published Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Obama is a far better leader

President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.
President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012.
Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

With polls consistently showing the presidential election will hinge on the electoral votes of tight races in 10 pivotal battleground states, endorsing a presidential candidate might seem a futile exercise in states like Tennessee, where the electoral tilt is considered etched in stone. Still, it's worth the drill to explore the merits and demerits of both candidates in terms of how their policies wound affect average Americans.

Average, by our lights, includes Americans up to the bottom rungs of the 90 percentile in incomes. The top one percent of the income ladder --mainly the top tenth of 1 percent -- capture a fourth of all the nation's income and own roughly 35 percent of America's net worth. The top 10 percent as a whole control 73 percent of America's net worth. The bottom 90 percent control just 27 percent of American's wealth and have an average income of barely $31,500. Indeed, it takes a family income over $161,000 to crack into the top 10 percent.

As this widening wealth gap suggests, most of the nation's inflation-adjusted wage gains in the past three decades have gone to the top 10 percent. Conversely, inflation-adjusted wages have stagnated or declined for virtually 90 percent of Americans in the same period, requiring most families to hold two or three jobs and to give less time and attention to their children, community and civic life.

Wealth gap barrier

President Obama policies would do much to help the bottom 90 to 95 percent of families. By contrast, Romney's policies would largely unravel, and ultimately devastate, the earned entitlements, safety-net programs and women's rights most needed by average Americans. They also would significantly widen America's wealth gap, already worse than that of any other modern industrialized nation.

The policies we consider include: secure and affordable health care for average Americans; support for public education and college; living-wage jobs; Social Security and Medicare improvements; community, state and national infrastructure; clean air, water and energy; banking regulation and credit-card fairness; fairer taxes; wage and health care equity for women; economic opportunity; and national security and cogent foreign policy. In all these areas, Obama's specific policies, including many already in place, and administrative direction trump all of Romney's proposals and direction.

Backwards with Romney

By his own policy promises, in fact, Romney would take the nation backwards in virtually all of these areas.

President Obama demonstrated his steady leadership and proved his mettle from day one by stabilizing an economy that was in a disastrous free-fall when he came to office. His pursuit of terrorists and effective international alliances have proved his toughness. He's shown his character across the board by pursuing humane social policies -- education, health care, women's rights, tax fairness, job training, fairness to immigrants, rescuing the auto industries.

His stimulus package, despite the rhetorical attacks of Republicans, worked well. It provided substantial tax cuts to the broad middle class, funded new infrastructure and significantly helped stabilized state governments with three years of budget supplements (Tennessee got $5 billion) to sustain vital services and education and to reduce layoffs until the economy began improving.

Though the Great Recession of 2007-09 destroyed 8.8 million jobs, Obama's job recovery effort -- virtually always without the support of Republicans -- has achieved 32 consecutive months of employment growth, and more than 5 million new private sector jobs. Obama and economists, due to the lag time on economic data, did originally underestimate the depth and duration of the Great Recession, and its downside has conveniently given fallacious fodder to Romney's campaign. Yet nearly all of the bad statistics used by Romney to disparage Obama's administration actually did result directly from the economic crisis Obama was handed, and not from his recovery policies.

The largest chunk of the current $16 trillion in national debt, for example, came in George W. Bush's term, and in the pipeline of ensuing debt from two wars and the ripple effect of deep tax cuts, all on borrowed money.

The national debt was $5.6 trillion when Bush took office, and over $12 trillion with the budget and $800 billion bank bailout he left for Obama's first year. With tax revenue ravaged by recession (down to less than 16 percent of GDP from the 18.5 percent norm) and the debt hangover Bush left in the post-2009 pipeline for his wars, military rebuilding and reckless tax cuts, it was impossible for Obama to produce a balanced budget without pursuing deep spending cuts that would have thrown the nation into a double-dip recession. His budget plan now, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office confirms, would cut chop $4 trillion off the national debt over the next 10 years.

Which way on debt?

Romney deliberately distorts this picture to make promises that he can do better, but he won't say how. His prescription mirrors the policy and budget debacle of George W. Bush's trickle-down baloney. It's built on tax cuts for rich corporations and the wealthy elite, along with deep cuts for earned entitlements and vital services for the middle class.

Romney specifically proposes to cut taxes by $6 trillion: his own new 20 percent across-the-board cuts costing $5 trillion, plus another $1 trillion to keep the Bush tax cuts intact for the top 2 percent. He further proposes $2 trillion more in defense spending. He deceives voters on the effect of his tax cuts, and their addition to the national debt, by refusing to disclose how he would pay for them, and what tax loopholes he would close on corporations and the very wealthy. But you can be sure the burden would fall on the middle class, and national debt would rise.

Romney simply says that he won't reduce the relative "share" of taxes that the wealthy pay. Which is to say, the richest will get disproportionately huge cuts again, as they did under George W. Bush's cuts on dividends and capital gains. Here's why. More than half of the value of the Bush tax cuts on dividends and capital gains went to the top-tenth-of-one percent, the super wealthy with average annual incomes of more than $27 million. They got an average tax cut of nearly $330,000 a year; ordinary Americans got a few hundred dollars in Bush's tax cuts.

That's a fair "share" by Romney's standards. He still claims that his own tax rate of 14 percent under the Bush cuts, mainly in dividends and "carried interest" on investments, is fair. Never mind that many Americans pay a far higher tax rate, or that few can equal his $250 million fortune and the tax rules that enlarge it.

Romney the pretender

Romney has also flip-flopped on nearly every tough issue around: abortion, health-care reform modeled on his own Massachusetts plan, college aid, vouchers, gun rights, coal-fired electric power plants, energy efficiency, climate change, science versus creationism, government investments in innovative technologies.

You name it, he's flip-flopped on it, because his character and beliefs are based on who he's talking to at the moment, and not on deeply seated principles. Small wonder he pretends to be tough on China after shipping thousands of jobs there; or that he won't reveal his taxes from 2000 to 2010 after off-shoring tens of millions of dollars in foreign tax havens through his venture capital firm, Bain Private Equity.

There really is little reason to vote for Romney other than false hope for a pretender. Obama, on the other hand, is the real deal. He is a genuine, authentic leader whose heart is not in a private equity firm and minimizing his taxes, but in looking out for average Americans even when half of Congress made it their "first priority" from the get-go to defeat him this year. Had he been given just a little bipartisan help in his first term, the country and economy would be far stronger, and he would win this election in a landslide.

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BigRidgePatriot said...

Obama? A leader? LMAO

October 28, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
jmalgeri said...

In a tough election, where tempers flare and facts are often the victims, it is refreshing to read the TFP recommendations and their reasons for them. I contrast that to the leading paper in the large city to the east of Chattanooga, Knoxville, where the endorsements are based solely on partisanship. That paper endorsed Chuck Fleischmann, a congressman whose influence only marginally affects their readership, and avoided any stand on the presidency.

I frequently include the TFP in my FB posts for its consistent efforts to report about the issues of its readership, from the Chickamauga Locks to poverty. I use the TFP both as an example of good reporting and for its willingness to take a stand when it counts.

October 28, 2012 at 11:45 a.m.

It's amusing that Republicans can't tell the difference between Watergate and Benghazi.

One is a corrupt action, the other a tragedy. But exploiting it with dishonesty! That's showing conservative virtue for the fraud it is.

October 28, 2012 at 6:44 p.m.
JustOneWoman said...

JonRoss said... so jmalgeri can we assume that you are supporting Barack Hussien Benghazi for a second term ?

You don't have to assume that I am, KNOW IT! I am so glad that most people do not think like JonRoss. President Obama will be re-elected. We withstood 8 long years of Bush. So, Get Over It Rossy! This country does not want the same corrupt policies as the Republicans when they drove this country down the wrong road. This election will be a referendum on stopping the mean Republican bully. Hide and watch!

October 29, 2012 at 9:32 a.m.
bjennings55 said...

The differences between Watergate and Benghazi are simple. One president lied to cover a botched burglary. The other president continues to lie to cover up his obvious complicity in four men's deaths - four men who were loyally serving their country. The Commander-In-Chief failed them. The buck stops with him, from lack of security despite frequent requests to failure to send help during the attack even though help, by all accounts, was standing by within an hour's flight from Sigonella, Sicily. The military commanders were ready to respond. Somebody ordered the standdown. That call was of such import that it would have been beyond the SecDef's paygrade. All the president has to do is prove the skeptics wrong.

October 29, 2012 at 9:33 a.m.
bjennings55 said...

"Mean Republican bully"? What adult talks like that?

October 29, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.
chatt_man said...

bjennings55 - you're description of the differences is very accurate. It's beyond explanation how HWNB finds anything amusing about this subject. But, then, Obama doesn't find the deaths of these people to be too important either.

JonRoss - Honesty has no merit when it comes to liberal spin. It's more about the politics to them.

October 29, 2012 at 10:13 a.m.
joneses said...

Obama, hear this, It’s better to die a hero than live a coward. Libya was a real massacre October 29, 2012 These words are from the father of an American massacred in Libya ON YOUR WATCH. This is the America that is very real.

Last night on Geraldo at Large Charles Woods, the father of murdered Benghazi SEAL Tyrone Woods, sent this message to Barack Obama: “It’s better to die a hero than live a coward.” Well said.

“To have known what he had available, to have known that Americans were under fire, and to have done nothing, is dereliction of duty that I have never seen in a Commander in Chief from a president of any party. Outrageous.”

October 29, 2012 at 10:58 a.m.
carlB said...

The only thing that the enemies o President Obama have to "run on" is to BASH him and find fault in every way they can without addressing the issues that need addressing.

This Republic cannot be sustained in the stalemate condition that the people causing obstructionism have prevented a full recovery of the 2007 deep recession. Time is of the essence. Going backwards into another great depression is not an option. We have to "Go Forward" on a constant rate over a long period of time with the creation of middle class jobs here while reducing our trade deficit. The DOWNWARD TREND of this Republic that was occurring when President Obama was elected in November 2008 due to the fraud taking place in the Private Financial systems and from the effects of our/the Global Economy. Not to mention all of the other unfunded and unfinished issues/policies started by the last n.
The BIG QUESTIONs to ask are; Was this Republic on a sustainable economic and physical trend at the end of the last administration's eight years? In my opinion, it was not on a long-term sustainable path. But when President Obama took Office, what occurred to his enemies' concerns for what to do for the good of this Republic? The opponents of Obama appeared to forget about the crisis conditions and doing good for this Republic. They decided to turn against the President and to obstruct his efforts to get this country back on a sustainable long-tern trend. There appears to be many reasons for his opponents in causing his failure and most of their judgment against Obama appears to be based on a biased political and ideological reasoning.

October 29, 2012 at 12:07 p.m.

If you mean Dictator, you are correct.

October 29, 2012 at 1:35 p.m.

Obama is a leader? Obama is nothing but a cowardly narcissist. The Benghazi coverup makes watergate look like nothing. Obama should be impeached or resign. The polls are showing that he is being revealed for what he is, just a piece of crap president. He's not smart, he doesn't care, he's not a leader, he's just a piece of crap president.

October 29, 2012 at 1:48 p.m.
chatt_man said...

carlb - you may think what you wrote to be the case, but I (and I think many others) liken your post to the storm that is coming... It's more important to fill sandbags and slow or stop the destruction, than to go about things as if they are alright.

If that's too confusing for you, it's more important to stop Obama from the destruction path he is on with the country, and slow recovery, than to ignore that he wants to take it where there is no return. At least this way, there is something to continue with.

The only people that believe what you wrote have allowed him to hook you 'line and sinker'.

Thank goodness there's less of you now, than last election. If he had done that well, he would be reelected. He's had four years. He himself said if things aren't to a certain point in three years, he doesn't deserve to be reelected. I for one, intend to hold him to that.

October 29, 2012 at 2:07 p.m.
carlB said...

chatt_man, The the Storm had already hit before President Obama was elected in november 2008! The economy was going to "HELL IN A HAND BASKET" and you should not think the other voters did not realize it. We had better be glad and grateful for what President Obama and his administration has done to prevent another great depression. He has shown the needed leadership for dealing with all of the other unfinished issues/conditions that were occurring when he took the office. Has he been without faults or mistakes in dealing with the fiasco created by the unseen and unheard of "ghost" of the last administration? No! But he has done a damn good job of stabilizing the effects of the 2007 deep recession, even when his enemies have declared war against him in doing him harm to anything he has tried to do for getting the Recovery of this Republic Now, will the voters decide to put the Republicans and the other anti Obama people back in "power" so that they can continue with their objectives, ideologies against the freedom of the people and their agendas of destroying the balance between the middle class tax base, letting the 1 - 2% control?

If this Republic went into another great depression because the Republicans are "biased" against Presiident Obama and the role of our Government helping out when the private sectors destroy the economy and the financial systems, as in the effects of the 2007 deep recession? Thus forcing the masses of people into poverty, without money for housing, food, medical insurance to pay the doctors when they needed medical care. Would the one percent pay enough money to the insurance companies, the doctors, and the Hospitals to keep up without the masses of the 99%? Where does the having the right balance need to be? What would the Republicans, Democrats, who are white, black, brown or in between do, if the private sectors and the US Government did nothing?
The Republicans are telling us that this is what they would do if they get back in control; cut taxes, cut Government entitlement spending and wait on the private sectors to correct the crisis financial economic conditions while nothing was being done to put the people back to work, leaving the masses to "fend" for themselves during an undetermined length of time. What are the people supposed to without money, struggling/starving from the lack of food and did not have medical care, or roofs over their heads?

October 29, 2012 at 2:42 p.m.
carlB said...

zableedofisterix, Where has Obama completely failed by not "fixing" every crisis issue that he had to deal with, even before he took office, as compared to what the conditions would be now,if McCain and Palin had been elected? I see that since there have not been any other people to counter act all of the negativity and lies that this anti Obama group is putting out against PRESIDENT OBAMA, I feel as if it is a pleasure to inform YOU ALL that you are beating up on the wrong path and are certainly unconvincing because the facts will not back YOU ALL up. SO tell me some more of your BS and we shall see what occurs on November 6, 2012.

The Republicans have based their entire campaign on getting back into "power" on "biased" opinions against President Obama, with their planned obstructions to cause his failure and then lying about the good that Obama has done to stabilize the 2007 deep recession to keep this Republic out of another great depression. The Voters should be aware of all the the unfinished crisis conditions that had to be addressed when President Obama was elected and was sworn in. The Republicans' are continuing on with their "grand scheme" of misconception on the voters. The great mystery is, why are the voters willing to buy into the well concieved plan of obstruction and the lies by the opponents of Obama? Especially when this Republic was on the verge of another great depression before President Obama was even elected? http://www.nationalmemo.com/the-big-lie-of-the-day-fabricating-a-failed-obama-presidency/

October 29, 2012 at 3:02 p.m.
chatt_man said...

Carlb - I guess we just have two different opinions, which is not all bad.

I will say these things. The "hell in a hand basket" was monetary, and the finances had been ran by the Democratic Congress for two years while Bush had little control. He did try more than 15 times to warn of the impending housing market, but Democrats wouldn't listen.

The thought of the tax cuts has proven in the past, to be the best way to help the poor as well as the rich.

And now, while the boat is sinking, you want to put more water in the boat with what has proven to be the costliest tax increase in history, and only works well for the insurance carriers that stand to have many new customers. We do need health care reform, but not that sinks the boat before it can get uprighted. Pay attention, think for yourself, investigate for yourself, and don't swallow the hook and sinker that MSNBC and others espouse. You might try a little foreign press, they seen to not be as biased.

October 29, 2012 at 3:58 p.m.
hambone said...

4 dead in libya from a terrorist attack !

4,000 dead in Iraq from a trump up war !

October 29, 2012 at 4:02 p.m.
carlB said...

What else do the Republicans have to "RUN ON' except the bashing of President Obama? Why do the voters want to fall under the old policies of the Republicans'? We have already been made aware that the Republicans are not concerned with the 47%/99% of the masses of people when they are already taking away their bargaining rights and all of their representation in the work places.

October 29, 2012 at 4:26 p.m.
carlB said...

Why can the voters not understand what the objectives of the Republicans are toward the "masses"? They want to "sell" the voters their Package of GOING BACK to the mind set of, "it is not the role of the government" to help the people under any circumstances, leaving the people at the "mercy" of the private sectors, LETTING THE PEOPLE fend for themselves UNDER the private sectors objectives of "maximum profits" which means the "MASSES" will be repressed, regressed, oppressed, depressed, digressed, and suppressed with new morality laws being passed by the elected "leaders."
What DO the voters really want for their own self interest if they continue to vote for putting the Republicans back in control? Why have the Republicans obstructed the creating and recreating of Private Production and manufacturing jobs here in the USA?

October 29, 2012 at 4:30 p.m.
carlB said...

Got to go to school now, but I will get back to YOU ALL.

October 29, 2012 at 4:31 p.m.
chatt_man said...

While there are plenty of lies and even phony executive privilege to "beat up" on Obama about, neither hambone or carlb seem to want to address the financial blunder of the Democratic party. And that the Republicans tried several times to keep us out of the housing burst that started the financial problem. We don't have a taxing problem, we have a spending problem.

It's not all about Obama, guys. I guess you don't have any talking points to go with on that, though.

October 29, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.
hambone said...

When your stuck with the Romney/Ryan ticket all you can do is bash Obama!

October 29, 2012 at 5:50 p.m.
carlB said...

chatt_man said... It's not all about Obama, guys. I guess you don't have any talking points to go with on that, though

REPLY; chatt_man, you need to speak out about what the "facts" are that you question me about of not having any talking points on.

October 29, 2012 at 10:07 p.m.
hambone said...

Romney's latest lie that Jeep is moving all production to China has been debunked by everyone but Paul Ryan.

Romney's only rule..." he who lies last wins"

October 29, 2012 at 10:33 p.m.
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