Thursday, April 30, 2009

President Obama's first 100 days

April 29, 2009 | By Nathaniel Ward


Today marks President Obama's 100th day in office. Few will disagree that these past three months have been consequential: the new administration has enacted unprecedented changes to economic policy, foreign and national security policy and social policy.

However, while the mainstream media goes out of its way to praise these as "change we can believe in," Heritage Foundation experts suggest that not all these changes are for the best. 


Economic Policy:


The president's economic policies have perhaps made the most headlines during his short tenure in office. To date, the president has potentially doubled the national debt by endorsing such legislation as:


$787 billion "stimulus'" bill, which the CBO projects could cost $3.27 trillion.


$410 billion earmark-packed omnibus bill; and


$3.6 trillion budget proposal for FY2010.


In a Washington Post commentary, Heritage distinguished fellow and former Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao argues that President Obama has done little more than increase spending, taxes and the size of government. She says that if he switches gears and promotes "government doing more, better and with less, then he will truly be a transformative leader."


This has been, Heritage's Conn Carroll writes, "a presidency that is every bit as comfortable as Franklin Delano Roosevelt's was in blending the power of big government, big business, and big labor into one national industrial policy."


Foreign and National Security Policy


When considering the president's record on foreign and national security policy, let's not forget his quick action in the rescue of Navy Capt. Richard Phillips from the Somali pirates, or his prudent decision to continue, in large part, the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Nevertheless, other administration initiatives temper this good news:


Shutting down the terrorist detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba;


Drastically reducing funding for missile defense, despite increased threats from rogue nations such as North Korea and Iran; Cutting the overall defense budget to unsustainable levels, leaving the military without critical new tools and incapable of meeting the growing challenges we face; and Going without "a coherent approach to homeland security."


Heritage Vice President Kim Holmes notes that perhaps the President's greatest asset is his global popularity, as was demonstrated during his two whirlwind tours in Europe and Latin America. Holmes questions, however, "whether the President's personal popularity abroad is translating into concrete results for the United States. So far it has not."


Social Policy


President Obama has wasted little time in reversing social policies—both longstanding policies and those enacted by his predecessor.  Within the first three months of his presidency, he has:


Discouraged volunteerism by signing a costly national service bill allowing government funding and expansion of Americorps;

Extended taxpayer financing to abortions abroad; and Invited taxpayer funding for controversial embryonic stem cell research.  Many of the president's proposals, such as eliminating successful school-choice programs for low-income families and rolling back conscience protections for medical professionals, would further undermine civil society.


—Amanda Reinecker





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