Sunday, January 27, 2013
Six Balanced Views of President Obama
The management of the balance of power is a permanent undertaking not an exertion that has a foreseeable end.
Henry Kissinger (b. 1923), The White House Years (1979)
January 27, 2013 - I have a dear friend who says my blogs lack balance. Perhaps they do. This may be because I regard Obamacare as a mistake, born of good intentions but not carefully thought through and riddled with adverse consequences. Be that as it may, I have positive views of President Obama as well. It is important to consider and to listen to all sides of issues and to take the long view.
Good News and Bad News
One - Obamacare
Good news -It protects those with pre-existing illness and young adults under their parents policies until age 26, keeps seniors from tumbling into donut hole, and expands coverage for uninsured and those who cannot afford care. In the long run, it may be a step towards wider access and even universal coverage.
Bad news- To date, it is full of broken promises- to lower costs, to lower premiums, to allow patients to keep their doctors and health plans, and, besides, its cost will be prohibitive - $2.6 trillion through 2024, if one accepts Congressional Business Office projections. As for the present, it slashes benefits for seniors, reduces provider pay, and produces a doctor shortage.
Two- Budgetary Matters
Good News - Obama may have saved the country and automobile industry from deeper recession, depression and even bankruptcy with his $831 billion stimulus bill.
Bad News – In the process, he increased the national debt – $ 16.5 trillion headed toward $20 trillion at the end of his 2nd term- with few signs of a growing economy or greater employment. He has spent more and accumulated more debt than all previous presidents combined. Twenty three million Americans remain unemployed or underemployed, 47 million are on food stamps, and 49% depend on government transfer payments. Obama takes no responsibility for the slowest recovery on record in recent years. Instead, he blames his predecessor.
Three, Role Model for Minorities
Good News - He gives minorities hope for the present and the future by serving as a role model and proving a man of color has the intellect, dignity, and decorum to rise to the top. He is a devoted family man and shows no sign of personal corruption. He represents the ascendancy of a man of color to a national leader, the capstone of the civil rights movement and the Martin Luther King legacy. His presidency has helped erase the image of America as a racist country.
Bad News - He partially achieved this status by disparaging achievements of the successful by saying, “You didn’t built that.” Presumably government did. He seems to have forgotten that America is not only a democracy but a meritocracy – where people of merit are rewarded for their skills and successes, regardless of race or ethnic origin.
Four, Political Astuteness
Good News - Obama out-organized and out-maneuvered Hillary Clinton and the Republicans by building a powerful and loyal political team catering to the political “have-nots” and those at the bottom of the economic and social ladder. In short, Obama is a brilliant politician, which is important if you are to be a national leader.
Bad News – Obama has shown no signs or engaging, listening, or compromising with opponents in an evenly divided country, creating a deep partisan divide. In his inaugural speech, the issues that concern many – reining in national debt, cutting government overspending, reforming entitlements - received no mention. In his mind, he is the government, not Congress or the Surpreme Court. Nobody else, it seems, matters.
Five, Speaker with Persuasive Powers
Good News - Obama is a powerful and persuasive speaker, and he takes full advantage of the bully pulpit and his constant presence in the national spotlight to push and defend his agenda.
Bad News - Words and their presentation matter. The Republicans have no one to match him nor do they have the fawning admiration of the national media.
Good News - To his followers, President Obama has emerged as a true man of the left, a champion of downtrodden, underprivileged, and forgotten in .the face of a stubborn recession. He is delivering on his promise of a “transformational presidency.”
Bad News - His ideology too often comes across as anti-business, anti-entrepreneur, anti-employer. This attitude, and his pro-tax and pro-regulatory stance are anti-growth and slow the economy recovery. Corporations are sitting on their cash and not hiring. His ideology has not advanced the economic status of minorities. It shows he does not understand America’s center right, capitalistic culture.
Tweet: When it comes to playing the game of balance of political power, the Obama presidency has positives and negatives.