As I flew into Las Vegas, Nevada, for the CNN Presidential Debate and the Western Republican Leadership Conference last week, I saw firsthand what the Obama Recession has done to the Silver State. When you make your final descent into McCarran International Airport, you are struck by the streets and cul-de-sacs without any homes on them. Nevada has a 13.4 percent unemployment rate that ranks first amongst all states, and is 1.5 percent higher than California which ranks second with 11.9 percent. To make matters worse, Nevada’s unemployment rate has been number one for 16 straight months. This very high unemployment rate, coupled with the foreclosure crisis, has made times extremely tough for Nevadans.
That is why President Obama is flying into Nevada today, trying to stem the bleeding of his campaign where he has a 44 percent approval rating. President Obama has been tone deaf to the needs of Nevadans because he has focused on issues that do not fix the housing market and do not lower the unemployment rate. What President Obama says today will just be lip service to a state that he needs desperately to get reelected.
You would think Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid – who happens to be from Nevada – would understand the calamity that is the Obama Recession. However, while I was in his home state, Harry Reid said back in Washington, “It’s very clear that private-sector jobs have been doing just fine; it’s the public-sector jobs where we’ve lost huge numbers, and that’s what this legislation is all about.” What!? Harry Reid’s analysis of America’s unemployment crisis is just plain wrong and out-of-touch. Since the beginning of the recession, there have been over 6 million private sector jobs lost in America – a 5.4 percent decline. Public sector jobs – including federal, state, and local – have lost 392,000 jobs – a 1.8 percent decline.
The facts speak louder than the ignorant words that always seem to come out of Harry Reid’s mouth. Reid made his latest gaffe while defending S.1723, a teachers/first-responders bill that failed last week in the Senate with bi-partisan opposition. The legislation would have spent $35 billion to “save or create” 400,000 jobs for teachers, police, and firefighters. Legislation like this is purely political, and Democrats are trying to push this type of legislation so they can placate their union friends. We have seen this type of legislation before with Obama’s first stimulus plan – it did not work and only led us down a path of more debt and unemployment.
Not surprisingly, with the Obama Recession continuing to chug along, America’s misery index rose to 13 points – a 28-year high – in the month of September. The misery index is calculated by adding the unemployment rate and the rate of inflation together. Americans are both out of work and paying more for goods like milk and other staples. As a leader, you would think President Obama would be huddled with both Republicans and Democrats to figure a way out of this economic mess. But what does President Obama do? He goes on a campaign-style taxpayer-funded bus tour of North Carolina and Virginia to complain that Congress (half of which is controlled by his own party) is rejecting his ill-conceived policies. That is neither the leadership nor the “change you can believe” that President Obama promised back in 2008.
Harry Reid and the Democrats in Congress have been enablers of the failures of the Obama Administration. America will always be a great country, but I fear that President Obama has put us on a path to decline that will not reverse itself easily. I worry that America’s best days might be behind her, unless America finds new leadership in 2012. America can be great again; we just need a new President at the helm, and last week Nevadans got a glimpse of what this future leadership will look like.