President Obama’s Impressive List of Accomplishments

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

 

Over the past three-and-a-half years, President Obama and Democrats have successfully enacted significant progressive legislation and executive policies that have, among other things, created 5.2 million private sector jobs over the past 31 months, kept our nation safe and taken out Bin Laden, made a fairer and more just society, advanced gender equality, and rescued the American auto industry.  At stake in November 2012 is whether these accomplishments will be repealed by the GOP, or whether we will be able to continue to focus on moving our country forward in 2013 and beyond.

Unfortunately, the message of the significant progress that has been achieved so far during the Obama Administration won’t get out unless we progressives talk to our neighbors and friends, write letters to our local newspapers, and use social media to help keep other voters well informed.  In order to help our readers do so, below are links to Winning Progressive’s coverage of just some of the Obama Administration’s progressive accomplishments.  Please share widely.

List of 2009-2010 Democratic Accomplishments

Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Rescuing the American Auto Industry

Closing the Medicare Doughnut Hole

The Successful 2009 Stimulus

Credit Card Industry Reform

Fighting For Small Businesses

Ending Combat Operations in Iraq

Ending Abusive Health Insurance Industry Practices

Expanding Health Insurance Coverage to 32 Million More Americans

Making College More Affordable

Reforming Wall Street

2011 Health Care Reform Benefits

Eliminating Co-Pays on Contraceptive Services as Preventive Care

Challenging the Defense of Marriage Act in Federal Court

Rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline

Finalizing Air Pollution Rules That Will Save 13,000 Lives Per Year

Increasing Vehicle Fuel Efficiency to 35.5mpg By 2016 and 54.5 by 2025

Implementing a Sensible New Immigration Policy for “DREAMers”

Obama DOJ Wins Significant, Though Not Complete, Victory Over Arizona’s Anti-Immigrant Law

American High-Speed Rail Moving Forward

A Good Friend of Labor

Obama’s Record of Support for Israel

 

Will Obama Ride 7.8% Jobless Rate to Reelection?

Friday, October 5th, 2012


By Josh Marks

The Denver debate should be a distant memory after today’s jobs report that the unemployment rate fell to 7.8 percent. That is the jobless rate when Obama took office in January 2009 when he inherited the worst economic disaster since the Great Depression. Seven sounds a lot better than eight and much, much better than the peak of 10 percent in October 2009. Significantly, in the mind of the American public, 7.8 percent sounds closer to the 7.2 percent unemployment figure that Ronald Reagan rode to reelection in 1984.

What Obama has achieved trumps Reagan because he inherited a global economic meltdown not seen since 1930. And Reagan wasn’t up against a hostile Republican Congress hellbent on his destruction. Despite all Obama was up against, he managed to pass Keynesian stimulus in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that was actually bigger than FDR’s New Deal. The unemployment rate could have been even lower had it not been for right-wing state governors implementing draconian public sector cuts and austerity-obsessed, obstructionist congressional Republicans blocking the American Jobs Act.

But despite an entire political party putting rigid ideology above the good of the country and global events out his control, President Obama has America headed in the right direction in terms of jobs and the economy. He must be reelected to finish the job and keep America moving forward.

Republicans keep falsely claiming that Obama is bringing European-style socialism to America, but it is the Republicans who want to bring Europe’s disastrous austerity measures to our shores.

And how is austerity working across the Atlantic?

Eurozone unemployment is at a record high with almost 18.2 million people out of work and an unemployment rate of 11.4 percent. Austerity measures are slowing down economic growth in Europe. The unemployment rates in Spain and Greece are both 25 percent as both countries have instituted massive spending cuts that has prolonged the pain. This is what Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan and the Republican Party would like to bring to the United States.

With Romney’s first term consumed with rolling back all the progress Obama and the Democrats have made — the Recovery Act, health care reform, Wall Street reform and more — and Ryan working with Republicans in Congress to make his anti-government budget fantasy a reality, America could see the unemployment rate start to increase again as European-style austerity measures take effect.

But we can prevent this nightmare scenario by reelecting Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden and progressives and moderates at every level of government who will work with the president instead of obstructing and filibustering everything. That means electing progressives and moderates in Congress and at the state, city and local levels.

An unemployment rate of 7.8 percent is great news, especially so close to the election. Just to parse it down some more — 873,000 Americans reported having jobs and employers created 114,000 jobs in September. That means the number of unemployed Americans is at 12.1 million, the fewest since Obama took office.

It is up to us to make sure the unemployment rate continues to decrease under President Obama. We must work hard to push Obama over the top this November. Make phone calls. Knock on doors. Talk to your neighbors and friends. Put up a lawn sign. Slap a bumper sticker on the back of your car. But most importantly, register to vote and then VOTE!

Here is Obama talking about today’s great news at my alma mater — George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

The New New Deal, Part III: Making It Matter

Monday, September 10th, 2012

(By NCrissie B)

In my past two posts, I’ve been reviewing Michael Grunwald’s The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era. First, we saw the challenges of drafting and passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Then we looked at the challenges of making the stimulus bill work. Today we interview Michael Grunwald and see how the ARRA’s successes became ‘The Greatest Story Never Told’ … until now.

Michael Grunwald is a senior national correspondent for Time magazine. Before joining Time, Grunwald was a congressional correspondent, New York bureau chief, and investigative reporter for the Washington Post, and a local and national reporter at the Boston Globe. He has received the George Polk Award for national reporting, the Worth Bingham Prize for investigative reporting, the Society of Environmental Journalists award for in-depth reporting, and numerous other journalism awards.

A bias “towards laziness and groupthink”

Journalism has been called “the first rough draft of history,” and for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that draft was indeed rough. I asked Michael Grunwald about that in our email interview this week:

NCB: The New New Deal reflects far more in-depth research than most political reporting. How long did you spend researching the book, and how did you do your research?

MG: Thanks for your kind words. I spent about two years researching and writing the book. I live in the public policy paradise of South Beach, so I had to do a lot of travel to D.C. and around the country to do interviews and site visits. I ended up interviewing more than 400 people, including just about everyone in the administration who was involved with the stimulus except for the president. Vice President Biden also let me sit in on a couple Cabinet meetings, and I tracked down a whole bunch of documents.

NCB: Your book could have been subtitled “The Greatest Story Never Told,” and in it you mention one reason the media didn’t cover American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stories well: the media focus more on problems, less on policies that solve problems, and even less on policies that prevent problems. As Democrats are more likely to say government can help solve and prevent problems, while Republicans focus on the problems of government itself, does this negativity bias in political reporting work out in practice to a bias in favor of Republicans?

MG: That’s an interesting thought. I’d say the media’s main bias is towards laziness and groupthink; obviously there wasn’t a lot of negativity bias when President Bush did that Mission Accomplished thing in the flight suit. And I think it’s appropriate that the media should keep a skeptical eye on the government. But when it came to the stimulus the conventional wisdom that this thing was an $800 billion joke just seemed to overwhelm all sense of proportion and common sense. Washington political reporters in particular are deeply uninterested in public policy, which isn’t necessarily a partisan bias.

NCB: Your book also details a Republican strategy – both while the ARRA was being debated and during its implication – of repeating more lies more often and more persistently than media fact-checkers could respond. Given the inherent difficulties and limits of fact-checking, are we becoming a nation where elections can be won or lost, and major policies implemented or blocked, based on calculated lies?

MG: Yes. Although I’m not entirely sure how new that phenomenon is. Remember: FDR campaigned in 1932 on a balanced budget.

NCB: A recent Jay Rosen Press Think article explores the media ethic of savviness: a focus on whether a rhetorical gambit succeeds, regardless of its truth and indeed more impressively if it is untrue, akin to admiring a successful bluff in poker. Do you think media admiration for the savviness of the GOP attacks on the ARRA has played into a reluctance to publicize the successes your book documents?

MG: Maybe a little. I think the savvy bias tends to apply more towards political campaigns. When it comes to policy the Republican gambits were really savvy! I’d say that reluctance boils down to four factors: the relentless Republican campaign of distortion; the Democratic tendency to quibble (too small, too many tax cuts, etc) rather than defend the stimulus; the media’s unwillingness to adjudicate the truth (especially when both sides were basically saying it was a mess); and, perhaps most important, the inherent problem of trying to sell a jobs bill when jobs were disappearing.

I share Grunwald’s conclusion about that last point. While titled the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, we saw Thursday that long-term projects (reinvestment) still had to pass the Three Ts test of boosting consumer demand (recovery). The ARRA was drafted and discussed as a jobs bill, and that made it hard to defend in the spring and summer of 2009 when our economy continued to hemorrhage jobs.

Many of us had not yet gazed into the abyss of a Second Great Depression, what Grunwald calls “our ‘Holy S**t!’ moment.” Indeed many still haven’t. The Second Great Depression did not happen, and it’s hard to appreciate how narrowly we averted it, and how much worse our lives would have been.

Many also expected, or hoped, that the ARRA would have an immediate effect. The bill passed in February 2009, yet over 600,000 Americans lost their jobs in March and over a half-million more in April. Job losses began to drop in May, as stimulus money began to flow through the system, and by December 2009 job growth had returned. Yet that had left nine months for “the first rough draft of history” to be of the ARRA as a failure, and by then “laziness and groupthink” had taken hold.

Not “Will it work?” but “Will it matter?”

As the Department of Energy’s new research program ARPA-E weighed grant proposals, reviewers were told to ask not “Will it work?” but “Will it matter?” That is, their mission was not to fund research projects that offered only marginal boosts to existing technology. Their mission was to fund big ideas that could transform energy production and usage … research that would matter.

That is also a good metaphor for the entire Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and for President Obama’s promise of “Change We Can Believe In.” In the 2008 campaign he outlined the four pillars of what he has called a New Foundation – energy, education, health care, and an economy built on community – and I also asked Grunwald about that legacy:

NCB: You document an impressive list of ARRA successes toward building a sustainable 21st century nation, yet some could still be undone if Republicans cut their community support. Which of the ARRA’s successes do you think would be most vulnerable under a Romney administration with a Republican Congress?

MG: High speed rail, advanced battery factories for electric vehicles, renewable electricity projects, non-farm biofuels projects, refundable tax cuts for the working poor, unemployment insurance modernization.

That is a frightening list, and I would add the Affordable Care Act as well. All of those are at stake in November, as is Republicans’ eagerness for a war with Iran.

Yet consider if President Obama and Democrats win in November. Romney has promised he’ll create 12 million jobs in his first term, but in fact that’s what economic analysts expect to happen anyway over the next four years. Some of those jobs will have roots in the ARRA, and if President Obama is still in office he and Democrats will justly get the credit. The 2016 election would thus be about whether to continue the successes begun under President Obama and Democrats. If he and the Democratic nominee make that case well, we could well see Democrats hold the White House for at least three consecutive terms …

… and that has happened only twice in the past 80 years: with Presidents Roosevelt and Truman from 1932-1952, and then with Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush from 1980-1992. Each of those three-in-a-row wins transformed our political dialogue for an entire generation.

President Obama and Democrats made the ARRA law. President Obama and Democrats made the ARRA work. For the next 58 days, we must work to make the ARRA matter.

(Crossposted from Blogistan Polytechnic Institute (BPICampus.com))

Weekend Reading List

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

For this weekend’s reading list we have an excerpt from a new book on the success of the 2009 Stimulus law, an overview of conservative attacks on reproductive freedom, an explanation of how President Obama is a good friend of Israel, an investigation of how many non-profits are improperly engaging in political activity, a look at President Obama’s efforts to help revitalize cities, and a study on how raising the minimum wage would help workers and create jobs.

 

Think Again: Obama’s New Deal – an article adapted from the new book The New New Deal: The Hidden Story of Change in the Obama Era, which argues that President Obama’s 2009 stimulus bill was a resounding success in both keeping the economy from sliding into a depression and in setting the groundwork for lasting change.

Are Your Birth Control Rights Endangered? – a comprehensive overview of the attacks on reproductive freedom being carried out by conservatives throughout the country.

The Tsuris – an essay arguing that President Obama, by urging Israel to better live up to democratic principles, is being a far better friend to Israel than saber-rattlers like Benjamin Netanyahu are willing to admit.

How Nonprofits Spend Millions on Elections and Call it Public Welfare – an in-depth investigation about how many organizations that receive various tax breaks under Section 501(c)(4) of the tax code because they are purportedly working to promote social welfare bend and even break our tax laws by engaging in substantial amounts of partisan political activity.

President Obama and the Forgotten Urban Agenda - an examination of President Obama’s successful steps to promote a vision of revitalizing urban communities, and of the significant hurdles and challenges that remain to such efforts.

How Raising the Federal Minimum Wage Would Help Working Families and Give the Economy a Boost – a report on how raising the minimum wage to $9.80 per hour, as has been proposed by a number of Democratic Congresspeople, would give a raise to 28 million workers and help create 100,000 jobs.

 

Book Review: Bill Clinton’s ‘Back to Work’

Wednesday, May 16th, 2012

By Josh Marks

Many progressives will never forgive former President William Jefferson Clinton for the sin of signing away the Glass-Steagall Act. Also called The Banking Act of 1933, Glass-Steagall separated commercial and investment banking activities after the Great Depression in order to prevent another economic catastrophe. In 1999 Clinton signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act because Citibank merged with Travelers Insurance a year earlier and a law needed to be passed to make the merger legal. While repealing Glass-Steagall didn’t directly lead to the 2008 financial crisis, it was one of a series of post-Depression financial industry regulations stripped away, starting when Ronald Reagan took office, that allowed Wall Street to bring the world to the brink of another Great Depression. (Click here to read an appeal by former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich to bring back Glass-Steagall).

Could Clinton have known how ruinous to the economy repealing Glass-Steagall would be when the financial industry went into a tailspin more than a decade later after years of risky bets? How many countless Americans have lost their jobs and their faith in the American system after this economic collapse?

Well, I’m here to tell you that Clinton is making amends and his new book “Back to Work: Why We Need Smart Government For a Strong Economy” is a must read. There is a lot for progressives to like about Clinton’s approach to solving the big issues of the day.

That said, Clinton still doesn’t take full responsibility for the damage done when he repealed Glass-Steagall, however he does point out that he regrets not making a bigger push to regulate financial derivatives, although he was up against a Republican Congress hostile to any regulations.

Clinton starts out “Back to Work” with an impassioned defense of the important role government plays in society and calls out the Tea Party wing of the GOP for its irrational and self-destructive hatred of the public sector. What Clinton does in this book is give a global perspective to America’s political paralysis and inability to work towards solutions to our problems. This, I believe, is a result of the humanitarian work Clinton has done around the world through the Clinton Foundation, where he has helped poor people around the world improve their health care and be economically empowered. Through the book, Clinton compares the United States to other countries, giving perspective to our problems. In the opening chapter he lays out his vision for a more prosperous and fair society.

“I believe the only way we can keep the American Dream alive for all Americans and continue to be the world’s leading force for freedom and prosperity, peace and security, is to have both a strong, effective private sector and a strong, effective government that work together to promote an economy of good jobs, rising incomes, increasing exports, and greater energy independence. All over the world, the most successful nations, including many with lower unemployment rates, less inequality, and, in this decade, even higher college graduation rates than the United States, have both. And they work together, not always agreeing, but moving toward common goals. In other countries, conservatives and liberals also have arguments about taxes, energy policy, bank regulations, and how much government is healthy and affordable, but they tend to be less ideological and more rooted in evidence and experience. They focus more on what works.”

This is Clinton’s framework to set up a scathing rebuttal to the anti-tax, anti-government ideological extremists who have hijacked the political system in this country for the past thirty years.

Clinton is very effective when he uses charts and figures to explain our positions relative to other nations. For example, the United States spends only 1.7 percent of GDP on infrastructure, compared with 4 percent in Canada or 9 percent in China. And the World Economic Forum ranks the United States 24th in the quality of overall infrastructure, right behind Malaysia (Switzerland ranks first). Also, the U.S. ranks 15th in broadband connection speed, just behind Luxembourg. No. 1 South Korea’s broadband connections is four times faster than ours. And Clinton points out that the U.S. spends a whopping 17.4 percent of GDP on health care compared to France at 11.8 percent and Japan at 8.5 percent.

Not everything Clinton writes will please progressives. For example, he isn’t critical of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for not being big enough in stimulating job creation. Clinton believes that the $800 billion stimulus (only a third went into direct job projects) “was designed to put a floor under the collapse and begin the recovery.” That’s all well and good, but economists like Paul Krugman were warning that the stimulus wasn’t big enough and that the Republicans would manipulate the slow job growth that follows as saying that government spending doesn’t work. Now it is nearly impossible to pass a second stimulus, as President Obama tried to do with the American Jobs Act. So it would have been helpful if Clinton would have admitted the stimulus wasn’t big enough and that we need more fiscal stimulus to plow our way out of this depression (I’m reading Krugman’s excellent new book “End This Depression Now!” and plan to write a review).

Clinton also devotes an entire chapter to the debt (Krugman makes a compelling case that deficit hawks are misguided and that the debt is blown way out of proportion when the focus should be on the government creating jobs). However, Clinton does acknowledge that dealing with the deficit needs to be delayed until full employment is achieved and healthy economic growth is restored. With the ridiculous obsession with the debt and deficits among the political and media class in Washington, it is encouraging to hear a voice of reason like Clinton’s saying that, yes, we need to tackle the deficit (although again, Keynesian economists like Krugman would argue that deficits aren’t as bad as people think), but right now the sole priority and topic of conversation should be focused on how government spending can create jobs and grow the economy.

Ultimately Clinton is optimistic, and he is confident America will get past this current state of dysfunction and ideological warfare.

“We’re in a mess now. At the dawn of the new century, after years of strong job growth, rising incomes, and declining debt, we abandoned a proven path to shared prosperity in favor of doubling down, once more, on anti-government ideology. Now we’re paying for it. The only sensible thing to do is for all of us to take some responsibility for changing things. The world is moving on, and if we want to stop falling behind, we have to get back in the game. Let’s ditch the stale certainty of ideology and bring our values, ideas, experiences, and dreams to a real debate about the future. Think how exciting it would be if all of us — Democrats, Republicans, and independents, conservatives, liberals, progressives, and libertarians — had real arguments based on real facts that produced real results through principled compromise based on what works.”

 

 

Claims That Obama Capitulated on the Stimulus, Guantanamo, and Taxes Don’t Hold Water

Friday, May 4th, 2012

(By Fay Paxton, cross-posted at The Pragmatic Pundit)

I’m always a little amazed at how easily people refer to the President as a liar.  First, because it is such a show of disrespect and a lack of good manners and secondly because I think President Obama has, in the face of unyielding opposition, done a far better job at keeping his promises than anyone has a right to expect.

I found myself in a discussion with a group of what are otherwise intelligent, well-informed people.  Many of them had the usual stinging attacks for the President that I’ve come to expect.  But what I found amazing was the response when someone took up the mantle and explained why or how certain legislation had passed.  Invariably,  people would say, “Oh, I didn’t know that” or “I had no idea”.  The President is far from perfect, but one can only wonder, given the amount of misinformation, about the source of such staunch disapproval.

So what follows is information about some of those promises. I focus primarily on the much contested Stimulus.  Not in an effort to excuse, but merely to explain what many people seem to have either forgotten or never knew.

I can’t figure if Americans have amnesia or are so civic-barren they think the President can do anything he wants:
On the second day of the new administration, President Obama signed three executive orders…one to shut down the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay and two other executive orders to review the use of military trials for terror suspects and ban harsh interrogation techniques, such as water-boarding.

Read executive order on Guantánamo

The New York Times

It’s Congress’ Fault That It’s Still Open

Congress has effectively frozen in place one of the most counterproductive aspects of our national security policy – and given Al Qaeda just what it wants.

…..Congress has barred Obama from transferring any detainees to the United States, not even to stand trial in a criminal court, and has put onerous conditions on their being transferred to any other country.

The Washington Times

House acts to block closing of Gitmo

Congress on Wednesday signaled it won’t close the prison at Guantanamo Bay or allow any of its suspected terrorist detainees to be transferred to the U.S., dealing what is likely the final blow to President Obama’s campaign pledge to shutter the facility.

People seem to forget the President compromised, extending the Bush tax cuts in order to maintain tax cuts for the middle class and an extension of unemployment. Was the preference that taxes go up on the middle class and unemployment end?  He broke one promise in order to keep one to the middle class.

In response to the economy, I hear even the most informed politicians and pundits declare, “Instead of spending time on healthcare legislation, President Obama should have concentrated on the economy.”  Is it me?  That’s what the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act, better known as the Stimulus was about!

When it was initially introduced, the Stimulus totaled just under $1 trillion. Everyone should be able to recall the original uproar and outrage about the price tag; headlines looked like this:

Stimulus package ‘too big’; Galaxy Poll findings

Area Republicans criticize stimulus as too expensive

Bush Chief of Staff Andrew Card: Stimulus too costly

Stimulus Too Expensive – Sun Sentinel

 

In fact, President Obama never made such a pledge.  The projection is the result of a Jan. 9, 2009 report “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan” from Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, and Jared Bernstein, the vice president’s top economic adviser.

The report was issued with heavy disclaimers:

“It should be understood that all of the estimates presented in this memo are subject to significant margins of error,” the report states…. the uncertainty is surely higher than normal now because the current recession is unusual both in its fundamental causes and its severity.”

In 2011, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) and The Bureau of Labor Statistics unveiled a revision of data which showed that the Great Recession was even worse than initially thought. The BEA’s first estimate of output, published in January of 2009, showed a contraction of 3.8% (this would have been the number used by economist who wrote the Stimulus), but a year later revised it to a 6.8% drop. The figure changed yet again in 2011, to a shocking 8.9% fall in GDP.  Clearly, the Stimulus was a recovery plan based on available, but what turned out to be, false data.  A fact that is seldom, if ever mentioned.

New government data shows 2007-2009 recession inflicted more severe than previously estimated

The numbers keep being revised inexorably downwards

Remarkably, the Stimulus met it’s goal; stabilizing a flailing economy; saving and creating jobs (despite Republican efforts to sabotage growth by laying off masses of employees and voting against all job-creating legislation).  One can only speculate what the result might have been if the initial GDP figures had been correct.

I concentrate on the Stimulus because it embodied in many ways an attempt to fulfill many of the promises the President made.  What seems forgotten is that in response to the “Stimulus uproar”,  a group of Senators, Republicans and Democrats,  led by Republican Sen. Susan Collins  cut billions from the original stimulus.  In the interest of bipartisanship (another promise), and because Republican votes were necessary for passage (there were not 60 Democratic senators seated) job-stimulating measures were traded for tax cuts.

Here is what was cut:

•    $3.5 billion for energy-efficient federal buildings

•    $75 million from Smithsonian; for repairs, refurbishing and upgrading

•    $200 million from Environmental Protection Agency Superfund – for tank removal, drilling, soil sampling, etc.

•    $100 million from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – for habitat restoration, vessel maintenance, construction and repair of NOAA facilities, ships and equipment.

•    $100 million from FBI construction

•    $65 million for watershed rehabilitation

•    $25 million for Marshall’s Construction

•    $300 million for federal prisons; repairs and upgrades to construction and security

•    $55 million for historic preservation

•    $165 million for Forest Service capital improvement

•    $16 billion for school construction

•    $3.5 billion for higher education construction

•    $2.25 billion for Neighborhood Stabilization – - for road, bridge and trail maintenance; including related watershed restoration and ecosystem enhancement projects; facilities improvement, maintenance and renovation.

•    $1.2 billion for retrofitting Project 8 housing

•    $100 million for Farm Service Agency modernization

Here’s what was cut from the Stimulus in favor of tax cuts:

•    $300 million from federal fleet of hybrid vehicles

•    $1 billion for Energy Loan Guarantees – to encourage improved technologies in energy projects that avoid, reduce, or sequester air pollutants or  emissions of greenhouse gases; and employ new or improved technologies; issue loans to automobile and part manufacturers for cost of re-equipping, expanding, or establishing manufacturing facilities.

Here’s what was traded from the Stimulus for tax cuts:

•    $100 million from law enforcement wireless

•    $440 million for BYRNE grant program – funding would have focused on preventing and reducing violent crime; expansion of the COPS program; reducing mortgage fraud and crime related to vacant properties and improving resources and services for victims of crime.

•    $10 million state and local law enforcement

•    $50 million from Department of Homeland Security

•    $200 million Transportation Security Administration

All jobs that might have been saved had these cuts not been made to the Stimulus:

•    $50 million for Cooperative State Research, Education and Extension Service

•    $100 million for distance learning – a process to provide access to learning when the source of information and the learners are separated by time and distance, or both.”

•    $98 million for school nutrition

•    $1 billion for Head Start/Early Start

•    $600 million for Title I (No Child Left Behind)

Homelessness would not be nearly as pervasive if  $1.25 billion for project based rental to preserve tens of thousands of affordable housing units and prevent homelessness had not been stripped from the Stimulus.


In fact, all kinds of healthcare benefits were eliminated in favor of tax cuts, including $2 billion for Health Information Technology Grants that would have enabled the coordination of care as well as the maintenance of the continuum of care across the nation.  Also eliminated,  $2 billion for broadband; $400 million for science and research.

These were some of the programs left on the cutting floor in favor of tax cuts:

•    $50 million for NASA – to among other things re-establish the National Aeronautics and Space Council

•    $50 million for aeronautics

•    $50 million for exploration and support of a human mission to the moon by 2020

Promises about Space on The Obameter

In the end the complaint would turn from the “expensive, overindulgent, wasteful Stimulus” to loud and constant declarations about the fact that “the Stimulus was just too small”,  as if a more expensive bill could have possibly passed the Congress.

The idea that the President doesn’t fight or that he “caves” is sheer silliness.  It isn’t his job to plant his feet in order to appear to be a bad ass while everything falls apart.  It’s a fair assumption he knows how to count.  And if the votes aren’t there, all the bitching and moaning in the world won’t pass a bill.

If you ask me, Americans have no one to blame but themselves.  They should have stayed engaged.  They should have supported their President, especially once they saw that so many forces were working against him.  Like the Tea Party, Democrats should have gotten rid of representatives who stood in the way of legislation they felt important.  But more than that, they really need to connect with sources that can will give them the facts.