President Obama vs a Republican Congress

I have been critical of President Obama’s foreign policies and his failure to be transparent regarding whistle blowers as he had promised during his 2008 campaign.  I am also critical of his polities on oil and gas drilling.  So I am no Obama patsy.

But I must give him great credit on his handling of the economic crisis of 2008 which he clearly inherited from the Bush Administration.  He continued doing what Bush started at the very end of his term by bailing out critical financial institutions and industries to keep the country from falling further into the economic abyss.  He failed to permanently fix our financial institutions from repeating history again but that is largely Congress’s job and their failure.  Things could have gotten far worst had he not done as he did.  We could have fallen into a deep depression rivaling that of 1929 which lasted until after WWII almost 15 years later and included a major war, a great economic simulator, or it could have lasted even longer.  Instead our minor depression could be categorized as a deep recession.  Many jobs were lost and some companies failed.  The Dow Jones fell from its peak of about 1550 down to under 700 in a little over a year.  But after five short years we have almost completely recovered.  The Dow Jones has topped 1550 and businesses are thriving again.  Unemployment is down to single digits and slightly higher than prior to 2008 so we have a little ways to go.  Housing has almost entirely recovered and industries such as auto are selling as fast as before 2008.  So after only 5 short years we are doing quite well relative to the last great depression as predictions by most economists back in 2008-2009.

Now House Republican are criticizing the President for not doing even better as if Congress had nothing to do with the economic collapse and more to do with the recovery than President Obama.  They blame the President for less than a full recovery after only 5 years.  They give absolutely no credit to the President for saving this country from the brink of bankruptcy in spite of an uncooperative Republican Congress which threw roadblock after roadblock in front of every single initiative he put forth during he first term.  Now they are attacking him on the national debt for borrowing too much money used to save the nation from the brink of a major depression.  During the last four years the debt has increased by more than $1 trillion per year or about 10% of GDP.  Had he done as Republicans suggest and not put forth a stimulus package in order to decrease our debt we would still be seeing double-digit unemployment as company after company collapsed and the country sank deeper into depression.  It is clear that any president would have borrowed more money to offer some kind of stimulus policy whether Republican or Democrat, as did Bush at the end of his last term.  So the choice was either economic disaster and depression or barrow more money to stem the economic bleeding.  Franklin Roosevelt did that with the New Deal stimulus projects to help recover from the great depression.  It’s not a new idea.

Now that we are well on the way to recovery some of the measures that the government has put forth to curb expenses are starting to show.  A few months ago the New York Times published a column saying that deficit spending is shrinking at a faster rate than expected and might fall as low as 2.1% of GDP in 2 years if things continue as they are.  Many companies that borrowed bailout money have paid back their debt to the government.  So things are looking up and the trend for economic recovery and cost reductions are definitely in the right direction.  Things always take time to correct.  Our economy is like a huge ship that changes course gradually.  A four-year economic turn around is very fast.

Yet House Republican still totally discount the President’s economic report card.  They want to further cut expenses to citizens who least can afford it.  They propose to cut $40 billion from the food stamp program for our most needy citizens as well as defund Obamacare (The Affordable Care Act) that would place affordable health insurance in the hands of the vast majority of citizens.  Republicans are willing to shut down the government if Obamacare is not defunded.  These things almost make me want to become a Democrat (I am an independent).  If the government were not addressing the deficit problem then I could perhaps see some rational for their disagreement with the president’s plans.  Dramatically reducing food stamps will have many consequences as I have alluded to in Conservative Republicans want to Cut off All Subsistence Programs to the Poor.  Republicans claim that Obamacare will force everyone to have health insurance.  But the people who don’t presently have it are largely the poor and unemployed whom the Republicans say are too lazy to find jobs.  So they actually don’t care about these people.  The US is the last developed nation to have an overhaul of its antiquated medical care system.  The US might have the best medical technology in the world but it also is by far the most expensive and least affordable in the world and unobtainable for many citizens no mater how good it is.

So I feel the facts show that President Obama’s domestic policies have been largely beneficial to the vast majority of the population, especially for the things that count most like the economic recovery.  It hasn’t done much harm to the very rich either.  I feel that the Republican’s attempt to shut down the government unless Obama gives up the Affordable Care Act is totally outrageous and I sincerely hope that they fail big time.  If we start defaulting on our loans our ratings will go down and getting loans in the future will be more difficult at higher interest rates since our credit rating will then be poor.  We have never defaulted before.  If a government shutdown is really started it will also shut down many critical services presenting a hardship to many citizens.  And shutting down the government will have more cost associated with turning it back on and lost opportunities. The fact that the Republican House has vowed to vote as a block is totally undemocratic and against the principles by which this nation was founded.  It almost make me think that Republican Congress members have a racial bias against our first black president and are determined to force him to fail.  I cannot tolerate such actions and attitudes.

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