The C+ President
Yes, President Obama has done many good things in his six years in office, but I still maintain that he has a mixed record. That's the reason for the grade of C+ I assigned in the title. An article I read in McClatchy DC on Monday will illustrate my point.
BERLIN — The world’s richest 85 people control the same amount of wealth as half the world’s population, according to a report issued Monday by the British-based anti-poverty charity Oxfam.
That means the world’s poorest 3.55 billion people must live on what the richest 85 possess. Another way to look at it: Each of the wealthiest 85 has access to the same resources as do about 42 million of the world’s poor, a number equal to the populations of Canada, Kentucky and Kansas, taken together. ...
The report also said that while the recent financial crisis was an enormous burden on the world’s poor, it ended up being a huge benefit to the rich elite. The very wealthiest people on Earth collected 95 percent of the post-crisis growth, the report said.
The report said that the trend is more pronounced in the United States than in other nations, but hardly limited to the U.S. [Emphasis added.]
Now, I am willing to admit that the Democrats don't control both houses of Congress. The GOP, especially the Tea Partiers (and those who are afraid of them), run the House of Representatives and that group has made it clear that it will obstruct any and all legislation proposed by the President. That, however, doesn't make the president powerless, far from it.
First of all, he has executive powers. His administration could have done some real investigations into the nefarious actions of the large banks providing mortgages and their buying and selling of those mortgages on the derivative markets. And, after the investigations, meaningful penalties/fines/prison terms for the malefactors could have been imposed. What we got instead were a few gentle slaps on various wrists.
Second, the president has a bully pulpit. He can use his Saturday radio address to announce his intentions to address the issue of wealth inequality. He can call a press conference at which he can announce plans to address the issue and to answer questions in which he can outline the specifics on his plan. He can urge the public to swamp their elected representatives with demands to pass legislation to extend unemployment benefits, to fund the WIC and SNAP programs.
So far he hasn't done anything along those lines. The subject somehow just doesn't appear on his agenda, at least hasn't since he got elected in 2008.
Maybe I was too generous in giving him a C+.