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Archive for Saturday, January 18, 2014

Saturday Column: How will history look back on the Obama years?

January 18, 2014

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Twenty-five or 50 years from now, what will knowledgeable observers say about what happened to the United States during the “Obama years”?

Will they say these years marked an end to traditional American free enterprise and capitalism, the tightening or loss of many traditional personal freedoms, a significant drift to socialism, a weakened role in international affairs that left the U.S. no longer as the world’s most powerful nation and taking a back seat to Asian nations, with a weaker dollar and leaders who don’t tell the truth?

Will these observers say the Obama years produced a major shift in income equality and the acceptance of high unemployment with expanded welfare subsidies? Will they say terrorism grew throughout the world and the national debt increased ,with the federal government printing more money to cover ever-increasing obligations?

Or will these observers say the Obama years were among the best in recent history?

During his first campaign for the presidency, Obama told his audiences that, if he was elected, he would make fundamental changes in America.

He has followed through on this pledge and soon will be entering his last two years in office, a period when presidents often are described as “lame ducks” with little ability to call for and achieve meaningful legislative action.

In recent days, Obama has said he intends to fight for many of his fundamental changes using executive actions if he cannot get what he wants from Congress. At the same time, members of the U.S. Supreme Court are debating whether he has violated the U.S. Constitution with previous executive actions.

Whether by the current disclosures in former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates’ new book or the most recent finding of the Senate Intelligence Committee or fallout from the miserable opening of Obamacare or by many other indicators, it is clear Obama doesn’t worry about telling the truth.

He campaigned on honesty, openness and a willingness to work on both sides of the political aisle, but he has failed on all of these campaign promises. He wants to go down in political history books as one of this country’s great presidents, bringing about significant, meaningful and lasting change in America and he is committed to trying to accomplish this by whatever means necessary.

If he can’t get it done in his eight years in the White House, he will help whichever Democratic candidate he favors to win the party’s nomination and win the presidency if they will pledge to try to continue the “fundamental changes” in the country.

More Americans are likely to be on the government teat at the end of Obama’s term than at any time in our nation’s history. And these millions can be expected to vote for the Democrat/Obama-favored candidate in order to remain on the receiving end of government subsidies.

What is it going to take to wake up America to what is happening in this country? Is there a Democratic or Republican leader who has the courage, intelligence, leadership, experience and eloquence to level with the public and call attention to what is happening to this country and its citizens?

Consider the loss of freedom, the increase in government controls, the national debt, reports that show one out of five adult males do not have a job, growing terrorism, the underfunding or misfunding of education, a steady drift toward socialism, mismanaged health care that accounts for one-sixth of our national economy and, perhaps most important of all, the stifling effect of trying to make everyone and everything “average” with few excelling and few failing. The mantra of social and political correctness calls for everyone to be comfortable with no one losing and no one taking a chance to be a true leader.

As an executive of one of this country’s most outstanding companies recently said, when asked about his company leading the way to set a national standard calling for major changes, “not sure we have the interest or the intestinal fortitude to be the ‘bell cow’ for this. In the past, it has come with significant criticism from both sides of the aisle when we lead in this dialogue.”

So, in this case, the company and its leaders did nothing.

Is this country slowly becoming a nation of people unwilling to be leaders or serve as a “bell cow,” a country where it is smart not to take chances or speak up for fear of offending someone and accepting average or mediocrity as the desired norm, with government in charge of most everything?

Will this be the hallmark of the “Obama years,” and, if so, what can be done to snap out of this damaging drift? Are the words or descriptions of “exceptional” and “excellent” disappearing from our conversation?

Just how concerned is the average citizen? Enough to call for positive changes? Or are they willing to accept average as the norm for this country and its aspirations?

Comments

Paul R Getto 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Dolph seems to be ready to join Brownie's Insane Klown Posse.

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Mropus Wan 3 months ago

Congratulations, Dolph. You managed to squeeze practically every Wingnut talking point into one column. I'm sure it took a while to parse through your conservative blogs and websites to come up with your vitriolic diatribe. I am actually surprised, though, that you seemingly managed to overlook the unAmerican Kenyan talking point. Then again, that undying desire to label our President as The Other just make you look a little too nutty, so I can understand the choice to leave this out.

It is your, umm, credibility that you so daringly put on the line in your own columns from, umm, your own paper I guess?

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Mr Simons seems to have been in touch with the ALEC misinformation machine.

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

"reports that show one out of five adult males do not have a job" A sexist comment. Nonetheless how is it that more jobs have been lost under right wing GOP than at any time is history beginning with Reagan/Bush New World Global Economy when USA jobs became a chief USA export to Communist China. Those leveraged buyouts picked up steam whereby investors were making zillions sending USA jobs abroad.

Tons of USA jobs went up in smoke aka abroad during the TWO home loan scams sponsored by none other than RIGHT WING GOP administrations.

" The underfunding or misfunding of education" a right wing GOP tool to kill public education who are ready to move in and set up big profit charter schools funded by public school tax dollars. Think ALEC and the Walton Foundation ( yep Wal-Mart money) agenda.

"a steady drift toward socialism" This one is really funny. Billions upon billions upon billions go out to wealthy billionaire and millionaire industry giants as "subsides" yet not considered socialism….yet another joke. Those subsidies include special tax write off's that favor USA industry going abroad. The best way to reduce the number of Food Stamp demands is too replace those jobs that flag waving corporate America sends to communist China and other nations controlled by dictators.

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Mark Rainey 3 months ago

"More Americans are likely to be on the government teat at the end of Obama’s term than at any time in our nation’s history. And these millions can be expected to vote for the Democrat/Obama-favored candidate in order to remain on the receiving end of government subsidies." C'mon Dolf. You take any tax dollars?

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Why is it the right wing challenge democrats on Presidential executive orders? It's as if republicans have never used such a tool which of course is not true ….. not by a long shot. http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php

"In recent days, Obama has said he intends to fight for many of his fundamental changes using executive actions if he cannot get what he wants from Congress. At the same time, members of the U.S. Supreme Court are debating whether he has violated the U.S. Constitution with previous executive actions."

Next the right wing GOP challenge Obama on debt. Few administrations can accomplish more debt than right wing GOP administrations. Debt does not bother right wing party leadership and right wing party campaign contributors. When the right wing has control of the white house and congress debt is part of doing business.

In fact, by the time the second Bush left office, the national debt had grown to $12.1 trillion. Over half of that amount had been created by Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy(BIG MONEY HOLE). Another 30% of the national debt had been created by the tax cuts for the wealthy under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush.

Whoaaaaaaaaa fully 81% of the national debt was created by just these three Republican Presidents. Goodness gracious you'd think right wing party members would be boasting this accomplishment INSTEAD of pretending it never happened . Think Supply Side Economics.

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Health insurers have forced consumers to pay billions of dollars in medical bills that the insurers themselves should have paid, according to a report released yesterday by the staff of the Senate Commerce Committee.

More on this story: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/24/AR2009062401636.html

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Richard Heckler 3 months ago

Private Industry Leads The Way In Fraud Against Taxpayers BIG TIME as always.

As in past years, the lion’s share of the total in FY 2013 came from health care fraud cases, with $2.6 billion in recoveries. Contract fraud cases accounted for $890 million of the total—a new record according to the announcement.

About 11 percent of that amount was awarded to the whistleblowers who exposed the fraud and false claims by filing lawsuits under the qui tam provisions of the FCA, which entitles them to a share of the recovery.

The FCA—also known as the “Lincoln Law”—celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2013. Here is a short list of the notable FCA recoveries that occurred during 2013.

AT&T: $18.25 million paid to settle allegations that the company improperly billed a federal program that provides telecommunications access to the disabled.

Caddell Construction Company: $1.15 million settlement of allegations that it falsified its compliance with federal programs to help disadvantaged small businesses; in December 2012, Caddell Construction paid $2 million to resolve criminal fraud claims in the matter.

CH2M Hill: $19 million joint civil/criminal settlement and an admission that it had encouraged employees to submit falsified time cards at the Department of Energy’s Hanford Nuclear Site.

Fluor: $1.1 million settlement of allegations that it engaged in illegal lobbying while managing part of the Hanford Site (see this Project On Government Oversight blog post for more details about the case).

General Electric: $6.6 million settlement of allegations that it submitted false claims in connection with defense contracts for aircraft fuel tanks and other components.

Northrop Grumman: $11.4 million settlement of allegations that it improperly billed the government for employee costs.

Pfizer: payment of $490.9 million and a guilty plea to a Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act violation by its Wyeth division for improperly marketing a kidney transplant drug.

SAIC: $11.75 million settlement of allegations of submitting inflated bills on a federal anti-terrorism grant program; $5.75 million settlement of allegations that it submitted false information to the government in order to win a contract.

United Technologies: $664 million court judgment against its Pratt & Whitney subsidiary for overbilling the Air Force in the 1980s for jet engines.

On the sesquicentennial of its enactment, the FCA is still an effective weapon for fighting fraud. How effective? Consider the record-setting recoveries the DOJ announces every year.

And consider a study released by the Taxpayers Against Fraud Education Fund in October 2013 that found the government recovers $20 for every $1 it invests in prosecuting health care fraud under the FCA.

[url]http://www.pogo.org/blog/2014/01/20130113-2013-the-year-in-federal-fraud-recoveries.html[/url]

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Bart Johnson 3 months ago

The Bush/Obama years will be viewed together as the beginning of the Great Plunder, where those in the government began to squeeze every last dime out of society before the government collapsed under the burden of an impossible debt.

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Bob Forer 3 months ago

One who has a distorted perception of the here and now is ill-equipped to predict the future.

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