Obama Asks Four More Years for “Different Vision”

All Republicans have to offer, said the president, is the prescriptions of the past.

President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 6
President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, September 6 (Post-Gazette/Michael Henninger)

President Barack Obama recognized on Thursday night that “it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over decades” but asked voters to grant him a second term to continue his program.

The Democrat, who was formally nominated for reelection by his party’s convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, cast November’s election as “a choice between two fundamentally different visions for the future.”

All Republicans “have to offer,” he said, “is the same prescription they’ve had for the last thirty years,” namely cuts in regulations and taxes.

I don’t believe that another round of tax breaks for millionaires will bring good jobs to our shores or pay down our deficit. I don’t believe that firing teachers or kicking students off financial aid will grow the economy or help us compete with the scientists and engineers coming out of China. After all that we’ve been through, I don’t believe that rolling back regulations on Wall Street will help the small businesswoman expand or the laid off construction worker keep his home. We’ve been there, we’ve tried that and we’re not going back. We are moving forward, America.

Echoing his January State of the Union address, in which the president argued, “It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America,” he argued that opposition Republicans would “give more tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas” when the United States should “start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here.”

The president’s program would help small businesses with government loans and jobs retraining for displaced workers as well as impose trade sanctions “when our competitors don’t play by the rules.”

At the same time, not the president himself but virtually every other speaker at Charlotte touted the success of the automobile industry bailout which preserved hundreds of thousands of jobs but certainly didn’t meet the test of “playing by the rules” of free and fair competition.

Obama’s Republican challenger Mitt Romney has also vowed to “crack down on cheaters like China. They simply cannot continue stealing our jobs,” he said as early as November of last year, a promise he’s repeated many times since.

In his speech Thursday night, the president cited his budget plan, which he put forward last year and would have “cut our deficits by $4 trillion” over the next ten years. Except that plan included some $1 trillion in cuts that had already been enacted and counted $848 billion in “savings” that would stem from ending the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq — still necessitating $9.5 trillion in borrowing between now and 2021 according to the Congressional Budget Office. The plan was overwhelmingly rejected by both parties. In the Senate, where the president’s Democratic Party holds the majority, 99 out of a hundred members voted it down.

Obama said to be “eager to reach an agreement based on the principles of my bipartisan debt commission,” referring to the recommendations made in 2010 by former Republican senator Alan Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles, who was Bill Clinton’s White House chief of staff in the 1990s; recommendations that the president has since ignored.

In February 2009, the president pledged “to cut the deficit we inherited in half by the end of my first term in office.” The federal government faced a $1.4 trillion shortfall that year. This year, the deficit is expected to come in at $1.3 trillion. Federal discretionary spending, excluding defense, has grown 24 percent during Obama’s presidency.

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