5 reasons Obama is not a 'socialist, communist, dictator' the GOP claims he is
Ever since the election of Barack Obama in November of 2008, Republicans and conservatives around the country have tied his name to certain political buzz words. Shouts of "socialist," "communist," and "dictator" are often heard at rallies and town halls, but the reality is that President Obama doesn't fit any of those terms.
As Sen. Obama became President Obama during his inauguration on January 20, 2009, conservatives around the country seemed to have planned their attack. It was common for Tea Party rallies to grow in size, accusing President Obama of government over reach as he tried to implement what they perceived as "socialism" or "communism."
While Republicans have attempted to label the president, the reality is much different. President Obama is far from a dictator and his critics from the left will laugh at the allegations of his alleged socialistic behavior.
1. Gun rights - Since President Obama came into office, the United States has had the unfortunate opportunity to host multiple school and other mass shootings, not to mention thousands of gun related deaths per year in the United States. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 11,078 people were killed in 2010 due to firearm related homicides.
Of all gun related deaths, none captured the nation more than the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting on December 14, 2012, in Newtown, Connecticut. After 20 year old Adam Lanza shot and killed 26 people, including 20 young children, the topic of gun rights became headline news and topic number one around the water cooler. President Obama spoke out for sensible gun rights and even pushed for a simple background check bill to be passed through the Senate which is controlled by the Democrats. With background checks polling at nearly 90 percent among the American people, the basic background check bill with President Obama's blessing couldn't even pass through the Democrats' Senate. Hardly the result worthy of a dictator.
2. Minimum wage - The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour. If a employee works full time at minimum wage, they will earn $290 a week, before taxes. If that worker doesn't take any time off and works through all holidays, their yearly earning with hit $15,080, once again before taxes. The last increase was on July 24, 2009 and was the final part of a three step increase via the Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2007, signed by President George W. Bush. President Obama has continued to promote a minimum wage increase, most recently during his State of the Union address and the suggestion of a federal increase to $10.10 an hour.
While some states and cities have voted for an increase, President Obama has seen no movement in Congress towards any possible federal increase. For an alleged communist dictator, the inability to raise the federal minimum wage even one penny shows he's pretty bad at his job.
3. "Obamacare" - Call it what you want, the Affordable Care Act, health care reform or "Obamacare," President Obama's signature piece of legislation has been one of the most controversial in recent memory. Whether you like it or hate, the law is the law and it's hear to stay. Despite Republican rhetoric, the Affordable Care Act has led nearly 10 million people to purchase private insurance, many who have been helped through federal subsides by the health care exchange (when they were able to sign into the website that is). About half of the states in the country have expanded their Medicaid program and added many more to the roles.
The biggest issue many Obama supporters have with the program is that it doesn't include the single payer government option that the president was quick to ditch in order to get some kind of health care reform passed through congress. After years of both sides of the aisle, particularly Democrats, calling out the greedy nature of the health care insurance industry, the law actually mandates that Americans purchase their product or face a fine at the end of the year that will continue to increase over the next few years. Forcing Americans to buy a private product? That doesn't sound like a government loving communist or socialist, but rather an extreme capitalist.
4. Gitmo - On the campaign trail in 2008, Sen. Barack Obama made a promise that he would close the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba. Fast forward six years and the prison is still open as congress refuses to cooperate with their Commander in Chief. President Obama has made a few attempts to close the prison, but nothing has come of it and has released seemed to back off of the idea of closing the prison and has focused more on possibly transferring some prisoners out. If President Obama was truly a dictator like Republicans claim, the prison would have been closed on day one, not still open during the sixth year of his presidency.
5. Unemployment benefits, food stamps and more - If President Obama was truly a socialist or communist, unemployment benefits, food stamps and other social services such as the WIC program and Medicaid wouldn't be getting slashed like they have over the last few years. When Congress passed the farm bill earlier this year, it included an $8 billion cut to SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) otherwise known as the food stamp program over the next 10 years. In addition, at the end of 2013, 1.3 million Americans lost their unemployment benefits and despite pressure from President Obama and Democrats in congress, Republicans continued to block an extension.
Half the states in the country have also refused to comply with the Affordable Care Act by not expanding the Medicaid program. The federal government is offering to covering 100 percent of the costs of the new enrollees for the first three years and 90 percent of the costs moving forward. Even with the financial handout to the states, Republican led states still refuse to expand the program.
Whether it's "Obamacare," social service and federal assistance programs, the minimum wage, Gitmo or common sense gun laws, the lack of progress in these areas highlight that President Obama is not a dictator, communist or a socialist, but rather a president who is dealing with record obstruction in the House of Representatives and in the Senate. If Obama really is a communist dictator, he's not a very good one. The bottom line is that Barack Obama is the President of the United States. He has made some good choices, some bad choices and some debatable choices, but at the end of the day there is only so much he can do if no one is willing to work with him.