November 6, 2012

Are You Better Off?

UPDATED:  The election was called for President Obama tonight, before 11:15 PM Eastern time, which is surprising in and of itself. 

The President won the expected states, including New York, California,  and Pennsylvania, a state that the Romney campaign spent a lot of time and money on at the end. 

He also won Michigan, Wisconsin, and Massachusetts, the home states of the Romney/Ryans. He won New Hampshire. And he won Ohio, in large part because of Romney's missteps on the auto bailout.

In the end, regardless of why voters did what they did, we have a lot of work to do.

My original post:
I know my vote for President has already been counted, so to speak, as New York is solidly a blue state, based on the overwhelming number of Dems in our major cities. Because of them, we don’t have the distinction of being a ‘key state’ like Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, or tiny New Hampshire, with its critical four electoral college votes. 
New York is so safe that I’ve only seen a handful of ads for the top contest, and I think if there hadn’t have been for Hurricane Sandy, or whatever you want to call her, we might not be seeing any Romney or Obama ads at all here in Syracuse.
All of the pundits have spoken; the polls have been taken; the editorial endorsements have come out; and now, finally, I get my say as to whether we're better off now than we were four years ago.  Here's some thinking on that:
  • When Barack Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, the Dow Jones was at 8279.63.  It closed yesterday (11/5/12) at 13,112.44. 
  • The first unemployment figure reported during the Obama administration was 8.3% in February 2009.  It got as high as 10%, when we were in the worst of things, and it’s now 7.9%.
  • The Consumer Confidence Index was at 38. It’s now at 72.2.
When Barack Obama took office, Osama bin Laden was alive, and we had no idea when we would be bringing our troops home from two wars. 

Before March 2010, when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was passed, we had no idea - not a clue - about how we were going to tackle the problem of the uninsured in America, which is an embarrassment for the world's greatest democracy.

We had "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"- formalized discrimination - in the military. And we had the banking crisis, and the housing crisis, and the auto industry crisis.

And now? Listen, I don't pretend for a second that we're in a perfect world, that we got everything what we hoped for when Obama was elected.  Certainly I wish he could have done more (Simpson Bowles financial reforms, elimination of waste and redundancy in federal programs, and so on), and in some cases I wish he had done less (Solyndra). 

The unemployment rate is not great, clearly, but it's improved even without Congress taking action on the President's jobs bill, and even in the face of the loss of several hundred thousand government jobs (a cornerstone of the R's smaller government plans at the national and state level).  

I certainly wish he could have done more with Congress, even though as we all know, the Republican mantra, (spoken publicly by Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell but shared by the rest of them) was  "The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president."

Well, I disagree. I don't trust Mitt Romney, because I don't think he really believes in anything, other than his own success. I think he's a successful businessman - he's obviously got a lot of money  - who plays by the business rules that are geared to help ensure businesses succeed, regardless of the impact on people.  I don't believe he has any real intention of changing the rules on businesses, other than making them weaker, when in some cases - not all - they should be stronger.  I also don't want a president who has signed any pledge for any organization, including Grover Norquist's anti-tax pledge. 

I don't know what his convictions are, because they change all the time, and so I doubt he has courage regarding them.

I don't believe we should completely throw caution to the wind when it comes to the environment, climate change (regardless of how it's caused), and how we use federal lands, which belong to you and me. I get the feeling that Mitt Romney would be perfectly happy having a picnic next to an oil rig in Yellowstone Park -- but that's not my vision of America.

I do not believe half of Americans perceive themselves as victims; I don't believe in redistribution of wealth from people to corporations, and I don't believe in extreme corporate welfare any more than I believe in extreme people welfare. I do not believe that corporations are people too. I am not better off with that thinking, that I can see so far.

Rather, I happen to think that America is better than kids being entitled to 'the best education their parents can afford'; that we are better than marriage discrimination; that we are more than our employment figures. I believe that we are more than the wars we fight. I believe we're better than people having to work until they're in their 70's to collect their retirement benefits.

I happen to think that we are part of a larger global community, not only militarily but in every other way, and we need to continue to be part of that larger picture if we are to be successful, if we're to remain the beacon of hope for the rest of the world. I also think we're better than a Mitt Romney administration.

Are we better off than we were four years ago? Yes, I believe we are,  and I believe that if President Obama gets reelected, we will be better off in four years than we are today.


  1. (When Barack Obama took the oath of office in January 2009, the Dow Jones was at 8279.63. It closed yesterday (11/5/12) at 13,112.44.
    The first unemployment figure reported during the Obama administration was 8.3% in February 2009. It got as high as 10%, when we were in the worst of things, and it’s now 7.9%.
    The Consumer Confidence Index was at 38. It’s now at 72.2.) - Baseline reset, interested to see the compare in 2016

  2. Agreed, and it's something I will be following. I think we'll have a test of this sooner rather than later -- fiscal cliff/sequestration and a lame duck Congress will make for an interesting, early test of Obama's 2nd term leadership. Stay tuned...