Policy Change Successes
For those who say that the two parties are the same, here are a number of policy breaks between the new Obama administration and the old Bush administration. You can see that there are a lot of differences between these two presidents and their parties. I hope you’re reading this, Ralph Nader.
42 Freedom of Information Act - Barack Obama made America a more open society by changing government procedures under the Freedom of Information Act during his first days in office.
43 Signed the Ledbetter Law - The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Play Act allows women to better challenge pay discrimination in court. This is for cases when women are institutionally paid less for the same work than their male colleagues. A basic matter of fairness like equal pay for genders is a basic American concept.
44 Department of Transportation Energy Memoranda - President Obama signed a pair of memoranda which ordered the Department of Transportation to set higher fuel standards for the 2011 and future year car models. Not only does this make good scientific and environmental sense, but higher fuel standards allow Detroit cars to make it into more markets worldwide - like China for example - so higher fuel standards make economic sense, too.
45 Reversing the Stem Cell Ban - It’s quite simple: Barack Obama’s reversal of Bush’s stem cell ban is a victory for science. Instead of stem cells being thrown out with the trash, they now can be used to research cures for Alzeihers, Parkinsons and other horrible diseases. That’s a good thing, despite reactionary comments from the Right about stem cell farms and other tactics used to scare good people into immoral positions on the stem cell debate.
46 Funds For College Education - President Obama has offset rising college prices for up to 7,000,000 university students by increasing the funds for Pell Grants and other student aid programs. One overlooked issue is how underfunded the Pell Grants have been the last few years. The next generation needs to be educated to pay off all the debts we’re creating for them.
47 Increased Funding for Public Education - Amid all the posturing about evil federal funds going to states is the fact that many states will have to cut funding and layoff a lot of school personnel without federal funds. Obama provided over $53,000,000,000 to state education agencies and local school districts to help them avoid these layoffs. That’s a good plan for our childrens’ education.
48 Focus on At-Risk Students - The Obama Administration set aside 25 billion dollars to help at-risk students and special needs students. “At risk” means students who have a higher risk of dropping out of school and starting a life of crime. The benefits of keeping these kids in schools, off the streets and out of jail is incalculable, creating a safer community and increasing the talent pool of educated Americans. It also happens to be the moral thing to do.
49 Endangered Species Get a Break - Just this week, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar rolled back a Bush Administration decision that put endangered species in great danger of dying out. Plus one for our role as stewards of this Earth.
50 Early Head Start Funding for Children - The president’s education package offered over a billion dollars to help fund the “Early Head Start” program, to start children on their way to a better education and a better future.
51 Head Start Funding - Besides funding the Early Head Start, the administration offered a billion dollars to fund the head start programs across the country. These two measures increased head start and early head start services for nearly 120-thousand children and infants.
52 Credit Card Reform - President Obama recently met with executives of the credit card industry in anticipation of a future credit card reform bill. Critics of the current credit card laws have argued that credit card companies are unclear and predatory in their practices, and that laws pushed through by the previous Republican Congresses allow the companies to set up credit traps. The new proposed laws will create regulations that will require transparency and clear stipulations, instead of the “lawyer speak” that is the current practice. Once again, I would say that Obama’s attention to credit card laws indicates he cares about the normal American and this is a worthwhile cause.
53 Funding for Local Health Care Facilities - The Obama Administration also increased funds for community health centers, which means that health centers across the country will be modernized. These funds will also go towards health care research, to make certain the next generation has better health care provided to them than this
54 Medicaid Money Release - Obama announced in early February that he would release $15 billion to pay medicaid expenses, which gives pharmacies and hospitals relief after waiting months for Medicaid bills to be paid. It also helps businesses of all sizes, who have been required to pay Medicaid expenses, but waiting weeks and months to be reimbursed.
55 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act and Medicaid - Let’s get back to the stimulus package. This legislation potentially protects up to 20 million Americans who are at risk of losing their Medicaid or State Children’s Health Insurance Program eligibility. We’ll talk about the economic stimulus package in greater detail in a minute.