Politics are something I care deeply about. I have avoided the topic thus far, but with the upcoming election, I’m compelled to voice my opinion. I will divide my arguments into three parts; Part I: Why you should vote for President Obama, Part II: Reasons you should not vote for Mitt Romney, and Part III: God, Guns, & Gays. So, here we go!
PART I: Why you should re-elect Barack Obama:
He HAS lived up to many of his promises & commitments.
- Ended the war in Iraq? Check. (Also ended “Advanced Interrogation Methods” of the Bush administration)
- Implemented health care reform? Check. What has health care reform done for the American people? We cannot be denied insurance for having a “pre-existing condition.” Young adults, many of whom were previously uninsured, can remain on their parents’ insurance until the age of 26. Small businesses were given tax cuts of up to 3.5 million dollars to help cover health care. 29 million people were given tax credits to help pay for health insurance. Health insurance companies are now made to disclose how much profit goes towards patient care. The 80/20 Rule, or Medical Loss Ratio (MLR) rule, requires that insurance companies must spend at least 80% of premiums on medical care and quality (or not less than 85% in the large group market). If not, they must rebate the portion of premium dollars meeting this percentage. This means more of your money goes towards your care, and less towards marketing and profit. The cost of medications were cut by 50% for Medicare recipients. These are GOOD things. This is something our country has been attempting since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912. By the way, some European countries had already implemented universal health care back then. Now-a-days every major industrialized nation has a universal health care program, except the United States. (Here is a quick list of countries with universal care: http://www.health.ny.gov/regulations/hcra/univ_hlth_care.htm) Why are we so behind the times? Why would we allow vulture corporations to prey on our sick and needy? Our for profit system leaves millions uninsured and under insured. It values money over lives. Nobody should be allowed to profit off the negligent treatment of a county’s citizens. We pay premiums, we pay co-pays, we pay until we reach our deductibles, then we pay our bills after the insurance companies chip away at them. At the end we are denied care when we need it most. We are paying regardless. Sadly, many are paying with their lives. We are one of the only countries that does it this way… and for good reason. It’s inhumane and DOES NOT WORK. We aren’t asking for “free” health care here. We do deserve affordable, quality, preventative care to be available when we need it. Citizens are being brainwashed into thinking caring for a country’s people is bad and wrong. Next time you hear someone complaining about “welfare queens” and the like, know this, 3% of the national budget is spent on traditional social welfare. How much of the national budget goes towards corporate welfare? Five percent. That’s almost $100 BILLION per fiscal year. Unlike social welfare, where those who qualify are in greatest need, corporate welfare is the opposite. The companies with the most receive the most assistance. Who loses out? Family farms, small businesses, and the like. Who profits? Those at the top. So, rather than dwelling on the guy buying a Snickers bar with his food stamps, maybe we should look at the bigger picture. We are only as strong as our weakest members of this society. A country that cares for its people is a strong country, a country of growth and prosperity. “We the people, by the people, for the people.” The government is supposed to work for us. The rules and laws are there to PROTECT us and help us grow. Throwing around loaded buzz words like “socialism” and “communist” hurt us all. Don’t like government interference? Move to Somalia.. where corruption, starvation and anarchy, caused by lack of government, are the rule.
- Made significant progress in eliminating al-Qaeda? Check. Osama bin Laden is dead. Dozens of top al-Qaeda leaders have been killed, including Ilyas Kashmiri, commander of al-Qaeda’s Pakistan operation, and Atiyah Abd al-Rahman, al-Qaeda’s top operational planner who became the number two guy after bin Laden’s death. Also, Anwar al-Awlaki, a main member of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, thought to have had a hand in attacks on America. Did Obama slaughter these men with his bare hands? Of course not. But, if this was such an easy task, why was it not previously accomplished? Give credit where credit is due.
- Made advancements in equality? Check. The Obama administration abolished the discriminatory “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.” His administration expanded the hate crime laws to include sexual orientation. Federal employees’ benefits were expanded to partners of same-sex couples. Funding towards the Violence Against Women Act was substantially increased. The Lilly Ledbetter Act was also passed, requiring equal pay for equal work, regardless of gender. President Obama values women. He would never say things about us getting home in time to cook dinner, use the phrase “binders full of women” (which was not true.. Romney was instructed to hire women because he was not doing so), or imply our children will become mass murders if we are unmarried parents. He was raised by a single mother (so was Bill Clinton). He has struggled. He has risen above. He has walked the walk. He was not born with a silver spoon. THAT’S what someone can accomplish in America.. regardless of a two parent household.
- Created safeguards to protect the American people? Check. He passed the Credit Card Bill of Rights. Credit card companies cannot bleed customers with arbitrary rate increases. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established. This financial reform protects everyday Americans. Lenders must now verify applicants income, employment, and credit history. Banks can no longer engage in proprietary spending. Shareholders of publicly traded companies can now vote on pay executives receive. These reforms protect us from another crash. We’ve seen first hand that deregulation does not work. Greed wins over the well-being of the American people.
- Implemented policies and programs which benefit our veterans? Check. The Veterans Administration Budget was increased by 4.6 BILLION dollars. This money went towards recruiting more mental health professionals to provide care to our cherished vets. Thanks to Joining Forces, Veterans Skills to Jobs Act, and other legislation passed under Obama, companies have hired or trained 125,000 veterans and military spouses in the past year. Veteran unemployment has also decreased by 20%. Who voted against the Veterans’ Jobs bill in Congress? Republicans. On March 6, 2012 the President announced new measures major mortgage servicers will be implementing to provide relief to thousands of veterans and service members. The Returning Heroes Tax Credit gives businesses who hire unemployed veterans a maximum credit of $5,600 per veteran. The Wounded Warriors Tax Credit provides businesses that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities a credit of up to $9,600 per veteran. The Recovery Act funded the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) with more than $1.4 billion to improve services to America’s Veterans. Want to know more? http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/veterans There seems to be a misconception that Democrats do not value the service and sacrifice of those who serve our country. This is just not true. Democrats love this country and value our troops and veterans just as much as any Republican. Just look at the facts.
- Made improvements to education? Check. Pell Grants were significantly expanded. These allow lower-income students to obtain an advanced degree. 9.5 million students were able to receive Pell Grants for the 2012-13 school year. Contrary to Romney’s beliefs, we all just can’t “borrow money from our parents if we have to.” Individuals with Disabilities Education Act received $12.2 billion in new funding. Programs such as Race to the Top, the reform and restructuring of the failed No Child Left Behind Act, and improvements in STEM education (science, technology, engineering and math) have made great strides in improving American education. Race to the Top has provided over $4 billion to 19 states. Funding will improve the four key areas of K-12 education. “These states serve 22 million students and employ 1.5 million teachers in 42,000 schools, representing 45 percent of all K-12 students and 42 percent of all low-income students nationwide.” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/issues/education) The key to a strong future is a nation with educated, informed and empowered citizens. Currently The US is ranked 20th worldwide in education. We can do better than that. We need programs, such as the ones implemented by The President, to accomplish this.
- Created job growth? Check. More private sector jobs have been created than Bush’s entire eight years in office (3.3 million). 5 million jobs have been created in the past couple of years. Were jobs lost at first? Yes. Obama inherited a financial catastrophe. Taxes have not increased on the middle class. The Work Pay tax credit of 2009, and a temporary reduction in Social Security payroll taxes of 2011, gave single workers a $400 tax credit and working couples an additional $800. Has the deficit “doubled” under Obama, as Romney claimed? No. In fact, it has declined. When Obama took office in 2009 the deficit sat at $1.4 trillion. Now? The deficit is at $1.1 trillion. Has the Obama administration had to spend on stimulus to ensure we do not suffer a financial collapse? Yes. Bush increased the national debt by 89%. Yes, Obama has also increased the debt by 40%. When large institutions are on the brink of collapse, something has to be done. Did we experience another Great Depression? Nope. The fact the jobs are now being created, and unemployment is at its lowest point in years, is quite an accomplishment. Especially given the mess we were in. Things ARE getting better. Do we really want to give the keys back to the guys who crashed the car? Deregulation, Trickle Down Economics, and such (Republican) policies do not work. The best predictor of the future is the past.
PART II: Reasons you should NOT vote for Mitt Romney
(to correct and clarify Romney’s claims on his record)
- Business taxes were UP under Romney. According to the Tax Foundation, “the Massachusetts corporate income tax rate stayed at 9.5 percent throughout Romney’s term. But Romney enacted a 14% surtax in 2004.. raising taxes on businesses.”
- Romney claims he “reduced unemployment to just 4.7 percent.” In fact, the national average fell by approximately 1% during this time period.. the same percentage the MA unemployment fell. The decrease was part of a larger trend, and nothing a Governor can take credit for.
- Over $2.7 billion in debt was ADDED to the state during Romney’s term (from $16 billion to $18.7 billion).
- Under Romney jobs in MA did increase by about 1.5%. BUT, this was a substantially slower pace than the national average, 5.3%.
- In 2003 Romney doubled fees for court filings (including marriage licensing fees), professional registrations and firearm licenses. Romney also quintupled the per gallon delivery fee for gasoline. Fees totaling over $400 million in his first year.
- Romney vetoed over 800 bills, the majority of which were over turned by Massachusetts legislature.
- He spent over $100,000 in tax money to have records removed from computer hard drives.
- Romney claims he “balanced every budget without raising taxes.” He may have never raised personal income taxes, but he did increase government fees by hundreds of millions of dollars in order to “balance” this budget.
- Romney cut aid to local cities and counties. In 2004, Romney cut almost 5%, approximately $230 million, from the local aid budget. The Massachusetts Municipal Association said Romney’s cut, “forced communities statewide to cut services and raise local taxes and fees.”
- According to the The Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center, “policy choices made over the past decade (ie during Romney’s term) created a structural deficit that have reduced the state’s ability to address the economic downturn.” And the state, “had a structural deficit even before the economic crisis hit.”
- If you are a woman. Electing an administration that wants to classify degrees of rape, ie “legitimate” or “forcible,” is dangerous and hurts victims. Romney/Ryan wish to allow rapists parental rights (the products of rape Paul Ryan believes women should be forced to incubate and then birth). Lastly, Romney/Ryan want to defund Planned Parenthood. This is an organization millions of women depend on for preventative care and life saving screenings. These screenings include: Pap Tests HPV Vaccinations, Breast Exams/Breast Care, Colposcopy Procedures, LOOP/LEEP Procedures, Cryotherapy Procedures, etc (see more: www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/PP_Services.pdf). They also supply much needed birth control, which prevent unwanted pregnancies = preventing abortions. Not only does birth control prevent unwanted pregnancy, which comprise half of all pregnancies, it saves tax payers money. Investing $235 million, on expanded access to family planning through Medicaid, would lower taxpayer costs by $1.32 BILLION. Planned Parenthood does not use tax dollars to perform abortions, which are only 3% of the services provided. The women who benefit most from Planned Parenthood are of lower-income brackets. They rely on this care. Keep in mind, the next president will appoint a new Supreme Court Justice. These are big issues that impact our future.
- Can we really trust him? The man changes positions more frequently than a yoga instructor. 1) ”Romneycare”.. the MA healthcare system he established. It is a near mirror-image of the Affordable Health Care Act. Now he wants to abolish “Obamacare”? Health care was his pride and joy as Massachusetts Governor. Hmm.. 2) Abortion: His previous stance, “I believe that abortion should be safe and legal in this country” to “I am firmly pro-life.” To recently stating he “would be delighted to sign” a federal anti-abortion law, with no mention of exceptions. 3) On signing a no-tax pledge: As a candidate for MA Governor, Romney refused to sign a pledge that he would not seek tax increases. Yet, he signed it as a presidential candidate. 4) Climate change: He previously stated be believed humans contribute to climate change, but then flip-flopped. A dangerous stance, given that 97% of climatologists confirm global warming is real and human caused. 5) Economics: As President Obama put it in the first presidential debate, ”For eighteen months, he’s been running on this tax plan. And now, five weeks before the election, he’s saying that his big bold idea is “never mind.’” A good read: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/mitt-romneys-election-campaign-insults-voters/2012/11/02/69fcc1fc-2428-11e2-9313-3c7f59038d93_story.html?socialreader_check=0&denied=1
Part III: God, Guns, and Gays
If you are voting solely on one, or all, of these wedge issues, please re-evaluate going to the polls. Here’s why..
God: There is a fictional “war on religion” in this country. Everyone is free to practice whichever religion they so choose.. or not. What you shouldn’t do? Vote to impose your religious beliefs onto the majority. THAT is not religious freedom, and that is not what America is all about. People seem to be confused about this. Failing to legislate personal religious ideologies (anti-birth control, anti-abortion, etc) is NOT saying you must engage in behaviors you deem unacceptable. You have a choice. It is, however, protecting the masses from having to live by one group’s principles. It’s equivalent to if Hindus wanted to legislate a ban on all cow meat. To them the cow is a sacred animal, and should not be killed and consumed. Many believe this very strongly. What if they attempted to implement laws to cease all slaughter and consumption of cattle? Would this be just? Of course not. This is America. We cannot take the beliefs of some and force them on all.
Guns: Sales are up. Manufactures are upping production to meet demand. In fact, for the first time in nearly 20 years, the number of federally licensed retail gun dealers has increased. The Obama administration has not taken away your guns, nor do they plan to.
Gays: Regardless of your personal religious beliefs (see above), the LGBT community does deserve the same rights as everyone else. If someone tells you this will lead to people marrying pigs and kitchen tables, just know that they are an idiot. Animals and objects cannot consent to marriage. There is a very big difference between a human being desiring to commit themselves to the person they love, and beastiality.. a large insulting difference. Marriage comes with legal, financial, and social perks. How would YOU feel if you were denied the right to marry who you love? How about if you or your children could not visit your other half while they were dying in the hospital? A right Obama ordered the Department of Health and Human Services to instate in 2010. One that could be lost, as Romney believes this should be determined by the states. What about something as simple as not being able to file jointly on your taxes? Churches that disagree with gay marriage can opt out. But, being recognized by your state as a legally married couple should not be denied. Over 1,500 species practice homosexuality. It is proven that homosexuality has genetic/ biological causes .. it is not a choice. Discrimination is.
I understand many of these beliefs take a lifetime to instill, and I am not going to eradicate them with one blog post. But, I do hope to plant a seed.
Some sources (not previously credited):
A great read: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/28/opinion/sunday/friedman-why-i-am-pro-life.html?_r=0
Now, let’s give the man a Congress that will work with him, and see what he can really get accomplished! A “NO!” Congress is not just hurting the President, but this entire country.
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