Not to be overshadowed by the recent unveiling of Mitt Romney’s first-term plans, the Obama campaign released their own outline for a second-term agenda. Obama spokesperson Stephanie Axelrod-Plouffe explained the campaign’s thinking: “We have decided that releasing our position papers through E.J. Dionne isn’t getting our message out as broadly as we had hoped, so we’re spelling it all out. Voters can decide for themselves which is the better plan.”
1. Unemployment: When President Obama took office in 2009, unemployment was a dismal 7.8%. After four years of focus on job creation, the rate is now at an encouraging 7.8%, indicating that remaining unemployment is a result of Bush-era policies. Going forward, we intend to highlight the damaging effects of these misguided policies on employment. The president doesn’t believe it is prudent to offer a details jobs plan, as that would only deflect attention from blaming Bush.
2. Deficit: This administration inherited a terrible deficit of $1.5 trillion from the Bush Administration, which forced us to continue trillion-dollar-plus deficits for the next three fiscal years. The president has a one-point plan to continue these deficits indefinitely: invest in America. The Romney campaign, on the other hand, would continue to run deep deficits and leave onerous debt to our children and grandchildren. We just can’t afford that.
3. Education: A second Obama administration would invest in education through expanded grant and student-loan programs, research grants, and tax credits. We hope that a majority of Americans will be able to attend college and be prepared for the lack of jobs that awaits them. At least we can keep them busy for the next four years or so.
4. Welfare: As part of our educational assistance, we will increase the amount of unemployment insurance, food stamps, and other welfare programs to ensure that college graduates will not starve because they are unemployable. Governor Romney would bankrupt the country by giving breaks to businesses, who add far less to the economy than do the unemployed. Given the number of young adults who are returning to live with their parents, we will institute a new program called Aid to Families with Dependent Adult Children, which will make it easier on families saddled with debt and unemployed children.
5. Same-Sex Marriage: President Obama has been consistent in his approach to same-sex marriage. In 1996, he said he would “fight” for same-sex marriage rights; in 2004 and again in 2008, he said he believed that marriage is between a man and a woman, based on his religious beliefs. He reaffirmed his unchanging beliefs in May 2012, when he publicly announced his support for same-sex marriage. Governor Romney, on the other hand, has changed his position so often that it’s hard to pin him down.
6. Taxes: President Obama is concerned that too many Americans are not paying their fair share of the tax burden. Nearly 98% of federal income taxes are paid by the top 50% of income earners, while the bottom 50% pays slightly more than 2% of the total. This grievous inequity, besides being inherently unfair, has led to a situation in which inordinate power is vested in the wealthiest Americans. The best way to remedy this situation is to repeal the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, which, although having a minimal effect on federal revenue, will at least make it seem a little fairer. Of course, we would not be in this situation if George W. Bush had not single-handedly decreed a massive tax cut in 2001 that the Congress has been powerless to resist or repeal.
7. Abortion: President Obama opposes imposing one person’s values on other people. For this reason, he is against forcing people to have babies they do not want and is in favor of forcing religious institutions to provide insurance for procedures that violate the institutions’ religious beliefs.
8. Foreign Policy: President Obama supports reaching out to our nation’s enemies, such as Iran, to help resolve the issues between our countries, which are largely products of our own belligerence. The administration favors punishing those who attack our country, unless it is a government that attempts to plant a bomb in Washington, DC., but with whom we are trying to overcome years of mutual resentment. We face great foreign-policy challenges, but these are left over from George W. Bush’s administration. Oh, and we killed Osama bin Laden, effectively ending any threat from al-Qaeda.
9. Media: President Obama supports a free and open media that works hand in hand with the administration to promote its goals, policies, and public image. The media must be kept balanced and unbiased, which is why the president supports reinstating the “fairness doctrine” and abolishing talk radio and Fox News.