It seems that just about everyone has some gripe about President Barack Obama. Many of us on the left say that he hasn’t been progressive enough. Those on the right – the ones who actually are conservatives – moan that he has enlarged the size of the federal government far too much. The wingnut fringe standing on the right edge of their flat earth – including the Tea Pots – spout vitriolic steam about how he must be some sort of fascist or communist, all the while screaming that, no, they are not racist.
So, what have President Obama and the Democrats in Congress managed to accomplish in the face of negative votes by the Party of No and in spite of archaic Senate filibuster rules being abused by the GOP and even with a campaign finance system that puts a price tag on members of Congress? Let’s make a list.
1. Fair Pay Act. Done. 2. Recovery Act. Done 3. Credit Card Reform. Done 4. Health Care Reform. Done. 5. Student Loan Reform. Done 6. Financial Regulation Reform. Done.
I personally think the gentleman has earned this weekend at Acadia National Park. I don’t even blame him for BP’s negligence that has given us the greatest natural disaster in my lifetime. I lay that in the lap of previous administrations that made a mockery of regulatory oversight.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Barack Obama the same month he was sworn in as president. The bill was in response to the Supreme Court ruling in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., which said that the statute of limitations for presenting an equal-pay lawsuit begins with the first paycheck, not the date of the most recent paycheck, as a lower court had ruled. This blatantly unfair ruling was screaming for correction. This law would not have seen the light of day if Democrats had not won big in 2008.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 was the economic stimulus package enacted in February 2009. The stimulus has created or saved more than 3.7 million jobs, plus it bailed out the budget of Virginia and other states, in spite of the fact that all five Republican members of Congress from the Commonwealth voted against it. Do you think that John McCain would have pushed for this?
The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009 requires that you be given information about your account, such as a late payment warning, various interest rates for different types of transactions, balances subject to each type of interest, how long it will take to pay off the balance if you pay just the minimum balance and the total amount you’ve paid in fees and interest charges for the current year. Sound like a Republican idea?
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 expands health care coverage to at least 31 million uninsured Americans. Its estimated cost of $848 billion over 10 years will actually reduce the federal deficit by $131 billion over that decade, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates. In other words, it is a fully-paid-for entitlement. It also slowly eliminates the infamous “doughnut hole” in the Medicare prescription plans, plus gradually eliminates the ability of insurance companies to use pre-existing conditions to refuse insurance. Can anybody tell me the Republican alternative?
The Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 contained a provision that changed the way students pay for higher education. The reform takes away the private bank “middle man” issuing loans guaranteed by the government. The federal government will now be the originator of the loans. Loan payments will be capped at 10 percent of a student’s disposable income . Any debt that remains after 20 years will be forgiven, and for people entering public service, such as teachers, nurses and members of the armed forces, the limit is 10 years. Would George Bush or the GOP go for this?
Then, there is the just passed financial reform bill. While it’s not what I would have liked, it sure is better than what existed before its passage. Even so, Judd Gregg (R-NH) says he hates it. I don’t doubt that.
From where I sit, President Obama and the Democratic Congress have done a pretty good job, considering the pressure they face from the entrenched special interests and their lobbyists, the corporate media determined to undermine this president, and the lousy campaign finance system we have.
I prefer to celebrate the good and not bemoan the loss of the perfect.