly be pushing a cap-and-trade energy plan or higher income taxes. But he doesn’t, so it’s time for Plan B.
Whenever I would ask folks at the White House about how they planned on dealing with America’s long-term debt problem, they would more or less tell me the same thing: “Wait for the deficit commission.” Well, Obama’s panel has come and gone. And in his speech last night, he failed to explicitly endorse any of its budget-cutting recommendations. This part particularly frosted my pumpkin:
The folks at Americans for Tax reform have assembled a pretty solid list of ideas. Since Obama is apparently going for growth in an attempt to get reelected, he might want to take a gander at a few of these: