Ready for some good news? Five important political campaign promises have been fulfilled in 2014. I'll give you the promise, the fulfillment and, at the end, the politicians that gave these promises.
Promise number one: Lower the unemployment rate to below 6 percent by the end of the current term. In fact, recently that figure has dropped to 5.9 percent.
Promise number two: Create 1.25 million jobs during the next 19 years. The actual number for private sector employment from February 2008 to date is 10.9 million.
Promise number three: Protect and strengthen Medicare so that the promises that were made that people organize their retirements around will be promises that are kept. Recent government action has extended the Medicare trust fund life by an additional 13 years.
Promise number four: That every American can look forward to $2.50-a-gallon gasoline. I just tanked up with $2.35 gasoline.
Promise number 5: If China can have 5 percent growth, and India can have 5 percent growth, and Brazil can have 5 percent growth, the United States of America can have 5 percent growth. In the third quarter (the most recent reported) our annual rate of growth was indeed 5 percent.
All these promises were made by Republican candidates for president: Mitt Romney, May 23, 2012; Rick Perry in 2007; Paul Ryan, August 19, 2012; Newt Gingrich, February 22, 2012; and Tim Pawlenty, June 18, 2011.
More to the point, in some cases their actions ran directly counter to their promises. Ryan proposed privatizing Medicare, even though the overhead cost of running Medicare is a small fraction of the overhead cost of private insurance. The extension of life of the Medicare Trust Fund was a direct result of the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, which the Republicans tried to abolish or cripple with more than 40 votes in the House of Representatives.
Republicans in Congress also opposed every job creation measure proposed by Obama. In short, Obama administration policies have help fulfill all these Republican promises over consistent Republican opposition. So if you want empty promises vote for Republicans. If you want effective actions then vote for Democrats.
The full quote from Newt Gingrich was: "I've developed a program for American energy so no future president will ever bow to a Saudi king again and so every American can look forward to $2.50-a-gallon gasoline." Ironically enough, the current drop in fuel cost can be traced to actions taken by Saudi Arabia. The bow from one chief of state to another, an old fashioned diplomatic courtesy, may not have facilitated the Saudi action, but it certainly didn't hurt. The intemperate remarks by Gingrich and others about the bow certainly didn't help.
In other areas of interest housing prices are recovering and we are winning the battle against ISIS without American casualties, a trick that Republicans never have grasped. But thanks to Republican opposition, the gap between rich and poor continues to widen, a worrisome situation that the next president will need to address.
The Republicans have succeeded in one sphere; through constant propaganda they have convinced the majority of the population that success is really failure. Obama's approval rating is less than 50 percent where Russian President Vladimir Putin's is at 85 percent. But our economy is one of the strongest in the world and the dollar is strong. Putin's economy is crashing, due in large part to the economic sanctions imposed at the insistence of the Obama administration. Pretty soon Russians will be using 1,000-Ruble notes for wall paper, just as the Germans did with 1,000 Mark notes in the great depression.