Monday, June 14, 2010

Misplaced Facts

Many GOP leaders, such as former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, are criticizing President Barack Obama’s response to the oil spill off the Gulf Coast. They are claiming he has failed to show leadership and, instead, “has spent his time blaming people and not taking responsibility to make sure the oil spill is capped.” Although there sentiments are sincere, their concerns seem misplaced.

Not only has the president’s administration deployed the biggest recovery effort for a natural disaster in the history of this country, but he has repeatedly mentioned that “the buck stops with me.” From day 1 of this oil spill, Obama has worked diligently with top scientists and engineers from across the world to find a solution. Also, to prevent a future mishap, he has continued his moratorium on offshore drilling (something that Republicans are still adamantly against) and has successfully pushed a comprehensive energy and climate bill through the House of Representatives. This bill, in turn, would promote a new economy powered by green jobs, combat climate change, and end our dependence on oil.

As evidence proves, his response to the disaster in the Gulf mirrors his efficient and adequate response to our nation’s economic downturn. Recently, Obama has urged congressional passage of legislation meant to boost federal assistance to a key segment of the economy-small businesses. Not only have these small companies generated over 60 percent of all new jobs every year over the past 15 years, but they have also suffered the most from this recession.

We must also not forget the $700 billion stimulus package (known as the Recovery Act) Obama signed within the first few months of his presidency, which has proved critical in preventing the U.S. from entering another Great Depression.

Although the recovery is slow, there has been a continuing trend of improvement. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the nation’s premiere, independent, nonpartisan scorekeeper, as of the first quarter of this year, the Recovery Act saved or created as many as 2.8 million jobs. Over the past three months, we’ve gained over 400,000 new jobs. Over that same period last year, we lost 1.7 million. Also, confidence among U.S. consumers rose in June to the highest level in more than two years, a recent Bloomberg News survey showed. This all accomplished with only a fifth of the stimulus funds having been spent.

No one expects the economy to be at the same levels as pre-recession times. What we do expect, however, is that our government is acting swiftly to undo the mistakes of the last administration and get our country back on the path to success. So far, economists across the spectrum widely agree that the Recovery Act played a key role in that reversal.

Whether it is regarding the oil spill, the healthcare bill, or the economy, many Republicans are simply getting the facts wrong, and misrepresenting the successes of this administration. But, as the old adage goes, “everyone has a right to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”

It is clear that Obama is getting results. If GOP leaders are still confused, hopefully November will explain things clearly.