This archived article was written by: Alex Holt
It was a fateful day in January 2009, when Barrack Obama walked on the stage to be inaugurated as the 44th President of the United States. Now eight years later, Obama’s legacy is coming to a close.
During his presidency, President Obama has had to fight wars, rebuild an economy, deal with the most unproductive Congress in history, push equality, enact reforms and unite the nation.
While he is a controversial figure in today’s politics, history will eventually remember Obama as one of the greatest presidents of all time.
While his accomplishments will not stand up to those of Washington, Roosevelt and Lincoln, they push him above his contemporaries (Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes)
At the end of 2008, in the waning year of George W. Bush’s presidency, the United States was struggling. We were in the midst of two unpopular wars, an economy in deep recession, and deep inequality.
Immediately, Obama went to work. He helped pass the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which cut taxes, slashed government investments and gave Americans around $200 billion in relief payments.
Next Obama instructed the Treasury Department to work with the Federal Reserve to fix mortgage rates and have the FDIC and the Reserve assess the health of eighteen financial institutions.
Obama then helped bailout General Motors and Chevrolet, saving the auto industry and protecting American jobs. This move was unpopular but highly successful.
Obama next instituted the Recovery Act, which saved 2.5 million jobs and provided money for infrastructure, health care, energy, and education institutions to protect them from failing.
The Obama Administration and the Federal Reserve provided more efforts to protect the fragile economy, which would eventually lead to wide-scale recovery and return of economic growth by the beginning of 2010.
Obama also would be the lead instrument in providing America a universal health care program with the passing of the Affordable Care Act. Before the act, the United States was the only industrialized nation in the world without a universal health care system.
Obamacare as the Affordable Care Act came to be known provided benefits to Americans that would prevent insurance companies from taking advantage of them like how insurance companies can no longer deny someone for a pre-existing condition.
Today, 20 million Americans now have health insurance than before, thanks to Obamacare. Obama also ended the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, killing Osama Bin Laden and defeating both Al-qaeda and the Taliban. After America’s job in the region was considered complete, Obama pulled, most of the troops back home.
Keeping America out of wars, the Obama Administration began using drones against remaining terrorists like ISIS. Obama kept America out of a war with its adversary Russia by using the international community to put sanctions on Russia, crippling its economy and preventing it from taking further aggressive actions.
Obama has also helped in making progress toward equality, promoting LGBTQ rights such as marriage and non-discrimination laws, repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell policy”, and Obama also made it so for the first time in America, women can now join the infantry. He has passed laws for equal pay and providing rights for victims of sexual assault.
The Obama Administration has taken efforts to reduce America’s carbon footprint by creating higher emission standards, making foreign climate deals and urging the switch to alternative energy.
Obama continues to make policies to help America grow, strengthen and progress forward into the 21st Century. His accomplishments and reforms have made America a better nation, despite the work that is yet to come.
Obama will also hopefully continue to inspire many Americans with his leadership and dedication. So they may be able to make changes that everyone can believe in.
His legacy will be one that stands the test of time and will be remembered as a great time in American politics. Hopefully the next president and future presidents will learn a thing or two from him and continue to make the U.S. a better place.