Being president of the United States is not an easy job, and Barack Obama has had more than his share of challenges during his first four years. Nobody has ever asked me, “What would Obama have to do to gain your admiration?” because I’ve been such an ardent critic of his administration. His attitude and condescending demeanor has rubbed me the wrong way since he took office. From my perspective, he speaks down to the American people and acts as if we should all follow blindly.
But, Obama is my president, and I want the country to prosper. Before his tenure ends, I would admire the president if he could make progress on these 11 issues.
Issue 1: Keep the promises made when Obamacare was enacted.
This program is Obama’s signature initiative. I am not a supporter of this legislation because it was enacted at the worst time for the country economically. America just cannot afford to give so many people $1 trillion (conservatively) of free healthcare without a corresponding reduction of health care costs for the rest of the nation. Unfortunately, the advertised savings from the program and other related actions are not believable. If the president can somehow keep his promise of cost reductions, given that the opposite has actually happened to now, I will support Obama’s health care reform.
Issue 2: End the threat of the fiscal cliff.
The president and his opponents, relating to taxes and spending cuts, have proven they are all incompetent negotiators. America is just days away from the next showdown, and Obama has ratcheted up the rhetoric and become ever more inflexible and dead set on winning this battle. The president has grown impatient with those who are not willing to follow him blindly. It appears America is doomed to discuss and re-discuss this issue.
Issue 3: Decrease spending.
Paul Krugman wrote yet another piece about how spending (actually, overspending) is necessary to end the recession and is nothing to be concerned with. He says an improving economy will rectify the deficit and fix our national debt problem. Interestingly, entitlements will eventually affect millennials when they need financial and medical safety nets. So why aren’t millennials supportive of entitlement reform that would save these entitlements in the long term?
Frankly, rich people are not really part of the equation as Obama got his tax increases (a paltry $600 billion compared to the national debt of $25 trillion or so in 10 years). There is a plan that lies somewhere between overspending and destructive austerity. Our children and grandchildren are depending on our current leaders to negotiate this important compromise.
Issue 4: Decrease partisanship in Washington.
Other than the period shortly before the Civil War, there has been no other era in American history, to my knowledge, that has been burdened by such great animosity between the political parties. It is this hostility that is making it so difficult to move America forward. I place a great deal of blame for this situation on both conservative and liberal media outlets. Surely, they have fanned the flames of partisanship, but only politicians will be able to settle the endless feuding Obama promised to end when he was elected in 2008. He has failed miserably on this point and must either accept his incompetence in not being able to work with others, or make it a priority to decrease partisanship during the remaining years of his administration.
Issue 5: End class warfare.
Last I heard, it is not necessary to earn less than $250,000 to be a legitimate American. Obama has vilified successful, wealthy people in this country. His efforts to ostracize this small but influential group of citizens are a disgrace perpetrated for political and ideological purposes. There have been some abuses, for sure, and rich people are being prosecuted every day for their transgressions. But, to indict an entire group of hard working and accomplished Americans who have committed no crimes is un-American and should be condemned. I will never forgive the president for what he has done to tear our nation apart. His words and actions were contrived, and unless he backtracks during his final years, his actions in this regard will stain his legacy.
Issue 6: Reform welfare.
Even Bill Clinton recognized that the welfare state encourages less initiative, and extended periods of idle time are a curse on poor people. Nobody wants to be dependent on others for food and shelter, and yet, our system encourages it. I have written on the subject several times before, so I will not reiterate. Suffice it to say, all able-bodied Americans should work every day for pay. There should be no more charity except for those who are incapacitated or too young to fend for themselves. Work programs should replace the collection of monthly federal aid. Let’s end the enslavement of Americans to the federal government.
Issue 7: Create new immigration policies.
Illegal immigrants who work, go to school, serve in the military, obey the law, and pay taxes should be legitimatized. The process must begin now before the situation worsens. And, further illegal immigration must be stopped dead. Congress should create a path to citizenship. This will be a gargantuan undertaking for our leaders and legislators but tens of millions of people are at risk. Many of these people are acting like good citizens and should be rewarded.
Issue 8: Implement gun control.
Americans should not backtrack and attempt to diminish the rights of gun advocates that are protected by the Second Amendment. Rather, we must do whatever we can to keep guns out of the hands of would-be murderers, and we should not allow weapons that have military and law enforcement capabilities, such as a rapid fire option and large magazines. Our nation cannot afford another Newtown incident.
Issue 9: Re-energize sound environmental policies.
Obama has seemingly abandoned environmental initiatives. These efforts should be rekindled as global environmental issues are continuing to threaten mankind.
Issue 10: End (really end) the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts.
America should extract all of its soldiers immediately. Not one more death or one more dollar spent in these places is justifiable.
Issue 11: Implement comprehensive gay rights.
Obama should encourage all states to allow same-sex marriage and end the persecution of people who opt for alternative life styles.
If Barack Obama wants to be remembered for being president of all Americans and not just a percent of them, he must support legislation that is fair to everyone.
Working on the aforementioned list will be a good way to restore the president’s reputation.