No president in American history has been as popular with college students as President Obama. Ironically, no president in American history has been as threatening to college students as President Obama. After investing considerable time and money in a college degree, students want to graduate into a promising America – an America where they can find a job, feel that the country is safe from attack and freely exercise civil liberties. Unfortunately, Obama’s actions have failed college students on each of these fronts. The Obama presidency has weakened the economy, damaged national security and undermined civil liberties.
Today, college graduates face a grim economy. The U.S. economy is barely growing. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis – part of the U.S. Department of Commerce – Real Gross Domestic Product has increased by only 1.7 percent and 3 percent in 2011 and 2010, respectively. Unemployment has been high for several years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual unemployment rate has been 8.9 percent and 9.6 percent in 2011 and 2010, respectively. The Associated Press reported that in 2011, 53.6 percent of recent college graduates were unemployed or underemployed. The Federal Reserve expects growth to only “pick up very gradually” over the coming quarters . The economy’s anemic growth, high unemployment and poor future prospects have made starting the American dream a mirage for many college graduates.
We cannot blame Obama for all of this economic plight. For decades, Democrats and Republicans have enacted policies that fueled a housing bubble and a financial crisis. But Obama’s policies have stalled the recovery.
First, Obama has hindered the recovery by creating an uncertain business environment. To invest for the future, businesses must have enough information and confidence about future market conditions. But Obama has never articulated his long-term economic agenda, and he has not produced any serious plan to reduce the $16 trillion national debt. Without knowing whether our fiscal problems will be dealt with by spending cuts, tax increases, inflation or default, businesses cannot confidently hire or invest. It is not so surprising that U.S. companies are holding an all-time high of $1.24 trillion in cash.
Second, Obama never addressed the root causes of the financial crisis, leaving the economy vulnerable to future financial panics. The Obama administration has had plenty of tough talk about Wall Street banks’ reckless behavior, but the White House has not touched Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, two government-sponsored enterprises that propelled the housing bubble by encouraging excessive home ownership. In failing to patch up the flaws in the financial sector and present a long-term plan for economic recovery, Obama has kept the economy ill.
The Obama administration has also damaged U.S. national security. Our military intervention in Libya, which ultimately helped oust dictator Muammar Gaddafi, thrust our soldiers’ lives and taxpayers’ money into a conflict that was never a threat to us. Within a year after taking office, Obama expanded our presence in Afghanistan by sending 68,000 additional troops. Again, he put blood and treasure at great risk in a conflict promising little return. We are attempting to eradicate an insurgency spread across caves and huts that will always recruit new members so long as we occupy their land.
Obama has ordered more than five times the number of drone strikes in Pakistan as President George W. Bush. Though sometimes effective, drones strikes frequently kill innocents and only further inflame foreigners against Americans. He has aggressively expanded Bush’s interminable “war on terror.” This is the President who won the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize? College students will live in an American as prone, if not more prone to attack, as it was under Bush.
Obama has undermined civil liberties. He renewed the intrusive Patriot Act. He never closed Guantanamo Bay. He supports the war on drugs. He signed a defense appropriations bill allowing, for the first time in American history, the indefinite detention of any suspected terrorist without trial or access to an attorney. This President is by no means a champion of civil liberties.
Obama has hampered the economy, weakened national security and subverted civil liberties. Before voting for him a second time, I ask you to consider your future.
Oliver Hudson ’14 welcomes your comments. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.