Update: Doh! While I was busy putting together the list, Kos posted a way longer one here.
Think your vote doesn’t matter? Do you really think it doesn’t matter who is in the White House? It matters in countless ways, as this diary will argue. Despite the GOP’s false claim to the contrary, President Barack Obama didn’t have a 60 vote-filibuster-proof Senate. Most of his administration he had an obstructionist Congress. But despite nearly insurmountable odds, he found ways to accomplish what the nation needed. Time and again, he brought improvements over the previous administration. It is nothing short of remarkable how much this president has accomplished. Here is a list of just some of the many things the President has done to improve the ordinary lives of the citizens, and the safety and security of us all.
This list was adapted from Washington Monthly and Forbes, and about about four dozen items from my memory. I started by coming up with my own reasons in a bullet-point list. Then, trying to group issues together as closely as possible, and trying not to duplicate items, I filled in from the other sources. I numbered the list at the end. There are hundreds of reasons to vote for the President. These are just some of them.
1. He brought the economy back from the GOP-slide into the worst depression since the Great Depression.
2. He saved Detroit car manufacturing and the jobs that go with it.
3. He brought the stimulus, which saved jobs, and provided education and infrastructure enhancements.
4. He added millions of American jobs.
5. He prevented the job losses from being even worse.
6. He supports ending the incentive to offshore American jobs while Romney is one of the pioneers of offshoring jobs.
7. He recapitalized banks.
8. He reformed Wall St.
9. Created an international tax haven watch list.
10. Required employers to offer employees automatic enrollment in IRA plans.
11. Required employers to offer employees automatic enrollment in 401k plans.
12. Required employers to make full disclosure of company pension investments.
13. Coordinated the international response to the recession.
14. Ended the abuse of supplemental budgets for funding war and brought the war budgets into the general budget. (This honesty in accounting isn’t mentioned when Republicans bash his budget. But it is a more honest, forthcoming budget than any the previous administration produced.)
15. Removed banks as middle men in the student loan program, saving students millions of dollars in wasted costs.
16. Passed a mini-stimulus to increase paychecks with a temporary payroll tax cut.
17. Supports making the rich pay their fair share. The fact that they don’t, along with two unpaid wars, is one of the biggest factors in the budget deficit.
18. Established a program to convert manufacturing centers to clean technology.
19. Extended unemployment benefits.
20. Temporarily suspended taxes on unemployment benefits.
21. Expanded AmeriCorps.
22. Appointed the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer.
23. Improved climate change data records. (Please vote for a Democratic Congress to protect this data.)
24. Extended the child tax credit and marriage penalty fixes.
25. Created an advanced manufacturing fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes.
26. Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.
27. Established credit card bill of rights.
28. Expanded loan programs for small businesses.
29. Extended the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes.
30. Extended the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax fix.
31. Gave larger tax cuts to low and middle class Americans than GW Bush.
32. Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees.
33. Created new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud.
34. Closed the donut hole for Medicare Prescription drugs.
35. He ended the War in Iraq.
36. He is drawing down the troops in Afghanistan.
37. He will get troops out of Afghanistan by 2014.
38. Made US military aid to Pakistan conditional upon their anti-terrorism efforts.
39. Created a real national infrastructure protection plan.
40. Increased funding for local emergency planning.
41. He will capitalize on a peace dividend, rather than ramp up another senseless and wasteful arms race.
42. He passed the Affordable Health Care Act.
43. In the Affordable Care Act, added the ability of Medicare to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies for the price of drugs.
44. Required insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions.
45. Gave tax credits to those needing help covering health insurance premiums.
46. Expanded the Senior Corps volunteer program.
47. Required large employers to contribute to a national health plan.
48. Required that all children be allowed to have health care coverage.
49. Expanded eligibility for children’s coverage under SCHIP.
50. Expanded eligibility under Medicaid.
51. Required insurers to disclose how much of their premiums go toward health care v administrative costs.
52. In non-competitive markets required insurers to pay a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care.
53. Improved recruitment of public health workers.
54. Fully funded the Americans with Disabilities Act.
55. Fully funded the Combatting Autism and Federal Autism Research Initiative.
56. Doubled federal funding for cancer research.
57. Set a national goal for re-screening of children at age 2 for developmental disorders.
58. Increased participation in cancer research trials.
59. Created best practices for employers including workers with disabilities into their workplaces.
60. Launched educational initiative to instruct employers on tax advantages of hiring Americans with disabilities.
61. Required hospitals and doctors to use best practices.
62. Required employers to provide 7 paid sick days a year.
63. Provided $1.5 billion to help states launch family and medical leave programs.
64. Streamlined Social Security disability approval process.
65. Expanded Veterans Centers in rural areas.
66. Established standards of care in traumatic brain injury cases.
67. Made veterans hospitals national leaders in health care reform.
68. Launched supportive services to prevent veteran homelessness.
69. Required evidence of improved infection control at hospitals.
70. Invested in electronic health information systems.
71. Prevented drug companies from blocking cheaper generic drugs.
72. Rewarded hospitals which provide better patient care and fewer re-hospitalizations.
73. Established the standard of care using evidence-based medicine.
74. Established an independent health institute to provide accurate and objective information.
75. Eliminated overpayments to Medicare “Advantage” (private insurance) plans, whose advantage was largely experienced by insurance companies pocketing the excess payments.
76. Expanded funding for training for primary care doctors.
77. Expanded community-based prevention programs.
78. Directed that an additional 100,000 persons with disabilities be hired within five years.
79. Increased the Veterans Administration budget to train and recruit more mental health professionals.
80. Limited Guard and reserve deployments to one year every six years.
81. Fully and properly equip the troops.
82. Ended “stop loss” programs of forcing military members to stay in service beyond their expected commitments.
83. Organize civilian Assistance corps which would coordinate private assistance in times of national emergency or need.
84. Reviewed weapons programs.
85. Created a system of rules, rewards and penalties for defense contractors.
86. Modernized ships and invested in more small vessels.
87. Further enhanced programs to stop nuclear proliferation.
88. Organized a Non-Proliferation Conference in 2010.
89. Developed a comprehensive cyber security response strategy.
90 Mandated standards for securing private data.
91. Required cabinet officers to hold internet town halls with citizens.
92. Required companies to disclose private information breaches of customer data.
93. According to Washington Monthly, he eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws:
94. Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago.
95. He got Osama Bin Laden when Bush and Romney didn’t give a fig about finding him.
96. Brought world leaders to agreement on tightened sanctions on Iran.
97. He ended of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell;
98. Held the line on the GOP attempt to sack Social Security and Medicare.
99. Held the line on GOP efforts to default on the US debt.
100. Appointed Two moderate judges to the US Supreme Court.
101. He will appoint more fair and reasonable judges to the US Supreme Court.
102. He will veto any GOP effort to overturn the Civil Rights Act.
103. Restored funding to the EEOC and the US Dept of Labor’s Office of Federal Compliance policy.
104. Kept abortion safe and legal.
105. Safeguarded women’s right to birth control.
106. Toppled Gadaffi.
107. Told Mubarek to go.
108. Ended US torture policies.
109. Improved America’s image abroad.
110. Won the Nobel Peace Prize.
111. Achieved a new Start Treaty.
112. Appointed a White House coordinator for nuclear safety.
113. Initiated a grant and training program to reduce cyber crime.
114. Improved relations with Turkey.
115. Fully funded debt cancellation for heavily indebted poor countries. (This is why folks like Mitt Romney and Paul Singer don’t like the President. They want vulture capitalists to be able to prey on struggling poor countries.
116. Launched an international Add Value agricultural program.
117. Began and Asia pivot, As Washington Monthly said, he “reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. 118. Executed multi-pronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.”
119. Repeatedly stood up to China on trade policy.
120. Stood up to China regarding its monetary policy.
121. Boosted fuel efficiency standards.
122. Increased support for veterans by increasing the VA budget.
123. Signed a new GI Bill.
124. Expanded the number of VA “centers of excellence” in specialty care.
125. Created a military families advisory board.
126. He handled the Hurricane Sandy storm response superbly (even Gov Chris Christie says so).
127. Pointed a special advisor to the president regarding violence against women.
128. Fully funded the Violence Against Women Act.
129. Passed the Fair Sentencing Act.
130. Reformed federal mandatory sentencing.
131. Under Obama, the EPA introduced new safety levels for reducing pollution by the dirtiest power plants.
132. Increased funding for national parks and forests.
133. Encouraged water conservation in the West.
134. Increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund.
135. Encourage farmers to use more renewable energy and be more energy efficient.
136. Pursued a wildfire management plan.
137. Removed more brush , small trees and vegetation which fuel wildfires.
138. He protected clean air.
139. He supported and enforced the Clean Water Act.
140. Worked to deploy global climate change research and monitoring.
141. Required 10% renewable energy by 1012.
142. Released oil from strategic petroleum reserve.
143. Released federal gasoline supplies to Hurricane Sandy storm victims.
144. Invested in all types of renewable energy.
145. Fostered energy conservation among citizens and businesses.
146. Launched a Green Vet program to promote environmental jobs for veterans.
147. Created job training programs for clean technologies.
148. Supported high-speed rail.
149. Supported airline serice in small towns.
150. Invested in public transportation.
151. Increased affordable housing in metro areas.
152. Made mortgage comparison shopping easier and more efficient.
153. Fully funded the COPS program.
154. Improved emergency response programs.
155. Hired a REAL emergency expert to head FEMA.
156. Supported improved weather prediction.
157. Encourage student interest in science.
158. “Shook loose” federal monies to rebuild the Gulf coast.
159. Directed revenues from offshore oil/gas drilling toward enhanced hurricane protection.
160. Strengthened the levees in NOLA.
161. Considered smart growth in transportation funding.
162. Increased funding for the EPA.
163. Supported wetlands protection.
164. Raised the small business expensing limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009.
165. Cut small business taxes a number of times.
166. Created a $60 billion bank for the funding of roads and bridges.
167. Improved the Food Safety Program which had been neglected by the Bush administration.
168. Expanded wilderness and watershed protection.
169. Gave the FDA the power to regulate tobacco.
170. Re-oriented America’s missile defense program.
171. Re-oriented the Space Program away from the billion dollar a launch shuttle program.
172. Invested heavily in renewable energy.
173. Eliminated some of the punitive effects of the Leave No Child Behind program.
174. Increased recruitment of math and science teachers.
175. Increased funding to America’s land grant universities.
176. Reduced subsidies to private student aid lenders.
177. Cracked down on abusive for-profit colleges.
179. Expanded the Pell grant program.
180. Improved school nutrition programs.
181. Promoted more pre-school education.
182. Made school environments healthier for children.
183. Required more accountability for charter schools.
184. Simplified the application process for financial aid.
185. Expanded hate crimes legislation.
186. Supported the rights of people to marry regardless of sexual orientation.
187. Supported repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
188. Signed the Deceptive Practices and Voter 189. Intimidation Prevention Act.
190. Pushed for enactment of the Matthew Shepard Act, which expands hate crime legislation to include sexual orientation and identity.
191. Brokered timely reimbursement for Gulf oil spill victims.
192. Recovery.gov which helped citizens easily see where their tax money is going.
193. Fully funded the Community Development Block Grant program.
194. Supported efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.
195. Reversed restrictions on and expanded stem cell research.
196. Pushed broadband infrastructure for all.
197. Required that regulatory business be conducted in public.
198. Supported Net Neutrality.
199. Killed the F-22 (which the military didn’t want anyway, but Congress kept funding).
200. Expanded availability of hunting and fishing.
201. Required new hires to sign a form attesting that there was no political party requirement to their hiring.
202. Provided $30 billion over 10 years to Israel to Israel’s defense.(* This entry is toward the bottom not because of any implication about its importance, but because I skipped the number for it way up in the list and to leave it where it was, I would have to renumber almost everything!)
203. He believes in science.
204. He believes in and uses uses arithmetic.
205. Gave a tax credit for those buying plug-in hybrids.
206. The stock market has doubled.