Four years ago, Barack Obama promised the American people hope and change. Today, President Obama has a track record to evaluate, and by objective measures, it is not good. The president acknowledges this, and his message is now, “I need more time. If we stay the course, things will get better.” Clearly, he cannot run on the slim accomplishments of his first term.
The facts are damning, even considering the economic mess the president inherited in 2009. Today, over 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. The unemployment rate is now 7.9 percent, higher than when he took office. After calling former President George W. Bush “irresponsible” and “unpatriotic” for piling up $4.9 trillion in debt in eight years, Obama has added over $5.3 trillion in just four. If reelected, the national debt will skyrocket to a whopping $20 trillion by 2016, with yet another likely downgrade to the U.S. credit rating.
The unemployment rate among youths (aged 18 to 29) is worse than the national average, at 12 percent. This does not include those who have given up looking for work. More than 5 million women are unemployed, and more women are in poverty 25.7 million than at any other time in our history. I find this frightening. To mask the facts, the president has diverted attention by creating a fictional case for a “War on Women” by the Republican Party, citing access to birth control as a top campaign issue. This is a ruse to mask the real problem: abysmal economic conditions for women and men of all ages. Who’s waging the real war on women? How do these seemingly abstract numbers impact college students? It’s simple. High debt slows economic growth that, in turn, negatively impacts the job market. Can’t find a job after graduation? Stuck with educational loans? Without a job, or without a well-paying job, it will be painful to meet these obligations. Every Dartmouth student is subject to the economic effects of our government’s actions and policies. Four years is enough. The president tried, yet a record 47 million Americans are on food stamps and nearly 50 million are in poverty. “Trust me, things are getting better” is not a strategy. Hope, however sincere, is not sufficient for our success.
Instead, we have an opportunity to elect a man who has the proven experience to get our country back on the right course.
Mitt Romney knows we can’t borrow and spend our way out of this mess. Unlike the incumbent, Romney has a clear plan to rein in government spending, expand trade, increase access to energy, rationalize our tax system and reform outdated entitlement programs so that our generation will not be punished for the fiscal blunders of previous generations. In short, Romney has a verifiable track record of success in precisely the things that matter the most right now.
How likely is it that real change will occur in Washington? According to Dartmouth’s own Andrew Samwick, director of the Rockefeller Center for Public Policy, Romney is a “results-oriented” person who can work effectively with Republicans and Democrats to get 60 votes for legislation in the Senate.
This results-driven approach enabled him to build Bain Capital, one of the nation’s best private equity firms, from the ground up. Romney’s penchant for results was evident at the 2002 Winter Olympics, which he saved from massive debt and possible relocation and transformed into one of the most successful and profitable Olympics in recent history. It was evident when, as governor of Massachusetts, he negotiated with decisive Democratic legislative majorities in both houses to pass legislation that moved the state forward. It will also be evident as president of the United States.
Against Romney’s record of accomplishment, President Obama can only offer four years of failed economic policies, legislative gridlock, continued government spending and acute economic pain that show no sign of subsiding.
America needs a leader who intuitively understands the private sector and will implement common sense policies that will create private sector growth, not growth in government. This will lead to job creation. Mitt Romney has the experience and vision to make this happen. So when you go to the polls and vote, think about what you want the next four years to be like. When I cast my ballot, the choice is clear: Mitt Romney.