Paul Krugman, “Nobel Prize-winning economist, once one of the president’s most notable critics, why Obama is a historic success” recently wrote an enlightening article for the Rolling Stone. Titled In Defense of Obama he highlights major criticisms of Obama’s presidency. I usually keep politics off of here but after reading the article I felt it worth sharing. I voted for Obama. Twice. I don’t stand by everything he’s done but I agree with Krugman that the critics are a too harsh on the guy.
“Obama delivered less than his supporters wanted, less than the country arguably deserved, but more than his current detractors acknowledge”
Regardless of your political views this is well worth the read. Krugman gives an excellent overview of the current state of American affairs. From the ACA, aka Obamacare, to the job market he points out where Obama and his cabinet’s policy have helped.
“health reform is looking like a major policy success story. It’s a program that is coming in ahead of schedule – and below budget – costing less, and doing more to reduce overall health costs than even its supporters predicted.”
Playing the careful critic Krugman reminds his readers that things could certainly have been better and in many cases its not just hindsight being 20/20. Advisers (including Krugman) did their job and advised upon deaf government ears while policy created a slow but steady recovery as oppopsed to the in your face changes than the modern American wanted. We want the fix everything pill (which may have been available given the right policy) but instead got a tortoise to the hare. The good news is we are still finishing the race ahead of many global partners who still have double digit unemployment and significantly less of a recovery.
“The bottom line on Obama’s economic policy should be that what he did helped the economy, and that while enormous economic and human damage has taken place on his watch, the United States coped with the financial crisis better than most countries facing comparable crises have managed”
A major financial fact that Krugman illustrates (and most Americans are unaware of) is less of the importance of the recovery and more on new policy that will prevent another serious collapse. Dodd Frank is a complicated piece but 3 main points are highlighted. It protects American citizens from predatory lending, creates a system of oversight for too big and too greedy banks while giving the government legal authority to step in when those banks find themselves in hot water.
“National Security” is a hot topic and Krugman conveniently omitted the dreaded “drone” word. Perhaps the area where most of Obama’s supporters waver and the reason for low approval rating; I’m glad Krugman mentioned national security but he too was careful in the criticism. John Oliver illustrates the point quite well; most Americans are pro drones in spite of their horrific nature and while lacking sufficient knowledge on the topic. Americans (and most of the world) are willing to forget about the cons in lieu of killing terrorists.
Speaking of terrorists how about that NSA? Krugman points out that its not his profession but his comments echo those of most Americans. The country is slowly turning into a security state and Obama’s actions (or lack thereof) didn’t help the situation. The balance between freedom and safety is a slippery slope that I hope we don’t tumble too far down. This will undoubtedly be one of the biggest scars on Obama’s legacy.
“We have, in a remarkably short stretch of time, become a notably more tolerant, open-minded nation.”
But lets get back to the good news. In fact my favorite part of what will be the Obama tale has got to be social reform. We have a long way to go until equality has truly been reached but the LGBT rights are among few positive critiques I hear about my beloved home country while living abroad. Couple that praise with Environmental gains in green energy and the EPA’s new regulation and America is looking more and more like a progressive nation.
I guess I still have HOPE that”Yes We Can” continue to make positive changes and one day return to being the best country in the world! What are your thoughts on Obama’s presidency and Krugman’s analysis of it?
Read the whole thing at : http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/in-defense-of-obama-20141008#ixzz3GAYx28dU