Good day, readers! On this terrifically chilly day in Chicago, TheLeftyWolfe will examine a few of the highlights from this past weekend’s inaugural festivities. What were some of the major policies pushed forward by Obama? What does the American public think of such ideas? Stay tuned for that, plus my two cents as well. Read on!
As Obama laid bare what can only be described as a liberal-loving, in-your-face progressive agenda chock full of ideas sure to empower lefties nationwide, I could only sit and smile as I watched the television. It sure is nice, I thought to myself, to see President Obama so unconcerned with what the pollsters might say or how the rest of the voting public would react. Instead, we finally got to see the real Obama that many of us knew was there all along. He no longer needs to be concerned with what the pundits are spinning in the cable-sphere. Ditto on forgetting what the conservative opposition cares about as they issue their fiery rebuttal on their own cable network mouthpiece, Fox News. Now, Barack Obama can actually let loose with us, telling us what he REALLY thinks about gay rights, immigration policies and everything else. It seems we have witnessed the birth of Obama 2.0.
It is so rare for Americans nowadays to actually know what their politicians are thinking. Before any of them utter a single word in public, they have already considered what those in their political party will think, how the opposing side will spin their words and whether or not their ideas even have a shot at getting to a vote on Capitol Hill. One of the wonderful things about watching a President getting sworn-in for a second, final term in office is that the gloves generally come off and Americans get a chance to witness their favored (or disfavored) politician put their hands in the ring and get ready to battle for what is important to them and their supporters. In that spirit, TheLeftyWolfe will take a look at a few of the big ideas floated by Obama in his speech yesterday.
1. Immigration – As you might expect, the Democrat in Obama is quite liberal when it comes to immigration policy. Like most lefties nationwide, Obama continues to advocate for a path to citizenship for those immigrants who are currently here illegally. In his own words:
“Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.”
I could not agree more! Why in the world would anyone in the USA seek to deport those who have come here in search of a better life? Do these conservatives choose to just completely ignore the history of this great country? Unless you are of Native American descent, EVERY SINGLE PERSON IN AMERICA IS AN IMMIGRANT. Don’t forget that!
TheLeftyWolfe advocates for a very simple immigration policy: if you wish to become American, come on over! As long as we aren’t allowing terrorists or others who commit horrific crimes into the country, what’s the harm?? Americans who oppose such an idea need to have their heads examined. Every person alive and well in this country today owes their success and ease of life to an immigrant or two. Or three. Or four. Want someone to thank for paying only a couple of dollars for a loaf of bread? Then you better start thanking all of the cheap immigrant labor that allows grocery stores to sell bread for such a low price. We need to stop worrying about what is wrong with immigration into our nation and start realizing all of the economic and cultural benefits we receive from such growth.
–>–>Oh yeah…check this out: by a margin of 53% to 43%, the U.S. public agrees with Obama’s immigration policies. For all the talk from Republicans about how they only want to do what Americans wish, why are they continually railing against a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants? Here’s my guess: if all of the illegal immigrants in this country were to become citizens, those are a lot of future Democrats the GOP would have to deal with! Unfortunately, this seems to be yet another example of the Republican party putting their own personal wishes and bigotry ahead of the good of our nation. Is it really any wonder why the GOP has won only one of the last six presidential popular votes? I think not!
2. Same-Sex Marriage – Speaking more forcefully than ever before, President Obama also made the case for granting full marriage equality to gay and lesbian couples. When first elected to the White House four years ago, Obama was mostly mum on the issue, saying many times in interviews that his views were “still evolving”. Just a few months ago, however, all of that changed. I’m not sure if he was simply playing politics with the issue or not, but right in the middle of his re-election campaign, Obama made the dramatic announcement that he now, FINALLY, agrees with the concept of marriage equality. Not being shy about the matter, Obama brought up the marriage issue again during his inaugural speech. This time was different, however, as Obama equated the marriage rights of homosexuals with the civil rights movements of both women and African-Americans in the past:
“We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths — that all of us are created equal — is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall,” he said, linking the beginning of the women’s suffrage movement, the battle for black rights in the South and the gay protest against police harassment in New York as equal steps in the nation’s march toward equality.
“Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law,” he continued, “for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.”
Right on, man! Let us hope that Obama’s position on gay marriage will, in the not too distant future, also lead the federal government to argue against the disastrous Defense of Marriage Act when the case comes before the U.S. Supreme Court later this year. Until then, Obama’s statements on this issue will ring hollow in the ears of the millions of us so desperately waiting to be seen as equals under the law.
–>–>Oh yeah, check this out: the U.S. public is in Obama’s corner when it comes to gay marriage. Just a few short years ago, this issue was being won by the conservatives fighting so hard against it. Now, though, that opposition has faded. In fact, Americans now support full marriage rights for gay couples by a margin of 51% who strongly favor SSM and 40% who strongly oppose such unions. Although support against SSM is still high, the public has spoken. Gay marriage will become reality across all 50 states of America. The only question remaining is one of WHEN, not IF.
3. Safety Net Programs – In this realm, Obama offered perhaps his strongest choice of words to defend the programs that millions of children, disabled citizens and retired workers all depend on for their well-being…programs such as Medicare, Social Security, Medicaid and Obamacare:
“We reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.”
Programs like Medicare, Obama said, “do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. Our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it”.
As expected, Obama is still playing defense with his ideas regarding these programs. Liberals are mostly lining up on the president’s side, hoping to minimize any changes to these much-needed lifeline programs. On the opposite side are the conservatives, seeking to enact major changes that would lead to reduced benefits for the needy and changes to the tax code that would benefit the rich much more than anyone else. TheLeftyWolfe tends to fall in the middle of the pack on these wedge issues. While I wholeheartedly support the continued existence of such entitlement programs, I do recognize the path of instability that they are all currently following. Thus, in order to ensure the continued existence of these programs for future generations of Americans, I support the following:
3a. Expansion of Social Security Tax – Did you know that wage earners in the U.S. only pay SS taxes on the first $110,100 of income they generate? That’s right. If you are someone like Bill Gates, you pay SS taxes on the first $110,100 of income you earn, but pay absolutely zero SS taxes on the rest of your earnings. HOWEVER, if you are someone like me who earns around $50,000 per year, you are forced to pay SS taxes on 100% of your income. How is this fair? Politicians LOVE to talk about the insolvency of Social Security and how it will soon run out of money, but none of them are really vocal about actually doing something about it (other than increasing the retirement age, that is). Simply making all workers pay SS taxes on 100% of their income will very nearly wipe away all the debts currently associated with the program. How is that a bad thing? Oh yeah, I forgot. Conservatives really don’t want the rich to pay more, screw the rest of us. I betcha politicians would change their minds REALLY quickly if they were forced to live off of Social Security and 401(k) checks like other retirees. Seems like their preferred, privately controlled Congressional Pension Plan is paying out to them just fine. It certainly should pay them just fine…especially since they are in charge of it and vote themselves pay/retirement raises almost every year!
3b. Lower Costs for All – There are so many ways for the federal government to act that would lead to reduced healthcare costs for all, while also maintaining the quality of the services that we receive. Ideas floated in the past include allowing the government to import lower cost prescription drugs from other countries (like Canada), where the cost of such life-saving drugs can sometimes be 50% cheaper or more than in America. Also, why not allow the feds to bargain with healthcare providers over the cost of various medical treatments (such as chemotherapy, surgery, emergency room visits, prescription drugs, etc)??? If such action were allowed on behalf of the public (as the government is allowed to do for military and federal employee healthcare plans), costs would be dramatically lower for everyone. Why do you think healthcare and safety net spending is so much cheaper in places like Canada and Europe? It’s because their governments bargain for the best prices on behalf of the public (without sacrificing the quality of such care). It’s a win-win situation for both budget hawks and those seeking treatment/aid from their government-run safety net programs.
Conservatives take pride in saying that the government shouldn’t be involved in our healthcare, yet the government does a pretty darn good job providing no-fee healthcare services to millions in the military and others on the government payroll (like members of Congress!). Why not unleash this force for good so that all of America can benefit? I suppose Republicans in Congress only want themselves and their political cronies to fully benefit from government-run healthcare. To Hell with the rest of us, right??!?!
That’s all I have for today. Until next time!