When I think I should remain "neutral" in these discussions, I recall that our Founding Fathers never remained "neutral" when discussing liberty and independence from England. When I think of being "neutral" I think of the Framers of the Constitution who didn't remain "neutral" when it came to determining the structure of our Democratic-Republic. If Americans remain completely neutral, would we not therefore become politically neutered?
Which leads me directly to the issue of honesty. After the conventions, Mitt Romney and fellow Conservatives have blistered the campaign trail with continued claims that Obama is a "Failed" president like Carter and that we are "Not better off than we were four years ago." When I point out that Obama has succeeded in a number of areas, I am immediately challenged. Just last night, I was asked about the troubling rise in student loan debt and that Obama has done nothing to help students. When I mentioned that he has and that the Romney/Ryan Plan crushes students with loans, I was dismissed as being a "Democrat" and "that's the only reason that you say that." So, let's go to the facts about Obama. Not based on my opinion, but based on facts as substantiated by the Pulitzer Prize winning Tampa Bay Times' PolitiFact.
What promises has Obama kept that Romney claims he has not? 1. Obama promised and delivered an extension of The Child Tax Credit along with fixes to the Marriage Tax Penalty. 2. Obama promised and delivered on an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes. 3. Obama promised and delivered on the creation of a Watch List to determine which countries in the World withhold tax reporting information about US Companies seeking to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. 5. Obama promised and delivered on establishing a program providing additional funding and related assistance to minority business owners (including women). 6. Obama promised and delivered on regulations requiring any changes to tax laws and regulations must first meet strict economic justifications for said changes. 6. Obama promised and delivered by establishing a program guaranteeing access to governmental contracts to businesses owned by women. 7. Obama promised and delivered on creating a Credit Card rating system so that consumers could easily compare the rates and penalties imposed by competing credit card firms. 8. Obama promised and delivered on creating the Consumer Bill of Rights, providing remedies for consumers that leveled the playing field with overbearing and unfair practices by financial institutions. 9. Obama promised and delivered by creating Broadband access standards so that all Americans will have access to high speed Internet. 10. Obama promised and delivered by creating the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, designed to protect consumers from fraudulent terms and conditions in all financial accounts, including but not limited to credit cards, mortgages and banking. 11. Obama promised and delivered by extending loan programs for small businesses. 12. Obama promised and delivered by extending the Bush Tax Cuts for Middle Class Americans (taxes have been lower under Obama than they were under Ronald Reagan). 13. Obama promised and delivered on his pledge to close the "donut hole" in Medicare's Prescription Drug Plan. 14. Obama promised and delivered by expanding the Senior Corps Volunteer program for folks over the age of 55 to share their business expertise with younger entrepreneurs. 15. Obama promised and delivered to end Pre-existing Conditions as a way for Insurance companies to deny health coverage to Americans. 16. Obama promised and delivered on programs to grant tax credits for those paying for insurance premiums. 17. Obama promised and delivered with providing funding to the VA to hire and retain mental health professionals...and then 18. Obama promised and delivered by fully funding the VA. 19. Obama promised to and delivered a housing voucher program for homeless veterans. 20. Obama promised and delivered by fully funding a program to fight violence against women. 21. Obama promised and delivered by ending military operations in Iraq, with systematic withdrawals of troops. 22. Obama promised and delivered by beginning payments on a ten year $30 Billion aid package to Israel. 23. Obama promised and delivered by increasing the number of those in our military. 24. Obama promised and delivered by making the National Guard leader a member of the Military Joint Chiefs. For the most part, these campaign promises were accomplished when the Democrats had control of the House and the Senate. Since the mid-term elections of 2010, initiatives have ground to a halt due to the GOP's own admitted "obstructionism." All of the above faced some form of opposition from the Republicans. Can you say Jobs Bills? All since 2010 have been shot down by the GOP controlled House and the Filibuster wielding GOP in the Senate.
For the sake of space, I will stop here, but the list of promises made and kept by Obama goes on for ten pages. You can check them for yourself at http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/promises/obameter/rulings/promise-kept/?page=1. But the one that was the focus of last night's discussion with a doubter was this. Obama promised and delivered a program to cut student loan rates and to index repayment of the loans at 10% of the student's annual earnings. In the event the loan is still not repaid within twenty years, the balance will be forgiven. This IS the current Obama plan IN EFFECT now. What does the Romney/Ryan team want? To reduce available Pell Grants and to cut the number of available student loans. They also wish to end the existing program to waive loan repayment if the student serves the public for a period of ten consecutive years after graduation. Romney is on record saying to a campaign crowd "I believe one should get as much of an education as they can afford" (Mitt Romney, June 29, 2012). Unfortunately, when it comes to the GOP these days, are their "distortions/lies" the product of being simply delusional, or are they actually pathological?