My Comments: Campaign promises are usually pretty hollow expressions of what a candidate ‘would like’ to have you believe. If you win, then you can be held accountable. If you lose, then they are typically forgotten.
Last evening, President Obama gave us his 2015 State of the Union address. I did not watch it. My brain had been overly exercised earlier in the day and I simply didn’t have the stomach to participate in any more churning. From what I read this morning, I’m OK with who he is and where the country is at the moment.
As we start the new year, with an expectation that the news media will be rampant with gibberish from and about the various national candidates, here are five promises made by GOP hopefulls during the last cycle. They might wish them to be forgotten.
One can argue persuasively that ‘deficit reduction’ has not happened given the federal debt will increase by about $1T, but federal outlays vs federal receipts has improved significantly since 2010 ( $1,294B vs $483B in 2014 ). It is a significantly lower % of the Gross National Product than it was in 2008. That’s a very good thing.
“We will curb Washington’s spending habits and promote job creation, bring down the deficit, and build long-term fiscal stability.”—2010 GOP Pledge to America.
When Republicans took control of the House in 2010, they repeatedly stressed that reducing the federal budget deficit was a matter of peak national importance. Which makes their repeated proposals to blow up the deficit by billions rather odd. But thankfully for the GOP, with President Obama and Democrats blocking budget-busting proposals like Paul Ryan’s tax plan, the deficit has steadily dropped throughout Obama’s presidency.
“Well, if China can have 5 percent growth, and India can have 5 percent growth, and Brazil can have 5 percent growth, the United States of America can have 5 percent growth”—Tim Pawlenty, June 18, 2011
As Politico reported at the time, forgettable 2012 candidate Tim Pawlenty’s pledge to spur 5 percent GDP growth was “mocked by some economists and Republican critics as unachievable in a country this large.” But in the third quarter of 2014, the Obama economy hit Pawlenty’s benchmark (for their part, Republicans greeted the news with as much enthusiasm as they showed toward Pawlenty’s campaign).
“I’ve developed a program for American energy so no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again and so every American can look forward to $2.50-a-gallon gasoline.”—Newt Gingrich, February 22, 2012.
By Gingrich’s standards, President Obama has been stunningly successful: The national average gas price is now $2.32 per gallon, marking the lowest level since May 2009. Of course, gas prices have tumbled due to a wide range of factors, few of which involve Obama — but none of which involved bowing to a Saudi king.
“Mitt Romney and I will protect and strengthen Medicare so that the promises that were made that people organize their retirements around, like my mom, will be promises that are kept.”—Paul Ryan, August 19, 2012
There’s some reason to doubt that Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was sincere when he promised to protect Medicare, given that he has repeatedly proposed plans to end the program as we know it. But if the 2012 vice-presidential nominee does genuinely want to ensure that Medicare remains strong, then he’ll surely be glad to learn that President Obama’s Affordable Care Act has significantly improved the program’s financial outlook. Since Obamacare became law, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund’s solvency has been extended by 13 years.
“I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we’d put in place, we’d get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, and perhaps a little lower.”—Mitt Romney, May 23, 2012.
Mitt Romney’s vow to reduce unemployment to 6 percent by the end of his first term in office was almost universally hailed as bold and ambitious. But under President Obama’s stewardship, the economy improved much quicker than Romney promised: The unemployment rate has dropped steadily since the 2012 election, and dipped to 5.9 percent in September. President Obama has also blown Rick Perry’s vague promise to create 1.25 million jobs out of the water.