The issue: Voters have been inundated with negative campaigning; what are the presidential candidates for, rather than against?
History records a recurring theme in the rise and fall of nations: Economic inequality leads to societal turmoil and implosion.
This phenomenon is currently evident in many countries. A small percentage of population controlling a disproportionately high percentage of economic wealth is a recipe for divisiveness and disaster. We need to elect a president who believes in the system of governance that benefits all and not just a few.
In his farewell address to the U.S. Senate, the late Hubert H. Humphrey eloquently summarized what ought to be our nation’s commitment to social and economic justice: “The moral test of government is how it treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the aged; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”
President Barack Obama embodies these values. He has been able to make significant achievements for the common good of people. And he has been able to do so despite an obstructionist and dysfunctional Congress.
Some of President Obama’s accomplishments are:
He rescued the economy and saved the country from a second Great Depression. According to the assessment of the conservative Economist magazine, President Obama’s “handling of the (economic) crisis and recession were impressive.”
The Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, emphasizes prevention by free annual physical examinations, blood tests, skin cancer screening, mammograms and other preventive measures. Children can be in their parents’ health plan until they are 26. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the share of young adults without health insurance fell by one-sixth in 2011 from the previous year. Insurance companies cannot deny coverage because of preexisting conditions.
Educational support through doubling of Pell grants makes college more affordable. The Race to the Top initiative provides incentives to states to devise their own school reforms. The president has publicly stated, “What we say to school districts all across the country is we will provide you with more help as long as you’re being accountable; as far as teachers go, I think they work as hard as anybody, but we also want to make sure that they are having high standards of performance in math and science.”
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act signed by the president mandates that women get paid the same as men for the same work.
He saved Chrysler and General Motors from collapse, preventing the loss of 1.4 million jobs.
Troops stationed in Iraq are back, and a timetable for troop withdrawal from Afghanistan is in place. The troops sent to Afghanistan two years ago as a troop surge are already back.
He passed Wall Street reforms that protect American investors and borrowers from unfair and shady practices by financial institutions.
He invested substantially in clean energy manufacturing , which creates jobs and will result in less dependence on foreign oil.
President Obama should be re-elected for a second term because he needs time to carry out his agenda to:
Create 1 million manufacturing jobs during next four years. It is possible because last year the nation added 222,000 manufacturing jobs.
Reduce the deficit by $4 trillion.
Remove tax loopholes so the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.
Reform immigration laws.
Implement cuts in the bloated military budget. Observers agree that a tremendous amount of fraud and waste exists in military spending.
Double exports to $3.2 trillion from $1.6 trillion in 2009. This is achievable. The data indicate that exports for the first half of 2012 were $1.1 trillion.
Increase domestic oil and gas production, require fuel economy in cars and trucks, convert trucks and buses to run on natural gas and promote use of alternative fuels to achieve a 50 percent decrease in oil imports and create 600,000 jobs in natural gas alone by 2020.
There is no doubt that re-electing President Obama will lead to prosperity, especially for the middle class.
Zaf Iqbal is past associate dean and professor emeritus of accounting of Cal Poly’s Orfalea College of Business. He volunteers with local nonprofits including Habitat for Humanity, the Retired Senior Volunteer Program and the Children’s Resource Network. He is president of the San Luis Obispo Democratic Club.