Jan 26, 2010

Short-Changed: Obama’s first year in office

by Ethan Massey

As voters charged to the polls Nov. 4, 2008, with a promise of change electrifying the air, they never imagined the man who seemed to walk on water would be forced to sink or swim.

Jan. 20, 2010, marked the end of the first year of power for President Barack Obama’s administration. With that milestone came a resounding bipartisan “boo” and a mere 51 percent approval rating, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls. Following his many failed attempts at change, it is hard to blame them.

After pushing through a $787 billion stimulus package, Obama proceeded to use the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) to buy a controlling interest in various companies. Though TARP was intended to save firms from their toxic assets, it only served to pull Americans farther under the blanket of socialism, according to the Guardian. As a further “push” for the economy, the Cash for Clunkers program went into effect, leaving buyers with their credit in the red and dealers looking for the money they were promised.

Many of these people still wonder if Obama’s “Promised Land” has disappeared along with his many other campaign promises. Among these are the vow for fewer taxes, more jobs and a general warm, fuzzy feeling as Obama’s approval ratings soar. However, the last year has made it apparent that these commitments rank somewhere on a mythological scale between unicorns and Gandalf the Grey.

Unemployment has steadily increased from 6.9 percent in November 2008 to a startling 10 percent in December 2009, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. This figure is comparable to the recession of 1983 as well as to the latter part of the Great Depression. Coupled with taxes that rob the middle class to give to the deficit, it is easy to see why Americans are lashing out at the new regime. The proposed $1.9 trillion increase in the nation’s debt limit hardly makes the situation better for Democrats.

So as the nation looks to its leader, Obama responds in true form as he wavers yet again in the face of failing approval and rising controversy. Now moving toward a watered-down and very muddled version of his original health care plan, the president seeks to build what he calls a “starter house” of health care reform, according to Fox News.

“I would advise that we try to move quickly to coalesce around those elements in the package that people agree on,” Obama told ABC News.

In light of the recent Massachusetts election, this “starter house” may prove to be nothing but a house of cards.

Americans have experienced first-hand what a year of change has brought this country. Disillusioned Democrats and Independents alike have now begun to move away from an administration that has only amplified Bush’s mistakes. As America watches its confidence wasted on quick-fix solutions, perhaps the United States can finally move toward a change that truly matters — one toward responsibility.

Contact Ethan Massey at

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