Tag Archive for 'Obama'

Online Poll: How do you feel about the future of America?

The Question: As you contemplate Independence Day, how do you feel about the future of America?

8% - America’s best days are still ahead.
6% - America’s best days are behind us.
83% - America’s in trouble, but we can still turn it around.
3% - Never mind America, the whole world is going to hell!

Jim’s Comments: As you will see in the results of our recent online poll above, more than eight of ten of our respondents have serious concerns about America’s condition and future, with only 8% who’re optimistic about how things are. By comparison, the national average reported by Real Clear Politics — which homogenizes seven large polls — reports two-thirds of Americans think we’re “on the wrong track.” Perhaps the reason our folks rank their concerns a little higher than other polls is because we’re responsible for making payroll every week or two, which, under the current regulatory and economic conditions, is getting more and more difficult.

The last time I saw this level of concern among Americans was almost 40 years ago, during the Carter Administration. In fact, President Jimmy gave the name to the general national feeling that was pervasive during the last half of his one and only term. In a television address, he actually said there seemed to be a kind of “malaise” in the country. He was right.

Jimmy Carter is a good man, but was a poor leader. Granted, he inherited some challenging issues, but he wasn’t a problem solver and didn’t inspire confidence. Does that sound familiar? Replace the name at the beginning of that sentence with Barack Obama and everything to follow fits, with one exception: Obama has had two terms to make a difference. Sadly, if you converted the polling numbers for our national condition under this president’s watch to letters they would spell: malaise.

And my criticism isn’t political — I worship at the throne of results. Two things cause Americans to have a positive outlook: feeling secure and feeling successful. Unfortunately, looking at the facts — and the polls — in front of our eyes, these two areas are not positive.

Here are four simple traits that I would like to see in our next president, and I don’t care which party the possessor of these comes from:

  • Proven leader who hates mediocrity
  • Passionate about America’s greatness
  • Politically incorrect about defending America
  • Believes economy can grow at more than 2%

    What does your list look like? If you’d like to tell me, leave a comment.

  • Mr. President, a recovery is not an expansion

    Dear President Obama:

    For as long as there have been organized economies there have been economic cycles, of which there are essentially three elements:

    • Beginning at the bottom, a recession (sometimes, but rarely, a depression). Historically, sir, recessions are short – often measured in months.
    • In the middle is a recovery, which has the task of healing the defects that caused the downturn while reversing negative growth. Depending on the severity of the recession, recoveries take a little longer, from months to a year or so.
    • And finally, the tide that floats all boats, the expansion. Expansions can last for years, as they did under two of your predecessors, Reagan and Clinton.

    In America, we expect a recovery to be a means to an end, not a way of life. Alas, that isn’t your standard, because perpetual recovery has been our economic fate since you took office, four months before the Great Recession ended in June 2009.

    Recently, in a speech in Elkhart, Indiana, you said this: “By almost every economic measure, America is better off than when I came here at the beginning of my presidency.” Those of us who have made payroll every month of your tenure see things differently, as, apparently, does your own Department of Labor. Two days after the Elkhart speech, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a measly 38,000 jobs were created in May – the worst jobs month in six years. And labor participation – the number of Americans who work – has languished under your watch at rates not seen since the last president who manufactured malaise, President Carter. You can’t have an expansion, sir, if people aren’t working.

    Let’s review your economic performance, Mr. President, by the numbers. First, we’ll cut you some slack and throw out your first year in office, 2009. The recession ended halfway through, but ’09 was a horrible year you didn’t create, going almost 3 percent negative. But the next six years, through 2015, the economy averaged a pitiful 2.15% GDP growth. Those are not expansion numbers, sir, and they’re the worst for any president since World War II. Any economist will tell you an expansion is annual growth averaging at least 3%. By the way, 2016 is not trending any better than the past six.

    It’s a misnomer to refer to a president as “handling of the economy,” because there are really only two ways you factor directly into its performance: 1) helping by getting government out of the way of job creators; and 2) hurting by putting government in the way. Mr. President, you’ve set a record for the latter as an unprecedented assaulter on job creators. Your weapons are:

    • Anti-business rhetoric – “You didn’t build that” and referring to successful people as “fortunate” who need to pay their “fair share”;
    • Anti-business laws – both the specter and the reality of Obamacare, plus Dodd-Frank, to name the big two;
    • Anti-business regulations, guidance and executive orders from your EPA, NLRB, Labor and FCC.

    All of these are unprecedented for any president in their tone, scope, and damage. Not to mention the palpable fear and uncertainty that manifested among job creators.

    Here’s more evidence: The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism, the gold standard for such research, reports the longest stretch of pessimism in the Index’s 43 years during your presidency. This from the sector that creates over half of the jobs and half of the U.S. economy. In my own polling of small business owners, only 9% think you have “been good for the economy,” while more than two-thirds think your policies have been “an economic nightmare.”

    Referring to the economy in the Elkhart speech, you said, “We can make it even stronger.” Who are “we,” Mr. President? The Oval Office door will soon hit you in the backside for the last time. With all due respect, sir, if “we” make “it” stronger, that will happen after you leave.

    Write this on a rock … Out here on Main Street, Mr. President, we’re not going to miss you when you’re gone.

    Obama’s Internet words don’t match his actions

    “You will know them by their fruits.” This ancient wisdom is from the author of the Gospel of Matthew.

    Sixteen centuries later, in his book “Will and Doom,” the Rev. Gershom Bulkeley, paraphrased Matthew with, “Actions are more significant than words.”

    In the 21st century this timeless maxim continues to serve as we hear President Obama say, “I intend to protect a free and open Internet.”

    In the past I’ve reported my concerns about the future of the Internet under the Obama administration. If you believe the Internet is one of mankind’s greatest inventions, if you like its current low barrier to entry for personal and professional benefit, if you’re responsible for the future of a business, then you should share my concerns.

    CC Photo via Pixabay

    CC Photo via Pixabay

    1.  President Obama treats the Internet as a political and diplomatic bargaining tool. After the U.S. government was embarrassed by Edward Snowden’s theft of secrets, the President announced intentions to relinquish U.S. control of Internet governance to a “global, multi-stakeholder community,” even though there was time left on the contract with ICANN (For more on this, see my 3/23/14 column, “If you like your Internet, you may not be able to keep it”).

    It’s no secret the U.N., a global, multi-stakeholder community, covets control of a ubiquitous asset through which it can exert more influence and levy a global use tax. Nothing fits that profile better than the Internet. If Obama’s governance plan for the Internet comes to pass, his words, “protect a free and open Internet … so innovators and entrepreneurs can reshape the world,” won’t match his actions.

    2.  The commercial Internet has flourished for more than 20 years thanks to a very lightly regulated environment. By definition such broadband laissez-faire is unacceptable to President Obama, who wants to impose his own version of net neutrality.

    Consequently, the President’s FCC chairman and straw man, Tom Wheeler, has announced plans for an “Open Internet Order” to reclassify broadband access as a “telecom service” under Title II of the Communications Act. This means the Internet would become a government regulated – and ultimately taxed – public utility. Turning the Internet into a utility would be like performing a heart transplant on someone who just needs a baby aspirin. (For more, see my 11/16/14 column “Why you should care about Net Neutrality”).

    Today the Internet is not without governance and usage issues, but none that can’t be handled by marketplace participants large and small through contract, creativity and competition.

    Write this on a rock … If Obama’s plans for the Internet come to pass, his words, “I intend to protect a free and open Internet,” will not match his actions.

    RESULTS: How do you rate President’s Obama’s years in office?

    The Question:

    President Obama just delivered his seventh State of the Union. After six years in office, how do you rate his presidency?

    4% - I give him an A; he’s done an excellent job.
    6% - I score him a C+ to a B; he’s done an average to good job.
    19% - I give him a D to a C; he’s just been average or less.
    70% - I give him an F; his presidency is a total failure.

    Jim’s Comments:
    As you can see, President Obama doesn’t have a very good rep on Main Street. Small business owners may not be the most sophisticated in the marketplace, but we don’t need an MBA to pick up on anti-business rhetoric and policies. And from other polls I’ve seen, these numbers are consistent even among business owners who once voted for the president. I’m going to have more to say about this in an upcoming Feature Article. Stay tuned.

    RESULTS: What do you think of executive action?

    The Question:  
    President Obama has indicated he is prepared to take executive action on immigration reform without Congress. What do you think?

    0% - The president has the authority to do this and should
    51% - Only Congress is authorized to change immigration laws
    15% - I don’t care as long as we start resolving the immigration problem
    34% - Here they go again. God help us
    Jim’s Comments:
    As you can see, none of our small business audience thinks President Obama has the Constitutional authority to change immigration laws. Over half specifically say presidents are not supposed to make laws, and the rest have basically thrown up their hands in exasperation.

    With President Obama in the White House and a GOP-led Congress, the next two years are going to be rocky in Washington. But with this step Obama has just taken on immigration, it looks like he’s declared his intention to be combative and not in the mood to compromise during his final two years in office. #GodHelpUs

    RESULTS: What should be the priority of Obama and the GOP?

    The Question:
    As President Obama and the Republican majority begin their work, what should be their priority?

    24% - Fix Obamacare
    10% - Immigration reform
    27% - Reform the tax code
    5% - Foreign policy
    34% - I’ll take anything if they’ll just work together

    Jim’s Comments:
    It looks like the big interest is in Obamacare and tax reform.  But more of you just threw up your hands and chose “I’ll take anything, if they’ll just work together.” That sounds like an indictment to me. What do you think?

    Sadly, from the looks of things this week, we’re going to get anything but working together.




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