In defense of ObamaMd Noman Siddique (Author) Published Date : Oct 15, 2014 08:14 ET
Paul Krugman - one of its most severe and authoritative critics from the left - explained in a long article because it is one of the most successful presidents in American history '
The latest issue of the American edition of Rolling Stone magazine dedicated service to cover a long and reasoned apologia of the work of United States President Barack Obama, six years after his election, and a few weeks from the upcoming mid-term elections. That alone would be in some way a news story these days: Obama's popularity has dropped a lot in the last year and many - both from the right and left - have criticized his decisions, especially those of foreign policy. What is further significant that the article was written by Paul Krugman, 61 year old well-known economist and professor of Economics, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008 and one of the most famous columnists of the New York Times; but also one of the most listened and severe critics of Obama from the left, especially on economic issues, from the first months of his election. Six years later, Rolling Stone, Krugman calls it one of the most important and successful presidents in American history.
Krugman has often complained of the economic reforms of Obama (deeming insufficient and too modest) of its proximity to Wall Street and its tendency to seek a compromise with the Republicans. Already during the election camapgna Democrats between 2007 and 2008, Krugman gave his support before John Edwards and then Hillary Clinton. In 2009, after the election of Obama, began symbolically at the head of his critics on the left thanks to the appearance of a famous cover of Newsweek, whose cover story was titled Obama is wrong. That issue of Newsweek contained a sort of a long interview-profile of Krugman (who in later years was expected - mistakenly - exit by Greece from the euro, and criticized very hard choices in European economic matters, speaking of the euro as a bad idea).
Already in recent months, however, as reported by Bloomberg, Krugman has repeatedly re-evaluated Obama in the New York Times, pointing out as early as December 2013, the effectiveness of health care reform - entered into force just two months before - and praising in June of 2014 its measures to protect the environment, getting to write that there is a good chance that 2014 will be considered to be one of those years in which the United States has taken a decisive turn in the right direction.
Rolling Stone lists Krugman first few contextual factors that have impeded Obama over the years, explaining that his critics should take account of the fact that all the political difficulties that have influenced and restricted their efforts, even the most modest 'the reference is to the aggressive campaign conducted by the obstructionist Republicans on many of the measures approved by Obama, who over the years have led to the risk of the so-called fiscal cliff at the end of 2012, the government shutdown for 16 days in October 2013, but especially the systematic criticism - carried on even today - of the Republicans against health care reform, passed with great difficulty in 2010 (and defined by a legal ruling by the Supreme Court in 2012) and entered into force in October 2013 among a thousand problems Krugman also recommended not to pay attention to the rate of Obama's popularity, since in recent years the political views of Americans are polarized and that circulates in general a lot more confidence in the political class than in the past.
Krugman then goes on to list the accomplishments of Obama, which consists of six fields.
1) Health care reform: despite still leaves millions of people out of every health care coverage - among them, illegal immigrants and the people who live in states that thanks to the decision of the Supreme Court could decide not to expand Medicaid, the federal program for the poorest citizens - has been estimated that approximately 10 million people who previously did not have any kind of coverage have been integrated in the programs envisaged by the reform. According to Krugman, it is a fact that over the next two years, this number will increase significantly.
Krugman explains that health care reform has been a success from the economic point of view: the rising cost for treatment is generally slowing down, thanks to the policies of federal control. In short, according to Krugman that health care reform has become the story of a great political success, denying many of the arguments brought forward by the Republicans in recent years, more people are being cared for and at a lower cost to the state.
2) The financial measures: Krugman complains to Obama because the substance has been too soft on banks and other financial institutions (no major figure has been in prison; banks such as Citigroup and Goldman were bought for a way out rather clean ). But it also recognizes that the Dodd-Frank financial law of 2010 has had a much more positive than might have been expected: the law provided for the establishment of a register of systemically important financial institutions (SIFIs in abbreviated: ie companies that in the case failure to produce effects on the whole system) providing for, for companies that were part of some federal commitments to be able to have access to financial aid from the government.
In many - including Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who called it the most remarkable kiss to New York banks I've ever seen - criticized the judging too biased in favor of the banks. Four years after its approval, says Krugman, companies have proven to be afraid of ending up in the list of SIFIs: a sign that the law goes in the right direction. Krugman also commends the creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, an agency created in 2011 from a project of the leftist Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren: the agency, so far, has been able to effectively protect citizens who have contracted loans irregular or excessively disadvantageous conditions.
3) Various economic reforms: in short, Krugman's argument is that Obama could do much better. Could expand the economic stimulus and less yield to the demands of the Republicans (who control the House, however: there is no such as, in this case). In each case, however, the unemployment rate fell from 10 per cent in 2009 to 5.9 per cent in September 2014, contrary to what is happening in Europe. In addition, one of the promises of Obama from the economic point of view has been maintained:
The rich are paying higher taxes due to the fact that some cuts initiated by Bush have expired and taxes on higher incomes to ensure a sustainable health care reform: the office of the Congress in charge of the budget has estimated that 1 percent of the richest people in 2013 paid an average of 33.6 percent of taxes, while in 2008, about 28.1 percent.
4) Some environmental reforms: Although a law regulating the emission of greenhouse gases has been abandoned following the victory of the Republicans in the midterm elections of 2010, the Obama administration has managed to increase the percentage of solar and wind energy used at the national level and above has given new powers to the EPA, the government agency for environmental protection: which this summer issued an order for the progressive reduction of the emission of carbon dioxide from power plants that provide energy (between including those in coal).
5) Issues of national security: Obama, especially in recent months, is often criticized for having mismanaged the problems related to Syrian civil war and to contain the advance of the Islamic State. Krugman explains:
In defense of Obama