President Obama did an excellent job presenting his arguments to a large audience. Yet the content of his message rings hollow for those who believe, as President Ronald Reagan did, that “government isn’t the solution -- it’s the problem.” Ironically, President Obama at least paid lip service to this idea, claiming early on that he doesn’t believe in “bigger government.” But he then spoke at length about a strategy to promote economic growth by expanding the role of the federal government in private enterprise.

The president argued that the so-called “stimulus” plan is a first step, one that would “save or create 3.5 million jobs.” The problem is that the bill heaps more than $1 trillion in new debt on the shoulders of the average American family. That includes the price tag of the bill -- $787 billion, plus interest.

When the federal government spends hundreds of billions in taxpayer dollars, that money crowds out private enterprise and stifles the free market. The president’s plan includes monies for the National Endowment for the Arts, an expansion of unemployment benefits, climate change research and Amtrak. True stimulus would cut taxes and allow people to decide for themselves where to allocate resources without government bureaucrats making those decisions for them.

The President also claimed that his new housing plan would “help responsible families facing the threat of foreclosure lower their monthly payments and re-finance their mortgages.” It is estimated that only 10 percent of mortgage holders are behind in payments or in foreclosure. Now they’ll be rewarded for their irresponsible behavior. Should we solve the nations’ housing crisis by using government monies to try and create a new housing bubble?

The third prong of the president’s plan: Use the “full force of the federal government” to restore confidence and force banks to lend. The Troubled Assets Relief Program was authorized to spend $700 billion to free up credit and get the banks lending again. So far, it hasn’t worked. Giving taxpayer dollars to banks and engaging in a partial or full nationalization of America’s big banks will further erode investor confidence in U.S. banks and businesses.

Obama’s big-government solutions are anathema to a free-market economy. Apparently, the big-spending Bush administration has been replaced by a bigger spending Obama administration with no fiscal sanity in sight. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal had it right: Increasing dependence on government as a means to stimulate the private sector is a doomed strategy.

President Obama gets an A for presentation, but low marks for his “solutions” to America’s economic problems.

By: Brian Darling, Director of U.S. Senate Relations