Winding down the year
Dec 31, 2013 | 2138 views |  0 comments | 84 84 recommendations | email to a friend | print
President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama
A message from the White House in the closing days of 2013 summarized some of the positive things that have happened during the year. It’s a natural assumption that the message was an attempt to try to put a positive spin on the year. You can’t blame them for trying.

Polling organizations such as Pew and Rasmussen reported opinions of President Obama took a nosedive this year, especially after the incredible failure of the launch of the government’s health insurance marketplace website. That was followed by the news of unexpected cancellations of insurance policies of quite a few Americans. The one thing most people knew about the president’s Affordable Care Act was the promise the president had made and repeated: that if you liked the health insurance you had, you could keep it. The nation was finding out that was not true, and Obama’s explanations and excuses were too weak and too late for him to escape the embarrassment that followed.

Polls showed that a majority of Americans did not find him to be believable or trustworthy.

The Tampa Bay Times’ Pulitzer Prize winning website, known for its “Pants On Fire” ratings for outlandish untruths, deemed the president’s promise the “lie of the year.”

So with a new year on the horizon, and with it another round of elections, White House staffers pointed to some positive achievements to ponder as the year 2013 winds down.

For the first time in four years, both parties in Congress came together and passed a budget. Hopes are it’s a budget that will help the economy grow a little faster, be a littler fairer for middle-class families, and encourage job creation.

Two million private sector jobs were created in 2013, and more than 8 million in the past 45 months.

The economy is growing.

The deficit has been cut in half since 2009, the fastest deficit reduction since the end of World War II.

This nation reached a milestone this year, producing more oil than we imported, an achievement credited to an all-of-the-above strategy of conservation and production. This has lessened our dependence on imports, and we’ve seen prices at the pump decline in recent months.

The American auto industry added 15,000 jobs last month, and the government sold its final stake in General Motors.

The White House also says Americans are getting better health coverage, with increased protection and benefits, and boasts that there is “less gridlock” in the Senate, thanks to a rule change made to keep Republicans from blocking presidential appointments to judicial and executive positions.

Whether that last one is positive or negative would depend upon which side of the fence you’re on.

Still, it’s been encouraging to see some cooperation in Congress, at least enough to keep the government running. The games of brinksmanship between leaders of our different parties are hurting our nation, as we hurtle from one invented crisis to the next. Whether it’s a budget battle, sequestration, a fiscal cliff, or a fight over the debt ceiling, politicians seem all too willing to create turmoil instead of working across party lines to find solutions that benefit the people more than the special interests.

We look forward to 2014 with hope for continuing improvement in the economy and jobs growth, and with uncertainty over whether the Affordable Care Act will be affordable. We look forward to the year’s elections, which will give all of us an opportunity to send messages to our representatives and their challengers during the upcoming campaigns, primaries and general elections.

The New Year brings hope for a new beginning. We hope it’s a good one.