It’s been a tough few weeks for President Obama. The disastrous launch of his controversial health care law, marked by a malfunctioning website, insurance rate hikes and millions of cancelled policies, has even the president’s most ardent admirers questioning his executive ability.
This week, protesters with "Not One More Deportation" staged a demonstration calling for the closure of the Eloy (Arizona) detention center, which is owned and operated for Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).
As news broke about the Internal Revenue Service’s accidental disclosure of thousands of social security numbers online, a representative of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau testified before a subcommittee of the House Financial Services Committee about the CFPB’s use of Americans’ personal financial data. He reassured Congress that the CFPB “makes every effort to obtain market data in an efficient manner with an eye toward reducing the burden and cost on industry. The bureau also makes every effort to safeguard and protect the information that it does obtain.”
In another ironic twist, on the very same day, I happened to receive a letter that makes such assurances sound a bit less comforting.
Inspectors General, who hold federal agencies accountable by conducting audits and, when needed, investigating alleged misconduct, are in place to provide oversight over how taxpayer funded federal agencies are operating. But what happens if the inspectors are allegedly conducting the misconduct?
Washington continues to debate how much government should tax and spend and where government should cut and save. And despite the partisan debate, the fact remains the U.S. government continues to make investments in national defense and critical infrastructure necessary to keep America safe and competitive. President Obama recently outlined his commitment to advancing our infrastructure with the announcement of the Partnership to Rebuild America, calling for both investment and innovation from the private sector.
We believe there is a third contribution from the private sector that can support building our infrastructure while reducing wasteful spending: through the implementation of effective program management, an often under-appreciated, but absolutely essential, element of business success and sound fiscal health.
Recently, Mignon Clyburn became the first woman to ever head the Federal
Communications Commission when she was named acting chairwoman. While
she may only hold this position for a limited time, she has a window of
opportunity to make a lasting difference in the lives of millions of
families across the country by pushing forward an issue that has been
languishing for more than 10 years.
It feels good to be productive. As a Kansas farmer, I like the fact that
I help transform air, water and minerals into wheat and meat that can
help sustain people. And as an agricultural advocate for Oxfam America,
being productive means my work supports sisters and brothers around the
world to farm as I do and help feed their neighbors.
That’s why the reforms to food aid are so important to me. The president took a bold step forward earlier this year when he requested wide-ranging changes to our food aid program to make them more efficient and cost-effective. And last month Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.) and Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) introduced the Food Aid Reform Act, H.R. 1983, which would authorize a long-term fix to our broken food aid program.
The president and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee have stepped up where the Agriculture committees have failed to act. I am disappointed that the House Agriculture Committee failed to grab the opportunity of reform as they took up the farm bill. And though the Senate farm bill, which is being debated on the Senate floor, is better, it does not go far enough.
We have been analyzing the narrative of Barack Obama for some years now. In fact, we’ve tracked three differing narratives in the course of his campaign and the first term of his presidency. We’ve tracked the president’s highs (the "Yes we can!" Grant Park Speech, and others of soaring rhetoric), and his lows (the much more pedestrian Gulf Oil Spill effort).
We’ve been praised for our astute analysis, and condemned for announcing his premature political death. At the time, the Global Language Monitor’s analysis of the BP Oil Spill speech was actually pulled off CNN and replaced by a far milder critique. In retrospect, that speech was a harbinger of what was to come — Barack Obama bereft of Hope and Change.
Not that we didn’t have hints about of what was about to transpire. Consider the disposition of these "hope-and-change type" promises: (1) the immediate shutdown of Guantanamo, (2) the end of the K Street revolving door and (3) holding the bankers accountable for their part in the financial meltdown. How exactly do you make sense of these countervailing (or even contradictory) positions?
Obama and the null set narrative.
Despite recent tragic acts of violence, nationwide crime is at a 30-year
low. Experts debating the cause of the precipitous drop cite everything
from aggressive police tactics to an increase in abortions with little
consensus around one theory.
But whatever the cause, we are now safer than we have been in decades. Although select cities — like Detroit and Memphis — still face uphill battles fighting crime, there is no longer a nationwide crime scare.
We would be wise to seize this opportunity to introduce much-needed rationality into criminal justice policy. Luckily, there are some noncontroversial options, such as the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2013.