Thursday, October 14, 2010

I am bemused by American politics

Two years ago the Obama administration passed legislation that turned an economic crisis in some ways worse than the stock market crash of 1929 into a fairly acceptable recession with unemployment rates comparable to those seen in the 1980s in the Reagan administration. While some economists continue to complain that the stimulus package was not large enough, others are complaining that it was too large -- suggesting that the Obama team (composed of very accomplished economists) got it about right.

He has proposed not to extend the Bush administration tax cuts for the very rich, a policy that would help cut the deficit without affecting the poor or the middle class. The Republicans are opposing this policy, suggesting that the tax cuts for the rich should be continued while protesting the large deficits.

The Obama administration managed to pass the most comprehensive reform of our health care legislation in a generation. Not only will the reform extend coverage, but it will according to the politically neutral Congressional Budget Office cut the deficit.

The Obama administration is moving to end the U.S. involvement in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, wars that are unpopular with the general population, and in so doing reduce the hemorrhage of government funds which has totaled a trillion dollars so far.

The Obama administration has taken some important steps to promote peace between Israel and Palestine, recognizing that theirs is a conflict that has complicated the accomplishments of U.S. foreign policy goals all over the world.

The Obama administration has passed legislation to improve oversight of the financial industry, making any repeat of the crisis of the last few years less likely (and probably less severe if a repeat does occur). In this respect, the Obama administration has reversed deregulation policies of previous Republican administrations that contributed to the recent crisis.

In spite of all this, the Gallup organization shows more people disapprove the job that the Obama administration done than approve of it. Nate Silver is predicting that the probability of the Republicans taking over the House of Representatives is 72 percent.

What would it have taken for the Obama administration to get voter approval?

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