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Tags: Reich | Obama | Campaign | Message

Reich: Obama’s Campaign Message Falling Short

Monday, 23 April 2012 08:05 AM EDT

President Barack Obama can lose to likely challenger Mitt Romney if he sticks with his we've-come-this-far campaign message, says economist and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.

The economy is recovering but not fast enough to prevent voters from blowing off Obama's stick-with-me promises in favor of Romney's I'll-do-it-better stumps.

"The Obama White House should face it: 'We’re on the right track' isn’t sufficient. The President has to offer the nation a clear, bold strategy for boosting the economy. It should be the economic mandate for his second term," Reich writes in his blog.

Editor's Note: Wall Street Insider: The System Is Rigged

For Obama to win, he needs to base his campaign on four points, according to Reich, who served in three national administrations and was a secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton.

First, Obama should demand that the nation’s banks modify mortgages of struggling homeowners and threaten to bring the Glass-Steagall Act if banks don't go along.

The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act under President Clinton allowed banks to offer both retail and investment banking services.

Second, he needs to do more to fight oil speculators than he is already doing, and third, he needs to push through more job-creating investments in the infrastructure by renewing his call for an infrastructure bank and put job-creating top priority over fiscal austerity.

Lastly, he need to tackle widening income gaps.

"With so much of the nation’s disposable income and wealth going to the top, the vast middle class doesn’t have the purchasing power it needs to fire up the economy. That’s why the Buffett rule, setting a minimum tax rate for millionaires, is just a first step for ensuring that the gains from growth are widely shared," says Reich, a professor of public policy at the University of California at Berkeley.

Obama's Buffett Rule, which slaps a 30 percent minimum tax on those earning at least $1 million annually and named after legendary investor Warren Buffett who championed the idea, failed to push through in the Senate.

Supporters say the move would have drummed up $47 billion in fresh revenue needed to narrow deficits or improve the economy.

"We’re going to come back to this issue repeatedly, and it may be tying it to what it means to people," said Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

"Forty-seven billion dollars could help pay for kids costs for college ... maybe it should to help businesses with an R&D tax credit, maybe it should go to deficit reduction."

Republicans say the move is politically-charged populism designed to stir up anger at wealthier Americans.

"Well, President Obama looked at the options in front of him, sat down with his political advisers, and he said, 'You know what, let’s go with the poll-tested tax increase on investment and job creation that won’t fix anything and won’t pass anyway, instead of actually doing something about the debt and the deficit,'" Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell, a Republican from Kentucky, said on the Senate floor Monday, the Christian Science Monitor adds.

Editor's Note: Wall Street Insider: The System Is Rigged

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Monday, 23 April 2012 08:05 AM
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