By Lucas Roebuck
In typical Barack Obama messianic arrogance, the senator prophesied when he clenched the Democratic nomination earlier this summer that his inauguration would be when America finally started caring about its sick and jobless.
"I am absolutely certain, that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal," the nation's most liberal senator told his disciples.
What imaginary America does Obama live in? All the senator has to do is open his eyes to see the tremendous amount of good that America does, both for our own and for the needy people of the world. What vain, self-inflicted ignorance clouds Barack Obama's judgment so much that he believes - in absolute certainty - that America does not care for its sick, nor try to employ the jobless? What amount of hubris bloats the bowels of Barack Obama that he thinks that a) Americans did not care for the environment before his arrival, and b ) he will have godlike powers to end climate change (manmade or otherwise )?
Barack Obama may not think much of America, but I for one am proud of this America and the great things we have done together. As we consider the birth and life of our nation this Independence Day, I would like to share with the junior senator from Illinois that America - although not perfect - already has a track record of benevolence for which we can be hold our heads high.
Food for the hungry. In 2006, the U. S. government directly provided enough food to feed 70 million people, almost 10 percent of the world's hungry, according to The New York Times. Our Food Stamp program serves well over 20 million Americans each month, funded by well over $ 25 billion of taxpayer money each year. Obama must have missed these facts during his tenure as a social worker.
That doesn't count the billions of dollars given to charities and churches that go for foreign and domestic food aid, nor the billions of pounds of food that are distributed through our nation's food banks each year. (America's Second Harvest Food Bank Network reports distributing over 2 billion pounds of food annually. ) Tyson Foods of Springdale for example, has donated 50 million pounds of food since 2000. Each year, Kraft Foods gives more than $80 million in food and cash. Cambell's Soup of Camden, N. J., partners with the National Association of Letter Carriers and millions of individual donors each year to deliver millions of pounds of food to local food banks. In 2007, they delivered over 70 million pounds of food. I could go on and on. I guess this sort of care is meaningless in the Eden Barak will make for us.
Care for the sick. In 2007, the U. S. and state governments spent around $ 330 billion of taxpayer money on Medicaid, the federal-state program that provides health care for America's poor. That same year, the American government spent $ 440 billion on Medicare, a similar program that provides medical care for the elderly. You would think a U. S. senator would have some knowledge of our Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Often, the procedures and medicines paid for by these funds are less than what a hospital or medical facility will normally charge, meaning the heath care industry de facto donates billions more in kind to care for our poor and elderly. We even spend $ 5 billion a year to help provide insurance for children whose families are slightly too rich to qualify for Medicaid. Drug companies such as Pfizer in the last year have provided over 50 million prescriptions to over 5 million patients for free or reduced prices under its Helpful Answers program.
Jobs for the jobless. Federal and state programs to help jobless people find jobs and pay for job training are too numerous to mention here. Under the Department of Labor, we provide the services of the Employment and Training Administration, whose job is to "fund training programs that teach job skills and provide job placement services for adults who are at least 18 years of age. "We have job programs for dislocated workers, migrant workers, people with disabilities, seniors, veterans and youth to name a few.
And yes, we have been adding jobs to our economy over the past eight years. In January 2001, when President Bush took office, we had 130,781,000 (seasonally adjusted, nonfarm ) jobs in America, according to the U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In January 2008, we had 138,002,000 jobs. That's an increase of almost 8 million jobs. Maybe Obama should go visit the Department of Labor before he gives his next utopian speech.
Care for the environment. According to a 2007 Harris poll, over three-quarters of all Americans now recycle - even before Barack Obama was a serious candidate for president. Ironically, the youth allegedly powering the Obamamania recycle less than other age demographics. Only 70 percent of the 18-30 set recycle, while a full 81 percent of mature (62 + ) Americans recycle their trash. And Americans are buying the popular "green" Prius hybrid car at such a pace that Toyota can't make them fast enough. According to HybridCars.com, so far this year, hybrid sales have grown by 15 percent, while the overall market has declined by 8 percent. I suppose Barack Obama hasn't heard of the Nobel-prize winning work on the environment done by Al Gore.
I missed what major legislation Obama authored to "heal" the environment, promote job growth or improve health care as a senator? Oh, that's because he hasn't done anything as a Senator. But he will, he says.
America has been a fundamentally good nation for the past 232 years; we will likely continue to be a fundamentally positive force in this world for the next 232 years - whether or not Obama becomes our next president.