Black for Palestine
Join Date: Oct 2006
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Why you should reelect the President.
Hey there, Mr./Mrs. Undecided.
You're probably not reading this right now.
If you're assinine enough to wander into DC, and assinine enough to click on this thread, you're probably already voting for either the President, Governor Romney, or you've committed yourself to a third party like Gary Johnson.
But there is the slightest chance you've yet to make up your mind. You're thisclose
to making up your mind, perhaps, but you're not quite there.
Well, that probably makes DC an uncomfortable place for you. It's largely a territorial brawl between two sides that often believe the other side is from Mars. Wading through our conversations, which so often wander off topic and slump into dick-measuring contests, is not an easy task. And jesus, nobody really likes petezg23 at all and he posts all over this forum.
So I'll let pat or somebody step up for Romney if they want, but I thought I'd present the earnest, honest case for Obama's reelection, in the nicest, plainest way. That's all I can promise -- if you think I'm full of shit or simply think I'm wrong, power to you brother. But this is the piece of the Obama supporter.
I make no promises about the gazillion posts that will follow, however, as the wolves will swarm and that's when you're back on your own.
I'll put it in bulletpoints, because if you're still an undecided voter at this point
, you probably don't have the attention span for drawn out paragraphs.
On we go.
- When the President took office, we were in just about the worst kind of recession you could be in. It was a financial crisis spurned by a complete bust in the housing department. Housing more or less drives the economy, and everybody depends on finances. So when housing collapses, employment gets crushed. When the financial system crashes, everybody gets spooked; nobody loans, which doesn't matter because nobody wants to invest. The economy was losing 800,000 jobs a month, the Dow collapsed, mortgages everywhere went underwater, and GDP collapsed 9% -- almost a tenth of the entire economy. It was the worst downturn in the American economy since the Great Depression.
- We were also mired in two unwinnable wars in the Middle East. So, everything was going swimmingly.
- So Obama takes office in January 2009, and within a month or so passes a recovery act popularly called the "stimulus act," designed to do three things: 1. stave off a second Great Depression, 2. turn the economy around and dart it upwards, and 3. make financial investments in a couple key sectors that would hopefully pay off in the middle- and long-term in energy and education. Let's talk about each of those in turn.
- 1. Economists largely agree that the housing bust and financial collapse was so severe it was plunging America into a Depression. But the stimulus package prevented that from happening. It shoved several hundred billions of demand into the government and the economy, saving over 8 million jobs and staving off an even further cratering in our GDP. It was big, and expensive -- cost us almost $800 billion -- but that comes with the territory of recessions: you spend now, you cut deficits later. But more about deficits here in a bit. The stimulus package is a success on this score, we are no longer in a recession, though our economy still struggles.
- 2. The stimulus package is less of a success on unemployment. While this chart accurately shows that unemployment trends went in the right direction shortly after passing the stimulus package, it obviously wasn't enough to calm down the markets enough to get businesses to invest more and hire more people. I don't think there's a single soul on this board that believes we could have fixed unemployment in four years (considering it took us a decade going back to Clinton to built this catastrophe) but let there be no question that the stimulus package, along with iffy implementation by the Obama administration, and receiving no help from a historically gridlocked Congress, did not do much to point us in the right trajectory. We just limped across the floor of the economy, getting better, but hardly recovering.
Four years later, however, and we've just now surpassed where the economy was on its downward slope on January 2009. The housing market is finally recovering. The Dow is killing it right now, if you ever click over the CNBC. Unemployment just fell below where it was when Obama was elected and it was free-falling. Consumer confidence, highest in 5 years. And the United States is poised to rebound from the crisis stronger than ****ing every one of our allies internationally -- it's energizing. And a third of the unemployment we have right now is because the job opportunities are mismatched with the available job applicants. This is a trend that usually corrects itself, however, as people get retrained, in a couple of years. So that means by 2014, our economy will be adding jobs like gangbusters.
So while this recovery is happening, it's been sluggish, and we're still hurting. But brighter days are no doubt ahead.
- 3. Investments in education and energy have ranged from promising to blantantly successful. Obama's "Race To The Top" education program dangles federal grant money to states who take their own initiative to upgrade their education performance and technology. States have improved their schools in waves. It's a crazy interesting reform that nobody talks about.
As the world begins its slow shift from fossil fuels to alternative energies, the stimulus package also made a long-term-eyeing investment in alternative energy to the tune of $90 billion. The administration invested in 63 alternative energy companies, only five of which have gone and stayed bankrupt. That's a better return on your investment in terms of percentage than what Romney's company Bain Capital was able to pull off with its investments.
- Shortly after the stimulus package, the Obama administration also continued with its much-maligned bailouts. To the tune of hundreds of billions, the Obama administration gave the banks their second bailout (the first was for the same amount, under Bush as the economy cratered). The administration also bailed out auto companies by providing them the billions in investment they would have been unable to get from anywhere else. It's unlikely that all of that of that will ever be paid back, but it kept the financial system afloat, and of course it's well known now that the auto industry is back in the black.
- The big moves will be occuring here pretty soon on foreign policy, but the major moves to be noted this early in Obama's Presidency: (1.) He immediately banned "enhanced interrogation" that included techniques that some folks feel crossed over the moral barrier into torture, like waterboarding, stress positions, and extreme sensory deprivation. (2.) He was unable to close Guantanamo Bay, due to near-total opposition in Congress.
- Over the next year, Obama began the long, arduous fight for healthcare reform to combat the fact that American healthcare costs more per capita than anywhere else in the West, yet produces lackluster healthcare and fails to cover close to 50 million people. So with passage in Congress, the administration was able to make the following changes:
(1.) Medicaid would be expanded to everybody making up to 133% of the povery rate. (2.) A mandate was put in place to get everybody privately insured, whether they like it or not, because they're going to cost the rest of us money if they're not, to say nothing of the lackluster healthcare they receive without insurance. (3.) Expand the competitiveness of health insurance plans through what's called "exchanges," which make it much easier to buy health insurance across state lines (this is one of the biggest deals in "Obamacare"), (4.) allow younger folks to stay on their parents' plans longer, (5.) cover 100% of preventative care, (6.) do war against Medicare's "fee-for-service" structure, which hospitals and medical professionals could exploit by running a full gamut of unnecessary tests that cost a fortune but do little.
Obamacare, as we've come to know it, is a massive accomplishment that every Democrat for a century has worked towards. It was passed as a response to a healthcare system with runaway insurance costs (insurance rates have slowed considerably since Obamacare's passage), left millions uninsured (97% of Americans will be covered), have preserved insurer and doctor choice, and has extended Medicare's solvency by a decade without cutting a single benefit.
- The Obama administration saved students billions by taking out the banks from the student loan process since they were financing the loans anyway. Very underrated accomplishment.
- There was discussion of immigration reform in the first term, but none materialized as the DREAM Act was shot down by Congressional Republicans. Nonetheless, Obama issued an executive order pardoning illegal immigrants who were brought here as children (the "DREAM"ers) from being deported. Meanwhile, the Obama administration has deported more illegal immigrants than any other administration in American history.
- The Obama administration, failing to reach an agreement with the Iraqi government to keep peace-keeping troups in Iraq, withdrew its fighting force from the country. The Iraq War, as we know it, ended on Obama's watch.
- The Afghanistan war was stepped up under the Obama administration. Obama fundamentally disagreed with Bush in that Afghanistan, not Iraq, deserved our attention in the war on terror. (Obama was against the Iraq war from the start.) Obama thus ordered a surge of troops in Afghanistan, and expanded a drone campaign that sent unmanned robots to fly into multiple countries like Yemen, Pakistan, and the mountainous range of Waziristan, to track down and kill radical Islamists (something I've long been opposed to).
- This of course culminated in the literally amazing killing of Osama Bin Laden, a raid ordered into the middle of Pakistan (our ally), down the street from Pakistan's chief military base, with only 60% certainty that Osama was even there. The raid was successful, thank god, and incredibly ballsy. (When presented with a similar option, Bush had balked.)
- The Afghanistan operation, like the Iraqi surge, has only been successful on the militaristic side: it's effectively wiped out Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Waziristan, Yemen, and much of Pakistan, sending the organization reeling in the Middle East which has been its chief operation locale since its inception. But unfortunately, taming Afghanistan and getting a functional government and military has been nigh impossible, and America has all but given up on that arduous chore. Solutions seem nonexistent, and a withdrawal date is set for 2014.
- Environmentally, the Obama administration attempted to support a cap-and-trade bill which would limit the amount of carbon industries could pump into the air in an attempt to curb the US's contribution to climate change. Unfortunately, despite a narrow passage in the Democratic-controlled House, no movement occurred in the Senate.
- A huge success of the Democrats in Congress and Obama himself was passage of the Dodd-Frank bill, a bill tougher than most folks expected on the financial industry to make it so much more difficult for another 2008-09 recession to occur the way it did. Banks have to undergo stress tests, and the deep, dark, dangerous world of derivatives is finally under government light. The Dodd-Frank bill enables the government to write as many as 100 rules regulating the market, and they're not even a fifth of the way through as the banks have undergone much more responsible reshifting of the ways they do business.
The Dodd-Frank law also created a Consumer Protection Agency, which is an actor on behalf of consumers against unethical business tactics of large institutions -- like banks. Which, of course, Wall Street hated so much the stock market is now at 13,000.
- It was Obama himself who facilitated the capture and killing of Momar (sp) Qaddafi in Libya, a decades-long terrorist who the United States honestly honored just so long as he painted wonderful oil deals for us. Rather than charge into Libya with boots on the ground unilaterally, the United States gained an international coalition to fire rockets into Libya, grounding Qaddafi's force and allowing for a democratic uprising there. Libyans were so thankful, that in the wake of the disasterous embassy killing back in September, Libyans stormed the compounds of the terrorists responsible for the attack.
- Obama has reduced the deficit. When he took office, he assume a $1.3 trillion deficit. He has since reduced that to $1 trillion. While that isn't nearly enough, it's about the best you can possibly hope for in a bad economy. Europe is suffering through the same slog we are, but they went straight for austerity measures to slice down their deficits, and it's creating stalled, shit economies far worse than ours across the entire continent. America, because we spent now with the intentions to save later, are in an infinitely stronger position.
- Iran's progress at attaining nuclear firepower seems to have stalled, as Israeli and American spies are no doubt engaged in a covert sabotage effort there. On the overt scale, the Obama administration has engineered international consensus, even from people who make bank off Iran like Russia, to impose brutal sanctions on Iran that have crippled their economy and have delegitimized their leadership on a global scale even more than they already were.
- Obama is a good person, as far as politicians go. This is obviously a minor point, but character matters to some folks. There are none of the personal discrepencies that plagued Clinton, and his family seems attractive and charming. Anyway, there's that.
- Obama might have won you over back in 2008 as a "change" candidate who could truly alter the way partisan politics functioned in America. Obviously, that hasn't panned out, and America seems as deeply ingrained with their parties of choices and seem less willing to compromise as ever. But you can't put that all on the shoulders of the President.
The President took the middle road on almost all of his policy: cap-and-trade ideas was originally suggested by the Republican Party in the not-too-distant past. His stimulus package contained in it one of the largest tax cuts (weighed towards the middle class, not the wealthy like Bush's) in American history, a truly conservative premise. His foreign policy sounds a lot like a conservative's, considering he has a Republican as his Secretary of Defense. His immigration efforts were recently supported by McCain and Bush, and he's deported more than Bush ever dreamed. His treaty with Russia to reduce our nuclear arsenal was a Reagan dream that Reagan never accomplished. His social policy regarding gay people has just now caught up with Dick Cheney. Yeah, and Obamacare? Modeled on the healthcare reform put up by his opponent this year, Mitt Romney.
The Republican Party simply decided in January of 2009 to take their ball and go home. They didn't lent three votes in both chambers, total, to help the stimulus package pass despite the fact we were hemorraging jobs. They were given ample opportunity to contribute to healthcare reform in the Senate Finance Committee, where the dang thing was written. But they stalled and sat on their thumbs for the summer of 2009, so the Democrats proceeded without an ounce of help. Dodd-Frank? 1 Republican vote. And even though Republicans had no trouble raising the debt limit for decades before Obama, they decided to throw a huge political fight over it in the summer of 2011 which distinctly harmed the economy as a result. A jobs bill that would have created 1 million jobs based on 50% Republican ideas? No support from the GOP.
One reason you should vote Obama is to refuse rewarding the GOP for this behavior. Obama had to address the problems of this nation with zero help and zero interest in compromising from the other side of the aisle. It contributed to a historic Congress the past couple years that simply couldn't get anything done. Filibuster records were obliterated the past four years. The number of vacant posts in the executive branch are unprecedented. This cannot become the norm whenever a Democrat is voted President.
- On civil rights, the President's record is strong. I mentioned his action on DREAMers earlier, but his newfound support of gay marriage fueled Democratic politicians to rush to that side, and the polls moved with it -- you'll notice Republicans are not making it an issue this year. They've been told by pollsters not to bring it up; it is no longer a winning issue for them. Obama's first piece of legislation was the Lilly Ledbetter Act, a long overdue bill making it easier for women to hold their employers accountable for unfair pay. He's put two women on the Supreme Court, one of them hispanic, both of them more than competent. He's created a department of Urban Affairs to deal specifically with inner city issues. And Obamacare prevents insurers from charging women more for the same healthcare plans.
- In Obama's second term, an epic political battle is bubbling up at the very end of December. The President promises to veto anything that allows Bush's disproportionate tax cuts for the rich remain in place. He plans to use the fight to leverage both Democrats and Republicans to enter into a Grand Bargain that will set America's course to responsibly lower the deficit and the debt long term.
- The President also plans to take advantage of the country's booming Hispanic population to encourage Republicans to the table to negotiate on a Bush-McCain variety of comprehensive immigration reform.
- Obama also intends to implement both Dodd-Frank and Obamacare and ensure that banks are held accountable for their risky business and that everybody has improved access to affordable healthcare.
You're going to vote however you're going to vote, and God bless you for it. If you're somebody who believes the government should be stripped down to its bare bones, hardly supply much of any funding, then that's on you. Lord knows you have company.
But if you believe government does have a role in responsibly contributing to a better society, then I don't know how you look at the last four years and believe that hasn't been accomplished.
My post was intended to be a wholesale statement of my support for Obama, not my opposition to Romney. My earnest opposition to Romney is here.