10 REAL Reasons to Criticize Obama
If you were anything like I was during the previous presidential race, I was blind-sided by chants of "hope" and "change" that had my head in the clouds. I really thought we finally had our next MLK and that he would finally take the helm and steer this country in the right direction...towards true equality. This is until the harsh reality of going without grounded me.
I understand his job was a daunting one. Being president is a tough enough job all on its own, but to be African-American/White brought its own set of obstacles that probably made doing his job almost impossible. This may be so, but if he were a true leader (such as MLK) he would've been able to transcend these obstacles by using the tools of wisdom left in the form of other president's experiences and the vast arsenal of resources at his disposal. Martin Luther King had everything, including the kitchen sink, thrown at him to try to keep him subdued. When nothing worked, he was murdered. Even that worked against his enemies, because his memory is now immortal and a part of the American heritage forever.
Maybe it's just a matter of undue expectations? Some people expected him to leave things as they are. While others expected him to make their personal lives even more comfortable. The rest just wanted to be able to play on an equal playing field. What everyone actually got was a hodgepodge of indifference to white collar crime and the suffering experienced as a result of it; status quo initiatives; and half-hearted bureaucracy conjured up with Congress that benefited no one but those who didn't need or deserve it.
If you take the time to search the internet, you'll notice that it is rather taboo to criticize President Obama and his administration on his last four years of leadership. Although there are millions of minor groups and independent individuals out there who have a bone to pick, their voices aren't as loud as the main two classes of critics out there: Liberals who say Obama has removed his teeth when biting into the problems of America, and; Conservatives whose inaccurate statements are so dumb they deter from the real reasons to criticize Obama. There is also another take which is the complete opposite of either of these groups: The Die-Hard Supporters of Obama. This group is probably the most fearsome of the three, since their views are sculpted by denial and the view from their rose-colored glasses. The enablers, if you will. They dismiss anyone who opposes Obama's views as a heretic with an axe to grind.
The point of this hub isn't to agree or disagree with any of the aforementioned groups. Rather, the intention is to highlight true instances of failure on the part of the Obama administration. Hopefully, this will help in the decision making process of those who previously voted for him and encourage them to take a more educated approach to giving someone so inexperienced their most precious vote.
One: Mass Deportation Without Proper Representation
It has been well documented (please feel free to fact check) that the Obama administration has doubled the deportation rate since 1999. The logic behind it is simple, it was supposed to be a quid pro quo with those Republican congressmen who opposed finding an expedited pathway to citizenship for foreign nationals living in this country illegally. If Obama agreed to cleanup some of the masses of immigrants, they would agree to finding a civil means for the remaining few who have been productive contributors for the many years they have already spent here.
Although Obama's intentions were good, they were fraught with naivety. Even small children know that you don't trade your lunch of pizza, snickers and a drink box for the promise of a tuna sandwich, raw carrots and a glass of water. In his effort to please folks who can't be satisfied, he destroyed families and even in some cases emotionally scarred good, hardworking people for life. A good example would be the recent deportation of a young African-American girl who was mistakenly deported to Columbia, because she was employed by Colombian nationals. Here's a few questions: Did anybody fully check her naturalization before they shipped her off? (In fairness, it was reported she gave a false name; but last I checked just giving your name doesn't equate to full identification verification.) Also, assuming the Colombians were here illegally as well, did anyone think that maybe they were making a considerable contribution to American society by creating jobs for our unemployed? I'm just saying.
Anyone living within the confines of the United States ought to have some basic rights to due process. No one should be considered unworthy of basic rights because they aren't an American citizen. For those who disagree, the African slave was classified as a percentage of a human. Should his descendants be considered non-citizens? This whole debacle has achieved nothing but the creation of more avenues for employing discrimination and racial profiling. Way to knock out forty-seven years of civil rights forward movement in four short years!
Two: Lack of Accountability for Wall Street
Except for a few extraordinarily crooked men and man from India (who thought he was equal to his white counterparts and wouldn't be prosecuted), no one has stood before a judge or jury of his peers to be held accountable for the collapse of our economy and the economy of the world abroad.
Many documentaries and articles have been published on the subject. They all come to the same conclusion, thousands of people were involved with the collapse of the economy, but just a few on one hand have taken the fall for it. (I won't put up specific links since too many are frowned upon at HubPages; but go to PBS's website/Frontline and see the episode on Bernie Madoff or Chicago Public Radio's "This American Life" website and search radio episodes #335: The Giant Pool of Money and #405: Inside Job.)
Worse, when the Obama administration started throwing money at the problem, it was done indiscriminately. All the supposedly "failing" companies and banks needed to do was to cry "broke" and they were bailed out. Even those banks who weren't in crisis and didn't need TARP funds were pressed to take the money. (In particular, several banks who didn't need the cash in New York State rather than give it back, used it to finance take overs of other doomed banks who deserved to fail. How was encouragement of a monopoly a good investment of taxpayer's dollars?)
Remember the going mantra was that the "sky was falling" and those companies were "too big to fail"? Well, this may have been the case, but why weren't they dealt with by the US Justice Department, as it did in 1982 when it stepped in and broke "Ma Bell" up into smaller companies? It single-handedly stopped the American Bell Telephone Company's monopoly on telephone services. Although the scenario was different, the result was what we need today. The promotion of competition and protection from predatory practices. The failing banks and mortgage companies should have been forced to file for bankruptcy and restructured, just like any small business would have been expected to do if they had been making questionable business decisions which resulted in their failure. I guess what's good for the goose, isn't good for the gander.
By the way, has anyone been crunching the numbers to see how much taxpayers' money has been lost on these junk investments? I'll leave you to research that.
Three: No Proper Bailout for Homeowners
This one really saddens me, as many families were put out on the street. I'm not saying that there weren't some people living beyond their means. I agree that if you work at Walmart, you are very much aware that you are incapable of paying for a house assessed at $250,000.00. My beef is the injustice done to those who were paying mortgages that were exorbitantly more then the actual value of their homes.
The same banks who took taxpayer's money to get themselves out of a hole, refused to restructure the mortgages of the taxpayers they took the money from. Isn't that a kick in the head? That's like saying, even though I caused the car accident, I'll be reimbursed for my damages and you'll get nothing for yours.
Even when Obama clearly had the upper hand to force banks and mortgage companies to play ball and stop the massive foreclosures and offer better deals, he made it VOLUNTARY for the companies to participate and let them draw up the rules for restructuring. As a result, most people who applied for the so called "Hope Now Alliance" strategy were only offered repayment options, instead of revising the actual mortgage contract to reflect the amount truly owed.
Four: Bailed Out the Car Industry
I don't think I need to say much about this. It's pretty ridiculous in itself. GM for example was bailed out and laid off thousands in spite of the bailout. Since restructuring, they have restored only a fraction of the jobs they chopped at a much less hourly salary for starting employees. They also dumped a lot of dead weight of old-timers by reneging on their pensions and health insurance. The unions have become weak as newborns, and guess what? All's suddenly well with the car company again.
Five: Increased Deployments of a Weakened Defense
Yes, we are out of Iraq. I concede that. But did you know that in the run up to coming out of Iraq and to increase further hostilities in Afghanistan, deployments significantly increased? Remember the surge? More boots on the ground than the Bush administration deployed over the eight years prior. Now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, is there really a viable reason to remain there?
Not to mention the other hostilities that have occurred in the last year: Military support of the Libyan uprising and the "saber-rattling" with Iran. I know we should be aware and emotionally support other countries on the verge of democracy, but do we have to get into fighting posture every time we do it? Except for Biden, I don't think there is one politician out there whose family member has seen combat or died as a result.
Did you know that in October Obama deployed troops to Uganda? Again, this may be a valiant cause, but our troops are in no shape to continue to police the world. I wonder how much longer it will be before thousands of troops begin to go AWOL?
Reference for Ugandan Deployment
- Obama Sends 100 US Troops to Uganda to Help Combat Lord’s Resistance Army - ABC News
ABC News’ Jake Tapper and Luis Martinez report: Two days ago President Obama authorized the deployment to Uganda of approximately 100 combat-equipped U.S. forces to help regional forces “remove from the battlefield” – meaning capture or kill – Lord’s
Six: Creation of Very Few Jobs
With so much misinformation out there coming from all sides, this one was tough to sort out. There are so many pundits out there sucking at the "corporate teat", it made it hard to decipher between legitimate criticism and cheerleaders for the status quo. Basically, the Jobs Bill proposed by the Obama administration is a mixture of reducing tax-breaks for the rich, bailouts for municipalities, propping up of rights already in existence under the Civil Rights Act, and some infrastructure improvement nationally.
Obama has made many references to replicating FDR's "New Deal" approach, which were essentially band-aids on a gaping wounded economy. What really brought the country out of the Depression was WWII. Rather than taking the soft-handed approach by denying tax breaks and closing "loop holes" on those corporations making trillions outside of the United States and depriving our citizens of jobs, why not force them to bring the jobs back by making it horribly expensive to do business within the confines of the US if they choose to send the jobs to Mexico, China, India and elsewhere? Wouldn't that bring back the jobs immediately?
Just a mention about the current employment situation for minorities. To date, the Latino community's unemployment rate stands at 11%, while the unemployment rate for African-Americans stands at a whopping 15.8% as of December 2011. This is twice that of White workers, currently at 7.5%.
In September 2011, Obama responded in an interview with BET News that he has been aware for sometime of the handful of African-American leaders who have always been critical of him, even before he became president. He is quoted as saying, "There’s always going to be somebody who is critical of the president of the United States. That’s my job. Particularly, when the economy is going as badly, as it is right now, people are going to have concerns. And they should,” His comments were in response to criticisms received when he spoke to the Congressional Black Caucus advising them to "stop complaining". Maxine Waters, (D-Calif.) expressed her outrage of his comments shortly thereafter pointing out that President Obama would have never have advised the Latino or Gay/Lesbian communities in this manner. She may be correct, but I could've come up with a less pedestrian and somewhat childish response. I would have reminded folks of Obama back in Chicago with his "grass roots" organization started in direct response to the leadership of Harold Washington, former first African-American mayor of Chicago. Mr. Washington was a true role model for Obama, since his ultimate intent was to improve life for the downtrodden African-Americans of Chicago. Unfortunately, Washington learned quickly that if he wanted to get anything done, he had to appeal to those with the clout...middle-class whites. Obama must have taken his calls directly out of Washington's playbook for "How to Take the Middle-Road to Success"; meaning not finding common ground, but appeasing the ruling-class (today no longer the middle-class). Both politicians might have had good intentions when they started out, but in the end they caved in, (just like most African-American politicians) and their supporters are left holding the bag.
Seven: Never Changed Congressional Status Quo and In-House Wasteful Spending
Obama has reneged on his pledge to take on the congressional machine to stop the wasteful spending of congress' multi-super perks. Just four years of service can (and does) set people for life.
If the average person were to try out most of the perks and exclusive benefits that Congress enjoys, he or she would probably get twenty-five years to life for it. Here's a few oldie, but goodies:
- Prime parking at the Reagan and Dulles Airports.
- Option to raise their salaries without voting.
- Perks of event tickets, dinners, lodging, travel, etc. from lobbyists - even though legislation was passed to limit the amount, they still are entitled to it.
- Excessive vacation days renamed "District Work Days" that give politicians extensive time off.
- Bloated pension benefits for life which are double of those received by a similar-salaried individual in the private sector.
- "Franking" - the act of using taxpayers' dollars to hone a politician's image. During campaign cycles, incumbent politicians are able to pay for their entire campaign on the taxpayer's dime which can run into the millions.
- Pork-barrel spending budgets for doling out millions to constituents for past favors or to obtain future favors. This includes covering the cost of a full staff to run such an operation.
- Exemption laws passed by Congress to evade tax, pension and investment laws the average citizen must abide by.They are also granted exclusive tax deductions no other US citizen may partake in and are privy to inside knowledge of stock trading prior to it becoming public. It is even legal for a congressman to make trades based on this insider knowledge. Just think, poor Martha Stewart went to jail for doing the same thing.
Eight: Indifferent to HUD Discrimination Policies for Katrina Victims
Here is one of thousands of examples where government agencies were established to protect the American public and failed to do so. Obama may not be directly responsible for the problem, but he is responsible for not placing someone in charge who would fix it.
The State of Louisiana has for centuries discriminated against its African-American population in every manner; education, housing, employment, etc. So, it was no surprise when homeowner victims of Hurricane Katrina went to apply for housing aid and were paid pre-storm home values which were purposefully undervalued as a result of intrinsic discrimination practices. The only thing that was surprising about this is the fact that the discrimination was being committed by HUD (the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development) by proxy of the Louisiana Road Home Program.
A Federal judge ruled in August 2010 that HUD and Congress had been aware for years of the uneven distribution of grant awards to African-American home owners, due to the devaluation of assessment values of their homes in relation to comparable family homes owned by Whites. Although the ruling has been made, no settlement has occurred. The State of Louisiana is appealing.
Nine: Refusal to Step on the Necks of Government Agencies Charged With Protecting the Public
As stated previously, there are several examples of events that have occurred recently as a result of the ineptitude of government agencies. Here are some of the biggest examples of how our government has lost its way. No longer “for the people”, except the rich, they exist to gobble up taxpayers’ money and produce no lasting result. Obama’s job as Commander in Chief is to ensure these departments and agencies are run by the most impartial and competent people possible. One stroke of his pen in an executive order disqualifying any person with a conflict of interest or personal agenda from government employment would set all everything right.
Securities & Exchange Commission (S.E.C.): The biggest problem with the SEC, as with most government agencies, is they have been assaulted from every angle to weaken its effectiveness. Over the years, the agency oversight ability has been chipped at by the infiltration of individuals who were previously employed by or affiliated with the companies the SEC was charged to regulate. Congress' combined efforts to overturn previous regulations (as lobbied by special interests groups) and the reduction of the S.E.C.'s budget has resulted in a “free-for-all” for questionable trading practices. Instead of throwing perpetrators in jail, as it once did, the SEC has been reduced to bringing civil lawsuits, levying miniscule fines and congressional hearings.
Fannie & Freddie MAC: These publicly-traded entities under the auspices of the United States Government turned the housing bust from a deplorable turn of events into the apocalypse. Their involvement gave the “green light” to the banks it did business with that it was not only good to profit from the subprime mortgage deals they were illegally peddling, but that it was best to do it on a grand scale. They ultimately were bailed out by taxpayer dollars, without holding the executives accountable until they decided to give themselves big bonuses in reward for their incompetency. Congress’ idea of “persecuting” the executives was to drag them into a hearing in December 2011 to publicly humiliate them in a spectacle designed for entertainment. The executives cried all the way to their off-shore banks.
FDA, USDA, EPA & OSHA: When these agencies mess up, thousands of people die. In the past ten years, thousands of people have died from a multitude of occurrences of food poisoning from bacterial contamination; little oversight and the rush to market of untested medical devices and pharmaceuticals have resulted in massive recalls; air and land contamination are the norm. (Ex: fracking, pollutants from the World Trade Center, continuing issues with the Love Canal, pollution of the Gulf, mining accidents, etc.) As previously mentioned, these agencies are also run by former board members, lobbyists and executives from the same companies they are supposed to regulate. The rest have had their regulatory abilities reduced so much they are helpless to stop it.
US Patent Office: Also created to protect and promote equal opportunity, this department has been turned inside out on itself. It is so muddled down in frivolous applications and antiquated policies that it is years behind in reviewing and approving patents that could actually create new markets and jobs.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS): As one of the most powerful agencies of the government, it has the resources and ability to probably payoff the national debt if its sights were pointed in the right direction. A full overhaul of the tax system to eliminate corporate loopholes, tax deductions and tax shelters would definitely help with the equalization of tax responsibility. How in a country as civilized as this one can an administrative assistant pay more in taxes that the CEO of a conglomerate?
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF): Here’s an example of an agency created from the time of the Prohibition to go after bootleggers and smugglers. Today, the bureau is an off-shoot of the FBI, and its goals have radically changed since its inception. It is now mostly concerned with enforcing the gun laws and regulating the gun industry. Since the 1993 debacle of the Branch Davidian Compound in Waco, Texas, the bureau has been involved in a wake of disastrous scandals; most recently the gun smuggling incident where federal agents knowingly allowed guns across the Mexican border. Two of the guns turned up in Arizona in the investigation of the murder of a border patrol agent killed in a shootout. Bottom line, this redundant agency with its spending excesses and criminality needs to be dismantled and absorbed.
Department of Education: Federal government spending has skyrocketed since 1970, but the achievement scores in science, math, and reading for students has stayed flat. Since the inception of Title I, the federal government and states have thrown money at half-hearted, ill-conceived methods billed as the all encompassing resolutions to the miseducation of the American child. All the finger pointing and blame in the world is obviously not doing our students any good. It’s probably time to take a hard look at Japan’s school system and learn some hard lessons on accountability and teamwork for parents, teachers, administrators and bureaucrats.
Ten: Has Ignored the Voices of Reason & Common Sense
Some time ago, I watched a news segment on entrepreneurs who were successful in their community. Specifically, a young African-American woman was interviewed about the success of her daycare center. The interviewer seemed awestruck with her business sensibilities, since she had no formal education in business or childhood education. Her reply, "All I needed to know was that I should put the right people around me in order for to be successful." This approach was a brilliant for its simplicity. You can still be successful, if you don't have the full compliment of skills required; as long as you have experienced people on your side.
Which brings me to Obama. In his first months of office, much of his rhetoric seemed more Republicanesque than anything. He turned from his promises made during his 2007 campaign, in favor of keeping many of the Bush practices in place until "a later time when it was more appropriate to phase them out". I was disappointed, but hopeful with the appointment of his Cabinet. Since then, the Cabinet has been a revolving door of appointees and conflict. Apparently, Obama has proven to be less of a team player and has isolated himself from his governing staff. To make matters worse, the crony aides he brought with him from Chicago don't seem to be up to snuff either. Working on someone's campaign doesn't qualify you to govern. So if his Cabinet isn't pulling the strings, who is...big Oil and such? Michelle?
I HOPE that in the next four years Obama seeks CHANGE and pays more attention to people like Tavis Smiley, who has been in the trenches and seen America's poor suffering needlessly. I would even add Cornell West and Jesse Jackson to the list of advisers. They do have valid ideas and would prove to be valuable contributors, if they ever decide to stop sucking their thumbs in jealous rages about Obama being president.