“The president,” wrote Jennifer Rubin yesterday, “who ran with no agenda and is now a lame duck, has not distinguished himself by tackling tough problems.” His reelection campaign made his, as his campaign manager put it, the party of “the micro stuff“.
(Perhaps Mitt Romney would have won last week had he been better at articulating the bigger picture.)
WIth such a small ball focus, Obama doesn’t seem willing to address the big challenges facing our country, notably the coming insolvency of entitlements, out-of-control federal spending and the increasing burdens of the regulatory state.
The sound and fury will be over big fights on taxes and spending. They will look like replays of the last four years and not end up accomplishing much. The big changes to our economy will be the metastatic expansion of regulation, let by ACA, Dodd-Frank, and EPA. There will be no change on our long run problems: entitlements, deficits or fundamental reform of our chaotic tax system. 4 more years, $4 trillion more debt.
Why? I think this follows inevitably from the situation: normal (AFU). Nothing has changed. The President is a Democrat, now lame duck. The congress is Republican. The Senate is asleep. Congressional Republicans think the President is a socialist. The President thinks Congressional Republicans are neanderthals. The President cannot compromise on the centerpieces of his campaign.
Result: we certainly are not going to see big legislation. Anything new will happen by executive order or by regulation.
Read the whole thing. And this is what is truly sad. We need real reform right now, big changes to address fiscal problems looming beyond the cliff. We have a debt problem. And a regulatory problem. And yet now we have an administration committed to moving us in the opposite direction, writing ever more regulations and increasing the costs of compliance to job creators.
With the reelection of a Republican Congress, the American people put the brakes on any new big government initiatives, but past legislation will allow administration officials to expand the regulatory state. This will not make it easier on entrepreneurs and other employers.
It’s going to be a long four years, with the president unwilling to initiate the types of reforms we need to foster real economic growth. House Republicans should counter his resistance to real reform by considering such measures, passing them and challenging the Senate to follow suit.
If if Harry Reid’s Democrats fail to take action, congressional Republicans can at least show their commitment to reform. And that need make sure that is the focus of the 2014 campaign. And find a presidential candidate to make it the focus of the 2016 contest.