Yes We Are Better Off

Are we better off since President Obama took office? That’s been the question most often asked across the country lately, it seems. Republicans would have us think that we’re not, but in my opinion they are completely, and factually, wrong. One accomplishment after another goes unrecognized and/or forgotten, so maybe it’s time to refresh our memories. Here’s a partial list of accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

• Auto Industry saved
• Got North Korea to stop enriching uranium
• Iraq war ended
• Bin Laden dead
• Nuclear weapons reduced by 1/3 in US & Russia
• Stock market more than doubled
• Turned around the plummeting job loss number of the Bush Administration
• U.S Gross Domestic product went from steady decline to increasing every ¼ of the Obama Presidency
• Ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell
• Settled Libya problem in 60 days with no American casualties or use of ground troops
• Got more Taliban leaders in 30 days than Bush/Cheney did in 6 years
• Insurance companies must cover pre-existing conditions
• Kids stay on their parent’s insurance until 26 under certain conditions
• Requires health plans to disclose how much of premium goes to patient care
• Prevents children from being denied health insurance coverage
• Cut prescription drug cost for Medicare recipients by 50%
• Requires large employers to contribute to a national healthcare plan
• Spending growth under Obama lower than that of both Bushes, Nixon, Carter & Reagan
• Temporary suspension of taxes on Unemployment benefits
• Jail population decline for first time in decades
• Wind power growth up 39%
• Instituted the toughest Wall Street reform since Great Depression
• Passed health reform: Others tried & failed over the last 60 years
• Insurance companies can no longer drop you when you get sick
• Stimulus Plan which brought us out of the brink of financial collapse
• Amped budgets at NASA & National Science Foundation
• Expanded state run health insurance to cover additional four million kids
• Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – Equal pay for equal work
• Global initiative keeping nuclear material out of hands of terrorists
• Hate crimes prevention act (Matthew Shepard Act)
• FDA for first time allowed to regulate tobacco
• Eliminated scandal plagued Mineral Management Services
• Overhauled the astonishing stupidity of the student loan system
• Cancelled bloated weapons program including useless F-22
• Stopped Russia supplying $1 billion of high-tech missiles to Iran promised by Bush
• $14 billion in federally funded loans to stimulate job creation
• Taxes cut for 95% of working families
• Passed 16 different tax cuts for American small business owners
• Fought GOP for Health benefits for 9/11 responders
• Consumer spending increase
• Orders for durable goods increase
• Ryan White AIDS Treatment Act
• Appointed more openly gay officials than any other president
• Expanded loan program for small businesses
• Increased funding for National Parks and Forests
• Led effort to phase out whaling
• Funding for high speed broadband internet access to students K-12
• $26 billion to states saving 160,000 teacher jobs among other things
• Helped rebuild schools in New Orleans
• Doubled research funds for cleaner fuel
• $2 billion to solar power
• Raised fuel economy standards
• Cash for clunkers
• Limited mercury emissions
• Eliminated oil company liability caps for oil spills
• Ordered BP to provide $20 billion liability fund for damages from spill
• Mandated new safety rules for offshore drilling
• World opinion of US improves significantly since Obama takes office
• Return rights of Americans to  visit and assist their families in Cuba
• Renewed loan guarantees to Israel
• Pressured Israel to end Gaza blockade
• Nuclear arms agreement with India
• Agreement with Switzerland to bolster tax information exchange
• Cut salaries of senior White House officials
• Prevented congress from receiving cost of living pay raise
• Established a Patient’s Bill of Rights
• Expanded vaccinations program
• Same-sex partners assured visitation & healthcare decision rights
• $8 billion to establish smart power grid
• $13 billion for high-speed rail in 13 major US corridors
• Major expansion of AmeriCorps
• Committed US to almost 5 million charging station by 2015
• Expanding broadband internet
• Improved benefits for veterans
• New and improved hiring policy for veterans
• Ended media blackout on war casualties
• Increased access to PTSD treatment for soldiers and veterans
• Reconstruction of military to reflect modern-day threats & technology
• Ended torture
• Recommitted the U.S. to  full compliance to the Geneva Conventions
• Cut missile defense system by $1.4 billion
• Increased pay benefits to military personnel
• Began draw-down of war in Afghanistan
• Ordered Seal operation to free of US captain held by pirates
• Negotiated nuclear arms agreement with Australia, India, & Russia
• Increased Navy patrol of Somali coast
• Provided $210 Million for building and upgrading fire stations
• Ordered extensive review of hurricane & natural disaster preparedness
• Edward Kennedy Serve America Act: Expands national volunteer program
• Removed restrictions and provided support of embryonic stem cell research
• Worked with international allies on International Space Station
• Used private sector to improve space flight
• Used Space Station for fundamental biological and physical research
• Established consumer tax credit for plug-in hybrid cars
• $60 billion in spending & tax incentives for renewable & clean energy
• For first time in 13 years America’s dependence on foreign oil below 50%
• Tax breaks to promote public transit
• Income floor for medical expense deductions for individuals 65 & older
• Health insurance tax credits & subsidies for incomes to 4x poverty level
• Tax increase for corporations with assets of at least $1 billion
• Closed offshore tax safe havens, tax credit loopholes
• Tax bills hit lowest level since 1950
• Tax refunds up 10 percent due to stimulus
• Imposed limits on lobbyists’ access to the White House
• Limits White House aides working for lobbyists after tenure in office
• Closed lobbyist loopholes with respect to the Recovery Act
• Banned lobbyist gifts to executive employees
• DOD will film all interrogations
• Created more jobs in 2009 than Bush in his entire presidency
• Gets 47 nations to agree to 4 years non-proliferation efforts
• Forced airlines to disclose prices upfront
• Helped clean out weapons-usable uranium from 6 countries
• Number of oil rigs in US oil fields has quadrupled in past three years
• US now has more rigs at work than the rest of the world put together
• First time since 1949 we now export more gas than we import
• Rescued hostages held by Somalia Pirates with precision mission
• Makes health insurance available to seasonal firefighters
• No deportations for young illegals born in country

So-Called Medicare Cuts Explained to Paul Ryan by the President

This is from one of the 2010 televised “Question Time” debates between the president and congressional Republican leadership. Here the president explains why Medicare Advantage needs to be reformed and where the savings should go.

Now I’m a participant in Medicare Advantage and have the private part of my plan subsidized by my private retirement provider, and must say that I love the affordability, flexibility, and overall care and access to care that it provides. I certainly don’t want to see it turned into the mutation that Romney/Ryan are proposing and envisioning, and I don’t think very many Medicare or Medicare Advantage participants would disagree with my viewpoint.

Nothing has been cut. Everyone is getting a better deal and paying less for it. According to HHS, Medicare Advantage premiums are down and enrollment is up. Hardly indicative of something that’s suffering and despised.

Now Ryan is on the campaign trail as presumptive nominee, Mitt Romney’s running mate, and he is echoing the mantra that the President is stealing $716 billion from Medicare to pay for the Affordable Care Act. We see him sitting in the video, apparently listening, and presumably comprehending what the President is explaining, and yet he’s now out there spewing the blatant lie about the gutting of Medicare, which is a total lie. Now he either knows he’s lying, or he didn’t understand what the President articulated in this meeting. One explanation calls into question his integrity, the other his intelligence. Either way you see it, should disqualify someone like this from holding public office, let alone the second highest one in the land.