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Presidents Day Report Card

On a day honoring the presidents of our great country, it would be appropriate to assess the record of the man currently in office. In particular we will consider the general impact of his policies on the life insurance marketplace.  Our focus will be the performance of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

President Barack Obama signed the act into law five years ago today. Here are some conclusions reached by James Freeman in the Wall Street Journal about the effectiveness of this stimulus package:

High unemployment

2009 marks the first four straight years when unemployment average more than 8%. On top of that, many people quit the labor force altogether.

Inadequate spending on infrastructure

A small percentage of the available money was spent on infrastructure, even though unemployment in construction was in double digits. Nonetheless, billions were spent in the education and government sectors, despite the fact that unemployment there was low.

Frivolous spending

Here are some examples of the completely unessential areas in which federal money was spent: a study of why young people consume malt liquor and marijuana; costumes for mascots of the Army Corps of Engineers; and a study about college people hooking up.

Mr. Freeman concludes his harsh (and in my opinion completely justifiable) criticism of the President’s actions this way:

The failure of the stimulus was a failure of the neo-Keynesian belief that economies can be jolted into action by a wave of government spending. In fact, people are smart enough to realize that every dollar poured into the economy via government spending must eventually be taken out of the productive economy in the form of taxes. The way to jolt an economy to life and to sustain long-term growth is to create more incentives for people to work, save and invest. Let’s hope Washington’s next stimulus plan is aimed at reducing the tax and regulatory burden on American job creators.

Those of us committed to a viable and growing life insurance marketplace must pay attention here. Life insurance is a product that can benefit virtually every American family, business, and charity. It provides financial security and serves as the foundation of everyone’s financial portfolio.

Life insurance is distributed by hundreds of thousands of licensed brokers and agents. The vast majority of these sales people are self-employed men and women who need to build a business in order to bring the product to consumers. A huge government that taxes excessively, politicizes spending, and wastes money puts too many obstacles in our way, and makes it too hard for the American people to get the products they need.

Not a good grade when it comes to helping life insurance salespeople grow their businesses. We need a pro-life insurance president.