23 May 2016

Notes from Norm: Thanks Obama

“Thanks, Obama!”

Multiple comedians have used the phrase as a tongue-in-cheek way to give back-handed slaps to the President for what they perceive to be either an overly negative assessment of his tenure, or in the case of others, an overly optimistic assessment of his accomplishments.

I have found little to praise during this President’s nearly 8 years of residency in the White House.

However, I admit the President has been very successful in pushing forward a significant element of his agenda despite the best efforts of conservatives and others to restrain his dramatic growth of government intervention in the lives of Americans.

Over the course of the next few weeks I hope to focus on those areas of government growth – or outright intervention – that have done substantial harm to our national economy, and undermined those government programs that have a proven track record of doing exactly what they were created to do.

From the “Too Big to Fail” ObamaCare, to the Administration’s systematic attack on Medicare Advantage, to its recent decision to expand overtime pay regulations to millions of Americans, the Obama Administration has done more to insert government into our day-to-day lives than any President in history.

We are now seeing the collapse of ObamaCare given the failed assumptions the Administration created from the beginning and Democrats’ “go it alone” approach to health care reform. Tragically, not only has there not been any reform – but the cost to the American people, while massive, has barely begun to cost them in terms of job creation, economic growth and their pocketbooks.

When historians look back at the Obama Administration, they will undoubtedly look at what impact ObamaCare had on the nation’s economic infrastructure across a variety of platforms.

For example, the nation’s popular and successful Medicare Advantage (MA) has seen profound negative changes during the Obama Administration.

Cuts in MA payment formulas were mandated by ObamaCare. Furthermore, according to a recent study by the American Action Forum, MA beneficiaries in the next year will face benefit reductions of about 20 percent from what were anticipated prior to the implementation of Obamacare.

Then there’s the President’s overtime regulations which he has touted will raise the salaries of millions of Americans.

Such claims are not only untrue and overly optimistic but do reflect a pattern of rhetoric that the Obama Administration has used time and time again.

The irony is that the President’s own economic agenda has been largely responsible for stagnant wage growth and a deconstruction of the American work force – a work force that has not only seen a tepid rate of job creation, but more and more Americans actually leaving the work force.

When the President and liberals decry economic inequality they choose to ignore that their policies have done more to create an economic divide and the reduction of the American middle-class than the “greedy” banks and corporations they wish to blame.

An Administration obsessed with expanding government regulations has cost our economy dearly.

According to the American Action Forum (AAF), “In less than six and a half years, President Obama’s regulators managed to surpass that total, issuing their 500th major regulation this week. The combined cost of major regulations from 2009 to present is a whopping $625 billion.”

Further, as shown by the AAF, “President Obama has already released 37 percent more significant regulations than any comparable period since 1996. Indeed, the administration has also approved three times as many economically significant rulemakings as were approved in 1996.”

Unlike many who have blamed President Obama for all that ails our nation, I do believe the President has had some accomplishments in which he deserves praise. I believe I have tried my best to balance my criticisms of this Administration with praise when and where I believed he has done things to better the lives of the American people and strengthen our nation.

I have no doubt that reasonable supporters of the President would disagree with that statement, and I respect their right to do so.

After nearly eight years of the Obama Administration’s economic agenda, Americans can’t be blamed for being exhausted, frustrated and depressed about the future.

Buffeted between a pre-Obama economic recession and a post-recession Obama economic agenda, all they have to show for it is more part-time jobs – stagnant wage growth – more Americans leaving the work force – higher health care premiums for a health care plan that doesn’t work– and lower payments from the health care plan that actually works for Americans.

“Thanks, Obama.”