To the editor:
All these many weeks and really years I read the various diatribes against President Obama authored by a small few. The latest by John Kauffman struck a particular responsive chord. In it he attributes just about every ill affecting America and its citizens to the president. There is nothing at all positive said about this man.
I've been around for perhaps too many years. I've never seen such vitriol and hatred leveled against a president. I can remember when in high school there were questions regarding John Kennedy's religion. Even with this normally passionate theme the participants were civil in expressing their positions.
With this president that civility and politeness seems to have been thrown out the window. Do these people think nothing good or positive has been done under President Obama? What about the successful operation that killed bin Laden? Can you imagine the angst the president went through in making the decision to go through with the raid? Had it failed in any way he would have been pilloried by the press and opposition, and there probably would have been calls for his impeachment, but he did what had to be done and the event was a success. In subsequent months, Al Quida chief operatives had been taken out, many through drone attacks in Somalia, Yemen and Pakistan. Mitt Romney said he would not go into Pakistan for bin Laden.
What about the bail out of the auto industry? How in any stretch of the imagination can this be thought of as bad judgment? Hundreds of thousands if not a million jobs were saved. These weren't all direct automobile production jobs, but jobs in associated companies making alternator parts, fuel injection lines, upholstered seats, etc. And the auto companies have paid back the bailout money with interest and are now flourishing on their own. Mitt Romney said that the car companies should be allowed to go bankrupt. He also said that foreclosures should be allowed to proceed with no attempt to save the homes.
You hear negatives regarding the TARP money. Almost a trillion dollars was paid out to primarily prevent huge bank failures that might have very easily brought down the entire economy. I guess it's arguable whether this payout was necessary, but we will never know. I have my doubts. What is important to remember is that although President Obama thoroughly endorsed what was done, the plan was developed under and endorsed by the Bush presidency.
Certainly, we are in an economic downtown. Unemployment nationally is about 8.2 percent. In Pennsylvania it is about 7.4 percent. Things are getting better although slower than wanted. But we are getting there. Reading and interpreting these figures can be very confusing. The opposition likes to remind us that a large number of people are no longer even looking for work and are not included in the figures. I find it a little hard to believe there is a large population just sitting out there without even looking for a job, and remember before the knee jerk reaction thinking these are just reliefers feeding from the trough. These are supposedly people that had formerly held jobs and are now unemployed.
An unemployment rate of 4 or 5 percent is considered very good. No matter how well the economy is faring there are always a good number of people out of work. Subtract this figure from the 8.2 percent unemployed and you get a much lower number around 4 percent. So you see these numbers can be crunched in many ways. It is ultra important that the unemployed be provided jobs. Don't you think President Obama wouldn't give his right arm to have this rate drop to around 6 percent?
Right now the European Union is apparently on the verge of having its economy blowing up. We are so dependent on Europe for trade. We import too much from Asia, especially China, but we rely on Europe as a place that receives the bulk of our exports. If the EU economy goes south, we will suffer no matter who the president is.
Right now the Affordable Care Act, or more familiarly "Obamacare," is being hotly debated. It's a very complicated law. Apparently the individual mandate is the hot issue. The Republicans call it a tax and imply it is the highest tax ever levied in history. The administration calls it a "penalty." Does it matter whether you're stabbed by a dagger or a knife?
First of all the penalty or tax will fall on those that for whatever reason refuse to obtain insurance. They will take their chances and rely on the emergency room to address the cough, fever or sprained ankle rather than have their doctor respond. And you know who eventually pays for these "free" services? We do with higher medical costs. It's not free, it's on us! The mandate would require these folks to get in line like the rest of us. Freeloading is anathema to the American ethic. This law will work to address freeloaders feeding off the system.
Supposedly about 1 or 2 percent of us would have to be penalized because of refusal to get insurance. Does anyone think this penalty would add up to the highest tax ever as is being charged? Not hardly. The law will undoubtedly be tweaked and changed and made better if it survives, which I think it will, and will be a benchmark in the Obama legacy.
Finally, there are those that think President Obama is not an American and is a Muslim. In the Southern states there are upwards of 40 percent that feel this way. This is amazing to say the least. How can this idiotic concept have legs at all? It is utter nonsense. Apparently, the only thing that might show them he is an American is a film of him being delivered and then have the camera pan out the window to show the Kilauea Volcano or downtown Hawaii City.
President Obama has said he is a Christian. What more can be done? These two subjects deserve little or no comment nor discussion.
There is too much of a racial undercurrent in this anti-Obama environment. I overhear it in conversations as I move around. Unfortunately, there are those among us that just cannot come to terms with having an African-American in the White House. This has always been the province of white men, and many cannot abide anything different. This is very sad and very discouraging. I thought perhaps all this racial nonsense was behind us. Apparently not.
Larry R. Baker