“A feeble executive implies a feeble execution of the government. A feeble execution is but another phrase for a bad execution; and a government ill executed, whatever may be its theory, must, in practice, be a bad government.”—Joseph Story, 1833, Commentaries on the Constitution
After the umpteenth time watching President Obama hoist his jobs plan booklet in the air, I decided to take a look at it. In fact, I decided to compare his plan released last week against the Romney plan published in 2011. You can compare them for yourself at these two links.
(This is the full plan as originally published September 6, 2011. Due to criticism of its length and complexity, it has been condensed several times and also published as single subject pamphlets. The curious can find them all with a simple Google query.)
President Obama’s Plan reminded me the Styrofoam Greek Columns erected for his 2008 acceptance speech—fake, and intended to deify Barack Obama. It didn’t help that I found the title offensive even before I looked inside. “The New Economic Patriotism” is code for paying higher taxes. Good patriotic Americans cough up more money to feed the Washington spending machine.
It didn’t get much better when I flipped through the pages. I’ll ignore the fancy graphics and photos of enraptured fans for now.
In summary, this so-called plan is an exercise in egotism, falsehoods, and lame excuses. The graphics are beautiful, but I found the adoring photos tiresome. Granted, some are still riding the euphoria of 2008, but most Americans—even those who still support him—have a more sober view of this president. The idolatry days are past.
Mitt Romney’s Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth is much more substantive. (But not without some omissions that might upset powerful constituencies.) My fellow WWTFT blogger, Curtice Mang wrote in his book, The Constitution, I’m Not Kidding, “If you are a person of the liberal persuasion reading this book, sadly, there are no pictures.” The same applies to Romney’s plan. There are color graphs and tables, however, but probably not enough to keep the 140-character attention span crowd enthralled.
Romney’s Plan opens with a foreword by R. Glenn Hubbard, Dean of Economics at Columbia Business School and an introductory letter from Romney. The next section list 5 bills Romney promises to submit to Congress on his first day in office and 5 Executive Orders he will issue the same day. Part I then describes our economic predicament and why if we do not change course the country will be irreparably harmed. The most significant chart compares jobs lost in the last five recessions versus job gains in the twenty-four months after growth resumed. This chart alone makes a mockery of the braggadocio Obama pamphlet.
Part II shows why President Obama’s economic strategy has failed and will continue to fail.
Part III describes Romney’s plans for:
The conclusion is appropriately titled “A Stark Choice.” One choice is a president who believes he can rule by force of personality. His plan is an ever-larger role for government in our daily lives. The other choice is rule of law and a smaller government constrained by the Constitution. One wants to go Forward in the same direction, the other wants to alter our course. One has reached the most powerful position in the world by winging it, and believes he can continue to wing it for four more years. The other has a plan.
I’m voting for the man with a plan.
James D. Best is the author of the Steve Dancy Tales and Tempest at Dawn, a novel about the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Look for his new book, Principled Action, Lessons from the Origins of the American Republic.