Do you have the feeling that President Barack Obama loses interest in initiatives after some time has passed? It’s like he suffers from an attention-deficit disorder.
For example, after the White House announced that the unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent, job creation has been relegated to the back burner. You would think that this no longer is a problem. It’s like he crossed it off his to-do list.
But try telling that to the 25 million Americans who are unemployed or underemployed. It’s not off their to-do list.
The president announced that he is an avid supporter of small business — the nation’s most potent job creators. Heard anything about this lately?
In fact, it’s gotten worse for small businesses since community banks are struggling to survive due to excessive and suffocating regulations brought about by Dodd-Frank. Getting Dodd-Frank passed by Congress was a priority of the administration. A sure way to kill small business is to destroy their source of funding, which is precisely what is happening.
I recently had John Berlau, director of the Center for Investors and Entrepreneurs at the Competitive Enterprise Institute and Newsmax contributor, as a guest on my Made in America radio show where he talked about the “Basel cliff.”
Berlau explained that the Basel cliff refers to the potential economic fallout from the implementation of the Basel III agreement, an international accord that is supposed to make the international banking system more stable. Unfortunately, Basel III is likely to dramatically increase the costs of mortgages and small business loans, while making the banking system less stable.
This new agreement makes it easier for community banks to buy foreign stocks, rather than make loans to their local entrepreneurs and small business owners. Essentially, U.S. banks are bailing out faltering European nations at the expense of U.S. growth.
Yet, the White House has turned a blind eye to this, and, like many other economic programs, has allowed a government agency to circumvent Congress. In this case, it’s the Federal Reserve driving the process.
When small community banks cannot provide funding, small businesses can’t grow and hire.
And let’s not forget the president’s vow to double exports by 2015. Heard anything about this lately? After bragging about the three Free Trade Agreements signed with Panama, South Korea and Colombia (for which he had almost nothing to do with as they were negotiated and signed by President George W. Bush), not a single Free Trade Agreement is anywhere near completion.
So should we be expecting a spike in exports by 2015? Doubtful. In fact, our monthly trade deficit stands at a seven-month high of $48.7 billion.
In October, the U.S. trade deficit with China hit a record $29.5 billion from $29.1 billion in September. Meanwhile, China reported a trade surplus with the United States amounting to $21.7 billion.
And as for exports, forgetting about China, according to the Los Angeles Times, “American shipments to Europe, which account for more than one-fifth of U.S. exports, dropped 2.5 percent in November from a year earlier after falling 5 percent in the prior month, year-over-year.”
Has anyone heard a renewed U.S. commitment to exports? Once again, it’s off the president’s radar screen. And again, there’s a lack of leadership.
If you want to revisit leadership when it comes to exports, in a radio address to farmers on Oct. 15, 1982, President Ronald Reagan said: “It's imperative that all of us work together to reduce the growing tide of protectionism and export subsidies overseas. If other countries can't understand an even-handed approach is in everybody's best interest, if they're not willing to play by the rules of the game, then let there be no mistake: We must and we will counter with strong measures of our own to permit American farmers to realize the benefits of their extraordinary productivity.”
He had his priorities right and understood the role of exports in our economy.
Then there’s the fiscal cliff and the danger of sequestration. Instead of taking a firm stand to prevent this economic calamity months before it might happen, the president took a hands-off approach, waiting until the very last minute to make a move.
What could have been more important? What’s taking up the president’s time these days?
Gun control. Yes, it’s an important discussion, but whether or not you support this conversation, the question remains: What about our more pressing priorities?
Is this really the time to take our eye off the ball when it comes to the economy? We need jobs. We need a thriving U.S. export market. We need small banks to loan again to our nation’s job creators. We need a workable tax system. We need a realistic national healthcare program. We need a sound foreign policy.
In short, we need a president who can focus on the priorities and will stick to the solution until the problem is solved.
Since we are in the midst of the football playoffs, it may be a good time to quote from the famed Green Bay Packer coach Vince Lombardi: “The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand."
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