A.J. DiCintio
A transformational president?
By A.J. DiCintio
October 6, 2013

Prior to his recent drop in the polls, President Obama received, on average, just under a 50% job approval rating, with perhaps half of those supporters regarding him as a "transformative" figure of remarkable courage, creativity, and wisdom.

In contrast, nearly half the public disagree, having remained steadfast in the belief the president has been a frightful agent of change. Indeed, a great number of these citizens perceive Barack Obama as a hackneyed though particularly clever iteration of the power loving ideologue incorrigibly devoted to the decrepit tenets of big, centralized government.

Before getting directly to the question of which view is better supported by reality, it's necessary to stipulate that it's possible to arrive at an answer solely by analyzing the president's economic performance.

And why not; for supported by myriad examples reaching back to the beginning of civilization, history teaches that when prosperity becomes an impossible dream for a great number of citizens, national dreams also die as the culture is destined either to slowly "dry up like a raisin in the sun" or suddenly "explode."

Now to the issue at hand, about which there are two items of good news.

First, it's possible to evaluate Obama's economic performance without resorting to mere hope, simple conjecture, or stubborn partisanship; for after nearly five years, there exists a great body of those "stubborn things" called facts .

Second, with respect to compiling the facts, the nonpartisan washingtonsblog.com has created a "Cheat Sheet on Inequality," a list of crucially important realities about the nation's economic condition supported by citations.

The list is quoted here not to argue Obama is the proximate cause of all the problems it presents but to prompt thoughts about whether, like a truly transformative leader, he has courageously promoted policies aimed at setting right an economy dangerously out of joint.

Following are the Cheat Sheet's most shocking observations.

"Inequality in America today is twice as bad as in ancient Rome, worse that it was in Tsarist Russia, [and] Gilded Age America."

"It's the highest level of inequality ever recorded in the U.S."

"It's worse in America than in any other developed nation."

"The economy has recovered [only] for the 1%."

"The super-rich are raking in more than ever [while] more and more people are sliding into poverty."

"1 out of every 5 households in the United States is on food stamps."

"The middle class has more or less been destroyed."

"Inequality has increased even more under Obama than under Bush."

"It's a myth that conservatives accept runaway inequality. Conservatives are as concerned as liberals regarding the stunning collapse of upward mobility."

Except for the last item, the list is depressingly dire. However, it does not presume to be complete.

For instance, it doesn't mention the false picture the U. S. government paints when it omits millions of Americans who have given up looking for work from its monthly unemployment rate calculations. Nor does it point out the duplicity practiced when Washington issues monthly job creation numbers without highlighting the kind of jobs created, their pay, or their benefits.

Moreover, the list is not intended to stand alone; for readers must look beyond it to discover the truth about the causes of the nation's economic devastation, the most important being the selling out of Manufacturing America in favor of Financial Industry America, a monstrosity pampered and propped up by an all-you-can-take cash buffet hosted by the Fed and whatever-it-takes congressional bailouts, all paid for, until the nation dries up or explodes, by the beleaguered American people, their children, and grandchildren.

Happily, the public already knows plenty about the trillions this administration has stuffed into the belly of the Financial Industry/Casino Banking monster, which, like Dante's wolf, is hungrier after eating than before.

However, following is a hugely relevant fact not well known, one uncovered by researchers at Syracuse University and reported by washingtonsblog, one that just may tell us all we need to know about Barack Obama's economic policies:

The number of annual prosecutions the Obama administration has brought against financial institutions for committing fraud is not just lower than the lowest annual number filed during Bush's eight years but, astonishingly, half the annual number filed during Reagan's last two years in office.

Indeed, "astonishingly" won't even come close to capturing the shock and disgust felt by Main Street Americans when they also consider that the responsibility for prosecuting the mindboggling financial fraud that led to the Crash of '08 rests, ultimately, on Barack Obama's shoulders.

Despite the horrific economic facts enumerated above, the president's most ardent supports will argue that, given the hand he was dealt, Obama has done the best job possible.

In response to that argument, this is what an honest, courageous, genuinely wise, creatively innovative leader in Obama's position would have done:

From the first day of his administration he would have labored mightily to establish a relationship with libertarian and Tea Party Members of Congress with the goal of establishing a bi-partisan congressional majority for real economic reform.

Why those legislators? Because their association with the Republican Party aside, they are open to ideas for reinstituting the sensible banking restrictions imposed by the Glass-Steagall Act (which was repealed by Democrat Bill Clinton and his cadre of crony capitalists from both parties).

They are open to ideas that oppose the easy money, funny money Federal Reserve policies feeding the gluttony of Financial Industry America.

They are open to free market ideas for tax, regulatory, trade, and immigration policy reform that put the economic welfare of the Constitution's We the People first.

That's what Obama ought to have done.

But he didn't do it because the legislators who would have worked with him for smart, sensible reform are opposed to his beloved nanny state. Therefore, true believing ideologue that he is, he made the crass political decision to demonize not just every Tea Party/libertarian legislator but the entirety of the Tea Party message. . .the good of the nation be damned.

That explains why the U.S. economy is where it is today.

And it explains why with respect to the question raised at the outset as well a full awareness that a single light year alone is 5.8 trillion miles, the answer is this:

Barack Obama is a thousand light years away from being a transformative president.

© A.J. DiCintio


The views expressed by RenewAmerica columnists are their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of RenewAmerica or its affiliates.
(See RenewAmerica's publishing standards.)

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A.J. DiCintio

A.J. DiCintio posts regularly at RenewAmerica and YourNews.com. He first exercised his polemical skills arguing with friends on the street corners of the working class neighborhood where he grew up. Retired from teaching, he now applies those skills, somewhat honed and polished by experience, to social/political affairs.


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