NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The presidential debates have clearly established what Americans may expect from an Obama second term or a Romney administration.
President Obama would double down on the policies pursued since the financial crisis gripped -- growing America from the government out.
In 2007, with two wars raging and the Bush tax cuts and prescription drug benefits for seniors in place, the federal deficit was $161 billion -- it has exceeded $1 trillion the past four years.
The stimulus has delivered weak growth and the unemployment rate has fallen only because so many Americans have quit looking for jobs. Paradoxically, more seniors are working but millions of Americans below the age of 65, frustrated, have given up.When Obama took office, unemployment was 7.8%, but if the adult labor-force participation rate were the same today as when he took office, the jobless rate would be 10.7% -- wages adjusted for inflation are falling, too many young people live with parents and household wealth is melting away. Obama promises more spending on roads, bridges and schools -- a badly needed initiative -- but he also wants more government investments in futuristic energy projects like Solyndra and electric car battery maker A123 that reward his political pals and end up in bankruptcy. Obama would raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000 and many small businesses and, whoever wins, Congress is expected to let the temporary reduction in payroll taxes lapse in January. Overall federal taxes would jump more than $300 billion and largely cancel the jobs-creating effects of any new spending initiatives. Permitting young folks to borrow even more to pay tuition bloated by managerial inefficiency and depressed faculty productivity at colleges and universities won't create a single new job for the nearly half of all college graduates facing counter work at Starbucks. Doubling exports, through new trade agreements, will only double imports, and not positively affect employment in manufacturing or anyplace else. The treasure trove for creating a million more manufacturing jobs, and supporting jobs in services, lies in standing up to China and developing domestic energy, which would require mountains of building materials and machinery.