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Obama and Failure in America

The most regrettable result of Barack Obama’s presidency is that he has changed America from a nation obsessed about success to one obsessed about failure.

America’s proper mindset is that “the sky’s the limit” as long as the skies are scrutinized. But, under Obama, too many people are lamenting that “the sky is falling,” whether we’re talking about the country’s downgraded credit rating, debt and deficits, unemployment, stock market, stalled economy, or how we’re going to pay for and fix a host of other problems.

A new Gallup poll finds that Americans' satisfaction with life in the United States has dropped to 11 percent--the lowest level since 2008. 

What many Americans fear is that Obama has infected our economy with irreversible viruses. The policies he pushed through when he had a majority of Democrats in both houses of Congress created unsustainable debt, unsustainable health care costs, and unsustainable regulatory restrictions on our financial markets, energy sector—and us.

Although he has deferred raising taxes on businesses and individuals under pressure from Republicans, the president has made it clear that he will do so if he can. There is mass uncertainty over what might be taxed, what will be regulated, and how the U.S. will resolve its soaring debt. This uncertainty is crippling hiring, business expansion, foreign and venture capital investment, and innovation. Consumer confidence is low.

A national nightmare is that even if Republicans win back the White House and the Senate in 2012 Obama’s government controls and uncontrolled spending will be so baked into law that undoing his damage will either take too long or prove too difficult.

Obama got it half right when he campaigned for president. America thrives on hope but it is withering on the president’s change. Part of Americans’ obsession about success is that we thrill over what produces desired results—what improves, innovates, excites, and adds value. We’ve tried Obama’s change and it doesn’t work. He’s made things worse, not better. He has dispirited rather than inspirited America. We have gone from hoping to moping.

What Obama doesn’t get is that our nation doesn’t prosper under command and control from a government that thinks it knows better than we do—one that confiscates our wealth, dictates our choices, and shackles our ingenuity. It was over those grievances that we had an American Revolution more than 200 years ago.

Obama doesn’t understand that America is an idea and the idea is “free”—free individuals and free enterprise. The Obama Doctrine of “leading from behind” is anathema to our country’s pride in leading from the front—in creating for ourselves rather than being created by government fiats.

Obama’s elitist presumption is that he is “the one” to teach us. No. Americans rebel against being taught. But they love to learn. They love to learn through the freedom of experimentation, through the trial and error of the marketplace, and through the sifting process of competition.

American success is rooted in a Declaration of Independence, constituted of the rights of the people—not a Declaration of Dependence, made up of “a long train of abuses and usurpations” by despotic big government (in the words of our Founding Fathers).

We experimented with Obama and the experiment is failing. We need to turn American success back to where it belongs—with we the people rather than with they the big government.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net.

Communications consultant Jon Kraushar is at www.jonkraushar.net. He is a consultant to corporate and political leaders including Steve Forbes.