Obama - - his four years

A program to right the wrongs and the mischief done to the United States in the last eight years. But we assume that too many enemies will have been made to allow for a second term.

Year One

January ´09: Global Climate Change: The new President announces his intention to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2050. A comprehensive approach is described in the State of the Union speech.

February: Iraq: First two combat brigades ordered to leave Iraq — one to US and one to Kuwait. Emphasis put on infrastructure repair and literacy and vocational training for young men. Iraqi leaders engaged in intensive discussions about the future of Iraq. If a political solution is not forthcoming, Obama will recommend partitioning within a federal structure to be enforced by UN troops with full American participation.

March: Supplementary Budget:

On the expenditure side, Obama fights the Bush recession by putting money into the hands of poorer people:

- “Making Work Pay” tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family, eliminates income taxes for 10 million Americans by offsetting the payroll tax on the first $8,100 of earnings while preserving the principle of a dedicated revenue source for Social Security.
- Full-time workers making the minimum wage to receive an Earned Income Tax Credit benefit of up to $555, more than three times greater than the current $175 benefit. If workers are responsibly providing child support, workers would receive a benefit of $1,110.

On the revenue side:

-10 cent federal surtax on a gallon of gas/oil to promote conservation and take a first step towards oil independence. Further increases to come later when economy is more robust.
-Subsidies on agricultural crops (sugar, rice, corn, etc.) reduced by 10 percent overall, especially by reducing subsidies to large farmers.
-Tax incentives for SUVs and other gas guzzlers withdrawn.

April: Constitutional Rights:
-Water-boarding and rendition declared illegal
-Unauthorized electronic surveillance on American citizens stopped
-Guantanamo Bay closed and habeas corpus restored

May ´09: Anti-terrorism: White House announces major plan to secure loose nuclear materials from terrorists by January ´12 (rather than over 10 years as currently scheduled). This is linked to new negotiations for a verifiable global ban on the production of new nuclear weapons.

June: Palestine: At the international meeting Obama persuades Israelis to withdraw 80% of all West Bank settlements. The details of how this was done are kept under wraps. The Palestinians agree to form a government of national unity in return for massive aid program. Peace settlement negotiated as envisaged in the Geneva Accords.

July: Energy Independence Bill: Investment of $150 billion over 10 years to advance the next generation of biofuels and fuel infrastructure, accelerate the commercialization of plug-in hybrids, promote development of commercial-scale renewable energy, invest in low-emissions coal plants, and begin the transition to a new digital electricity grid. Science and research funding for clean energy projects increased.

August: Iraq: US abandons support of Iraq hydrocarbons law and signs an agreement whereby the oil majors invest in new production and the Iraq regions get a higher percentage of oil revenue. In return a new Iraqi Constitution is signed, guaranteeing devolution to the three constituent parts of Iraq, with only foreign affairs being handled by the center. Half the remaining troops send home and the other half integrated into U.N. Forces to secure partition.

September: Green Energy Bill: Green Energy Bill implements the biofuels proposals in the budget and legislates a progressively stricter market-based cap-and-trade system to reduce carbon emissions by at least 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050, as above . Incentives reward forest owners, farmers, and ranchers when they plant trees, restore grasslands, or undertake farming practices that capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

October: First Full Budget, drastically reducing the deficit:

On the expenditure side, in addition to the above bills:
-Funding for above bills
-Expansion of children´s healthcare and Headstart
-Ten percent increase in budget for maintenance of roads, bridges, and other infrastructure, providing construction jobs for a still ailing economy.
-A revenue-neutral measure to scrap current partial reimbursement for full-price pharmaceuticals and provide fuller reimbursement through Medicare, which will use its purchasing power to get the best prices possible for drugs, from wherever.

On the revenue side:
-Elimination of all earmarking expenditures
-Cancellation of Bush tax cuts for individuals making more than $125,000 and families making more than $250,000 a year. Obama says: Our most fortunate people have benefited from the most fortunate country in the world.
-Elimination of concessional tax rates on dividends
-Reform of the Federal inheritance tax to provide exemption of $1.5 million per person, with 30 percent tax on the first $10 million above this and 50 percent tax on additional inheritance

November: Fair Trading Credit Card Act: Legislation to prevent predatory credit card operations. The Bill would ban unreasonable fees, retroactive rises in interest rates for old debt, less than 2 months notice of rate changes, repayments of less than 10 percent on outstanding balances, and interest rates of more than 8 percent above prime.

December: National Infrastructure Bill: Sets up an Infrastructure Trust with annual federal contributions. The Trust will prepare an inventory of repairs needed and a 10-year implementation plan.

Year Two

January: Immigration: Administration proposes major immigration bill that increases vigilance on the US borders, reforms the immigration bureaucracy, penalizes employers for hiring undocumented aliens. It also allows illegal immigrants to pay a fine, learn English, be granted a green card and be put at the back of the queue for citizenship.

February: Pakistan: In cooperation with the democratic government of Pakistan, U.S. Special Forces re-deployed from Iraq to destroy Taliban base in North West frontier and kill Osama bin Laden.

March: Global Warming Control: Legislation providing for progressively stricter fuel standards for all cars and trucks; a 30 percent tax on all air travel; and mandatory solar energy panels on new construction.

April: Iran: After substantial preparation, Iranian President visits Washington and signs non-aggression pact whereby Iran guarantees non-harassment in the straits of Hormuz, abandonment of its military nuclear program with full inspection rights to U.N. inspectors, cessation of support for Shias in Iraq, and cooperation in combating the Taliban and Jihadist movements. In return US offers assistance with peaceful uses of nuclear power, membership in the World Trade Organization, economic investment, and normal diplomatic relations.

May: Russia: Obama meets Medvedev and Putin and agrees to a mutual reduction in nuclear warheads and a moratorium on Nato plans to establish missiles in Eastern Europe and the Ukraine.

June: Financial Regulation Bill : This bill specifies appropriate minimum conditions for mortgages, limits the use of esoteric financial instruments, and improves transparency/disclosure requirements (e.g. eliminating off-balance sheet reporting practices).

July: Afghanistan: Following the d├ętente with Iran, troops in Iraq are further reduced and some sent to Afghanistan where the reinforcement helps to pacify the country.

August: Food and Product Safety Bill : Bill strengthens supervision of the pharmaceutical industry and consumer imports. Obama challenges the food industry to reduce natural and artificial sweeteners in food and drink and completely eliminate transfats.

September: Education: No Child Left Behind is reformed to include a broader curriculum with history and the arts and improved assessments to measure readiness for college and the workplace. Teachers are given more discretion to improve student learning in a timely, individualized manner.

October:Second Budget :

On the expenditure side, in addition to measures above:
-New American Opportunity Tax Credit makes the first $4,000 of a college education free for most Americans, and covers two-thirds the cost of tuition at the average public college or university.
-Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit reformed by making it refundable and allowing low-income families to receive up to a 50 percent credit for their child care expenses.

On the revenue side:
-Agricultural subsidies slashed for large farmers.
-Federal tax on gallon of oil/gas raised to 50 cents.

November: Medicare : Bill to provide long term financing of Medicare from the newly reformed inheritance tax and by limiting the use of expensive procedures for the elderly and the terminally ill.

December: Minimum wage : Raised to $9 and hour and inflation adjusted by CPI.

Year Three

January: Rationalization of the Military Budget: A new policy of military flexibility is introduced. Static bases in Europe and Korea to be scrapped and soldiers to be retrained for rapid reaction and anti-terrorism and provided with new equipment, armor, training, and language skills. Veterans benefits to be secured and enhanced. These are to be financed by eliminating static bases in Germany, U.K., Kazakhstan and Iraq and reducing heavy weapons systems.

February: International Agreement on non-Militarization of Space: Agreement is signed, releasing funds previously allocated to the Strategic Defense Initiative and space probes for other purposes. Obama announces that a third of NASA scientists will be reassigned to global warming issues.

March: Social Security: Long term financing assured by expanding payroll taxes to all wages and salaries (including CEOs´) and increasing the eligibility date by two months per year for 18 years. This means that after 18 years people will be 3 years older before they can draw Social Security.

April: Shareholder Rights:Legislation to restore these rights and to require explicit shareholder approval of CEO severance pay not included in initial contracts.

May: Reintegration of Security and Logistics into Armed Forces : Activities — especially those requiring handling of firearms--handled by independent contractors to be taken back by the military.

June: Mexico: During a meeting with the Mexican President in Mexico City, Obama announces an initiative to promote economic development and family planning in Mexico to reduce the incentive for illegal migration into the US.

July: Lobbying reform: Provides funding for a user-friendly centralized Internet database of lobbying reports, ethics records, and campaign finance filings in a searchable, sortable and downloadable format. Independent watchdog created to oversee the investigation of congressional ethics.

August: Prison Reform: Obama holds meeting with Governors to discuss comprehensive prison reform with the goal of eliminating private prisons and disparities in sentencing and radically reducing the prison population (to include those imprisoned for traffic violations and drug use).

September: Government reform: Expenditure reduction task forces established in each government agency with reports due in 6 months. Political appointments allowed only above Grade 16. All other civil servants to be hired on the basis of competitive exams and interviews. Hatch Act enforced. Competitive bidding on government contracts enforced.

October: Third Full Budget :

On the expenditure side:
-Funding of the above bills plus tax audits (see below)

On the revenue side:
- Narrow the $350 billion tax gap between taxes owed and taxes paid.

November: Voting Rights and Election Reform: White House proposes legislation to ensure that every citizen, including a former felon, has the right to vote and that states with electronic voting produce hard copies of votes for verification in case of dispute. Additional legislation removes tax exemption for 527 groups and establishes harsh penalties for those who have engaged in voter fraud.

December: Foreign policy: White House requests State Department review of numerous blacklisted foreign individuals with goal of minimizing this list. Consulates to be reopened where the Bush regime closed them, especially in Africa. The foreign service is to be expanded again and the vast majority of ambassadors to be chosen from career foreign service officers after existing ambassadors retire.

Year Four

January: Public Services Broadcasting Act : As in the U.K., paid political ads are banned and networks are required to provide public service airtime free of charge at prime time for the final Presidential election campaign.

February: Global Poverty : White House announces that the US will embrace the Millennium Development Goal of cutting extreme poverty around the world in half by 2015. Foreign assistance increased substantially to achieve that goal. The money is to be used for health, women´s education, and family planning on the understanding that population growth results in poverty in stagnant economies and leads directly to environmental degradation.

March: Gun Control Legislation : A license must be obtained in order to possess or purchase a gun. The gun or guns must be kept in a secure (locked) place subject to annual inspection and stiff fines.

April: Healthcare : Major Bill extends affordable healthcare to all Americans based on the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program. Covers all essential medical services, including preventive, maternity and mental health care and subsidizes individuals and families who do not qualify for Medicaid or SCHIP, but still need financial assistance. The scheme allows for mandatory coverage for children, and will offer easy enrollment, portability and choice. A National Health Insurance Exchange is created to reform and oversee the private insurance companies that participate and ensure that the public is getting value for money. The legislation will be paid for by employer contributions.

May: Tax Code Simplification : Obama presents plan for simplification of the tax code.

June: Monopolies : Legislation to strengthen the law on monopolies. Henceforth any corporation owning more than 20 percent of an industry´s assets will be required to divest itself. Of particular concern are the media and drug industries; just two companies dominate a full third of the national pharmaceuticals market.

July: Pre-school and Adult Literacy Bill : The Bill creates Early Learning Challenge Grants to promote state "zero to five" efforts to help poor districts provide early care and education for pre-schoolers and instruct mothers on preparing children for kindergarten. It provides matching funds for state-led adult literacy programs.

August: Iraq : Most troops remaining in Iraq under U.N. auspices return home and in a gesture of friendship Obama announces $1 billion in competitive scholarships for Iraqi high school graduates to study in the U.S. over the next 5 years.

September: Media Holdings and National Airways Bill : Bill to restrict media and cross-media holdings to shares less than those permitted in the Monopolies Bill (see above).

October: Fourth Full Budget :

On the expenditure side:
-Funding for the above bills

On the revenue side:
-Elimination of special interest loopholes and deductions for corporations (e.g oil and gas industry), and of use of tax havens by large multi-national corporations to hide income overseas.
-Revenue neutral simplification of the remainder of the tax code, with emphasis on reducing the tax burden on those with personal income less than $40,000 and family income less than $80,000.

November: Obama is re-elected President with 75 percent of the popular vote amid calls for Michelle Obama to run in 2016.

December: Drug Use and Crime: Population is so elated that they reduce consumption of illegal drugs, lowering crime rates and driving drug dealers out of business.

Robert Hanrott & Martha Horsley
March 2008

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