In politics you can’t please everyone all of the time, but some get closer to the mark than others. Regardless of their popularity, a president’s decisions affect the American population for generations, so it’s always important to understand what laws are being passed and the context in which they’re being created. As the 2012 elections are fast approaching, we wanted to take a close look at President Obama’s accomplishments so far, and how they’ve affected the American people, and more to the point, married couples.
#1. Passage of the Affordable Care Act
Obama’s signature legislative accomplishment, The Affordable Care Act, expanded access to healthcare to include coverage for the roughly 50 million Americans who were not previously covered because they could not afford it.
The law just passed the Supreme Court stink test (in regards to its constitutionality) and it’s still being contested in some States, but by and large, Obamacare is now the law of the land. For married couples, particularly couples with children negatively impacted by the ongoing recession, the implications are considerable. The new law means that health insurance is attainable for all citizens, and that insurance companies can’t turn away folks because of “pre-existing conditions”. It’s means more people are able to see a doctor and that less people will be forced into bankruptcy simply because they get sick.
Of course, the bill ruffled many feathers, and it’s become serious ammunition for the Republicans looking to unseat the president this December. They claim that it expands the government’s already bloated role in the lives of the citizenry and business, and that implementing the law will cause the median level of medical service to sink. That’s not to mention the bill. Because the full effect of the bill isn’t going to hit until 2014, there’s no telling how much it’s actually going to cost our already stretched coffers, but nobody’s arguing that it isn’t going to be expensive, because, hey… they aren’t giving MRI’s away are they? But then, since 60% of American bankruptcies are thanks to medical bills, and a huge portion of marriages end because of financial issues, maybe there’s something to be said there too.
There’s people on the left of the political spectrum who think the bill didn’t go far enough, and that truly socialized medical coverage like the rest of the western world would be more appropriate, but they generally applaud the president’s move in what they see is the right direction.
Overall the bill has made the president more popular with women, which almost always makes him less popular with men. For those married couples who were already covered before Obamacare came to be, this is probably the biggest effect. Those political arguments around the dinner table can get a little nasty when you suspect your wife has a crush on the commander in chief.
Nobody likes em, but they certainly do make the world go ‘round. During the President’s first term, corporate taxes have remained at an all time low, but he’s made overtures to the public to change the tax equilibrium should he be given another four years. The game plan he’s presenting to Americans is a politically charged one, but for most married couples, it won’t be a dramatic change on their pocket book.
Obama is proposing a tax hike on the “rich”, but for married couples who make less than 250,000 a year, their taxes should actually decrease, if only slightly. It’s clear that the president wants to make some political hay over the fact that the rich have been getting richer at an unprecedented rate, but of course that digs up the entire American pathos over achieving your dreams vs. social responsibility and puts him against the sort of people who pay for campaigns, own the media, and ostensibly, create jobs.
So for married couples, how this plan looks depends greatly on what side of a quarter million a year they’re sitting on. That sort of attitude has the power to dramatically change the American political landscape, but it could just as easily be posturing for the upcoming election. Time will tell.
Regardless of party affiliation, it isn’t controversial to state that the above Obama policies (and proposed policies) will profoundly impact the United States and will influence politics, social culture and the economy for generations to come. The Affordable Healthcare Act alone is arguably the greatest expansion of federal power since the agencies and programs implemented during the Great Depression last century. Beneficial or detrimental, it’s a program that will change the politics and policies of the United States; we just don’t know how it will do that yet. Obama’s policies and goals regarding taxes and healthcare will require much more time in order to fully understand how they impact the country, American couples and families specifically. As we’ve done in the past, Americans will take it in stride and move forward, together.