Bill Clinton’s successful presidential campaign in 1992 is best known for the simple phrase, “It’s the economy stupid.” That simple slogan allowed an unknown southern governor who was plagued by sex scandals to knock off an incumbent President who had an approval rating in the nineties when the campaign began.
Like the 1992 presidential campaign, the 2010 elections will be decided on pocketbook issues. For months now, most political strategists have said that next election will be about the economy and jobs. That sentiment isn’t coming just from Republicans strategists, but Democrats as well. Nobody doubts that jobs and the state of the economy are on the top of people’s minds. Various polls have shown that to be the case for almost two years now.
For all of the media coverage surrounding Sunday’s vote to move forward with the Obama Administration’s healthcare reform package, hardly a sole has mentioned that Democrats are severely off message just eight months before November’s elections. President Obama and the Democrats have ignored the issues that most Americans are concerned about. Instead, they have focused on passing a huge new entitlement program that will only cripple the economy and eliminate more jobs.
Yesterday, President Obama traveled to Iowa to tout the new healthcare entitlement program. The President also visited an Iowa City bookstore to highlight that his healthcare reform package will help small businesses provide benefits to their workers. But, while President Obama was touting how the Prairie Lights bookstore would benefit, two major midwest employers welcomed the President to the area by saying that his healthcare reform bill will cost them hundreds of millions of dollars.
Illinois based Deere & Co and Caterpillar both made changes to their 2010 earnings projections. A press release by Deere & Co stated, “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law this week will adversely impact [Deere’s]expenses for fiscal 2010. As a result of the legislation, the company’s expenses are expected to be about $150 million higher on an after-tax basis, primarily in the second quarter.”
Caterpillar, another Illinois based company, said yesterday that the new healthcare legislation will cost them $100 million. While the tax increase doesn’t go into effect until 2011, Caterpillar can recognize the impact as soon as the law is enacted. Fox Business reported, “The $100 million should come as a one-time cost, but Caterpillar said the additional expense and higher taxes to come could damage the recovery efforts that began after the company lost 75% of its profit in 2009.”
The fact that these companies made these announcements on the same day as the President’s visit to Iowa should concern the Obama Administration and Democrats in Congress. Most companies of this size are afraid to enter into the political arena because they fear retribution from a political opponent. It looks like Caterpillar and Deere feel as if there isn’t much more to lose.
Another aspect that deserves consideration is the recent Supreme Court ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission. The Court overturned the provision of McCain-Feingold that barred corporations and unions from paying for political ads made independently of candidate campaigns. That means corporations like Deere and Caterpillar could directly advocate for or against the election of federal candidates in the next election.
After being handed a bill from the federal government for $100 million or so, why wouldn’t they engage in the political process if they felt it was possible to repeal or defund this new legislation? Only time will tell what these companies will do, but had the court not ruled in favor of Citizens United, corporations would have fewer options moving forward.
President Obama and the Democrats like to claim that their healthcare reform package will actually reduce the size of deficit, but anyone with an average IQ knows that’s a myth. And, beyond the deficit ramifications, what about the effect this will have on businesses across the country? Companies like Deere and Cat will either have to pass along the increased costs to their customers, reduce the size of their workforces, rely more heavily on temporary workers, or even consider relocating to a country with a more friendly business environment.
Is that the picture of America that President Obama and the Democrats want to paint at a time when Americans are concerned about jobs and the economy? Iowa Democrats think so. Democrats like Governor Chet Culver, Senator Tom Harkin, and other Iowa Democrats at every level have fallen all over themselves to praise the passage of this legislation and President Obama.
In advance to President Obama’s trip to Iowa, Culver sent out the following press release.
“Iowa is a national leader on health care and our administration has been working hard to extend coverage to children and adults, while helping hold the line on premiums for Iowans and small businesses with private insurance,” Culver said. “This truly historic legislation will help Iowa maintain our high-quality health care system by increasing Medicare reimbursement rates, eliminating pre-existing conditions, helping seniors better afford prescription drugs and cutting our national debt by over a trillion dollars.”
While it should come as no surprise that Iowa Democrats would be excited about the President’s visit, embracing the healthcare reform package will not help Culver’s pathetic poll numbers.
Culver’s main legislative accomplishment is his I-Jobs program, a public works program that borrowed a billion dollars to build sewers, pave streets, and pay for other government projects. While it created a massive amount of debt for Iowans, it failed to create many jobs. If I-Jobs wasn’t enough, Governor Culver is now enthusiastically embracing a known economic and fiscal disaster in government-run healthcare.
Not all Democrats are singing the praises of Obama-care. The Democratic Mayor of Iowa City, Matt Hayek, told MSNBC yesterday, “I think this legislation is going to help millions of working families, but we are going to pay for it dearly. I have serious concerns about our federal debt and I don’t think that this addresses that, or addresses the ever increasing, ever growing cost of healthcare as it relates to our GDP. And, it is something our children and grandchildren are going to pay for.”
Between Governor Culver and President Obama, the debt load on future generations boggles the mind. Instead of focusing on the economy like Bill Clinton did in the early nineties, these Democrats are focused on destroying it.
While Iowa Democrats celebrated yesterday with the President in Iowa City, it is obvious that they are severely out-of-touch with the American people. That means it’s likely that Republicans will be the ones celebrating on Election Day in November.
Photo by Dave Davidson
Below is the MSNBC interview with the Mayor of Iowa City
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