BETWEEN THE LINES: Fool me twice, shame on me

In the sports world, a common axiom is coaches get too much credit when their teams are victorious and too much blame when they lose. The same goes for presidents when it comes to the economy. If growth is strong, they are praised, but if it goes bad, they get the blame.

The truth is they have little control over the process. Chief executives can talk about job creation, but they cannot wave a magic wand and get businesses to hire. True, they can create government jobs, but these do not add to productivity because they don’t manufacture a product. The wages of government employees are paid by tax dollars taken out of the public sector, thus reducing purchasing power.

However, a president can indirectly affect social mood by showing leadership and confidence in our capitalistic system, such as displayed by Ronald Reagan, who delivered what he promised.

In the 2008 presidential election, there were many reasons why voters elected a one-term senator — Barack Obama — from Illinois.

First of all, the economy was in a tailspin.

The housing market had collapsed and financial institutions that had financed those mortgages were in trouble. The Republican nominee, John McCain, was not exciting, and the conservative element of the GOP was not enthralled. Enter Obama, promising change, which sounded good to the electorate. The Democratic nominee talked about having a transparent administration open to scrutiny.

Obama campaigned on reducing our nation’s debt and lowering unemployment, but a key element to his victory was many Americans wanted to show the world they were not racially biased. The president has failed to deliver on his campaign promises with the exception of national health care, which was rammed through Congress with little discussion over the protest of many Americans.

What the voters need from our president is the truth: Our country is in serious trouble because of out-of-control spending. Our problems will not be solved by Obama’s glib campaign promises.

Government is not the answer, it is the problem.

The Greatest Generation dealt with the Great Depression and World War II and lived 15 years through hell. To their credit, they did what was necessary. That generation of Americans rationed, sacrificed and united in a common cause to overcome adversity so future generations might prosper.

I have serious questions about whether our current society can do that. We have been spoiled, have taken for granted what God has given us and, in turn, have claimed all the credit.

Mitt Romney might not be the solution, but in a political arena where there are just two electable candidates, voters are going to find plenty of faults with their choice. Americans should know what to expect if the incumbent wins. If one is hoping for a different direction, then perhaps Romney is the choice.

Laughlin is a Christian Libertarian. He is an economist, teacher, father, husband and most recently a grandfather. He has written a weekly column for The Tribune for 15 years. He and his wife Gina reside in Meadowlakes. To contact him, email He is an independent columnist, not a staff member, and his views do not necessarily reflect those of The Tribune or its parent company.

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