Category Archives: Barack Obama

Four More Years Part Two

Official photographic portrait of US President...

Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A few weeks ago I started a series on how the next four years would look under another Obama administration.  I had intended to write four posts, one for each year.  Instead I have skipped ahead to the eighth year of Obama’s Presidency.

He stood gazing out of the window, somber and thoughtful. His closely cropped,  once salt and pepper hair, now completely white. His brow deeply furrowed and the lines around his mouth gave him a permanent scowl. At fifty-five he had the countenance of a man twenty years older. He surveyed the scene before him. Razor wire now covered the wrought iron fences. The once beautifully manicured lawns and gardens were now an encampment. Just inside the fences the patrols stepped purposefully, forming a human barrier between the man at the window and the angry mob outside. The patrols, and the men at the command tent were all wearing the sky blue berets of UN Peacekeepers.

The man at the window pondered over how it could have come to this. It all seemed like such a perfect plan. Since childhood he had anguished over the inequities of society. Why did some people have plenty to eat while others starved? Why did rich people receive top-notch care at state of the art hospitals, while the poor were dying of preventable disease? Why were some countries prosperous and others still wallowing in the Dark Ages? Convinced that wealthy nations and people became that way at the expense of poor ones, he vowed that if he were ever elected to a high office, he would set it right. The plan was brilliant in it’s simplicity. Those who were blessed with the talent of creating wealth would be compelled by taxation into handing over their riches to the government, which would then distribute the wealth to those who were not so blessed. Once the poor had their basic needs taken care of, they would then be free to pursue their dreams becoming wealthy themselves and thereby contributing more to the coffers. As the vast circle of “givers” grew, more and more would flow into the government well. The government could then wisely distribute the largess, providing better and better services to the people. No one would ever again have to worry about food, or rent, or utilities. Everyone would be prosperous and happy. Health care could be distributed in much the same way. Medical funds would be equally distributed between doctors and hospitals and all would be required to provide basic healthcare services to everyone. The money saved from the equalization of medical expenses, could then be used for research and providing even better care. He would reduce America’s arsenal as a good faith gesture to the rest of the world. He would turn America into the perfect neighbor, generous, peaceful, and non-threatening.

How, he wondered did it all go so terribly wrong? He had underestimated how ingrained in the American psyche the concept of the individual was. So determined were those lucky enough to own property and businesses to keep what they had earned, that they would rather close up shop and divide their assets with their own families, than allow it to be taxed. Selfish bastards, they just didn’t get it. So blinded by their perceived right to self-determination, they couldn’t grasp that the government could do a better job of utilizing the wealth. And all they had to do was give their “fair share”. Their greed had forced him to borrow extensively from other nations, some not so friendly. The Federal Reserve continued to print money, flooding the markets with near worthless paper and driving up prices. As business owners closed their doors unemployment rose until nearly half of country were without jobs. More and more came into the fold, the government their sole source of survival.

His plan to provide healthcare to the nation wasn’t going exactly as planned either. The insurance co-ops that were supposed to make healthcare affordable, were a failure. With no way to make a profit one by one the companies dropped out or went out of business. Leaving only the government option available. With prices capped by the government, doctors were finding it difficult to maintain profitable practices. Many simply closed their doors. With no guarantee that one could make a living after eight-plus years of grueling study, fewer and fewer young men and women entered medical school. The small number of doctors that were left were forced to find ways to stretch their time and resources. Doctor’s appointments and hospital beds were precious. Stories such as the elderly woman who was denied cancer treatment to make room for someone younger, and the middle-aged man who bled to death in a hospital emergency department waiting room in full view of sick children, were becoming common.

It was obvious to him a year ago, that the nation was broke. A third credit downgrade took it down to a B and no more countries would lend him money. Tax revenues were drying up and his financial advisers were running out of ways to “cook the books”. There was no other choice than to cut services. Pell grants and college loan guarantees were the first to go, then Social Security and what was left of Medicare. Schools were privatized leaving a haphazard mixture of private and quasi-public institutions. Only those who were homeschooled could be guaranteed to receive an adequate education. Subsidies for cell phones and other utilities were cut, followed by WIC, TANF, and finally food stamps. His grand plan to care for everyone in the nation had come crashing down around him. The governmental safety net that so many had come to depend on was no longer there. What foods and goods were left, in the few stores still open, was so expensive almost no one could afford them. As hunger and desperation set in, the people took to rioting in the streets. Angry mobs demanded to know what had happened to the “hope and change”, to the promise of prosperity. In an audacious act of defiance the National Guard, Active Duty Military, and local police squads refused to fire on the crowds of U S citizens. So he sought the help of the UN to restore order. For the first time in the nation’s history, a foreign army was taking action against American citizens, on American soil.

To be continued:

Four More Years

Blindfolded Forward

Blindfolded Forward (Photo credit: BlueRobot)

Instead of asking ourselves if we are better off today than we were four years ago, maybe we should be asking if we will be better off four years from now? Without the need to woo skittish voters, and appease wealthy donors, President Obama would no longer have to carry on the ruse of upholding The Constitution. He would have the power, through executive order if need be, to continue his war on capitalist prosperity. Even without the blessing of Congress, he would assume the authority to appease our enemies while snubbing our allies. What would four years look like if President Obama is elected to another term?  In the first of a four-part series, I’ll describe the America, Obama’s America, that is yet to come.

Day one.

Though we don’t see the exuberance of four years ago, there is much celebration in the nation today.  Seniors who feared cuts to Social Security and Medicare are now looking forward to the hope of a decent retirement.   People who were previously uninsurable, or had children with catastrophic illnesses, who were already enjoying the benefits of the Affordable Healthcare Act are resting comfortably.  Students who only a year ago, were protesting in the streets, now feel they have a future.

There is caution in the celebrating though, an almost palpable feeling that maybe, just maybe everything isn’t as it seems.  Tentative hope has now been replaced by fear and uncertainty. For many in this country this is not a day to celebrate, it is a day filled with a sense of dread.  The campaign slogans of “Hope and Change”, of “Forward”, of “Believe in America”, have been replaced by a new slogan, “Oh my God what have we done”.

The fifth year:

Obama wastes no time in pushing though his campaign promise of making rich people pay “their fare share”.  At first, the extension of the Bush era tax cuts for the middle class, along with the Fed’s new policy of printing and circulating large sums of money has a small positive effect on the economy.  Middle class wage earners, while not gaining any true increase in wealth, are feeling better about the future so they are starting slowly and cautiously to spend more.

Employment however, has not increased as much as expected.  Small business owners who were waiting on the outcome of the election, before deciding whether to expand or hire, have decided to put it off.  Even with the small increase in consumer spending, they are waiting to see just how much the  Affordable Healthcare Act and the new wealth taxes will cost them.   A few small business owners are eager to utilize the Obama administration’s new programs to reward “insourcing” and “green” business.  The program has little success however, as the program’s stipulations, along with all the government’s restrictions, make it impossible for these businesses to be profitable.

The upper tier rich begin to look for ways to divest their income to avoid paying the new wealth taxes.  Many are placing most of their funds in overseas bank accounts. Wealthy businessmen, concerned about maintaining the profitability of their companies, many of whom would never have considered it before, are moving overseas.  Many wealthy individuals are starting to consider the wisdom of leaving the United States entirely and taking up residence in a foreign country.  A policy that was supposed to generate more revenue for the government has the unexpected result of prolonging the employment crisis.

In spite of another drop in interest rates, the housing market has also remained flat.  As the year progresses, the Fed’s influx of cash has led to inflation.  The increase in the cost of living, coupled with the lack of well-paying jobs has people reluctant to buy a home. What was a slow and cautious economic recovery has now become stagnant.

Obama Care has given many people who worried about the cost of healthcare, a reason to be hopeful.  Adult children can now be carried on their parent’s insurance, and a person can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition.  The trade-off is that now individuals are forced to carry health insurance or pay a penalty tax.  In spite of subsidies, many small business owners cannot afford to cover their employees.  This forced those employees to turn to the state insurance pools.  While low-income people are given a tax incentive to cover the cost of this insurance, many mid level earners do not qualify. This leaves them with an added expense that they did not count on. Just one more item to juggle into an already tight budget.

In spite of continued attacks against American interests in the Middle East, President Obama expands his policy of acceptance and understanding of the Muslim culture. He meets regularly with the heads of radical Islamic groups such as Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood.  He maintains his stance that Prime Minister Netanyahu needs to stop the development of settlements on the West Bank. Meanwhile, Iran continues its so-called “peaceful” nuclear program.  Even though this presents a clear danger to one of our most important allies, Obama is reluctant to call for stronger measures against them.  He prefers to rely on the economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations, despite their lack of success………

As we see, during Obama’s fifth year in office, the world continues to be a dangerous and unstable place, both economically and culturally. While most Americans may not be worse off, very,very, few can say things are better. In my next post, we will see what it might look like  during his sixth year.

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