There has been a lot of talk about President Obama’s first 100 days in office. Both online and off, there’s also been much analysis about the so-called Obama “FAIL” movement. I don’t hope for President Obama’s failure. I’d like for him to succeed in making our country safer, stronger and much more prosperous. I hope and pray that he does so both for America’s success as well as capitalism’s future. However, his policies are unlikely to achieve desired results.
Given that we the taxpayers are now significant shareholders in a heck of a lot of companies due to the bailout, it is important to remember, that whether you are running just a company or our entire country, in order to achieve success you need to measure success qualitatively and quantitatively along the way.
So with that in mind, here are my grades for President Obama’s first report card.
Foreign Policy: He’s had the good judgment to rely on our distinguished generals and not to withdraw prematurely from Iraq. The build-up in Afghanistan is badly needed, but probably not enough. Talking to the likes of Hugo Chavez and trying to talk with Iran is unlikely to bring results, but there is no great harm in trying a new approach. Policy towards Cuba for almost 50 years can’t be judged a success, so some new thinking has merit. Grade: B+
National Security: In spite of good foreign policy, the recent release of interrogation files and photos will weaken our intelligence-gathering capabilities that are instrumental in preventing attacks against America. President Obama made a mistake in playing too far left and to the politically correct crowd. Grade: C-
Economy: Clearly his worst subject. He’s making a grave mistake by executing on a plan with an over-reliance on government spending and control vs. incentives for private sector initiatives. Never in history has this approach successfully led a democracy out of recession. Further, rather than placing all their focus on digging out of the recession, the Obama Administration is diverting by trying to nationalize the health care system, strengthen power of unions, and increase taxes, especially on investment. Huge deficits will result in more debt than accumulated by past administrations from George Washington to George W. Bush combined. This will inevitably lead to an unhappy ending, and it’s called inflation. Grade: D
Energy and Environment: While President Obama deserves some credit for addressing climate change, especially focusing on carbon emissions, his cap and trade proposal is destructive. It will increase taxes on American businesses, and ultimately this diminishes our competitive advantage and leads to displacement of employment from the United States to other countries. Further, the new employment and production will be in countries like China and India, which have little or no constraints on carbon emissions. Thus, the end result will be fewer jobs in the U.S. and greater world wide pollution. Further, the limitations and/or bans on off shore drilling inhibit our energy production and further increase our dependence on countries, some of whom want nothing more than to destroy our way of life. Grade: C
Overall Grade: C
President Obama’s first 100 days could have been a lot better, but, scarily, could have been worse. Let’s hope the President gets some serious tutoring on the economy and Capitalism 101. I will be anxious and hopeful to see improvements and real results next semester.