About a year ago, whenever the name of President Obama came up, the near-universal word used by people I know who had worked hard for him in the 2008 campaign was "disappointment." I certainly was disappointed by his views on a number of issues, including Israel. I was particularly disappointed that the president did not include a government option in the health legislation he ultimately supported, even though such an option had the strong backing of Democrats in the House.
I was also deeply disappointed when the president let the prescription drug companies off the hook and instead of allowing Medicare to distribute prescription drugs to the nearly 50 million eligible to receive them and requiring volume discounts from vendors, he agreed to statutory language barring Medicare from distributing drugs and specifically from requiring volume discounts. I estimate that if Medicare were to demand a 30 percent volume discount, the savings over a ten-year period could total a trillion dollars. Canada sets the retail price of prescription drugs in that country, and the prices for what amount to largely American-manufactured drugs are up to 50 percent less than in American stores.
I was further disappointed that the president continued the Bush administration's prohibition against Americans buying cheaper drugs in Canada and bringing them back to the U.S. I was also disappointed that the president did not support allowing health insurance companies to compete in all 50 states, instead of continuing the practice of barring insurance companies from entering markets in other states and thereby increasing competition.
I was disappointed that the president not only continued the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, but also approved a troop surge in Afghanistan which sent an additional 30,000 American soldiers to prop up the corrupt Karzai government, creating an American army there of about 100,000 soldiers. Today, we are spending $2 billion a week to defend the Karzai regime, and much of the country is still dominated by the Taliban.
I was very disappointed when the president, despite our huge national debt, entered into an agreement with the Republicans extending the Bush tax cuts to all, including those having an annual income of $250,000 and above, the top 2 percent of all taxpayers. The extension happened against the backdrop of multi-billionaire Warren Buffett's announcement that his effective tax rate was 14.7 percent and that his secretary was in a higher tax bracket than he was.
I was really disappointed when the president never challenged the fact that so-called "unearned income," is taxed at the capital gains rate of 15 percent. Most of us have "earned income," unlike the Masters of the Universe, who brought this country to its economic knees, destroying the retirement plans of millions of Americans whose 401(k) savings and stock holdings were nearly halved in the Great Recession, and whose homes lost huge values. And most disappointing for me that these jackals who were responsible for beggaring America have not been held criminally accountable. Instead, many have gotten richer.
My disappointment and that of many Americans was deepened by our perception that our president got taken to the cleaners in every negotiation with the Republicans, including the latest one on the debt ceiling. When he folded and gave them a full extension of the Bush tax cuts, shouldn't he have at least gotten in exchange an extension of the debt ceiling on his terms? He apparently didn't ask for it then, and now once again, the Republicans have beaten him, and a group of fewer than 90 Republicans, mostly freshmen, have gotten their way, imposing their terms on the debt ceiling extension with no revenue increases being part of the package.
I am deeply concerned that the president has violated the War Powers clause in continuing past 90 days U.S. military activities in Libya with impunity.
How is it possible that less than 25 percent of the House membership can roll this president when the Democrats control the Senate, the White House and a substantial number of seats in the House?
The president continues to be personally well liked. He is a very decent man and those of us who worked so hard to elect him feel sorry for him, and also for ourselves. We have an extraordinary country -- the envy of the world. So many elsewhere want to come and live here -- the land of opportunity. Those of us who live here wonder, where did it all go? How is it possible our government permitted the public to be so unprotected from the vandals on Wall Street and at the banks? How is it possible those charged with the duty to protect the public failed in their obligations? How is it possible that so many incompetents and scallywags have been elected to Congress to become the protectors of the rich and powerful?
How is it possible for the president to announce that he intends to raise a billion dollars for his reelection campaign, when we all know the only place where money exists to that extent is Wall Street and the banks? Those financiers have a habit of demanding support for their activities in exchange for their support.
I am puzzled by the fact that there are no street marches and demonstrations. Apparently the good people of this great country have given up hope for changing the status quo. They are wrong. I believe there is an opportunity in the presidential and Congressional election of 2012 to truly change what is happening. If there ever was a moment when a third party would have a chance to win, this is it.
The centrists of this country -- liberals with sanity like myself and so-called compassionate conservatives -- together constitute a huge majority of voters. If we join together, if only for this upcoming presidential election, we could make a difference. We could elect a president concerned about us and we could throw out a majority of the incumbents in Congress and elect people who will truly represent and promote our interests. Let's at least try.
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