By my countdown, I’m on Day Five of An Election. It’s Wednesday. The election is on Tuesday. To me the choice is clear, as it was four years ago. I’ve spent the last week providing examples of how Mitt Romney is a fundamentally flawed candidate. He has no political soul and he has showed an alarming willingness to shape-shift throughout the entire course of this election, dating back to the very beginning.
Why vote for Barack Obama?
What I hear almost universally from those who oppose him is that he didn’t do enough to solve the economic woes this country was in when he took office. I marvel at this contention. When he took office, our economy was losing 700,000 jobs a month. Just stop and ponder that number for a moment. Let’s make it bigger — if that job loss had continued, it would have been 8.4 million lost jobs over the course of a year. As well, the auto industry was on the verge of collapse and the American financial system was right behind it. If the auto industry had not been “saved” a couple more million jobs would have been lost and entire communities throughout the Midwest would have been devastated. If the financial system had failed, we would be in a Depression.
What did he do? His programs saved the auto industry and also saved the benefits autoworkers have bargained for with their employers. Romney’s idea for “saving” the auto industry never would have worked. It depended on two things. First, going through bankruptcy — which would have likely resulted in autoworkers losing their pensions, benefits, and other compensation they had bargained for with their employers. Romney’s plan would have done to the auto industry exactly what he did when he was at Bain — strip companies down and leave the carcass behind. Pay attention to what he was proposing for the auto industry and you have an idea of what he wants to do if he’s elected.
Second, and more important, is that Romney’s idea for the auto industry depended on private capital coming to the rescue and bailing out the auto industry instead of the government. Guess what. The capital markets were completely frozen at the time. There was no investing going on, no lending. There would have been no interest or ability of the banks and investment firms to invest the billions of dollars it would have taken to rescue the auto industry. So, remember this … Romney’s idea was a sham.
Barack Obama, however, did what needed to be done to save those millions of jobs and, in the face of significant opposition from Republicans, he engineered bailouts of the auto industry and the banks to keep a depression at bay. Was everything done perfectly? Of course not. I’d love to see the people responsible for engineering the crisis be punished. I’d love to see the banking system massively overhauled.
So, where are we now … 31 months of job creation. Yes, the numbers aren’t huge, but going from losing 700,000 jobs a month to 31 consecutive months of job growth says something.
Barack Obama hasn’t done enough? I say he has done everything he could on these particular issues, particularly when you measure the progress and his policies against the intransigence of the Republican Party which was united in being more concerned with defeating him than with doing the right thing for this country.
And, here I’ll ask the question I keep asking and not getting an answer to … if he didn’t do enough, what would you have had him do? If he didn’t do enough, what would the Republicans (or Mitt Romney) have done that would have produced a better result than where we are now?