President Barack Obama faces a tough road for re-election.
He is upside-down in job-approval numbers with only a 43 percent approval, according to a Gallup poll.
And his right-track, wrong-track numbers are even worse: 74 percent believe the county is on the wrong track versus 22 percent on the right track, according to PollingReport.com.
Even Nate Silver of the New York Times Magazine is asking, “Is Obama toast?”
In order to deflect the blame, Obama has opened his campaign against a “do-nothing Congress.” The Republicans are countering about a “know-nothing president.” Neither label is new in American politics. And neither label is particularly helpful.
Herein lies the problem. Neither party has satisfactory answers for America’s stubborn problems, thus the dominance of “put-down” politics.
“Hope and change” has now morphed into “down and dirty.”
Here are the “down and dirty” problems that threaten Obama’s re-election.
These are the “uncontrollables, the boomerangs, and the scandals.”
Jobs growth is No. 1. If the country remains above 9 percent unemployment, Obama’s odds are less than 50-50. Little the president can do here.
The truth is, the jobs are not coming back. Manufacturing is going to the lowest bidder (Read: China, Vietnam, etc.). Even professional jobs are now being replaced by robots, information technology, and artificial intelligence (Read: Apple’s Siri voice recognition technology, foreign language translation apps, robo docs, etc.). Just read this report from The Economist.
Such a truth hurts. So, the president is still pushing a jobs bill that can’t pass the House, will only create 2 million jobs for the 14 million out of work and the other 10 million working part time who want full-time work. Where is the vision?
Second is a more threatening issue—and almost totally out of his control: the European debt crisis.
Occupy Wall Street pales by comparison to the threat of the Greek government/people leaving the European Union and refusing to honor their debts. As the Associated Press reports, the Greek government is still trying to form a coalition government and avoid bankruptcy.
CNN reports that the prime minister is due to resign as soon as a coalition government is formed.
A Greek exit from the eurozone, and the resultant bankruptcy would cause a worldwide financial earthquake.
Such a default, according to projectsyndicate.org, is a very real possibility.
The Greeks are tired of austerity, budget cuts, job losses, pension cuts and dictates by the richer Europeans. Their woes foreshadow America’s. The Germans are to Greek what the Chinese are to America—huge creditor nations.
Greece almost scheduled a national referendum to simply vote away their debts. However, that much democracy threatened the financial globalists and the idea was quickly withdrawn.
Should Europe start dissembling, the resultant chaos—something no one can control—would reveal the American president as a bystander, i.e., a weakened leader. Expect a Republican commercial making the election a referendum on Obama’s inexperience.
Some analysts are actually arguing for the collapse of the global financial system as a positive development—essentially because they believe that the global system is corrupt and cannot be salvaged, according to The Business Insider. Capitalism that is based on money leveraged so high and traded so fast that no one can catch it defeats any regulatory constraints.
The only solution, as Charles Hughes Smith argues, is localism, not globalism. A trend in farming, but not yet in banking—despite Occupy Wall Street’s “bank transfer day.”
So desperate are the Europeans that Reuters reports the finance ministers are actually asking the rich Germans to pledge their gold holdings to rescue Greece and possibly Portugal and Ireland—and maybe even Italy.
Understandably, the Bundesbank has flatly rejected the idea.
Still the eurozone finance ministers want to keep discussing the possibility, according to Reuters. They have run out of ideas about how to save Greece.
So, it seems, have the Americans.
New York Times reporter Gretchen Morgenson finds the European mess proves the U.S. still hasn’t fixed the risks to its financial system—and Obama has been in charge for three years now.
As she quotes one financial expert: “At this late date we still don’t know the risks that are out there. This market is opaque, and the regulators don’t know what they’re doing.”
Enter the Occupy Wall Street boomerang.
Obama originally embraced Occupy Wall Street. So did most of those polled. However, this has boomeranged on the president. With the backlash from small businesses, the video of some violence, encampments that are less than exemplary, and the shutdowns of the Port of Oakland and some bank storefronts, the public has altered its opinion of the protests.
Should a U.S. bank buckle—such as the targeted Bank of America—Republicans will surely shift the blame to the protesters and the president. A classic boomerang.
Which brings me to the fourth threat to the president’s re-election—brewing scandals, i.e., Solyndra and MF Global.
Obama’s presidency has been remarkably scandal-free—until recently.
MF Global, the brokerage firm run by former Democratic Governor of New Jersey and Obama fundraising bundler ($500,000) Jon S. Corzine, was recently felled by fast money, high-stakes leverage and bad derivative bets against several near bankrupt European countries.
That is, Corzine bet massive amounts of nonexistent funds against the likes of Greece. When investors began demanding their investment monies be returned, many received checks by snail mail instead of wire transfers. These “slo-mo" checks bounced; $600 million remains unaccounted for, according to Reuters.
Corzine has hired a criminal attorney.
Solyndra is the green firm that received over half a billion dollars in a government loan and recently went bankrupt. The Republican-controlled House committee has issued subpoenas for White House documents concerning Solyndra, but the White House has denied the request.
And finally, Obama’s Global Corporate sponsors.
Then there are dozens of corporations that paid no income taxes for the last three years—coincidental with the Obama presidency, according to The Business Insider.
Granted this has been going on far longer than the Obama presidency, but it carries a whiff of hypocrisy to have the CEO of General Electric named as the president’s jobs czar, while that company earned over $10 billion in profit between 2018 and 2010 and reported -$4,737,000,000 in taxes for a tax rate of -45.3 percent. YES, MINUS 45.3 percent, according to this report. Some companies generate so many excess tax breaks that they report negative
Ironically, Occupy Wall Streeters turned up on Jeffrey Immelt’s Connecticut front lawn to protest GE’s accounting tax dodge.
Evidently, the protesters didn’t recognize the ties that bind Obama to GE.
Immelt is not just the president’s jobs czar, but his GE is also the parent company of MSNBC, CNBC and CNBC. The political commentaries of Chris Matthews, Chris O’Donnell, Rachel Maddow, Ed Beck, etc. are as pro-Obama as Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, etc., are pro-Republican.
In addition, GE contributed over $1 million to the Democrats in 2010 and reportedly received 14 stimulus grants worth over $25 million.
Another potential whiff of hypocrisy. Corporate America contributes to whomsoever advances their agenda.
Could be another potential boomerang, scandal, and threat to the president’s re-election bid, if he keeps pointing fingers at the rich—many of whom are his friends, allies and benefactors.