By Stephanie Cochrane Posted April 22, 2009
Three months into his first term in office, President Barack Obama has made steps toward reform of various issues such as the national and worldwide financial system and the modernization of the nation’s energy policy. It is still too early in his term to accurately grade his progress, yet citizens across the world have formulated opinions of the new president’s plans.
Lowry senior Cameron Kitras said, “I am undecided (on Obama). I don’t agree with pro-choice or gay marriage, but we have him in office for four years so let’s hope for progress.” Kitras recalled a favorite quote to emphasize his opinion, “You know I always hope for the best but plan for the worst -The Bourne Ultimatum.”
Lowry government teacher, Mr. Mark Carstensen voiced his opinion on the president’s progression.
“I think he is facing the worst economic crisis the United States has seen since the Great Depression. He is off to a good start with some things, like the stimulus package.” Carstensen believes the auto industry bailouts are necessary, even though they aren’t right. “Think of all the jobs that go along with the automotive industry, we need those,” said Carstensen. On an optimistic note, he said “I see things getting better in the short run, but you can never tell about the long run. The deficit we are in is scary and drastic measures are crucial.”
The opinions on President Obama’s progression vary, but there are ways to grade his progress in an unbiased manner. Once again, the St. Petersburg Times’ Obameter proves to be the best source for tracking Obama’s campaign promises. “Reporters and editors from the Times fact-check statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups and rate them on our Truth-O-Meter,” said the Times.
The economic recession is a hot topic across the nation, yet many do not know what measures are being taken to solve thae issue.
On April 7, 2009, Obama concluded his eight-day trip to Europe in hopes of restructuring the global financial system. Jennifer Loven, AP White House Correspondent reported, “in London, Obama joined other world leaders in trying to tackle the spiraling global economic crisis. In France, he sought help from NATO allies in dealing with the deteriorating war in Afghanistan. In the Czech Republic, Obama pledged to end the threat of nuclear weapons. In Turkey; he sought to repair America’s dismal standing in the Muslim world. And in Iraq, he pushed for Iraqis to “take responsibility for their own country.”
Attacking issues like environmental awareness has been a popular agenda item with which Obama has progressed. The stimulus package that was signed in February included a tax credit for consumers for plug-in hybrid cars, capping carbon emissions, and creating 5 million “green” jobs. His 2010 budget called “A New Era of Responsibility” by the Office of Management and Budget includes modernizing the nation’s power grid and investing in clean energy technologies.
Also to come in 2010 is the planned withdrawal of troops from Iraq. Robert Farley of the St. Petersburg Times reports that by August 31, 2010, all combat troops have been promised to be removed, but the plan keeps 35-50,000 military personnel in Iraq for the training of Iraqi Security forces. Obama also plans to increase the Defense Department budget by 4% to support 92,000 new Army and Marine Corps troops. “You and your families have done your duty — now a grateful nation must do ours,” Obama said. “That is why I am increasing the number of soldiers and Marines so that we lessen the burden on those who are serving.”