Sometimes, the Truth Hurts
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s speech Thursday night was such a downer, many of the television talking heads complained. Hillary Clinton’s supporters chimed in with the same gripe, adding that their candidate offers a message of optimism.
One of our reporters put it in perspective: What would you expect from the kings and queens of the media? Grousing about Trump’s litany of challenges facing the nation is easy if you live in Manhattan, Washington, Los Angeles, etc. Everything may seem rosy to people insulated from the disaster that has been Barack Obama’s presidency.
Out here in flyover country, it’s easier to understand Trump isn’t exaggerating when he says Americans can’t afford the continuation of Obama’s presidency that many see in Clinton.
Actually, it’s worse than that. Clinton thinks Obama didn’t go far enough on some issues. She thinks Obamacare ought to be advanced more toward a single-payer program. Translated from the bureaucratese, that means she wants government to be the exclusive provider of health insurance.
Energy is another offensive Clinton wants to intensify. Obama hasn’t put enough coal miners out of work and hasn’t closed enough coal-fired power plants, she believes. In addition, she wants to put a lot of drillers out of work. Natural gas and oil just don’t work for her.
So think about the problems Trump listed Thursday night and think of Clinton this way: You haven’t seen anything yet.
Let’s take a quick look at where we Americans are after nearly two terms of Obama:
∫ The national debt is $19.4 trillion. When Obama was elected, it was about $10 trillion. Are we $9.4 trillion in debt better off than in November 2008?
∫ The labor force participation rate (the percentage of working-age, not disabled Americans who actually have jobs) was 62.7 in June. With one exception, last June, it hadn’t been that low since 1977. Millions of people are not included in the unemployment figures because they’ve given up looking for work.
∫ Many working men and women are earning less. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median real earnings of full time workers, based on the cost of living in 1982-84. When Obama took office, the number was $348 a week. Now, it’s $343.
∫ Because of Obamacare, millions of Americans have lost their health insurance or are paying more for it than they did previously. In terms of quality of care, many have learned the president’s promise that if you like your doctor and your insurance, you can keep them was, well, a lie.
∫ The number of illegal immigrants in our country, estimated at 11.3 million, is about the same as when Obama took office, despite the Great Recession that made coming here less attractive. Obama’s answer, shared by Clinton, is to grant what amounts to amnesty to millions of them.
∫ Crime, a major topic for Trump, varies from one area to the next. But ask yourself these questions: How big is the drug abuse crisis? Was is that bad when Obama took office? What meaningful steps has he taken to curb it?
∫ Terrorist attacks outside the Middle East have picked up during the past several months. More questions: Are you more afraid of Islamic terrorists now than when Obama took office? What change in our policy toward them would you expect if Clinton becomes president?
∫ U.S. relations with our allies have declined dramatically under Obama and, while she was secretary of state, Clinton. Why do you suppose the Israeli government, after decades of animosity toward the Soviet Union, then Russia, is exploring a thawed relationship with Moscow?
∫ Our military capability has been weakened during the Obama administration, by any measure you choose.
Whether you like Trump or not, his listing of our nation’s woes Thursday night was, if anything, abbreviated. It can be summed up by one fact gleaned by the public opinion pollsters: More people than ever worry that our children’s lives will not be better than ours.
The American dream, in other words, is in very real jeopardy.
Myer can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.