By Representative Peter Roskam
After weeks of bad economic news and public White House stumbles, President Barack Obama decided it was time to give another speech about the economy. He laid out his sweeping vision of America's future--in hopes of distracting us from the failed policies of the past three and a half years.
The fundamental problem is: Obama implemented his vision virtually unchecked during his first two years in the Oval Office. With the Congress of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Obama gave us the $800 billion failed stimulus, a government takeover of health care that increases costs and green energy programs that produce no energy.
You can call Obama's vision "Solyndranomics." It's basically about using taxpayer dollars for broad government intervention in the economy, often to support your donor's speculative adventures.
Let's examine the practice of Solyndranomics -- starting with its namesake. Obama said giving $535 million to Solyndra, a solar panel manufacturer, was "a good bet" -- though his own staffers expressed grave concerns. Solyndra had no customers for its product -- except the plan to rely on federal contracts. Business models showed that the company would quickly run out of money.
This sounded like "a good bet"? Still, the White House tried to rush federal reviewers to approve the risky loan to a company backed by an Obama campaign donor. In the end, millions of dollars were wasted on an policy that did nothing to increase energy independence or lower costs for U.S. families.
Remember, failures like Solyndra were made possible by another bad bet from Obama -- the stimulus program. Which was laden with earmarks and payouts to liberal interests. The president promised the stimulus would handle the problems created by the economic collapse. But we're struggling with a record 40 straight months of unemployment above 8 percent, with 23.2 million Americans now unemployed, underemployed or not even looking for work.
As for the president's signature legislative achievement -- the government takeover of health care--the rhetoric of his reform is far from reality. Obama promised the law would lower costs, but family premiums are already increasing by as much as $1,600 a year. So much for bending the cost curve down. Government spending is expected to explode to half of all health care spending in the United States.
Meanwhile, Americans are losing their employer-sponsored insurance, and companies are shedding jobs to absorb the tax increases contained in "Obamacare."
In Ohio today, Obama asked us to double down on his bad bets. He wants four more years to spend billions on bad policies, risky plans and a government that intrudes into every sector.
No amount of Obama's soaring oratory could change the fact that Solyndranomics--his vision for our economy--has made things worse, not better. It's this vision that millions of Americans are struggling with as they try to make ends meet. One they should soundly reject in November.
Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) is the Republican's chief deputy whip and serves on the House Ways and Means Committee.