Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has a good column in the examiner on what will be President Obama's legacy.
President Obama came into office determined to that his administration would be "the capstone of a century-long, progressive project," Ryan writes.
So how's that working out? First, Ryan lays out what that project would entail: consolidation of the federal government's control over key aspects of our lives. ObamaCare is the most evident example of this.
Obama had promised as a candidate that heath reform would not only cover every American but that it would reduce the typical family's premiums by $2,500 a year. Even though the public was skeptical, Obama rammed it through Congress.
It didn't live up to the president's promises. Thirty-three million people remain uncovered by health insurance and the average family's premiums have jumped almost $5,000 since 2008.
In addition to consolidating health care, the administration also consolidated the banking industry. As a result, Ryan points out, we've lost on average one community financial institution per day. Before Dodd-Frank, Ryan writes, 75 percent of banks offered free checking. Now only 39 percent do. Dodd-Frank may be responsible for a 21 percent rise in fees for checking accounts between 2006-12.
Given this track record, Ryan suggests that Obama's legacy as a progressive is not going to be exactly what he anticipated:
H] is ultimate legacy will be showing the country that progressivism in practice just doesn't work. . . .
This vision is very impatient with the checks and balances of the Constitution. If the experts have settled on the right idea, what's a 200-year-old document to stop them? This more than explains why the president has routinely run around Congress and tried to enforce his policies through executive orders. And perhaps this is the most troubling aspect of his legacy: the slow, steady erosion of self-government.
There are plenty more examples, which we've been highlighting as part of our "Real Obama Liberal Legacy" project on Speaker.gov. But what do we have to show for all this?
The president likes to brag that "we're in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history." But what he doesn't mention is that this recovery has also been historically weak. He can point to a low unemployment rate, but it doesn't include the near-record high of 94 million people out of the work force. For all the tax hikes and reckless spending and red tape, America is not better off.
In more and more areas of American life, President Obama has given government the starring role and pushed the people into the wings. He might consider this a success, but here's the true measure of progressivism: After eight years of it, the vast majority of Americans say we're on the wrong track.
I'd like to ask Ryan how this plays out in the presidential race and, if the failure of progressive policies really matters, if Mrs. Clinton is able to pull off a win and continue them.