Inflation

Is George H. W. Bush The “Best” One Term President In American History, Surpassing James K. Polk, And What About Jimmy Carter?

Now that George H. W. Bush is part of American history, the question arises whether he should be judged the “best” one term President in American history.

We have had the following 12 one term elected Presidents who finished their term, but were not given a second term:

John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Martin Van Buren
James K. Polk
Franklin Pierce
James Buchanan
Rutherford B. Hayes
Benjamin Harrison
William Howard Taft
Herbert Hoover
Jimmy Carter
George H. W. Bush

Eight of them, all but Polk, Pierce, Buchanan, and Hayes were defeated for reelection, with those four choosing not to run, and all of these four, except Polk, very unpopular and aware that they were not wanted to be nominated for another term.

The usual viewpoint has been that James K. Polk, with the acquisition of the American Southwest by war with Mexico, and acquisition of the Pacific Northwest by the Oregon treaty with Great Britain, was the most successful one term President. Labeled an expansionist and an imperialist by many, the fact that he presided over the greatest expansion of US territory since Thomas Jefferson, has helped him to be regarded by scholars as a “successful” President, rated 12 to 14 in scholarly polls.

Now, some are saying that George H. W. Bush may be greater than Polk, due to his foreign policy accomplishments in particular, including the end of the Cold War, the unification of Germany, and the Persian Gulf War, along with his domestic policies of “A Thousand Points Of Light”, and the Americans With Disabilities Act.

Some on this list, including Van Buren, Pierce, Buchanan, Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, Taft, and Hoover are seen in a poor light, while J. Q. Adams is seen as not having succeeded in his one term, although a great man, and his father, John Adams, criticized for the Alien and Sedition Acts in 1798, curbing civil liberties during his term.

The only other one term President who could be seen as competing would be Jimmy Carter, with his Camp David Accords between Egypt and Israel, the Panama Canal Treaty, his Human Rights advocacy, his creation of new cabinet agencies (Departments of Education, Health And Human Services, Energy), and his exceptional record on the environment, but his negatives, including high inflation, the Iranian hostage crisis, the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, and the Cuban Mariel Boat Lift all help to undermine his case.

So, one could argue that Polk and Bush may be competitive as the “best” one term elected President, without a clear cut answer to the question of who was the better President.

It might be best to say that Polk was the best 19th century one term elected President, while Bush was the best 20th century one term elected President, with Jimmy Carter as the runner up in that regard.

Respect And Applause On Jimmy Carter’s 94th Birthday: A Treasure For The Nation

Former President Jimmy Carter has reached his 94th birthday today, and that is an event which should engender respect and applause, that we have been graced with his long life, only matched by former President George H. W. Bush on June 12 of this year.

Jimmy Carter has been out of office nearly 38 years, an all time record, and his Vice President, Walter Mondale, is still doing well as he nears 91 in early January.

Carter’s Presidency was controversial, due to the Iran Hostage Crisis; high inflation after the second Arab oil embargo of 1978-1979; and the Cuban Mariel Boatlift to Miami, Florida.

But Carter will always be remembered for the 40 year success of the Camp David Accords, the agreement of Israel and Egypt, to establish diplomatic relations, the first such agreement between any Arab nation and the Jewish state.

Carter is also remembered for the Panama Canal Treaty; the establishment of diplomatic relations with China; his promotion of Human Rights; his establishment of three new cabinet agencies (Education, Health and Human Services, Energy); and his great promotion of environmental protection, making him the third most accomplished in that field, after Theodore Roosevelt and Richard Nixon, and more recently challenged by Barack Obama.

He and his wife, Rosalyn, are on the road to being the longest Presidential marriage about a year from now, when they would surpass the length of marriage of George H. W. and his wife Barbara Bush. By that time a year from now, the Carters would be 95 and 91 years of age.

Let us hope that the Carters and Walter Mondale continue to live on, and grace us by their presence.

Right Wing Conspiratorial Hysteria Over Barack Obama Has Been Proved Totally Wrong!

We are now entering the eighth and last year of the Barack Obama Presidency, with a new President to be inaugurated on January 20, 2017.

It is in many ways amazing how Obama has survived unprecedented verbal attacks for seven years, and the most threats to his life of any President since Abraham Lincoln.

His Republican opposition has been unrelenting in the promotion of right wing conspiratorial hysteria for the past seven years, and has had no shame in wishing upon him all of the most terrible tragedies and failures, rather than willingness to unite for the public good!

And right wing radio and Fox News Channel has been totally despicable in encouraging right wing lunatics, and inciting them to create a constant stress and threat on the 44th President of the United States.  They would not be happy until he was either forced from office or dead from an assassin, and there is still clear concern that our President faces endless threats at a time when the Secret Service has been found wanting, and in need of drastic updating, reform, and new leadership!

For any American to have believed the conspiracy theories and gloom and doom loaded on Barack Obama, it is instructive to look back at some of what has been predicted and has NOT happened!

  1. Barack Obama will cancel the elections of 2016 and rule by martial law, and put his enemies into FEMA camps.  This is totally laughable!
  2. Barack Obama will take everyone’s guns away.  Yeh, sure, instead we have more guns and gun ownership than ever before, and more deaths from guns than automobile accidents!
  3. Barack Obama will destroy the American economy, with the highest gas prices ever, dramatic increase in unemployment and inflation, the collapse of the stock market, and the promotion of the end of the capitalist system. Instead we have 5 percent unemployment, doubling of the stock market, low inflation, and capitalism is alive and well, thank you!
  4. Barack Obama is a Muslim who will advance the cause of the Muslim jihadists, and allow the downfall of Christianity in America. Yeh, sure, instead we have more Muslims killed by Obama’s drone usage than under George W. Bush, and Osama bin Laden was killed!
  5. Barack Obama will destroy the oil and coal industries in his  mad quest to promote the “phony” issue of climate change. Yeh, sure, the energy industries are making record profits!
  6. Barack Obama will destroy heterosexual America by his promotion of gay rights, same sex marriage, and transgender rights.  Laughable, but heterosexual marriage divorces are up, and more Americans have broken marriages than the total number of same sex marriages!
  7. Barack Obama will take away the civil liberties and civil rights of Americans through government snooping on the private lives of Americans. Yeh, sure, as the NSA is limited in its ability to fight terrorism by government restrictions put upon them!
  8. Barack Obama will undermine law and order in this country through promotion of the agenda of extremist African Americans demands.  Yeh, sure, the idea that Obama is a black radical because he speaks up about growing number of police killings of unarmed black men is laughable!
  9. Barack Obama will destroy the nation through open borders immigration of people from Mexico and Central America.  Yeh, sure, as Obama has had more deportations of illegal immigrants than under George W. Bush!
  10. Barack Obama will undermine the nation of Israel and refuse to support the security of that nation.  Yeh, sure, as Obama provided the IRON DOME system and has given Israel more foreign aid than any President of the United States before him!
  11. Barack Obama will promote the expansion and aggression of the Russians under Vladimir Putin.  Yeh, sure that is why Putin embraces Donald Trump, and has actually cooperated with the American government on Middle East issues, and knows NATO is working to protect Ukraine, due to the tough stand of Obama!
  12. Barack Obama will promote a one world government led by the United Nations.  This is totally ridiculous, not even worth commenting on, as totally delusional!

It is time for the ill informed and uneducated population of America to stop their ignorance, learn the truth, and start to show appreciation of the historic nature of Barack Obama in the Presidency, and to wish him well in his final year in the White House.  His ranking in history for his accomplishments, his dignity, his class, his compassion, his common sense, and his courage in the face of adversity will make him appreciated in the future in a way appropriate for his performance in office!

Republican Senators And The Minimum Wage Law

The Republican Party has effectively written off those workers who are paid the minimum wage, not caring about how they are to survive in an economy with the situation stacked against them.

It has been nearly a decade since the minimum wage was raised, and people forget that the minimum wage was never raised during the 1980’s, and so the cost of living is way beyond what the minimum wage should be.

Originally established at 25 cents an hour in the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938. the minimum wage should now be about $15 an hour based on inflation, but instead is, nationally at $7.25 an hour for nearly a decade, although some states have raised the limit.

The bill that failed to get to a vote in the Senate, due to the filibuster tactic, would have raised the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour in stages until 2016, but NOT one GOP Senator, not even Senator Susan Collins of Maine, or Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, or a few others thought to have some “moderate” tendencies, voted for the rise in the minimum wage.

Many of the minimum wage workers are breadwinners for their families, and the stress of having too little income also affects their physical and mental health, but obviously Republicans and conservatives do not give a damn about those realities!

Today’s minimum wage is 25 percent below what it was in 1968, an absolute atrocity! Putting extra money in the hands of the working poor would make life easier, add to business profits, and would certainly all be put back into the economy, but the Republicans are determined to punish the poor for being poor, and in so doing, harm children and women, even more than men.

If this is not the new “Gilded Age”, what is it, not only for the poor, but for the dwindling middle class?

This is Scrooge at its best!

The Economy Improving Greatly, But Obama Gets Little Credit For It!

The American economy is rapidly growing and improving, and the future is bright, except for the problem of unemployment. The auto industry is booming, as Obama saved the industry by giving them assistance in 2009-2010, and the expansion of the economy has also been benefited by three to four percent growth in the past two economic quarters. But one would get the impression that Barack Obama deserves no credit, when he deserves most of the credit for the improvements!

There is still the issue of refusal of the GOP House of Representatives to promote infrastructure spending, to raise the minimum wage to the level of inflation over the years, to continue the assistance to long term unemployed to avoid starvation and homelessness, and the need to push for education, as the future for the young, with proof that the more educated one is, the much lower the unemployment rate really is, and will continue to be. Also, lowering the debt for college students and graduates, as much as there are subsidies for corporations, would be a massive move in the right direction.

That is why it is essential for an end to the deadlock in the nation’s capital, and for action to be taken, but if not, the urgency of a Democratic Congress majority in both houses in November’s midterm elections is apparent!

Tom Harkin-Mark Begich Senate Bill On Social Security Longevity Essential To Become Law!

Social Security, begun under Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal in 1935, has been a life saver, a guarantee that senior citizens, widows, orphans, and the disabled will always have a safety net.

But with the number of people on Social Security rising rapidly as the Baby Boom Generation ages, there is a need to insure the long term future of the program, not only for people born between 1946 and 1964, but for all citizens who are paying into the program, and want to be insured that they will be able to collect when they reach retirement age, along with widows,orphans and the disabled.

So Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa and Senator Mark Begich of Alaska have proposed what others have suggested over the years, but has never happened.

That is, that there be no limit on income taxed for Social Security, just as there is no limit on income taxed for Medicare!

Presently, the income limit taxed is $113,700 in 2013, with the tax being 6.2 percent of income.

If the income limit taxed is withdrawn, there will be enough funding for Social Security for the long term future, and it is unfair that higher income earners have had a free break from being taxed, putting the burden on the lower income workers!

Additionally, the cost of living increases should be based on inflation reality, rather than the “chained CPI”, which distorts inflation on a lower level than costs which affect senior citizens!

If we do not treat the elderly and the disabled with respect and consideration, what kind of a nation are we, particularly for those who have limited ability to continue to earn income to stay out of poverty, particularly in a time of increased medical costs, high unemployment, and lower home equity for millions of people entering their “golden years”!