Friday, October 28, 2011
Why Barack Obama is the decline and despair president
This week, The Hill newspaper published a poll that is dispiriting to anyone concerned about the future of America as the world's leading power. It was one of the most damning yet, illustrating just how far most Americans believe their country has fallen in recent years. According to The Hill:
More than two-thirds of voters say the United States is declining, and a clear majority think the next generation will be worse off than this one, according to the results of a new poll commissioned by The Hill.
A resounding 69 percent of respondents said the country is “in decline,” the survey found, while 57 percent predict today’s kids won’t live better lives than their parents. Additionally, 83 percent of voters indicated they’re either very or somewhat worried about the future of the nation, with 49 percent saying they’re “very worried.”
The results suggest that Americans don’t view the country’s current economic and political troubles as temporary, but instead see them continuing for many years.
At the same time, international perceptions of American power are also worsening. A September report conducted by the Pew Global Attitudes Project found a growing number of respondents in 18 countries questioning America’s ability to remain ahead of its main competitor China. As Pew found:
Across the 18 countries surveyed by Pew in both 2009 and 2011, the median percentage saying China will replace or already has replaced the U.S. as the world’s leading superpower increased from 40% in 2009 to 47% two years later. Meanwhile, the median percentage saying China will never replace the U.S. fell from 44% to 36%.
Looking specifically at economic power, many believe China has already assumed the top spot. In the 2011 poll, pluralities in Britain, France, Germany and Spain named China – not the U.S. – as the world’s leading economic power. Remarkably, a 43% plurality of Americans also named China; just 38% said the U.S.
The Hill’s pessimistic survey of US domestic opinion encapsulates the sense of malaise and decline running through Barack Obama’s America, nearly three years into his presidency. You won’t necessarily see it in downtown Washington DC, now the richest city in the nation thanks to the relentless rise in federal spending, but it is starkly evident across most of the United States, from the poverty-ravaged suburbs of Cleveland, Ohio to the US foreclosure capital of Las Vegas, Nevada.
The dire state of the economy is at the heart of the public’s disillusionment with the course their country is taking. A recent CNN poll found that 90 per cent of Americans believe the “economy stinks,” and seven in 10 declared that President Obama has not helped the economy in a CBS News survey. With 14 million Americans out of work, millions of families struggling to pay the mortgage, the prospect of a double dip recession on the horizon and the biggest budget deficit since the Second World War, it is not hard to see why fewer than one in five Americans believe the US is heading in the “right track” in the latest RealClear Politics poll of polls.
According to Gallup, Barack Obama’s personal approval rating has now fallen to the lowest point of his presidency, based on his quarterly average job approval ratings. As Gallup notes, “his 41 percent approval average is down six percentage points from his 10th quarter in office, and is nearly four points below his previous low of 45 percent during his seventh quarter.” Placed in historical context, Obama is without doubt one of the most unpopular American presidents in post-war history at this stage of his time in office. In Gallup's view:
Only one elected president since Dwight D. Eisenhower, Jimmy Carter, had a lower 11th quarter average than Obama. Carter averaged 31% during his 11th quarter, which was marked by a poor economy and high energy prices.
… From a broader historical perspective, Obama's 11th-quarter approval average of 41% ranks 220th out of the 262 presidential quarters for which Gallup has data since the Truman administration. That translates to the 16th percentile, placing it in the bottom fifth of presidential quarters. Thus, Obama's recent approval ratings are well below average.
Instead of hope and change, the Obama presidency has delivered decline and despair on a scale not seen in America since the dying days of the Carter administration. Both at home and abroad, the United States is perceived to be a sinking power, and with good reason. The big-spending interventionist economic policies of the current administration have been little short of disastrous, and have saddled the US with its biggest debts since 1945. The liberal experiment of the past few years has knocked the stuffing out of the American economy. Job creation has been barely non-existent, and millions of Americans are now significantly worse off than they were a few years ago. Even The New York Times has acknowledged "soaring poverty" in Obama's America, citing a Census Bureau report showing the number of Americans officially living below the poverty line (46.2 million) at its highest level for more than half a century, since 1959.
Despite the bleak outlook, America can and must rebound later this decade, but it certainly won’t be capable of doing so in the hands of the current president. Levels of public disillusionment with the federal government have never been higher, and almost everything the current White House touches ends in failure. It will require another epic Reagan-style revolution to turn this great nation around and get it off its knees. Fortunately, what China lacks, the United States still has in abundance – the spirit of individual freedom, the love of liberty, a sense of justice and fair play, freedom of speech and worship, and an instinctive desire to act as a powerful force for good on the world stage. America must continue to lead the world, for the alternative is too grim to contemplate. But it can only do so on the foundations of a strong economy with low taxes and limited regulation, free of the shackles of towering debt as well as the deathly hand of big government.