Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Barack Obama: A Progress Report

Recently I invited friends of my radio show and other media to explain how they would grade President Barack Obama's first 100 days. The response was huge. This has become a popular past time lately with radio personalities, policy experts, and people standing around the water cooler. I thought I should ride this trend.

I have noticed that most of the discussions have been largely arbitrary and without specific criteria. People generally agree that the idea behind a report card is to judge the President's performance, but on what basis? Since every President swears to defend the Constitution, that should be its criteria. Furthermore, since this President is still serving his term and has not completed it, this is better described as a "progress report." With that, here are a few areas worth consideration:

  • Economic integrity. Unfortunately, most people are unaware about what the US Constitution has to say about government spending, but I encourage readers to start with a short visit with Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. There they will find around eighteen areas that the government is aloud to operate in and none of them are that sexy or expensive. One will find post offices, post roads, and standard weights and measures. Anything beyond issues such as these were to be left to the states and the citizens thereof. One can probably argue that one cannot expect a politician to purely apply these principles, but this Administration is only furthering the rapid expansion of government in a way we haven't seen and into new roles (such as socialized medicine, the government take over of energy, and other programs). Grade: F

  • Fiscal responsibility. In the early 1980s I worked on a project to protest the government's action to increase the national debt to $1 trillion. This was a debt that took almost 200 years to reach. In a breath taking move, this Administration's budget will increase that debt by $1 trillion a year. Furthermore, the Administration has established a debt ratio that is comparable to what is common in third world countries. Grade: F

  • Monetary policy. In order to fund a government that is growing out of control financially, the United States increasingly looks like a debtor nation going to foreign country with hat in hands and asking other nations to bail them out. China alone holds almost $800 billion of that debt in Treasury Securities. However, what the US government cannot get other nation's to finance, the Administration will likely use monetizing the debt as a part of its solution. We have already seen a move in this direction with the federal government increasing the money supply by $1.4 trillion in one day. This type of policy will eventually lead to hyperinflation. Grade: F

  • National Security. Obama is sending a very strong message to the world of being a very weak President when it comes to his relationship with the rest of the world. He allowed himself to twice be embarrassed in a photo op with Hugo Chavez, he has blown empty rhetoric at increasingly aggressive (and nuclear) Iran and North Korean regimes, he is providing relief for the Communist government at Cuba by allowing US citizens to support citizens there, and he is dramatically cutting defense spending as our nation fights two wars. Grade: F

  • Behavior. Most people don't remember the important "attitude" or "behavior" aspects of a progress report, but it is extremely important in this case. Obama has consistently appointed Cabinet members with an incredible level of arrogance and hypocrisy (we have a Secretary of the Treasury, the person in charge of IRS, who didn't pay his taxes). Furthermore, he is creating Czars through out his Administration who are not subject to Congressional scrutiny, which goes against his own mandate of honest government. Grade: Unsatisfactory.

Virtually everyone I have met of all parties are very concerned about the direction this nation is going. Even Democrats have told me that they "wanted more government, but not this much." Some who have voted for OBama are anxiously looking forward to opportunity to vote again and vote different. That process can begin in 2010 when people can change the composition of the Congress and begin to hold this Administration more accountable.

Kevin Price is Host of the Price of Business, the longest running show on CNN 650 (M-F at 11 am), AOL Radio, and CBS Radio. Eric Bolling of Fox News and Fox Business says that Price’s Blog “is very influential and moves the blogosphere.” Steve Moore of the Wall Street Journal calls Price the “best business talk show host in the country.” Find out why and visit his blog at www.BizPlusBlog.com and his show site at www.PriceofBusiness.com. You can also find Price on Strategy Room at FoxNews.com.

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