44 Grains of Salt to Take With a Presidential Promise

If you’ve been following the presidential debates you’ve probably noticed that when the candidates aren’t criticizing each other and the previous administration, they spend the dwindling seconds of their two-minute response time rapid-firing promises at the voters.

“Under my administration I will ensure the American people have [insert popular desire of general public here].”

“As president, I will cut this–honor that–increase this–defend that.”

Obviously, we need to know where the candidates stand on the issues and what their priorities are, but let’s be realistic here; their ability to follow through on many of these promises without an abuse of power depends on the cooperation of both congress and the private sector. President Obama failed to meet 44 (nearly 22%) of the promises he made to voters in 2008, and these weren’t throw away generalities like “I’ll create jobs” or “I’ll heal the economy” either. They are the specific, strategically planned goals that influence overall change in America. To give you some idea of what that looks like, here is a list of those promises provided by Politifact.

Broken Economic Policy Promises:
1. Create a foreclosure prevention fund for home owners
2. Create a $60 billion bank to fund roads and bridges
3. Allow penalty-free hardship withdrawals from retirement accounts in 2008 and 2009

Broken Healthcare Policy Promises:
4. Allow imported prescription drugs
5. Prevent drug companies from blocking generic drugs
6. Allow Medicare to negotiate for cheaper drug prices
7. Double federal funding for cancer research
8. Direct the secretary of Health and Human Services to conduct a study of federal cancer initiatives
9. Provide the CDC $50 million in funding to determine effective approaches for cancer patient care
10. Sign the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
11. Fully Fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
12. Create a National Commission on People with Disabilities, Employment, and Social Security
13. Change rules so small businesses owned by people with disabilities get preferences for contracts
14. Reduce the threshold for the family and Medical Leave Act from companies with 50 employees to companies with 25 employees
15. Provide a $1.5 billion fund to help states launch programs for paid family and medical leave
16. Require employers to provide seven paid sick days per year
17. Amend the Medicare “homebound” rule to allow some travel without loss of benefits
18. Reduce Veteran Benefits Administration claims backlog
19. With the G-8, launch Health Infrastructure 2020
20. Negotiate health care reform in public sessions televised on C-SPAN
21. Create a public option health plan for a new National Health Insurance Exchange
22. Cut the cost of a typical family’s health insurance premium by up to $2,500 a year

Broken Tax Policy Promises:
23. Eliminate all oil and gas tax loopholes
24. Expand the child and dependent care credit
25. Require publicly traded financial partnerships to pay the corporate income tax
26. Close loopholes in the corporate tax deductibility of CEO pay
27. Provide option for a pre-filled-out tax form
28. Create a mortgage interest tax credit for non-itemizers
29. Require automatic enrollment in 401(k) plans
30. Create a retirement savings tax credit for low incomes
31. End income tax for seniors making less than $50,000
32. Tax carried interest as ordinary income
33. Lift the payroll tax cap on earnings above $250,000
34. Support tax deductions for artists
35. Give tax incentives to new farmers
36. Enact windfall profit tax for oil companies
37. No family making less than $250,000 will see “any form of tax increase.”

Broken Education Policy Promises:
38. Fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
39. Establish a Global Educations Fund
40. Double funding for Federal Charter School Program and require more accountability
41. Double funding for after-school programs
42. Create scholarships to recruit new teachers
43. Expand service-learning in schools
44. Improve and prioritize student science assessments

This isn’t an attack on Obama’s honesty or competence. Every President has a list like this, and depending on whether you’re in favor of big or small government, these unmet goals could be considered positive or negative. However, as voters, keep in mind that whichever candidate you choose won’t have the authority to grant all the things they promise.


Photo Source: cnn.com

Jared Maloney

I'm a twenty-six-year-old Chicagoan with a B.A. in English from Lake Forest College. My life experiences are eclectic and without pattern. I have lived abroad in South Africa, worked as a barista, a farmhand, a pipe organ builder and an assistant physical therapist. In my free time, I like reading creative nonfiction, running, camping, fishing and exploring local festivals.