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Sabrina Saldivar
Professor Hinchman
ENC 1101-12C
21 November 2013
Obama and his Administration
Have you ever thought about the effects of the decisions you make in your lifetime, and
how they affect others? The amount to which a person puts their concerns towards others varies
between different people. The Obama Administration has instilled hundreds of new programs,
taxes, regulations, as well as stimulus plans and bailouts in the five years that they have been in
office. But how much do we all really know about those decisions? This document will discuss
and outline some of major decisions of the Obama Administration to determine the economic
effect on the upcoming generations in order to promote an understanding of how these decisions
will negatively impact everyones futures.
As a politician, campaigning and being reelected is at the top of the list of priorities. If a
politician is not able to be reelected, then it is plain to the public that they are not very
successful. However, this may cause a politician to make promises that they cannot keep, or does
not plan to keep. Doing so is a great way to get the public hooked on their campaign, so that they
will vote for that politician and put them into office. Once in office, the politician can decide to
either follow up with those promises made throughout the campaigning period, or simply forget
they ever mentioned them. In the case of this research essay, President Barack Obama used many
different types of campaigning techniques to gather up votes to elect him for his first term. For
example, he had a huge budget of nearly $300 million, and that was just for television
advertisements (Patten). According to Joanna Raines, a writer of the article, Obamas first term
scorecard: Promises made. Promises kept, she wrote that Obama kept a bare majority of 13
of those promises. He broke seven of his 24 promises and made some progress on four others.
Some of the promises kept include supporting urban growth through the funding of community

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programs, such as $1 billion in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, and
providing universal health care and improving Medicare with the Affordable Care Act (Raines).
On the other hand, Obama also broke other promises, such as failing to reduce the deficit,
reducing the number of earmarks that go towards pet politicians projects, and the failure to
reduce energy costs by weatherizing homes (Raines).
With every new president comes new programs, bills, laws, and packages that all start as
ideas and, as they move through congress, they differentiate into these groups. During his first
100 days in his first term, President Obama put out a whopping $787 billion stimulus package
(Daily Beast 1). Although it was passed as one big package, it is actually composed of a few,
smaller bills. These include a huge tax cut, an infrastructure investment, as well as a large
investment in education (Daily Beast 1). During his first term, the president aimed to please
Americans who could reap the benefits that he so frivolously offered throughout his campaign.
Such as in every decision, some are good and others are not so great. Throughout Obamas first
term as president in office, it seemed that the mistakes he made were extremely costly. For
instance, he put into effect the Budget Control Act of 2011. Voting against the act at 19:6 with
Republicans as the majority and 45:28 voting in favor of the act with Democrats as the majority,
it is apparent that the Democratic Party, who has been in control of the house and the senate
since 2006, was the group that tipped the scale in favor of the new act (Murse). The Budget
Control Act of 2011 raised the debt ceiling by $400 million instantaneously, thus increasing the
US national debt to a whopping $14.7 trillion (Murse). However, soon after this first raise, the
government could not find the money to pay its ever-growing mountain of debt. Therefore, a
second debt ceiling raise seemed to be in order, which would add on another $500 billion to the
previous raise, thus increasing the debt to $15.2 trillion (Murse). At such a daunting amount,
Congress had the right to decline this second raise proposal. Although it was denied, Congress

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could not give up the raise entirely. Instead, they decided on simply moving the date as to when
they had to pay their dues. It may seem like a foolproof plan, but it actually just backed the
whole system, causing more and more debt to pile up. As said by Tom Murse, a writer on
About.com: The debt ceiling was $11.315 trillion when (Obama) was sworn into office in
January 2009 and increased by nearly $3 trillion or 26 percent by summer 2011, to $14.294
Since President Obama has come into office, the United States National Debt has grown a
tremendous amount, increasing by nearly 6 trillion dollars in the past six years. As said in the
article Obamas Numbers (Quarterly Update):
The federal debt has risen even more since our initial reports. During the
four years of Obamas first term, the debt owed to the public rose 83.5
percent. And it has continued to rise during the first weeks of his second
term. As of April 15, it stood 90 percent higher than it did when Obama
took office in 2009. Total federal debtrose by nearly 55 percent during
the first term, and is now 58 percent higher than it was on January 20,
2009, when Obama was first sworn in. (Jackson)
Despite the constant reminder that the government is digging our country deeper and deeper into
debt, the spending has not slowed down either, nor is the money being spent all being put to
effective use.
Money going down the drain is an adequate description of many pointless and
expensive programs that the government funds. Whether it is making sure some rare shrimp get
their daily exercise, costing $3 million, an airline gets a new paint job, costing $500,000, or even
training Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly while on the job, costing $2.6 million (Riedl).
Despite the growing debt, the government poured millions upon millions of dollars into these
programs, according to one of The Heritage Foundations writers, Brian Riedl, who listed over

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50 insignificant programs that the government funded, including two of the three listed above. As
for the exercising shrimp, Tom Murse, a writer for About.com, explained the program in further
detail. For instance, the research was not only to provide an exercise schedule for a rare type of
shrimp, but rather it was to [Conduct] research into "Impaired Metabolism and Performance
in Crustaceans Exposed to Bacteria" (Murse). The research cost taxpayers nearly $3 million over
the next ten years, as said in 2011. The first treadmill was simple and made from scraps, as
stated by Nell Greenfieldboyce in Shrimp On A Treadmill: The Politics Of 'Silly' Studies.
However, since that prototype simply was not high-tech enough for the shrimp to run along, the
program, run by the National Science Foundation, invested in a $1000, brand new treadmill
It is common for children to claim that they did not know of an event that makes them
look bad, but why is our president, along with his administration, doing as children do? Over the
course of his term, President Obama and his administration have proven to have a bad case of
willful blindness, for instance, from 2009 to 2011, the Fast and Furious scandal. In this act, Mr.
Eric Holder along with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives allowed for the
trafficking of more than 2,000 guns and other weapons to alleged Mexican criminals who were
linked to drug gangs (Barrett). In result of this scandal, some of the guns were found at the scene
where a US patrol officer was shot and killed. In other words, the officer was killed by a man
whom our government willingly, and secretly, armed. When asked about the Fast and Furious
operation on March 22, 2011, President Obama stated Well, first of all I did not authorize [Fast
and Furious]. Eric Holder, the attorney general, did not authorize it. There may be a situation
here in which a serious mistake was made. If thats the case, then well find find out and well
hold somebody accountable (Miniter 5). However, despite his promise to hold somebody
accountable, no one ever took the blame, not even President Obama himself, or Mr. Eric Holder.

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There have been other, more drastic, cases of this willful blindness along with the Fast and
Furious Operation, such as the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012. This attack was an act of
terrorism in Benghazi, Libya against Americans at the American Diplomatic mission that was
located there. One of the Americans shot and killed was US Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Looking back onto the investigation of the horrid attack, chairman of the House Committee on
Oversight and Government Reform, Mr. Darrell Issa stated Obama administration officials
repeatedly promised the families of victims and the American people that officials responsible
for security failures would be held accountable (Taylor). However, despite the many promises
that the administration and Obama would get to the bottom of things, it never seemed like they
did, and these events were put on the backburner, but the scandals do not stop there.
Getting chills, feeling the hairs rising on the back of your neck- this is how we generally
feel when we are being watched. Be that as it may, what if every move you made through
technology was being watched? The National Security Agency (NSA), scandal of 2013 proved to
do just that. This scandal was a mass surveillance of US citizens along with foreign nationals,
including citizens and foreign politicians cell phone calls and computers. While campaigning in
2008, President Obama criticized former President George W. Bushs foreign relations, and
stated that In Europe, the view that America is part of what has gone wrong in the world rather
than a force to help make it right has become all too common (Zeilzer). In spite of this
statement, the Obama administration, along with President Obama himself, and the NSA have
made it clear that privacy is not a necessary policy. Along with the NSA peeking over everyones
shoulder, the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, was targeting the conservative Tea Party group.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton made the following statement, launching an idea as to why
President Obama might have overlooked the IRS scandal so easily. The Obama IRS suppressed
the entire tea party movement just in time to help Obama win re-electionOne of the most

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pressing questions, of course, is, What did the president know and when did he know it
Following the First World War, the Great Depression hit many homes and families hard
in the United States; with nearly one-fourth of the labor force was jobless during its lowest parts.
With its first major program, the Social Security Act was created in 1939 by former President
Franklin D. Roosevelt (Welfare). The general purpose of welfare programs is to provide
monetary benefits to those who are unemployed. Some well-known welfare programs are food
stamps, Medicare, Medicaid, and the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC). However,
there are some major flaws with this system, such as with the food stamp program. This program
grants unemployed persons with a card that is able to be used to buy food at the local grocery.
While this program may benefit many people whom are trying to get back on their feet, many
others abuse its generosity. Since the food stamp program has no strict limitations as to what a
person can purchase with it, some buy pricey items, such as lobster and steak, as well as
organically grown products, which are more costly than general brands. There have also been
cases of fraud that are associated with the welfare system. One of the largest and most severe
cases was committed by Lakisha and Donte Muhammad. This Oregon couple collected more
than $219,000 in welfare fraud. They accomplished this by claiming that Mrs. Muhammads
health required them to move to a warmer climate, therefore moving them to Las Vegas into a
new, $330,000 home. However, after further investigation it was discovered that her health
problems were not as severe as her and her husband had perceived them to be. The investigators
found that a majority of the money they received went to hair and nail treatments, as well as a
maid service (Meyers). The nation-wide celebrity Nadya Octomom Suleman has also abused
the system. By use of in vitro fertilizations, this mother had birthed six children under the use of
welfare food stamps, and has proceeded to have octuplets on top of those six children. Instead of

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realizing that she cannot afford to care for all of these children, she continued to receive in vitro
fertilizations so that she may keep these benefits coming (Mitchell). Originally, welfare was
created to help struggling families get back on to their feet, and provide a helping hand during
hard times. Also, it was supposed to encourage the person benefitting from the programs to work
towards getting a job. From when the welfare system was first developed to the present-day
system, peoples minds have changed. Instead of seeing welfare programs as a way to help them
get back on their feet, they see it as a free pass. These people do not work towards getting
another job, but rather stay poor so that they can continue to receive benefits. In other words,
many people signing up for welfare programs are not planning on using it as an incentive to
better their financial standings, but rather to take advantage of the free or low priced living.
Given such a wide variety of health insurance plans that are available to the American
public today, it is easy to find a plan that best suits their lifestyle and their personal budget.
However, Obama and his administration did not believe that this much variety should be
available to the public, since not everyone could afford some of the plans being offered, leaving
them without health insurance. The solution proposed was the Affordable Care Act, otherwise
known as Obamacare. Passing through the House on March 21, 2010, Obamacare was primarily
voted against by the Republicans. However, in a last ditch effort to pass the bill, the Senate held
an emergency vote on Christmas Eve of 2010. With no Republicans in the vote, the Democrats
had the majority they needed, pushing the bill through (Puskar). However, the signing was
controversial, considering the plan had 10,535 pages of content and regulations (Beattie). As
stated by Senator Ben Cardin, a Democrat of Maryland stated that he didnt have any idea [as
to how many pages of the Obamacare regulations that he has read] (Beattie). Another Democrat,
former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, made this remark at the 2010 Legislative Conference for
the National Association of Counties: But we have to pass the bill so that you can find out what

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is in it, away from the fog of controversy (Bowling). This remark insinuates that it was not
important or necessary for the American public to know what the Obamacare package entailed
before it was passed through Congress. As if that was not bad enough, Vice President Joe Biden
did well to embarrass himself, whispering how the 2010 Affordable Care Act was a big f---ing
deal, at the public and nationally broadcasted signing of the act (Cohen).
The Obamacare health insurance system is composed of 4 Metal Plans. These plans are
the Bronze plan, the Silver plan, the Gold plan, and lastly, the Platinum plan. Starting with the
Bronze plan with the least amount of coverage and lowest cost, the price of the plan and the
amount of coverage that comes with it increases to the maximum, or Platinum plan (Health).
There are certain essential health benefits that all of the Obamacare plans must offer. These
benefits include:
Ambulatory patient services (such as doctor visits and other care you receive as a
walk-in as opposed to services a person receives as an inpatient at a hospital
or other care facility), emergency services - These include care received in an
Emergency Room, hospitalization - These include medically-necessary surgeries
and other inpatient procedures, maternity care and newborn care, mental health
services & substance use disorder services These services include counseling as
well as behavioral health treatment for alcohol abuse and drug abuse, drug
coverage This applies to prescription medication and not over-the-counter
drugs, rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices - Rehabilitation covers
services such as relearning to speak after an aneurysm while habilitative services
involve learning a new skill such as managing diabetes through various behaviors,
laboratory tests and services (for example, X-Rays), preventive and wellness

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services as well as the management of chronic diseases, [and] pediatric medical
services (including both oral care and vision care). (Health)
Since each of the plans must include these ten essential benefits, that leaves no room for
individualization. For instance, a twenty-one year old single male will have to pay for the same
maternity care as a thirty year old pregnant female would. Even though it is obvious that the
young male does not need maternity or newborn care, he will still have to pay for it under the
Obamacare plan.
The Obamacare website rollout did not go as it was originally expected to, nor does the
situation seem to be improving at any rate. Kathleen Sebelius, the Health and Human Services
Secretary, is the woman in charge of the creation of the site that would allow people to sign up
for Obamacare. On October 1, when the site was opened to the public for use, American citizens
across the country found that they could not sign up for the Obamacare health insurance, since
the site almost immediately crashed. Due to its inefficient design, the site could not handle the
thousands of US citizens who all tried to sign up for their new plan. Upon this failure, Sebelius
made the comment "I told the president we were ready to go. Clearly, I was wrongYou [the
American public] deserve better. I apologize. I'm accountable to you for fixing these problems"
(Fox). Regarding President Obamas consistent and repeated promise that the plan would not
interfere with your ability to keep your doctor and your current insurance, many insurance plans
across the country are dropping their clients. In response to this event, the Obama administration
continues to support Obamas promise, saying that he is keeping his promise to the American
people, despite what the facts are showing. In a Fox political news report, Republican Senator
Lamar Alexander made the bold statement:
Mr. President, at some point there has to be accountability. Expecting this secretary to be
able to fix what she hasn't been able to fix during the last three-and-a-half years is

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unrealisticIt's throwing good money after bad. It's time for her to resign -- someone
else to take charge. (Fox)
Obamacare has not only impacted the insurance of many Americans, but it has also greatly
challenged Obamas credibility and approval ratings. In recent polls, Obamas approval ratings
have shrunk to 37% in job approval, 31% in Obamacare approval, and only 7% of the nation
believe that Obamacare is working well (Fox2).
Now that America is now over 17 trillion dollars in debt, it is apparent how the Obama
administration has affected our country. Each decision made had a specific consequence, and
more times than not, those consequences negatively impacted the countrys well-being. Our
children and their childrens children will have to pick up this immense tab of 17 trillion dollars,
which shows how much the decisions of the Obama administration have impacted the lives of
many today, and in the years to come.

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Politics and Policy. Bloomberg 21 May 2013. Web. 28 October 2013.

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Beattie, James. Cardin Doesnt Have Any Idea How Many of the 10,535 Pages of Obamacare
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in it. The Foundry. The Heritage Network 10 March 2010. Web. 20 November 2013.
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