Will Government Stop Us from Getting Past "Halftime in America"?

| by Institute for Policy Innovation

By Dr. Merrill Matthews

The Super Bowl may be over, but not the chatter over Clint Eastwood’s ad “It’s Halftime in America.”

Eastwood compares the country’s struggling economy and high unemployment rate with a football team’s bad showing in the first half, and the need for a strong second half.  “But after those trials, we all rallied around what was right, and acted as one.  Because that’s what we do. … This country can’t be knocked out with one punch.”

Had this ad appeared after 9/11, it would be right on the mark.  But what if after being knocked down Americans can’t get back up because of government policies? 

What if employers want to hire, banks want to lend, and consumers want to buy houses but are hesitant because they don’t know how all of the new Obama-imposed laws, taxes and regulations will affect them?

Eastwood points specifically at Detroit, which has struggled more than most cities.  But he neglects to mention that Michigan’s former governor, Jennifer Granholm, exacerbated the state’s fiscal problems in the economic downturn by increasing taxes on businesses and individuals—which happens to be Obama’s plan also.

Yes, Detroit is starting to recover, but that’s in part because the new governor, Rick Snyder, is moving the state in a positive direction—corporate tax simplification and reduction, which helped the unemployment rate drop nearly two percentage points last year and the state added 80,000 jobs.  Call it a hand up, not a handout.

Eastwood also failed to mention that Detroit’s bounce back came in part at the expense of taxpayers—a $12.5 billion hand out to Chrysler, which paid for the Eastwood ad, and even more to GM. 

Is that what Eastwood means by a successful second half: millions of middle class Americans bailing out big corporations because of their bad financial decisions? 

It’s true that Americans will stand up together when the economy, or any other force, knocks them down.  But bad government policies can make that standing up more difficult.  Just look at the last three years.