Why I’m voting for Obama in the upcoming election
Posted on Jul 25, 2012 in Opinion
“Tell me, why are you voting for Obama in November?” my uncle—a Republican and chief-operations manager of Ashley’s Home Furnishings — inquiries over dinner. I set my fork down on the ceramic plate to signal the start of a debate.
Round One: Health Care Reform
“Some Republicans seem more interested in limiting the government’s share of health care expenditures than in slowing overall spending. And some Democrats seem more interested in just preserving existing government programs than in making the entire health care system more efficient. Christina Romer from The New York Times would agree,” I began.
The Affordable Health Care Act will provide universal coverage and slow cost growth. In 2010, America spent $2.6 trillion on health care. Health care spending has slowly been rising for decades. Naturally, shouldn’t spending more on our health care imply that Americans receive better care and coverage? Sadly, America does not rank highly in overall quality when compared globally.
For life expectancy at 65, the United States ranked 12th place for males and 16th place for females. The U.S. mortality rate for asthma is double the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average and was 5th highest among mortality rates in industrialized countries.
Across the states, there is substantial variation in cancer survival outcomes. Compared to the OECD average, America performs about two times more knee replacements, cardiac catheterizations, cardiac stents, C-sections, cataracts and CT scans. Obama took a critical step towards stopping the downward spiral of America’s health care system. Health professionals and business leaders need to compromise and support change in order to stop the self-defeating system currently in place.
Round Two: The Economy
“We need a president who can make policies that unite the two parties, and Obama has not been a strong enough politician to establish a common ground. The economy has suffered more than in W. Bush’s days,” my uncle argued.
Generally, Obama spent four years of Democratic majorities in both houses and the Senate. Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus plan passed the House of Representatives without a single Republican vote. While in office, Obama has done as much as he can to help the economy and would have made more progress if he hadn’t met so much resistance from the Republican Party.
A strong presidential candidate should be able to unite both parties on the common ground of a proposal that is unanimously agreed upon as a good idea. But the two-party system that runs our government is in dire need of revision. It has given rise to extremists with either left or right-sided views, which leave little margin in the middle. Although Obama has failed to unite both parties, the status of the current economy isn’t entirely his fault. An unreasonable statement is that Obama’s four years in office have done more damage to our economy than George W. Bush’s eight years prior. Paul Krugman argues the economy of the “Obama era is a Republican economy.”
“What do I mean by saying that this is already a Republican economy? Look first at total government spending — federal, state and local.
Adjusted for population growth and inflation, such spending has recently been falling at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.”
A recent article published by Adam Gopnik of The New Yorker reminds us of Adam Smith’s proposal of the free-market theory in correlation with Obama’s policy proposals.
“Smith…thinks problems arise when the rich are able to make the government take their side. A healthy sovereign state is what serves the public against the producers…He [a citizen] is induced thereby to believe that they [producers] will usually not pursue their interests in grossly oppressive ways, and that they will usually wish to live in a society in which other people are not grossly oppressed or deprived…It’s always easy, Smith knew, to provoke a cycle of exploitation, rage, and revolution; that’s what most of history has been. What’s hard is to replace it with one of “mildness” — of public decency, progressive reform and shared prosperity. You couldn’t have a free market unless you had all the institutions of trust in place that only a sovereign state can guarantee. Everything we mean by a free market depends on a functioning, sympathetic state — a state rooted not in selfish individualism but in a social sympathy so broadly articulated and institutionalized that every man is confident that he can make an honest deal with his fellow man.”
Round Three: Trust
Mitt Romney has made promises that the nation will be better if entrusted in his hands, yet he has not said how he proposes to do so. Romney has lost the trust of many Americans by flip-flopping on his statements. He lost my vote when I read The Boston Globe’s discovery that he worked at Bain Capital three years longer than he had stated.
“Government documents filed by Mitt Romney and Bain Capital say Romney remained chief executive and chairman of the firm three years beyond the date he said he ceded control, even creating five new investment partnerships during that time…A Romney campaign official, who requested anonymity to discuss the SEC filings, acknowledged that they “do not square with common sense.” But SEC regulations are complicated and quirky, the official argued, and Romney’s signature on some documents after his exit does not indicate active involvement in the firm.”
Romney’s defense does not satisfy truth. I would rather have a president who is honest about cons on his track record versus lies to cover them up. If Romney is showing a tendency to be dishonest, I don’t find him capable of remaining loyal to serving the American people.
I concluded my side of the debate with the following statement, reminiscent of an article by Atul Gawande: “If your primary concern is how each candidate can one up the other by viewing their policy proposals’ as indicators of their political stance rather than the policies’ capabilities to aid the nation’s economy and people, I am disappointed.”