Tampa Tribune Op-Ed: President Obama Just Doesn't Get It
By Rep. Gus Bilirakis
Published June 14, 2012
President Obama's misunderstanding of the economy seems to be far worse than we thought. That's what Americans are realizing after the president's astonishing comments at a press conference last week.
"The private sector is doing fine," he insisted. In other words, unless you're a government worker, the president thinks you're doing "fine."
The private sector is most certainly not doing fine. Incomes are falling. Twenty-three million Americans are struggling to find work. The unemployment rate in Florida has been above 8 percent for 42 straight months.
But that alone is not what makes his comments truly shocking. It is his suggestion that the answer to the weak economy is more government, more spending, more borrowing. He thinks the only way to grow the economy is to grow government.
Where has he been the last three-and-a-half years?
Since taking office, Obama has pursued big-government policies as solutions to our country's problems. And one after another, they have failed and made things worse. The stimulus racked up a mountain of debt, Obamacare is killing jobs, and regulations are preventing businesses and job creators from hiring.
The president has yet to correct his Friday comments. He has not denied that he believes "the private sector is doing fine." Clearly, this was not a slipup. This is what he believes. Americans have good reason to be very concerned.
These comments further sharpen the contrast between Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Obama has proven he understands neither what's wrong with the economy nor how to fix it.
Unlike Obama, Romney has spent time in the private sector. His record as a successful businessman was "sterling," according to former President Bill Clinton. That means he understands what makes jobs come and go. He understands what empowers the private sector to hire workers, and he can see that the private sector isn't "doing fine." Significantly, he knows borrowing more money from China won't fix our economy.
How can America ever recover if our president does not understand what's wrong with the economy? How can we afford "solutions" that just create more problems? We can't.
Obama may mean well, but he just does not get it. To this day, his inexperience proves to be a major stumbling block.
We need a president with the experience to diagnose our problems properly and then apply the right policy solutions. Thankfully, Romney has that experience. He turned around failing companies as a businessman, he saved an Olympics and, as governor, he cut taxes and reduced unemployment to 4.7 percent.
That is the kind of leadership America needs if we are ever going to see a private sector that is actually "doing fine."
U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Palm Harbor, represents parts of Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties.