With the three presidential debates in the books and the campaign rhetoric reaching a fever pitch, it’s tempting for Republican candidates and pundits to over-complicate the GOP’s message and respond to every liberal talking point.
My advice? Don’t. Governor Romney has simplified his message over the course of the campaign from a 59-point economic plan during the primaries to a five-point economic plan today. Americans need to put aside the commercials, surrogate talking points and the torrent of blast emails from political groups, and look at this election in terms of five simple numbers that define where we are as a nation.
The first number is 23 million. It needs to be the first stanza in our campaign mantra. Despite the meager gains in the latest jobs report, which may end up being revised downward in the coming days, 23 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. This election is about jobs, plain and simple. The public understands that something is wrong with America and this president’s policies. They know that over the last four years, the number of Americans without a job has remained at near-historic levels.
The second number is $16 trillion — the size of our national debt, which has increased by more than 50% under President Obama. That number says it all. The increasing concern about debt and deficits is one of the most significant developments in American politics in recent years. The reason for this concern is simple. Americans are sitting around the kitchen table making tough decisions about their family budgets. They’re tightening their belts and doing without when necessary. They’re buckling under the weight of mortgages, credit cards and other debt. They’re coping with the increase in costs for everything from gas to food to healthcare. Our families and businesses are trying to make ends meet while President Obama has borrowed and spent more money in less time than any president in history.
Third is $3,000. Republicans — from Romney to grassroots activists — need to talk to people about how much Obamacare is expected to increase healthcare costs for the average family. According to a recent report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, despite the president’s $2 trillion healthcare plan and his claim that it will lower costs, healthcare premiums will rise under Obamacare, particularly for middle class families. Nancy Pelosi infamously said, “We have to pass the bill in order to find out what’s in the bill.” Well, now we know.
Then there’s $833 billion — the latest estimate of the stimulus bill’s cost. The president barely mentions the stimulus package these days. In fact, during the second presidential debate he didn’t even mention it. But the fact remains that the so-called stimulus bill has been an abject failure by any measure. Taxpayer dollars for what were sold as “shovel ready” projects have gone into a black hole of special interests, pet projects and other uses. And more than 36 months later, the U6 unemployment rate is nearly 15%. Included in those wasted funds are billions for the Obama green jobs economy, which has produced more than a dozen bankrupt renewable energy companies but little in the way of progress toward creating the energy jobs of the future. Oh, and by the way, inspector generals across multiple federal agencies have opened up nearly 2,000 investigations into how stimulus money was misspent, wasted or defrauded. You dollars at work, folks.
The last number is 250. That’s a low-ball estimate of the number of years’ worth of oil, gas and coal we have here in the United States. And that’s to say nothing about nuclear, new technologies and renewable energy sources. Romney was right when he said during the second debate that Obama isn’t an oil or coal guy. The president may talk a good game about energy independence, but Americans need to know that — with the right leadership — we can actually achieve it. Instead of stonewalling the Keystone Pipeline and championing Solyndra and the Chevy Volt, our next president should work toward making domestic energy cheaper and America energy independent.
We all need to do our part to highlight these five numbers when talking to our friends, family, neighbors and colleagues over the next two weeks. By doing so, we will paint a clear picture of this administration’s failures.
Ned Ryun is president and CEO of American Majority Action, a national conservative grassroots organization. Learn more at www.AmericanMajorityAction.org.