President Barack Obama’s first full month as President will be marked as historically significant for its shift away from the fraudulent "trickle down" economic model begun by Ronald Reagan almost thirty years ago. The first significant policy vote was to approve and increase the State Children’s Health Insurance Program or SCHIP. This program provides health coverage for children of working parents who are not eligible for Medicaid and whose parents’ employers do not provide health insurance.
The shift in SCHIP eligibility provides health insurance for four million more children than the old system. The Republicans en masse voted against SCHIP with West Michigan congressman Pete Hoekstra using the specter of children of "illegal immigrants" possibly being eligible as part of his opposition to the bill. Hoekstra’s no vote was duplicated by most of the rest of the Republicans in the House with the final vote being 289 yes to 139 no.
Obama’s Stimulus Package outcome has been almost a duplicate (vote wise) of the SCHIP vote. In the House, the Stimulus Package passed with a straight party line vote. The Republicans again voted en masse against Obama’s Stimulus Package. Indeed, the Republican’s no vote has become routine, knee jerk reaction.
What terrible provisions are in the Stimulus that the Republicans are opposed to it? Tax cuts for 95% of Americans? $634 billion for health care? Taxing big oil? Reducing income inequality? Increasing taxes on people who make over $250 million a year? Probably a bingo of the last three were particularly upsetting to some Republicans. The suggestion or insistence, by the Right that Obama is a socialist is completely ludicrous. Because he wants to remedy some tax, income and other inequalities does not in any way indicate that he is not a capitalist, perhaps just that he is less "survival of the fittest" and social Darwinist oriented then Republicans.
There are humanitarian qualities that seem evident in Obama’s domestic endeavors that would increase the degree of civility in the country that has been absent since the time of FDR. A move back to that sort of decency would be a welcome shift.
Probably the most important and problematic area for Obama and the world in general is his apparent willingness to escalate warfare in South Asia. His attitude is obviously that the U.S.A. should be engaged in Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc., encouraging and in some ways and cases enforcing the protection of women and girls in education and civil rights.
Yet, any militarism should be should primarily a tool to protect humanitarian endeavors. The all too frequent civilian losses and casualties in Afghanistan and most recently in drone missile attacks in Pakistan must be ended and humanitarian missions such as protecting girls schools, roads, water and agricultural projects should be our primary endeavor and concern.
However, one has to question motives related to geopolitical control of an area of the world rich in fossil fuels and in which pipelines need to be laid if oil consortiums are to continue gaining the high profit margins desired. One has to wonder, too, about underlying aims of Middle Eastern assaults in that the Pentagon is the single biggest user of oil in the world such that it is ultimately dependent on oil obtained by such incursions.
We are entering a new era with Obama’s changes that are still unfolding and a populace that’s more actively engaged in political processes than in the past. Hopefully, the Congress will better represent the interests of the public at large and show a new sense of accountability to constituents. How will everything evolve? Has anyone predictions?