The Case for Barack Obama

Cross posted from Modern Mormon Men

I saw a tweet the other day: “Only a Democrat could prevent a depression, end a war, get bin Laden, and double the Dow & then be told he can’t run on his record.” The economy is growing: we’ve added 5.2 million private sector jobs during 31 straight months of growth—including 500,000 manufacturing jobs—the most growth since 1997. The unemployment rate has fallen to 7.8% (the lowest since Dec. 2008), housing starts are at a four-year high, retail sales are re-accelerating, car sales are at their highest since early 2008, consumer credit is growing, the Dow is above 13,000 (it closed under 8,000 on the day President Obama was inaugurated and bottomed out at 6,629 in March 2009), consumer confidence is a five-year high, and home prices are on the rise again. I think President Obama is doing all right.

The President’s plan for the next four years is making education and training a national priority, investing in manufacturing, boosting American-made energy, reducing the deficit in a balanced, responsible manner, and ending the war in Afghanistan so we can focus on rebuilding America.

As a student of history, I see President Obama as having a firm grip on our national situation and where we need to go. At the end of World War II, the United States dominated the world in manufacturing output (and would dominate the global economy for the next two decades). Policy makers took deliberate steps through the Marshall Plan, the International Monetary Fund, and other institutions to help the rest of the world catch up, with the (sound) idea that if we’re all making & trading with one another, we will be less likely to go to war with one another. Now, however, the challenge is dealing with the consequences of this success. It behooves us today to build an economy that’s more substantial than financial manipulation and a society that gives equal opportunity to get ahead in a more competitive world. President Obama recognizes this, and his domestic policies have focused on five pillars: healthcare, education & training, manufacturing, investment in infrastructure, and an all-of-the-above approach to domestic energy production. These five work together to bring us back to full employment. For me, healthcare is the most important.

I see access to quality health care (along with opportunities for education) as a fundamental aspect of people having full agency in their lives. For those of you who have served on ward welfare councils, imagine the impact for those in need being able to get appropriate health care—and the fast offerings and time this frees up for helping them further their education and otherwise get back on their feet. The system of state exchanges (websites run by states where people without insurance can purchase insurance as part of pooled plans rather than as individuals) helps those who don’t receive benefits through employment. The mandate encourages personal responsibility and discourages free riding. Changes in Medicare help push us away from fee-for-service towards bundled forms of billing that have worked well for Intermountain Healthcare and Kaiser Permanente. Obamacare started as the right-wing Heritage Foundation’s response to Hillarycare back in 1993, and then became the foundation for MassCare under Governor Romney, before President Obama signed it into law in March 2010. It achieves near-universal coverage through a system than emphasizes the private market and personal responsibility, bringing together many of the best ideas of the last twenty years from both sides of the aisle. If President Obama is re-elected, it goes into full effect on schedule in 2014. If Gov. Romney is elected, he has promised to do away with it entirely: pre-existing conditions and lifetime benefit caps again become an issue, the Medicare prescription donut hole re-opens, and states lose crucial Medicaid funding for nursing home care. These are the stakes of this election.

For those of you who are sympathetic to President Obama’s aims but cannot vote for someone who is “pro-choice”: I hear you. And for me, “pro-life” doesn’t end at the moment of birth. We must also invest in the child so that they have at least a decent chance at living a full and productive life. I see the President as being much more likely to do this than the other candidate.

In addition, by securing health care for all, we reduce the number of abortions and teenage pregnancies. Read this dispatch from Canada, or this study from St. Louis. Or this report in the New England Journal of Medicine discussing how Romney’s MassCare— the template for Obamacare—reduced abortions in Massachusetts, even while it covered them, due to better healthcare access for the poor and otherwise desperate.

Finally, we are taught as Latter-day Saints to be frugal. Debt certainly has its uses, as Gov. Romney showed working in private equity, and there are sound economic reasons for some levels of publicly held debt (there’s a cool history of the U.S. debt here). But we must get our annual deficits under control. President Obama favors a balanced approach; one that mixes spending cuts with some tax increases. (Governor Romney has said that he would reject a deal that included any tax increases, and has refused to provide much detail of what he would cut.) The President, working with Congress, has already cut spending by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years, or about 70% of the discretionary spending cuts outlined in the Bowles-Simpson plan.

Beyond healthcare and debt reduction, from new fuel-economy standards that will create jobs for engineers and make American cars globally competitive, to “race to the top” initiatives to modernize the educational system, to expansion of domestic natural gas, oil, and wind energy production, President Obama knows what we need to not only survive, but thrive in the 21st century. The CBO projects that we’ll have over 7 million new jobs in the President’s second term; Moody’s says it will be 12 million. We know President Obama and we can trust him to carry out the changes that will strengthen the middle class and the country as a whole. And that’s why I’m a Mormon who is proud to be supporting President Barack Obama. Forward!

2 Replies to “The Case for Barack Obama”

  1. Whoa Nellie Rob. No one is suggesting that he cannot try to run on his record but only that he won’t be successful if he tries. His campaign has truly been reduced to small ball politics and cutesy name calling as in Romnesia. If he has such a record that he can run on then let him do it and be a serious candidate but his pompous and condescending tone in the last debate may have scored debate points but he shrunk in stature for many. His (yes his as in his administration – the buck stops with him) bungled handling of the attack in Benghazi is shameful. Whether he initially thought that this was a spontaneous attack from the video (which he repeatedly stated) or an act of terror, the administrations handling of it since has made the Keystone Cops look like Seal Team Six. If he is less than honest and up front about such a crucial matter, how can we trust his judgement on anything.

    His “balanced approach” is nothing short of an attempt to demonize success. While we can never tax our way out of the situation we are in, if he were serious about the financial health of the country he would lead the senate to pass a budget, and sit down and meet with members of the loyal opposition to try to strike a compromise. The house has but the senate has refused to follow suit.

    His “all-of-the-above approach” is neither “all” or “above” with alternative energy being his only focus and special deals to friends and political allies (can anyone say Solyndra and Abound Solar?) his calling card.

    Your attempt to assuage a voter’s conscience by suggesting that Obama will better care for children AFTER birth to justify a vote for a man that will allow for even partial birth abortions is a stretch beyond belief. You can’t even bring yourself – or others that you may wish to influence – to admit that the President is wrong on this issue.

    I would welcome him trying to run on his record since that would elevate the debate from the gutter of petty name calling. Somehow I don’t expect that I will see that in the last and final days of the campaign.

    1. Jary: He does run on his record, all the time. President Obama repeatedly mentions the 31 straight months of private-sector job growth, the current booms in domestic oil and natural gas production, the benefits of Obamacare, and so on.

      Decorum in presidential politics is an interesting issue. Gov. Romney’s continually claimed that the President embarked on an “apology tour” . . . which never happened. That he, Gov. Romney, was in favor of public assistance for the auto industry when he published an op-ed against it. Just recently, he claimed that Jeep was shipping U.S. jobs to China. When Chrysler denied this (they’re opening a new plant in China for production for the Chinese market, and the Toledo plant is continuing to run), Gov. Romney put the claim in a new ad that he’s refused to take down.

      It seriously does take time to figure out what happened in a middle-of-the-night attack in a complicated country on the other side of the world. If you doubt the President’s willingness to go after the perpetrators, ask some of our Libertarian friends how they feel about President Obama’s use of drones. The world’s a dangerous place, and unfortunately, embassies are frequently targets. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_attacks_on_diplomatic_missions)

      It becomes difficult to negotiate with a “loyal opposition” whose leader has announced that their number one priority is to get you out of office, whose membership have signed pledges saying that taxes should never rise, ever . . . including the cutting of tax loopholes. The result of two years of negotiations has been the over trillion dollars of cuts I mention above, sequestration, and the “fiscal cliff.” Suggesting that people at the top pay a similar tax rate on their investments as on their income, or _shouldn’t_ get a massive new tax cut while we’re trying to balance the budget is a far, far cry from “demonizing success.”

      Have you missed the oil boom in North Dakota? Or the natural gas boom in Pennsylvania? Or the fact that Democrats and Republicans (including Gov. Romney) have used government loans to boost the production of alternative energy? That Solyndra failed because of China’s huge subsidies to their alternative energy companies?

      Did I not say that President Obama’s policies would lower the abortion rate? And shouldn’t we be interested in which candidate will be better for children after birth as well?

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