Tuesday November 1, 2016
In between nearly daily campaign stops shilling for Hillary, President Barack Obama has been promoting his record as Head of State. To Obama’s credit, he talks nice and appears to be both thoughtful and rational, qualities that were not always evident in his predecessor in office. But the hype about what was achieved in his eight years appears to be more than a bit overblown, particularly if one considers the flagship domestic project, Obamacare. It is a program in which the government forces individuals to buy a product that has been crafted together by private, for profit companies. If the people do not buy, they will be penalized by the government. The companies in turn have learned that it is tough to make money insuring people who are actually sick so they are leaving the program while those individuals who have to buy their own coverage without government subsidies are discovering that the significant annual price increases mean that they cannot afford insurance at all.Donald Trump is right that the program is in crisis, is “over,” and should be repealed.
Against that, what has Obama accomplished domestically? I will not consider the constant pandering on gender and race because that is, after all, what Democrats do. But if one considers immigration a part of domestic policy, he is responsible for refusing to enforce immigration law, letting Haitians stay illegally in the US as compensation for a hurricane that occurred in 2010, while also failing to deport whole categories of Hispanics who are in the country without visas or residency permits.
Domestic would also include the continuation of several types of surveillance of citizens by the NSA and FBI, the hounding and prosecution of whistleblowers, and the increased reliance on the State Secrets privilege to derail the use of the judicial system to pushback against government overreach. And in a just concluded parole hearing involving a Guantanamo detainee who had been repeatedly tortured, the Obama Administration has now determined that some individuals can be held in prison forever without ever being charged with a crime or convicted.