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This is a continuation of yesterday’s post and a listing of President Obama‘s major achievements.
- SCHIP expansion: On February 5, 2009, President Obama signed a bill expanding the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) to cover 4 million more lower-income children.
- Credit card reform: On May 21, 2009, President Obama signed into law a bill providing what USA Today called the “most sweeping changes to the credit card industry in 40 years,” adding restrictions on interest rate increases and fees and restricting the marketing of credit cards to college students.
- Tobacco regulation: On June 22, 2009, President Obama signed the Family Smoking, Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which, for the first time, gave the U.S. Food & Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco.
- National Service: On April 21, 2009, President Obama signed the Edward M. Kenney Service America Act which expands the scope of AmeriCorps and provides opportunities for young people and senior citizens to join in service programs.
- Bringing the war in Iraq to an end: Consistent with his campaign promise, Obama has reduced troops in Iraq down to 50,000, with the remaining troops focusing on training and recruiting Iraqi forces, rather than combat operations. He fulfilled this promise responsibly.
- Passed legislation to curb greenhouse gases and improve the environment: The Obama Administration implemented new regulations on power plants, factories, and oil refineries to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming. In addition, he issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances such as dishwashers and refrigerators, which, over the next three decades, should save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.
- Nuclear non-proliferation agreement: Obama met with 47 presidents in a 3 day summit to lower the nuclear weapons count with a treaty signed between US and Russia, putting the world back on a path to reducing nuclear weapons.
- Restoring Our Image Abroad: After 8 years of damage to our country’s image, Obama has helped to rebuild significantly damaged relationships with foreign governments all over the world. This single international achievement has enabled the most influential countries to work together to fight challenges such as global warming and nuclear expansion and many other benefits.
- Lifted Bush restrictions on embryonic stem cell research: Obama provided federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research, helping to make it easier for scientists to find cures for our most dangerous diseases. Medical researchers anticipate that adult and embryonic stem cells will soon be able to treat cancer, Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, Parkinson’s Disease, Hunting Disease, Celiac Disease, cardiac failure, muscle damage and neurological disorders, and many others.
- Implemented education reforms: Through his Secretary of Education, Obama made college more accessible and affordable through significant increases in scholarships and funding, and, most importantly, through an innovative program called Race to the Top, spurred reforms in state and local district K-12 education by providing states with incentives to make positive changes to their education systems. Race to the Top prompted 48 states to adopt common standards for K-12.
President Obama’s accomplishments during his first term have been laudable. However, Republicans continue to say that his policies and accomplishments are “fiscally irresponsible” and he should be embracing the Republicans’ policies to cut government, cut taxes and cut regulations. So let’s look at the facts and a brief history of real fiscally irresponsibility.
- 1980: Ronald Reagan runs for president, promising a balanced budget
- 1981 – 1989: With support from congressional Republicans, Reagan runs enormous deficits, adds $2 trillion to the debt.
- 1993: Bill Clinton passes economic plan that lowers deficit, gets zero votes from congressional Republicans
- 1998: U.S. deficit disappears for the first time in three decades. Debt clock is unplugged.
- 2000: George W. Bush runs for president, promising to maintain a balanced budget.
- 2001: CBO shows the United States is on track to pay off the entirety of its national debt within a decade.
- 2001 – 2009: With support from congressional Republicans, Bush runs enormous deficits, adds nearly $5 trillion to the debt. The FY2009 budget was a spending plan by President Bush to fund government operations for October 2008 – September 2009.
- 2002: Dick Cheney declares, “Deficits don’t matter.”
- 2009: Barack Obama inherits $1.3 trillion deficit from Bush; Republicans immediately condemn Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility.
- 2009: Congressional Democrats unveil several domestic policy initiatives — including health care reform, cap and trade, DREAM Act — which would lower the deficit. GOP opposes all of them while continuing to push for deficit reduction.
- September 2010: In Obama’s first fiscal year, the deficit shrinks by $122 billion. Republicans again condemn Obama’s fiscal irresponsibility.
- October 2010: S&P endorses the nation’s AAA rating with a stable outlook, saying the United States looks to be in solid fiscal shape for the foreseeable future.
- November 2010: Republicans win a U.S. House majority, citing the need for fiscal responsibility.
- December 2010: Congressional Republicans demand extension of Bush tax cuts, relying entirely on deficit > financing. GOP continues to accuse Obama of fiscal irresponsibility.
- March 2011: Congressional Republicans declare intention to hold full faith and credit of the United States > hostage — a move without precedent in American history — until massive debt-reduction plan is approved.
- July 2011: Obama offers Republicans a $4 trillion debt-reduction deal. GOP refuses, pushes debt-ceiling standoff until the last possible day, rattling international markets.
- August 2011: S&P downgrades U.S. debt, citing GOP refusal to consider new revenues. Republicans rejoice and blame Obama for fiscal irresponsibility.
When we consider the facts since the Reagan Presidency, I believe that reasonable people would have to conclude that it was the Republican Administrations who were fiscally irresponsible. “Reaganomics” didn’t work and added 2 trillion to the debt. Bush cut taxes for the wealthy and added 5 trillion to the debt and created only 3 million jobs in eight years compared to Clinton’s 23 million jobs. George H. W. Bush created 2.5 million jobs; Reagan created 16 million jobs; Carter created 10.5 million jobs; Ford created 1.8 million jobs; Nixon created 9.4 million jobs; Johnson created 11.9 million jobs; Kennedy created 57.3 million jobs; Eisenhower created 3.5 million jobs; and Truman created 8.4 million jobs.
Even if you don’t consider the approximately 3 million jobs saved or created through the Obama stimulus package, since the Eisenhower Presidency, Republicans created only 36.2 million jobs while the Democrats created 111.1 million jobs. Remember, it took a Republican (Hoover) to get us into the first depression, and a Democrat (FDR) to get us out. In addition, since Eisenhower, there has only been one President who produced a balanced budget and a budget surplus. To sum it up, President Bill Clinton left office in 2001 with a balanced budget and federal budget surplus of $236 billion. President George Bush ran a budget deficit of $319 billion by 2005.
As we look forward to the 2012 elections, regardless of political affiliation, we should vote for a President, Senator and Representative who can best serve the interests and needs of the American people including resolving our economic situation and creating jobs. Based on the facts and history of Democratic Presidential fiscal responsibility and unprecedented job creation, in my view, the Democratic Party can best serve the American people and get this country back on track. It goes without question that President Obama deserves a second term and hopefully, can regain majorities in both houses of Congress. But that’s just my take.
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