Reasons to vote for Obama more than skin deep
I read an opinion piece in the newspaper about a week ago that stated Obama was elected simply because he’s black. While it may be true that some people voted for Obama for the historical significance, it’s ignorant and racist to think that the color of Obama’s skin was the only attribute that got him elected. I certainly didn’t vote for Obama because he’s black.
Many people like to blame Obama for our federal deficit, but based on numbers provided by the Congressional Budget Office the facts are that when Obama was signed in to office in January of 2009 he was already facing a $10.63-trillion deficit as result of Wall Street gambles, banking recklessness, two wars (one under false claims of WMDs) and 2 trillion dollars in tax breaks for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. In addition, Obama needed to make a decision to either spend more money in order to bail out the banks and the auto industry or essentially let the bottom fall out of the economy. Obama decided to spend the money. Since the bailout many Republicans say that Obama is only adding to the deficit, which is essentially true, but the coin has two sides. Obama tried to reach a compromise with Republicans by extending Bush tax cuts and enacting budget cuts. In fact the Obama administration has actually only contributed about 33 percent to the national deficit, or $5.23 trillion, according to the treasury. It’s not a very flattering number by any means but it’s a far cry from 67 percent especially when you consider that Bush had a federal surplus before coming into office. If you don’t count the stimulus (which arguably saved the economy) then the Obama administration only has an annualized spending growth rate of 1.4 percent — the smallest spending growth rate since Eisenhower.
Now Obama is trying to end the Bush tax cuts and effectively raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans to the same levels that Clinton had them during his administration. Some people say this is socialism and they’re right. Taxes to any extent are basically a form of socialism, but I also believe it’s unfair that people who are in the highest of tax brackets pay some of the lowest percentage rates on their income, especially when they are not directly contributing to job growth.
But many Republicans in congress refuse to raise taxes for any reason because they have signed Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform (ATR) pledge, which basically states that any politician who signs the pledge won’t vote for any piece of legislation that results in higher taxes. If any politician goes back on their pledge then they face the wrath of a litany of smear campaigns. Fortunately, some politicians are realizing that the pledge isn’t exactly sensible including Republican representative Steve Latourette of Ohio who signed the pledge 18 years ago, “To be bound by something based upon circumstances that existed eighteen years ago when the circumstances are different, I think that’s a little naïve.” Obama’s numbers may look bad right now but there are definitely other factors to consider.
Obama is also criticized for “Obamacare” (as it is colloquially referred to but is officially called the Affordable Care Act (ACA)) which is demonized as a socialist take over of health care when in actuality “…private doctors and hospitals will continue to deliver nearly all care” and people “… with private, employer-based insurance will keep their coverage,” according to Time fact checkers. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also says an additional 30 million people will be expected to gain health insurance and 57.2 million people under the age of 65 with a pre-existing condition will have access to health care for the first time due to ACA. Obama has also repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in 2011 and defends gay marriage—after all, I believe it’s more patriotic to defend someone’s right to defend our country if they so choose and marry who they wish than to deny them these rights, domestic oil production is at it’s highest levels in 20 years and oil imports are at its lowest levels since the mid-1990s according to the Energy Information Administration, and he wants to end subsidies for companies like AT&T and Exxon.
For these reasons, and a host of others, I will vote for Obama again in November, not because of the color of his skin.
Joshua Zink lives in Nevada City.
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