As the presidential campaign heats up, it would be useful for voters to assess the performance of the president during the past three years. In this regard, I found a liberal site that provides 12 major accomplishments of the Obama administration. This essay will critique and rate each of the “major accomplishments” listed with a discerning eye.
1) Obama appointed two justices to the Supreme Court. Both appointees are liberal, female justices. I am pleased that Obama was able to maintain the close ideological balance on the court. An overly political court, in either direction, would not be in the best interests of our nation. Moreover, selecting and getting two women approved, one of whom is Hispanic, was a great accomplishment from a diversity perspective and a credit to those who orchestrated the process.
2) Universal Health Care passed. It is intended to provide health care coverage to 32, or so, million Americans, a noble objective. It has many excellent provisions including a ban on pre-existing condition denials, a cap on out-of-pocket expenses, medical information improvements, etc. Some of the objectives are pie in the sky, such as a reduction in medical costs that are supposed to save $1.3 trillion over 20 years. Medical expenses have continued to skyrocket, and nothing in the legislation is going to prevent this from continuing. But most important are two major issues. One, the program is costly at about $1 trillion. It only benefits a relatively small portion of Americans, since the expense reductions are not plausible; this is bad public policy. Two, the mandate that requires everyone to have insurance is unconstitutional (or at least that is the expected decision to come from SCOTUS).
3) Financial industry reform. Liberal politicians have used the economic crisis as a way to fan the flames of class warfare. And so, bankers, corporate executives and affluent Americans have been targeted by this pathetic law and other tax-related initiatives. Proprietary trading will no longer be permitted by some of the largest financial institutions even though it did not contribute to the economic crisis. The housing crisis was the most important cause of our current predicament. The authors of this legislation have decided to create a bias against banks even though they are a mainstay of economic activity in the country. Moreover, the implementation of new regulations by bureaucrats without ample input from the industry will result in burdensome restrictions that will ultimately hurt all Americans.
4) A Great Depression was averted. The creators of this list laud Obama’s efforts in working with the Fed and stimulating the economy to save jobs. However, the economic recovery plan was in place when Obama became president. We all owe a debt of gratitude to Hank Paulson and Tim Geithner for executing the necessary stimuli and other actions to avoid another great depression. The list’s authors say the president has done much for health care (see #2 above), education, green science, and infrastructure. Most of assertions are totally overstated. Credit is due to Obama for supporting the auto industry, however.
5) Bringing an end to the Iraq War. I find this proclamation to be one of the most egregious. It took Obama about three years to finally “end” this conflict, even though 50,000 troops are still in Iraq. During this time, thousands of people died and the benefits of America’s continued occupation were nil. The country is likely to erupt as soon as America withdraws. Sunni and Shia are going to do battle for control and engulf the country in a huge civil war. All of our efforts and losses will be for naught. Why didn’t this president withdraw earlier as he promised? What did anybody (other than the insurgents) gain by continuing the occupation?
6) Passed legislation to curb greenhouse gases and improve the environment. I believe in this effort, but would like to see more business participation in the process. They are breathing the same air and drinking the same water as we all are; they have a vested interest. Regulation without industry consideration is foolhardy.
7) Decreased nuclear proliferation. Supposedly, the U.S. and the Russians will dramatically decrease their stockpiles of nuclear weapons. This has been an elusive goal, but one worth pursing especially because the weapons can fall into the hands of dangerous people. Considering the farcical negotiations, or should I say non-negotiations, with the North Koreans and the Iranians, as well as the continued escalation of nuclear tension between India and Pakistan, I do not see how Obama earns a high rating in this area, notwithstanding his intentions.
8) Repairing the American image abroad. Some may say that America’s status around the world has improved since the past administration; I would not. The Russians and Chinese have stymied every attempt to stop the development of nuclear weapons by N. Korea and Iran. Europe is openly discussing a world in which the U.S. will play a secondary role. It is an opportunity for Russia, Germany, France and China to assert or reassert themselves. At least, G.W. Bush was considered a man of action after threatening others. The same cannot be said of Obama. The only daring decision he made was to say “go” and assassinate bin Laden.
9) Lifting of the ban on embryonic stem cell research.
10) Reversed ban on funding for foreign organizations that allow abortions.
11) Implemented educational reform. What? It cost more than ever to go to college, and millennials are complaining louder each day.
12) Tobacco regulation. Will the FDA’s new power over big tobacco have an impact? Probably not, just like most bureaucratic regulation.
Final Thoughts: In my opinion, the Obama administration has been a dismal failure of leadership, broken promises and hope that has not come to fruition. Are we better than four years ago? Not in my eyes.