Albert Einstein famously defined insanity as doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results.
Does this mean those who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and vote for him again in 2012 are insane? No. Only wrong.
U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R–Wisconsin) might suggest those who vote for Obama a second time are insane if they expect a different second term from his first:
After adding more than $5 trillion to the national debt, it would be refreshing for Obama just to admit the truth – it didn’t work – and that he will try a fresh approach to strengthen our economy and fix what’s broken in Washington. Instead, he insists on staying the course. Does America really want to double down on his policies and accept four more years mired in the economic doldrums?
When the president was inaugurated, he promised to cut the deficit in half. Instead, government has grown and the deficit has increased. The United States will add $5.3 trillion in debt during Obama’s four-year term, driving our debt to over $16 trillion. Every American’s share of that debt has ballooned from almost $33,000 in 2008 to over $50,000 today. The president calls these trillions of dollars in deficit spending an “investment.” It’s fair to ask what all this borrowing has bought us.
The Federal Reserve just reported that between 2007 and 2010, families’ median net worth fell by nearly 40%. This is a depressing reality. And the Obama administration has no plan to reverse these enormous losses. Unemployment is on the rise. And while the White House boasts of creating 4 million private-sector jobs, the working-age population has grown by 6 million. We’re losing ground. Hard-working Americans are being left behind.
The problem is not a reduction in government payrolls. The federal workforce has grown under this administration. Between 2007 and 2010, total federal wages and benefits increased by about 13%, while wages and benefits in the private sector fell by 6%. Nobody wants to underpay government workers for their efforts, but we simply cannot afford to overpay them. Governments at all levels need to benchmark public-sector compensation against that of the private sector.
My counterpart on Wisconsin Public Radio Friday suggested one reason for the slow recovery was a decrease in public-sector employment. With all due respect to the contributions of police, firefighters, teachers and other government employees, their contributions to the economy are set off by the costs that employing them takes out of the economy in taxes. The only way the economy will improve to a recognizable recovery and noticeable economic growth will be through the private sector:
Wisconsin and America cannot afford another four years of increasing debt and growing government. Yet that is all Obama knows, and it is all he is able to offer. We need leadership to reduce the rate of growth of government spending and leadership that recognizes that growing government is not the solution; growing the private sector is.