Max Stahl, staff writer
Throughout his nearly four years of presidency, President Barack Obama has incurred fierce hatred, unabated admiration and everything in between. In 2008 he was a symbol of hope and progress. Now his impact on America is a bit more ambiguous. He is not a perfect president. He has failed more than once. And yet I still believe that Barack Obama is the best man to lead this country for the next four years.
Obama has much to offer the United States, and, in fact, has already, in several ways, improved this country. Let’s start with one of his greatest successes: the stimulus package. According to the “New York Times,” the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act saved the United States from depression, creating 2.5 million jobs and preventing unemployment from reaching 12 percent. It kept the homeless off the streets, cut taxes on the middle class and, as a whole, turned the economy around. Conservatives argue that the spending was excessive, and that some entities that did not need or deserve a bailout received one anyway. Regarding the former, prominent economists such as Paul Krugman have argued that, if anything, the stimulus wasn’t big enough. Regarding the latter, although certainly some of the $787 billion that the government spent on the bailout was wasted or failed to produce the desired effect, results show that the majority of the money did yield a positive effect on the economy. The stimulus, like Obama, was not perfect. But it did bring about much-needed change. It was what America needed to save its economy.
The Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, was another of. Obama’s greatest achievements. The most significant healthcare reform legislation passed since 1965, Obamacare limits health insurance companies’ powers to deny coverage based on preexisting conditions, to cancel coverage, or to charge women more than men. The law also allows for young adults to stay on their parents’ health insurance plan until they turn 26 and offers tax credits to middle class Americans and small businesses in order to help them pay for health insurance. The Affordable Care Act does not restrict Americans’ freedom of choice and certainly does not implement death panels to determine who gets care and who does not. On the contrary, it extends coverage to a greater number of Americans and restricts health insurance company’s ability to treat humans as instruments of profit, rather than as people. The law is economically sound, and will actually save the government money in the long run, in part, by reducing the amount of hospital bills it will have to pay for uninsured patients. Obamacare benefits the government and the vast majority of Americans, and thus it is one of the president’s greatest successes.
In terms of civil liberties, Obama’s stance reflects a perspective fitting of the 21st century. Unlike Gov. Mitt Romney, who intends to impose his values on the rest of America, Obama leaves it to the people to decide what is best for them in many key issues. Obama is pro-choice and pro-same-sex marriage. Romney, on the other hand, is against abortion (although he has in the past been pro-choice) and believes that marriage should be only between a man and a woman. Romney would even defund Planned Parenthood, which, in addition to administering abortions, provides crucial reproductive health services for women for no charge. Unlike in economics, wherein the government should protect the people from the economy’s capricious nature, it is not the government’s place to forbid individuals from acting in a way that does not harm them or others. These issues are controversial, but it should be up to the people, and not the government, to take actions that reflect their beliefs, and not impose their beliefs on others. Romney’s stance does not allow for this. Obama’s does.
Barack Obama is not a perfect candidate. His drone strikes, which have taken the lives of numerous civilians, are one of his greatest failures. But Barack Obama is a good candidate. His economic policy will continue America’s ascension from recession. His health care policy will ensure that everyone who needs treatment can receive it. His policy toward civil liberties will prevent the government from infringing on the people’s freedoms. It is Barack Obama, and not Mitt Romney, who will more effectively lead this country. America does not need another four years of tax cuts for the rich and increasing burdens on the poor and middle classes. America does not need abridgement of rights and church influence in government. America does not need patients denied health care coverage because of preexisting conditions. America needs Barack Obama.