Richmond Times Dispatch Editorial Page
By Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
Barack Obama's campaign has asked voters to ignore their candidate's brief and inconsistent record and listen instead to the "value" in his words. Yet on the campaign trail, Barack Obama has been saying one thing and doing another on a number of important economic issues.
Last week, John McCain proposed a "Jobs for America" economic plan to get our economy back on track. He rolled out a comprehensive economic plan that will create millions of good American jobs, ensure our nation's energy security, get the government's budget and spending practices in order, and bring relief to American consumers.
On the other hand, the release of Obama's economic plan last week has left many wondering what he will do to stimulate the economy. One thing remains clear, under an Obama presidency hard-working Americans and small business owners will see their taxes rise, job creation and exports suffer, and government spending skyrocket when they can least afford it.
During the Democratic primary Obama pledged not to raise taxes on the middle class, saying, "I not only have pledged not to raise their taxes, I've been the first candidate in this race to specifically say I would cut their taxes."
But Obama’s voting record this year shows that when it was time for action, he broke his word. Obama voted twice in favor of the Democrats' fiscal 2009 budget resolution that would raise taxes on individuals earning as little as $31,850. In addition, a review of his record indicates that he has voted at least 94 times for higher taxes while in the U.S. Senate -- amounting to a vote for a tax increase once every five days that Congress has been in session.
Another economic flip-flop we've seen as Obama moves from a Democratic primary candidate to presumptive Democratic nominee is his stance on trade. In May, a Wall Street Journal Asia editorial cast Obama as "the most protectionist U.S. presidential candidate in decades," reflecting his then-opposition to NAFTA, CAFTA, the South Korea and Colombia free-trade agreements, and normal trade relations with China.
But now, Obama says he believes in free trade and has recoiled from his pledge to reopen NAFTA, admitting his primary rhetoric was "overheated and amplified" -- a sharp turn coming from the same man who said, less than six months ago, "I don't think NAFTA has been good for America -- and I never have."
The American economy can't afford Obama's back-and-forth on taxes and trade, and the American taxpayer can't afford the same back-and-forth from Obama on government spending.
It's easy to question Barack Obama's commitment to fiscal responsibility. All one has to do is look at the more than $930 million in pork-barrel spending projects Obama has requested in his three years in the U.S. Senate. By comparison, in more than 20 years in the Senate, John McCain has requested exactly zero dollars in pork.
Likewise, while Obama has said he would account for every dollar of new spending he proposes, he hasn't said where the money will come from. Despite failing to outline how he will fund his plans, he continues to propose increases in spending and expanded government programs.
While Obama won't tell American voters how he will pay for increased spending, his record on voting to support tax hikes and his past pork project requests make clear that the money will come out of the pocket of hard-working Americans. Obama's tax-and-spend policies will support the bloated bureaucracy he's planning and the cost will fall to average American taxpayers.
If Barack Obama is already backing away from the promises he made during the primaries, what can Americans expect from him after November? Will he break the promises he's making on the campaign trail now?
Actions speak louder than words, and on the issues that matter most to Americans it's clear that Barack Obama has no credibility. He lacks both the experience and judgment to move America forward, and as he continues to "refine" his message voters are left wondering how much Obama's words matter -- even to him.
Fortunately, voters have an opportunity this November to elect John McCain. McCain will get our economy back on track by cutting taxes, spurring investment and innovation, and ending wasteful spending in Washington. McCain has proven he has the experience, judgment, and character to lead this country forward.
Bill Bolling, a Republican, is Lieutenant Governor of Virginia. To contact him, visit www.billbolling.com.