Monday, January 4, 2016

What Did Obama Accomplish During His Presidency?

Politics is essentially about how the government is funded and what the government does with the money it collected.  President Obama's tax policies were very different from those proposed by his Republican opponents.  He raised taxes on the top 1% substantially.  They are back to where they were before Ronald Reagan and George Bush reduced the top rates.  He also passed the Affordable Care Act which has increased the number of insured citizens by 17 million.  Furthermore, one of the major reasons why Republican's oppose ACA is that it includes a substantial tax on the top 1%.

 Paul Krugman reminds us that elections have consequences.  If McCain or Romney had been elected they would have cut the top tax rates even further and they would not have spent money to increase the number of insured citizens.  All of the Republican candidates have proposed tax plans which would cut taxes for the super rich, who fund their campaigns,  and they would cut government spending on programs that provide benefits for the majority of Americans.  They argue that cutting taxes for the rich will encourage the "job creators" to grow the economy.  They falsely argued in their campaigns against Obama that his tax policies would shrink the economy and increase the unemployment rate.  The unemployment rate is now lower than Mitt Romney claimed that it would be if he were elected, and more jobs were created under Obama than were created under George Bush.

If most Americans understood the real differences between the two political parties the Republican Party would continue to lose national elections.  There is little discussion among the Republican presidential candidates about tax policy and spending priorities.  The early debates were mostly about social values and conservative ideology.  After the terrorist attacks in Paris and California they have turned to foreign policy.  All of the candidates tell us how tough they are but none of them have demonstrated an understanding of the real issues that we face; nor have they described responses that are more likely to make us safer than those that have been employed in the Mid-East and elsewhere.

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