Serving Two Masters
Full disclosure: Not only did I vote for Barack Obama in 2008, but I donated $500 to his campaign. I even got a nifty, little certificate in the mail to prove it. I, like a majority of independents, got behind Obama because of his promise to fix healthcare in our country. However, as I watched the Democrat-controlled congress kill off everything that would've made the "Affordable Care Act" actually work, I lost faith quickly.
Even in the early days of my personal push to understand economics, I knew that forcing people to buy insurance (the "individual mandate") from private companies would cause premiums to rapidly increase. It's pretty basic stuff, because even in a properly functioning free market such as televisions (which is my go-to example, since I understand the technology pretty well and most people can relate), where prices have been going down while quality has been going up for basically the life of the television as a consumer product, if you mandated that every household buy a minimum of one TV every year, regardless of size, the price of televisions would start going up, rather than down. And healthcare is not, and cannot be, a free market. If the Democrats had included the "public option" (which was to be a government-based insurance plan, run for no profit, which we could purchase, thus adding competition to the private-insurance market) as some had proposed, it definitely would've helped. But the Democrats, ever-eager to capitulate to Republican and healthcare-lobby demands, left that out of the bill as they passed it without any Republican votes anyway.
The ACA was doomed to failure because, I believe, it was purposely designed not to fix our nation's healthcare problem. I explain why I believe that here.
That was my first major disappointment with President Obama and his party, but it wasn't the last. I also hated that he went back on his promise to protect federal whistleblowers (page seven here), and actually ended up prosecuting more whistleblowers under the Espionage Act than all previous presidents combined! In fact, he was so harsh to journalists that the New York Times said he used intrusive measures against journalists more often than any in recent history!
He also failed to end the war in Iraq (or anywhere, for that matter, and in fact expanded the War on Terror), and not only failed to prosecute anybody from any of the banks that caused our 2008 financial crisis, but his administration actively helped the bankers by pushing the DOJ to close any cases against them! Before the 2012 election, I was done. I abstained from voting in 2012, since I honestly couldn't tell a difference between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney (implementer of "Obamacare" before it was "cool").
Later, through the Wikileaks that exposed Hillary Clinton and the DNC's many major problems last year, we ended up finding out why Obama didn't prosecute any bankers: Almost his entire cabinet was chosen by Citibank before he even won the election...
In my time as a voter in presidential elections, I've only voted for the winner twice - George W Bush in 2000, and Barack Obama in 2008 - and both times I've regretted it. Isn't that a bummer? The three losers I voted for - Bob Dole (1996), John Kerry (2004), and Jill Stein (2016) - probably would've disappointed me, too, had they managed to win.
I'm bringing all of this up because now, there's this: Barack Obama - who was already very wealthy, mostly from his book sales, and who will have many of his expenses covered by us taxpayers for the rest of his life - is doing his best Clinton impression (it doesn't matter which of the two Clintons), collecting $400,000 per speech from the same Wall Street businesses whose greed he promised to bring under control.
"What's wrong with that?" you ask? "He's a private citizen now, and he can do what he wants!" you exclaim?
I'm not saying he doesn't have a right to do it. I'm saying it's not right to do it. Those are very different things.
He even gave a paid speech to Carlyle Group, for which his EPA loosened restrictions meant to combat climate change.
The point is, if he'd have done his job as a representative of us, the people of this country (whom he liked to call "Main Street"), Wall Street would hate his guts! And they definitely wouldn't be asking him - much less paying him - to speak at their behest.
Our government doesn't work for us anymore. We deserve better. We are entitled to a representative government, meaning it should represent us. Every day we're denied what we're entitled is a crime.
George W Bush and the Republican majority he presided over in congress inspired me to leave the Republican Party in 2002 with their phony Iraq War justification, and more than that, the highly unconstitutional USA PATRIOT Act. But Bush's speech income pales in comparison to the supposedly "left wing" Democrats.
We deserve real change in this country. We need it. And that's why I'm running for congress.
As an Independent.