If the economy doesn’t dramatically improve in the next two to three years, President Barack Obama could very well be a one-term president.
Just days after he assumes power, there is no doubt that the economy will be Obama’s greatest domestic and political challenge.
It will greatly define not only his presidency, but his legacy.
Obama is inheriting a wide spectrum of weak economic figures including steep unemployment, a credit crisis, and a dismal housing market. All of which require his immediate attention.
The Associated Press reported Jan. 12 that the new president has already called for the release of the remaining $350 billion in federal bailout funds. He is also urging lawmakers to act quickly on another massive economic stimulus package worth a total $825 billion.
According to the Washington Post, the package includes $550 billion to “build new schools and highways, invest in energy and health-care projects and provide unemployment and health benefits for out-of-work Americans” and $275 billion in tax cuts.
While the idea of economic stimulus sounds appealing, it has to be managed correctly.
In times of severe economic challenge such as these, sacrifices need to be made, and this bill does nothing but give things to people.
This type of exuberant government spending is simply not sustainable.
New York Times correspondent Peter Baker phrased it well when he said Obama has seemed reluctant to call for austerity in a challenging economic moment.
The current economic wildfires in this country shouldn’t be doused by pouring money on them; they should be made to never ignite again.
It is up to President Obama and the 111th Congress to guide America through this treacherous and uncharted territory.
If unsuccessful, Obama and his democratic allies will face an impatient America in 2012.
The same economy that helped elect Obama in 2008 may very well bring him down in just four short years.
Obama’s “change” momentum will only last so long if he’s unable to change what is most important to Americans: the economy.