Shawn Sorensen's Reviews > Change We Can Believe In: Barack Obama's Plan to Renew America's Promise

Change We Can Believe In by Barack Obama
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If we're using ratings, I would say that Obama ran a 5-star campaign and has so far been a 3-star president. I appreciate his calmness, his openness, and not in comparison to Bush because we as a country have far more to do than simply make up for 2000-2008: we now have an opportunity to change economic and political systems that continually brings us cycles of poverty and war.

The book itself, while having its moments of specificity and inspiration, is still frustrating. A lot of numbers are thrown around without any reference points or historical context. One statement reads "As President, [Barack Obama:] will form an international working group and dedicate $2 billion to help the more than five million Iraqi refugees throughout the region." This acknowledges a large and pressing need, but is it enough money? Didn't Barack say during the campaign that Iraq had plenty of funding from its oil revenues? The book as a whole is more specific than most political titles, which I appreciate, but often leaves vital background information out. In the end there's not much to remember nor discuss with others.

And it doesn't answer some bigger questions - will Barack get anything significant done being slightly left of center on most issues? His big endeavor in 2009-2010 looks like it will be universal health care, which would provide a huge benefit to American businesses, who have to pay for benefits while European businesses don't. Their governments, using single-payer systems (the payer being the government itself) pick up most or all of the tab. Will Obama's system of universal health care withstand being changed or gutted by the next administration?

Couldn't we get past all lobbyists - especially the ones from defense companies that continually push for war and those from the health care industry who ensure that Americans pay far more for health care per capita than anybody else from the top 20 wealthiest nations - with publicly funded elections? Shouldn't we be cutting our defense budget in half (still spending significantly more than any other country) and focus on fighting poverty worldwide instead of sending 17,000 of our troops to Afghanistan?

I acknowledge that these are broad ideas, ones usually not found in our mainstream media. As a friend told me last week: "Sheesh, he can't do everything, he's only been in office a short time!" That's true, but how long will Barack have with so many like-minded legislators in Congress? Does a violence-plagued, economically wrecked country and international community have time to wait while Obama learns the ropes?

As our new president reminds us, we all have responsibility to register our opinions, converse with our neighbors and serve our communities to make a lasting difference. The current political climate offers more opportunities than we've had in a long, long time.
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Reading Progress

12/14/2008 page 60
20.83%
03/17/2009 page 160
55.56% "Getting better..."
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kristi (new)

Kristi Your comment about universal health care was a good one. I think you're right that it would be a shot in the arm for businesses, and thus the economy. The only thing that concerns me is the potential for the overall quality of health care going down because there would be no real competition. I think that's the most worrisome thing about some of the big changes you mentioned -- that they may have unforseen consequences. Of course, the current system isn't doing all that great, either ...


message 2: by Shawn (last edited Jun 06, 2009 11:18PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

Shawn Sorensen Kristi wrote: "Your comment about universal health care was a good one. I think you're right that it would be a shot in the arm for businesses, and thus the economy. The only thing that concerns me is the potenti..."

Kristi wrote: "Your comment about universal health care was a good one. I think you're right that it would be a shot in the arm for businesses, and thus the economy. The only thing that concerns me is the potenti..."

That's an interesting comment about universal health care and it's possible stiffling of competition. I don't know that we have a lot of competition now - if we did, we'd have lower prices, better coverage and possibly universal coverage. Maybe under universal coverage companies would bid to the government, and those that offer the best products/services at the best value would win the bid. I think this would drive down prices. I think that, overall, our economy would zoom ahead with universal coverage - everyone would have health care, no one would be worried about not having it or paying too much for insufficient care, people would be going into doctors for preventative care, and our overall productivity and creativity as a nation would be even higher.


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