For the past several months, talk of health care has dominated political conversations. Now that health care reform has passed, we can turn our attention to other important issues that have been ignored or at least not been given the attention needed–jobs, immigration reform and national security.
The March 29 issue of Time magazine focuses on jobs. The article, How to Create a Job, reports that the economy lost a net of 36,000 jobs in February. It states, “ Were the economy to magically start generating jobs at a healthy clip—say 200,000 a month—it would still take 3 ½ years to return to where we were, never mind the jobs we need for new entrants to the workforce.” In his State of the Union address, President Obama said jobs would be his number one focus. Congress did pass a jobs creation bill on March 17 which included $13 billion of tax incentives to encourage companies to hire unemployed Americans. This is far from a quick or permanent fix, however. Private enterprise, not government, is the big job creator. In order for companies, big and small, to overcome their fear of taking risks in today’s troubled economy, confidence must be restored. It’s difficult to take a risk on new ideas, technologies, and production when companies are still feeling effects from the longest recession since the Great Depression and consumers have cut back on spending. How can that confidence be restored when companies are so uncertain about how new health care reform regulations will impact their bottom lines?
Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered on the National Mall on Sunday March 21 out of frustration with the lack of action in Congress to overhaul the country’s immigration system. Obama promised to make fixing a broken immigration system a priority in his first year of the presidency, but it’s been more than a year and little has been accomplished. Sunday’s demonstrators came from all over the nation by busses, cars and planes. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) voiced his own disappointment in an article published March 19 on The Americano website, “Now, in his first year alone, the President has deported a record 387,790 immigrants, ordering ICE to remove 13 percent more undocumented immigrants than George Bush did during his last year in office.” What has happened to Obama’s commitment to helping families torn apart, bringing “12 million people out of the shadows” and stopping employers from exploiting those without proper documentation?
Obama’s national security policies have faced major scrutiny in light of a security breach when Michaele and Tareq Salahi crashed a state dinner at the White House in November, an attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airplane at Christmas, and now a possible reversal on the 9/11 trials. White House officials are reportedly recommending that Obama reconsider trying the self-professed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and four other accused terrorists in New York City. Opting for military tribunals is far better for Americans. Attorney General Eric Holder and Obama had wanted to prosecute the terrorists in civilian court in New York City. During his presidential campaign, Obama promised to close Guantanamo Bay prison and was a vocal opponent of military tribunals. A civil trial in New York City would be bad for all Americans because of the estimated $1 billion cost and significant national security risks. According a March 5 Fox News report, “The president has already disappointed his supporters by maintaining military tribunals after temporarily suspending them, by continuing the option of indefinite detention and by faltering in his vow to close Guantanamo Bay one year after his inauguration.” What are the missing pieces to this national security puzzle?
Now that health care reform has passed, it is time for critical thinking Americans to start asking questions about other very important national concerns. We must now focus on jobs, immigration reform and national security.