Published on December 3rd, 2012 | by Alex Veeneman0
After Election, Americans Want Economic Improvement
Alex Veeneman, Opinions Editor
Michelle Villalobos, Special Projects Manager
Pictured above by Alex Veeneman and Michelle Villalobos: The economy has been a source of concern to many, including Lewis students, and what President Obama will do next.
When President Barack Obama was re-elected Nov. 6, he spoke of the issues that faced the United States in his acceptance speech. The economy was still in recovery mode as voters raised questions about the future of job growth and the culture of politics in Washington.
This brings up a major question: What will the next four years be like?
Dr. Joseph Gaziano, professor of political science, described some major goals he hopes to see from Obama.
“Personally, I would like to see him fulfill some of the promises of the first time,” Gaziano said. “[I would want Obama to] close GITMO [Guantanamo Bay] prison, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in a more timely manner, promote green energy as a way out of the economic recession and take a more active role in dealing with climate change.”
However, Gaziano does not expect any of those changes to occur. He does expect something to be done about the “fiscal cliff,” which, if no action is taken, will see automatic rises in taxes and government spending cuts on Jan. 1 under budget laws passed before the election.
“I think we will see a compromise to avoid the fiscal cliff and continued efforts to improve the economy, but there isn’t much new we can expect to see done by the administration about the economy,” says Gaziano. “If Congress and the president attempt to deal with the deficit, that will mean major sacrifice on the part of the American public. I am not sure that either the Republicans or Democrats have the courage to ask for that.”
Victor Barcenas, senior political science and human resources major, said there will be little progress within the next four years.
“President Obama faces the same challenges that he faced when he came into office, i.e. a big deficit, high unemployment, troubling markets and most importantly a divided Congress,” Barcenas said. “I think that the next four years will be uncertain, especially economically, as tax increases are on the way in 2014 since Americans are receiving services that they have not paid for.”
Barcenas added that Obama should adopt the philosophy that Bill Clinton had while he was in office. Barcenas said that Clinton was able to work with both Democrats and Republicans, especially with regard to the fiscal plan, saying Clinton was a fiscal conservative.
Barcenas said, however, that Obama can succeed, but he needs to adjust some of his policies.
“Some of [Obama’s] biggest achievements are capturing and killing Osama Bin Laden and providing a deferred action plan for many undocumented students in college,” Barcenas said. “But he has greatly failed in terms of his economic policies, and that can be seen with the rising unemployment rate and the rate of Americans on food stamps. If President Obama can cut back on spending, he will be able to set our country back on track.”
Gaziano said that a lot of the campaign promises will not be fulfilled.
“Campaigns result in candidates promising people everything they think the public wants to hear,” Gaziano said. “There certainly is not enough money to continue fighting two wars and dealing with domestic concerns like Social Security and Medicare.”
Gaziano added that the track record in Obama’s second term will be different.
“If you look at the first four years, Obama did not have a good track record on promises, and I would not expect much difference in the second term,” Gaziano said. “Most presidents usually do less in the second term, so high expectations are not likely to be fulfilled.”