The greatness implanted in America's founding and manifested for more than two centuries cannot be restored until two goals are met: The U.S. economy must be repaired, and government spending must be brought under control. Each mission depends on the other.Directing those pursuits requires a president with a profound comprehension of business, the economy and job creation. This insight is most often acquired through long experience and success in the private sector. The Columbian endorses Mitt Romney for president, accompanied by our usual reminder that endorsements are opinions, nothing more, designed to stimulate discussion. The Columbian believes voters are perfectly capable of making up their own minds.
We endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and acknowledge his passion and diligence. But he has fallen far short of the two nonpartisan goals expressed above. Yes, Congress shares much of the blame for continued economic stagnation. But the best leaders break the worst logjams. Obama has not.
Members of Congress have their own self-inflicted defects, what with historic low favorability ratings. Most of them face stern accountability tests on Nov. 6. But President Obama also must be held accountable, and even he acknowledges too little has been done to repair the economy, reduce the deficit and cut the federal debt.
Romney lacks Obama's credentials and experience in foreign policy. But he better understands how an economic recovery is powered by an incentivized private sector, not a bloated bureaucracy. Thomas J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said in a Sept. 10 speech: "Our economy is stuck in first gear … our government borrows 40 cents of every dollar we spend." Obama has presided over "a massive debt, out-of-control spending, a broken tax system and unsustainable entitlement programs."
Instead of looking to government as the solution, the next president must oversee cuts in government costs, starting with reductions in military spending. And he must help institute meaningful reforms of unsustainable entitlement programs. Romney offers the best hope for that.
Simultaneously, Congress must liberate itself from partisan paralysis, starting with modifications of filibuster rules in the U.S. Senate.
President Obama has strong support among women and ethnic minorities, but his avowed goal of bringing together all Americans remains only a faint dream. After four years, he has run out of time.
All Americans can be brought together not as a consequence of political strife but by prosperity, both real and prosperity that can be reasonably hoped for. This begins at the small-business level. In his speech, Donohue correctly explained that "employers are paralyzed by uncertainty" even though "they are sitting on $2 trillion in cash." Why not commit to growth? Because the "economy is over-regulated, our workforce is under-educated, and our opportunities to sell American goods and services is truncated as the world economy slows."
President Obama has paid too little attention to American businesses. Mitt Romney, even for all his inconsistencies on social issues, is properly fixated on repairing the economy. That obsession lifted him to victory in the first debate, and we believe it makes him the best choice for president.