What has Obama done for you?

Frank Yonkof

To be perfectly honest, the question had caught me off guard.

“What has Barack Obama done for you?” asked a middle-aged co-worker recently.

Truth be told, I had never really thought about it before. It’s not as if President Obama hasn’t done anything, but I guess I’m not looking for Obama’s presidency to benefit me personally.

&bull The CIA no longer tortures people, but I guess that never really affected me.

&bull International relations, especially with Muslim countries, have been greatly improved, but I don’t plan on traveling internationally anytime soon.

&bull Cash for clunkers helped stimulate auto dealerships, but I didn’t get a new car out of it.

&bull The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 is working to provide equal pay, but I have never been the victim of pay discrimination.

&bull GM didn’t collapse, but I don’t have any family members that work there.

&bull My hometown elementary school just received stimulus money from the government to build a new school, but I will never use it.

&bull The president is fending off health care attacks from the right so that Americans can afford health insurance, but I have no costly illnesses or medical debt.

So there was no way I could truthfully answer the question. President Obama has not done a thing for me personally (unless we take into account his administration’s investment in the Federal Pell grant, but we will just forget about that one for now.).

What is interesting is a growing trend in this nation of unreasonably high expectations of government. Everyone is looking for his or her piece of the pie, so to speak.

Don’t get me wrong, President Obama should be held accountable for everything he promised during the campaign, but unreasonably high expectations are placed on all levels of government across both party lines.

Over the weekend, I read a letter to the editor from a local man who was upset that Republican Rep. William Batchelder has not personally returned any of his phone calls. The man then went on to write about how he would not financially support Batchelder’s campaign.

I wanted to ask the man why he felt entitled to a phone call from the congressman and why our tax dollars pay for congressional support staff? I also wanted to ask why anyone should care about who he supports?

These kind of high expectations are nothing new at the local level.

For years, people have complained about the state of our roads and of our schools, yet many operating levies are voted down because people don’t want to pay additional taxes. Average citizens get fed up with police officers for enforcing laws, but are outraged when police are not around to prevent something bad from happening.

More recently, Obama and Democratic congressional leaders have become the poster children of this failed-government sentiment. As Michael Steele points out, Americans want government out of their lives, but still expect premium services at little to no cost.

“All across our country, most Americans oppose government intrusion in their lives.They are tired of being taxed too much for a government that delivers too little,” wrote the RNC Chairman on his blog Tuesday.

Contrary to popular belief, this past week was not the one-year anniversary of Obama’s presidency; that will not come for another two months. So why is everyone outraged that all of his goals have not yet been accomplished?

After all, what is the purpose of a four-year presidency when the person should be able to accomplish everything in less than a year?

Frank Yonkof is a sophomore newspaper journalism major and columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. Contact him at [email protected].