Category: health care reform


America is struggling with paying its bills because we are deep in debt. Our politicians have done a terrible job when it comes to balancing the budget. Somehow our priorities are on war and no one really knows what we are spending or who we are fighting.

President Obama speaking at George Washington University

On Wednesday, April 13 at George Washington University, President Obama laid out his plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion over 12 years. Some political pundits and experts think he has an excellent plan, and others think the plan is light on details with very little substance.

There is no doubt that this speech and plan was a response to the House Republicans, who have created a plan to cut the deficit by $4 trillion. President Obama repeatedly attacked the budget released by the House Republicans last week in a sharp partisan tone. It appears that President Obama is drawing a line in the sand and he is preparing for a fight.

President Obama is not comfortable with the cuts that House Republicans are proposing and he is speaking up about what he does not like about their plan. “These are not the kind of cuts that the fiscal commission proposed. These are the kind of cuts that tell us we can’t afford the America that I believe in, and I think you believe in,” said President Obama.

Bipartisan CommissionThere are 4 key areas which President Obama will focus on, based on research from a Bi-partisan Commission. The first area would be keeping domestic spending low, the second  making cuts to the Pentagon, the third healthcare savings in  Medicare and Medicaid and the fourth taxing the higher level income Americans.

President Obama did not say how he would initiate these changes and there was already push back from the Republicans about additional taxes on the wealthy. He also did not expound on which defense programs he would cut, and how he would achieve a simpler tax system. Nevertheless the Bipartisan Commission findings and suggestions in many Washington political circles made sense.

Stan Collender, budget expert

“Mathematically, the Bipartisan Commission apparently works,”said Stan Collender, a former Democratic House and budget analyst. “Politically, it is going to have a lot of trouble getting support from more than just the members of the commission.”

The speech that President Obama made on Wednesday showed that he has backbone and he is willing to confront the Republicans. His debt reduction plan is a political step in the right direction. “Doing nothing on the deficit is just not an option. Our debt has grown so large that we could do real damage to the economy, if we don’t begin a process now to get our fiscal hose in order,” said the president.

With this speech, President Obama was focused on reaching the Democratic base and the independents. It is important that the president increases his base, because his administration in the coming months must increase the federal government debt ceiling.

No matter what side of the aisle you are on, everyone can agree that we have to begin to stop the bleeding and pay our bills. With 66% of our budget controlled by Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and Defense, we can not only cut from the other 34%. The Republicans and the Democrats will have to agree and work together to preserve the American dream for future generations.

For Americans to believe and trust in President Obama, there is a need for a balanced budget and the creation of hundreds of thousands new jobs. It is time for the president to be transparent with the budget and take control of entitlements. There is no way we can balance a budget and fight three wars around the world.

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Senate Leader Harry Reid

In Washington, there is political theatrics controlling the Congress, and every politician wants to be on the news. Everyone is playing games and they know that they are not doing their job. The President ran on a platform of change and the expectation level in the country was incredible.

America was ready for fundamental changes in Washington, and President Obama initially was a politician that progressive citizens could believe. He started his term with a majority of Democrats in the Senate and the Congress, and he got passed over 60 bills. He was able to get the Healthcare Reform Bill passed that other presidents had tried but failed.

President Obama’s polls approval rating initially was in the high sixties into low seventies. Minority communities’ approval rating for the president was in the nineties. But as the euphoric honeymoon began to dissipate into reality, we found many of the problems with the Obama administration were the same as other administrations.

The political fights between the Republicans and the Democrats were the same, but in President Obama’s administration they were a little meaner and nastier. With the emergence of the Tea Party, a new ideology was initiated that wanted a smaller federal government and were extremely conservative.

President Obama and the Democratic Party underestimated the influence and the political clout of

Tea Party

 the power of the Tea party movement. It is a loosely organized nationalized movement, which is the mobilized radical arm of the Republican Party. They are dissatisfied with the direction the country is going and they are angry.

With the country $14 trillion in debt, and every state treasury in debt, the Tea Party is correct when they say the Congress needs to balance its books and control spending. The problem with the Tea Party is they want to go backward as opposed to forward. Much of their ideology is based on state’s rights, American supremacy, and the good old-boy’s system.

Nevertheless, without a doubt the Tea Party members are a major impediment, and they make it harder to get the federal budget passed. They are a divisive force, and with the election of 2010, the new 85 Republican House members are connected to the Tea Party.

But all the blame for not getting the 2010 budget passed can be blamed on the Republicans and the Tea Party. When the Democrats had a majority in both Houses, they still could not get the budget passed. Somewhere there appears to be a problem with leadership, or planning in the party. If the Speaker of the House and the leader of the Senate are both Democrats, they should be able to agree on a budget, and get it passed.

This week the government shutdown was averted with a late night deal right before the deadline. Even though the shutdown was avoided this fight was over peanuts, because the debate over the 2011 budget will soon start. With a divided Congress, who doesn’t like each other, there will probably be a major fight within the parties, and against each party.

John Boehner, Speaker of the House and Harry Reid, Senator Leader met President Obama four times in one week to finally come up with a deal. John Boehner says, “The president is not leading. He didn’t lead on last year’s budget, and he clearly is not leading on this year’s budget.”

President Obama meets with his aides

At times President Obama is not engaged and he leaves certain projects and initiatives in the hands of his administrators. It appears the president’s strategy is to remain behind the scenes and let his aides do the negotiating. No longer can the president let his aides do the negotiating.

The president must be engaged from the very beginning and be the leader of his team. Our government needs the president to get vocal, get serious, and demand results.             

At the present time, the 2011 budget has not been signed by the president, because both Houses cannot agree on spending cuts and what to fund. As a result, our government is operating on a continuing resolution that comes to an end on March 4, 2011.

Speaking at an event

Dick Morris, political author and commentator

Many conservatives in the country believe that in order to get President Obama’s attention that the Republicans should force a shutdown over health care funding. The ultra-conservative Republicans want the size of government reduced and they are wiling to try different tactics to make this a reality. “There’s going to be a government shutdown, just like in 1995 and 1996, but we’re going to win it this time,” said Dick Morris at the American for Prosperity Foundation Conference.

Conservatives have taken the position that the deficits and recession are a result of Democratic policies and they are holding the Obama administration as the culprits. The conservative Republicans believe that they have a mandate from the American people to stop spending money and slash government spending by tens of billions of dollars.

Recently, the Republicans in the House voted to cut $61 billion in federal spending this year from the budget. This is setting up for a budget confrontation, between the Democrat-controlled Senate over the 2011 budget. Senate Democrats have made it clear that they are not willing to accept the $61 billion cuts that the Republican House has proposed.

“Read my lips: We’re going to cut spending,” House Speaker John Boehner, told reporters

Speaker of the House

 last week when announcing he won’t accept a short-term extension without some spending reductions. It appears that the House Republicans are drawing a line in the sand and they are refusing to budge.

As the Congress gets closer to the March 4, 2011 deadline, the two sides will have to make concessions if they plan to keep the government running. If the government was to shutdown, it would halt military pay, veterans’ benefits, Social Security checks, and government functions such as food-safety inspections. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has introduced a temporary spending measure to keep government agencies running through March 31, and buy time for talks.

House minority leader Nancy Pelosi

Many political experts and pundits expected in the 112th Congress that there would be gridlock with the new conservative Republicans elected in the mid-term elections. These Republicans want to eliminate 100 social programs and cut funding for 100 more. The cuts would impact programs in education, environment, health care, energy, science, the Peace Corps, and the Social Security Administration.

The Obama administration has not responded or established their position on the cuts. It is very early in the debate over the cuts, but leaks from the White House are the cuts could hurt the recovering economy. Many also believe that the cuts are too much too soon and they could cause a lost of jobs.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is urging Republicans to negotiate a compromise. “Now that House Republicans have gotten this vote out of their system, I hope they will drop the threats of shutting down the government and work with the Senate on responsible cuts that allow our nation’s economic recovery to continue,” said Reid.

Harry Reid, Senate majority leader

This issue is not going away, because everyone is passionate about their philosophy and mindset. There is validity in both side’s positions, and everyone is pointing a finger at each other. Collaboration and compromise is the way to come to an agreement, but very few are willing to give in.

The government shutdown is possible if both sides refuse to budge. Nobody wins and millions will be hurt in the process if the government shuts down.

by Roger Caldwell

President Obama made an historic appearance on Comedy Central’s “Daily Show with Jon Stewart.” This was an unprecedented performance for the president and a special format for the show. It was the first time that one guest was scheduled for a single episode, who happens to be the sitting president of the United States.

Jon Stewart has recently been described as a talk show host, a comedian, a media critic, America’s anchor in waiting, the court jester, and the mouthpiece. For the president to be a guest on a comedy show indicates the collective power that television programming and stars have, and how they influence our country’s thinking. Jon Stewart has become famous by making jokes about politicians and prominent people and built his show into a successful media franchise.

On Wednesday October 27, 2010, President Obama was the featured guest, and even though there were some laughs, the tone of the show was serious. It was no mistake that President Obama was on the show six days before November 2, 2010: Election Day. Jon Stewart is a progressive liberal whose show’s demographics can help mobilize Democratic supporters and deliver the vote.

Their discussion was respectful with a touch of humor, but candid, political, informative, and educational. The show started with some humor from Jon Stewart asking the president why the Democrats were begging the country for votes by saying, “Please baby give me one more chance.” The mood of the country has changed from two years ago when the country was excited about change and the new president.

President Obama responded to this humorous question with a serious answer, and the friendly sparring was on. Obama indicated that he was well aware that the “honeymoon” with the American public would not last. He was not surprised when there was a backlash, and when the economy was not improving fast enough.

Obama talks about the unemployment rate at 9.6% and over a quarter of all the homes in America, where the price of the house is more than the market selling price. He realized that many Americans are frustrated.

Jon Stewart is extremely articulate and he kept the president on the “hot seat.” “Is the difficulty that you have here the distance between what you ran on and what you delivered? You ran with such, if I may audacity, yet legislatively it has felt timid at times,” said Stewart.

The president’s answer to this question was, “Jon I love your show, but this is something where I have a profound disagreement with you, this notion that the health care was timid. Many people concentrate on the 10% we didn’t get and forget the 90% we did get.”

It was obvious there were contentious moments during the president’s interview with Jon Stewart. As a spectator, we will never know what was rehearsed for the 30 minute program, but the host never backed down. There are questions on the American public’s mind and our president was transparent and communicative.

The president is aware in the last 18 months his administration has been extremely busy getting new laws and reforms that will fundamentally change our system. The major problems with many of the reforms are that they are still in the formative stages and they have not gotten to the citizens, on the grassroots level.

Moving forward the president made it aware that he never promised that change would be easy and it would happen overnight. In 18 months, the president is content with his accomplishments, but is not satisfied with meeting his expectation level. There are many promises that the president made during his campaign that remained unfulfilled.

When Jon Stewart asked the humorous question if the president was planning a surprise party filled with jobs and health care, I really thought for a minute, maybe the president’s second term, he could make this happen. I bet the president didn’t think this was funny.

Check Roger’s other posts and columns, PRESIDENT OBAMA WATCH at http://www.presidentobamawatch.wordpress.com OR blospot.com