President Obama’s reelection is a blessing for the working people of America. The signature achievements of his first term, from health care reform to greater oversight of the financial sector, will remain intact and start to show real benefits as they are implemented. There is hope that discretionary spending – on food stamps, unemployment insurance benefits, tax credits – will be protected from draconian cuts. And hopefully, President Obama will be able to fashion a budget for the next year that will not be devastating to the most vulnerable members of our community – children, many of whom live in poverty, older people on fixed incomes, the unemployed and uninsured.
The daunting challenge before the President, however, is breaking through the rigid political divide that for too long has prevented our leaders from concentrating on the urgent needs of the nation. Contrary to the characterization of many Republicans, those who are struggling in this country are looking for an opportunity to work hard and get ahead. President Obama has shown that he and his fellow Democrats are willing to do what it takes to ensure those opportunities exist. Job creation is picking up. But many of the jobs created in the past few years are low income with few, if any, benefits. Worker protection is crucial and this means the war on unions must be combated.
To be sure, one reason poverty and unemployment rates in the country remain too high is because conservatives in Congress have obstructed every effort by the President to enact legislation that would have put teachers and emergency responders back to work; advanced large public works projects to fix and build roads, bridges and schools; and subsidized the re-training of the long-term unemployed and low-income workers for jobs in emerging industries. Now that their quest to make President Obama a one-term president has been dashed, let’s hope that Republicans are willing to work together with Democrats and embrace the hope and possibility that led Americans to support the President’s reelection.
Contact: Jeffrey N. Maclin
(212) 614-5538 (office)
(718) 309-2346 (cell)