Project 21 New Visions

Jimmie L. Hollis

It's Once Again Time for Change


by Jimmie L. Hollis (bio)


America — and Washington, D.C., in particular — is mired in angst and frustration.

As our nation's economy and morality declines ever further, people demand answers as lawmakers play the blame game.

One person seeking to escape culpability is President Obama. That could be the undoing of the man and his movement.

Certainly, Obama cannot be saddled with everything that's going on right now. Many current ills have existed for decades and will likely continue to pester society as solutions remain elusive. Well-intentioned politicians and concerned citizens scratch their heads, questioning why the quagmire of moral and economic problems lingers — and spreads.

While he seems to think he cannot share blame for what he inherited, Obama can definitely be faulted for exacerbating, confusing, stifling and misleading Americans while in office.

Obama can be blamed for perpetrating policies promoted by his predecessors and his political party that produced many of the problems he claims were waiting for him. He also rightly owns what he has wrought while in office. In many ways, his application of "hope" and "change" seem to have done more harm than good!

Consider the economic crisis. Obama claims President Bush drove the economy into a ditch. Spending — notably earmarks for special projects — were targeted by liberals in 2006 as a reason to embrace change. Yet that change seems only to be who controls spending and to what degree.

Obama's 2009 stimulus, officially priced at close to a trillion dollars (but a Congressional Budget Office estimate suggests might actually cost more than $3 trillion over a decade), was supposed to jump-start the economy and keep unemployment from rising. But unemployment when the stimulus passed in January of 2009 was at 7.8 percent. Unemployment has since risen to 9.2 percent in June of 2011. That estimate is considered low, since many gave up searching for employment altogether.

And then there's the health care debacle that threatens quality and increases costs.

Costs are now driving the debate in Washington and on Main Street. In July of 2000, the national debt was $5.7 trillion. In July of 2008, the national debt was $10 trillion. That's nothing for Bush to be proud of. But the debt has increased to near $14.5 trillion after just two-and-a-half years of Obama's leadership.

This skyrocketing debt threatens America's financial standing in the world and makes future generations responsible for errant behavior now.

Should Obama be replaced in 2012, his successor won't be able to wave a magic wand and make unemployment figures quickly drop below seven percent. The issues of the war on terrorism and health care are similarly unlikely to be solved right away.

A conservative agenda, however, would likely lead to policies and a course toward smaller government, less onerous regulations and less burdensome taxes on small businesses and individuals. Over time, this would cause the private sector to grow and create jobs and increase revenues in a manner that could make the current quagmire less hazardous.

Also, amid all the talk about raising the "debt ceiling" to save America, why not also consider raising the "moral ceiling"? With the destruction of the American family progressing unchecked and visible problems of crime and deviancy, it would be refreshing to encourage traditional values and promote behavior that increases the peace and makes America more virtuous.

Surely, over time, raising morality will be much more economically productive than raising the level to which the government can borrow from foreign governments.

Because of all the current angst and frustration, everyday working men and women — including many average union members — are not about to be fooled twice by slick talk, well-packaged double-speak and smooth progressive rhetoric. People need hope and change they can take to the bank.

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Jimmie L. Hollis is a member of the Project 21 black leadership network. Comments may be sent to [email protected].

Published by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Reprints permitted provided source is credited. New Visions Commentaries reflect the views of their author, and not necessarily those of Project 21, other Project 21 members, or the National Center for Public Policy Research, its board or staff.


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