The year 2008 was memorable for Americans because on this day was History made. Barack Obama became the first black man to become the president of the United States of America. He became the president at a time when there was a global economic meltdown. Many Americans were struggling with unemployment, higher costs, and decreased wages.
One of the most notable initiatives Obama made upon assuming office was to start the Affordable Care Act. He but encountered a couple of challenges during his two-term tenure as President. Some of the issues he encountered had rather telling effects on his performance as president. It is, yet, pertinent to note that despite the many challenges he faced in office; there were quite several notable accomplishments. Here we look at some of the pros and cons of the Obama presidency.
Pros Of Obama Presidency
The resurgence of the automotive industry
One of the things the stimulus package by Barack Obama did was to revive the comatose automotive industry. If not for this stimulus, the majority of American automobile makers would have gone out of business or filed for bankruptcy. What this meant is that the federal government took over which meant the rescue of over 3 million jobs. One of the key strategies which Obama promoted among the automakers was for them to make their cars more fuel-efficient.
The banking sector reforms
The aim of the Banking Sector Reform Act passed in 2012 fine-tuning the regulatory framework of Wall Street. Many experts thought that it was the weak economic framework that leads to the near-collapse of the banking sector at that time. This reform saw changes in the practices of credit card agencies and mortgage bankers. Banks considered too big and important to fail got under the Financial Oversight Council. Also, the Volcker rule made it an offense for banks to risk losses on their depositor’s funds.
The end of the great recession
The path to recovery from the great economic recession started in 2007 under President Bush. It took a $787 billion catalyst by Obama to get the economy moving again. The steps taken ensured that certain benefits such as tax cuts, unemployment benefits, and cash flow started. In less than a year, America was back on the path of positive economic growth. As of 2010, the American economy was already at a 4% growth rate.
Health care reforms
The coming of Barack Obama also signaled the coming of the Affordable healthcare act. This altered the healthcare system in America for good. By 2014, the American population had some sort of healthcare coverage. A larger number of Americans were also able to access preventive care through this act.
Before the passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, the rising health costs were doing damage to the Federal Budget. Also, two-thirds of bankruptcy in American homes was as a result of medical expenses.
Improvements in the fight against terrorism and insurgency
One of the most notable accomplishments of Obama is the way he handled the Middle East crisis. America was facing different wars in the Middle East. This was in Afghanistan and Iraq; it was a time when America needed to resolve a lot of global issues. One of the most notable efforts made by President Obama was the order to attack to kill Bin Laden. He ordered a strike on the compound where he inhabited.
The Navy Seals penetrated the building and put an end to the man who led to the death of thousands of American lives in a day to be best forgotten. He also made efforts to ensure American involvement in conflicts. Obama began the withdrawal of soldiers from troubled areas. Some of these areas included Iraq and Afghanistan with many families reunited.
Tax cuts leading to economic growth and recovery
America was soon on a path to recovery through tax cuts. This was implemented by Congress and Obama which amounted to over $850 billion. The legislation leading to these cuts made sure of the release of $350 billion in funds. This was an extension of funds from the Bush era. Also, there was a budget of $56 billion for unemployment benefits. while a further $120 billion was set aside for the payroll tax by workers. Also, several businesses got about $140 billion in cuts to encourage them to scale new heights.
A Nobel Peace prize to show
With over a year in office, it was obvious that America was already on the path towards all-round recovery. It wasn’t long before the committee of the Nobel Peace Prize deemed Obama worthy of a Nobel Peace Prize. This was for his efforts in certain areas.
Obama sought to establish diplomatic ties with different countries. He also encouraged peaceful co-existence among people. Also, he made a push for the reduction of the Nuclear weapon stockpile of America. This was as much as 10 percent of her total Nuclear weapon arsenal reduced.
The Iran Nuclear deal
Iran was becoming a global nuclear threat under a dictatorial and power-drunk regime. President Obama made a masterstroke move to solve this challenge. The Iranians had hitherto already come under heavy sanctions for its nuclear efforts.
America and some advanced countries agreed with Iran to suspend nuclear weapons. This was for an initial three months which was further increased by a year. In exchange, he lifted several sanctions imposed upon Iran by the international community. This led to the de-escalation of the tension generated by the impasse in the Middle-East.
The war against global warming
President Obama made several regulations in 2014 to regulate Carbon emissions. The aim was to lower the American footprint on the global warming crisis of 2014. In 2015, came the Clean Power Plan of 2015 which aimed at cutting carbon emissions by 32% within the next decade. American power plants were the primary target of this legislation. the law compelled them to produce 30% of their power from renewable energy. They were to achieve this before the end of the deadline period.
Jobs for Americans
The global economic meltdown made millions of Americans lose their source of livelihood. This meant that Obama had a challenge. It was the task of getting millions of Americans back to work and he did that!. It is on record that Obama is the third-highest American Job creator in History. Through his effort and vision, over 16 million Americans found jobs that were hard to come by. This had a profound effect on the economy with Americans now able to pay bills and saving money once again.
Cons Of The Obama Administration
Having taken a look at some of the pros of his presidency, it is time to look at some of the cons:
The negative effect of the affordable care act
The affordable health care act aimed to reduce the cost of healthcare for American families. In 2016, President Obama had to admit that there would be a 25% increase in the premiums that were being offered. It was one policy that proved that using government funds to finance family issues was not the best.
The Obama administration had a deficit of about $6.78 trillion. This by far exceeded the deficit of any administration in America. It is worthy of note that his second term in office saw a decline in the deficit levels. The debts incurred during his time are one that would affect administrations to come.
Increased scrutiny by the IRS
One negative of the administration was the act of groups facing extreme screenings. This was because of their tax exemption statuses. A large number of these groups were conservative and had the tea party as part of their name. This does not mean liberal groups didn’t face this treatment. But, theirs was not as intense as the conservatives. The IRS was soon to come under heavy criticism based on this rule. Several investigations came up out with 400 lawsuits to show in this regard.
The failure of the myRA plan
The myRA program was one of the notable policy failures of the Obama administration. It had over 30,000 people opening an account after 3 full years. The program aimed to assist Americans in planning for retirement. This was due to the uncertainty of Social Security in the long term. It is vital to note that of the 30,000 people who opened the account only about 70% of them opened an account. The Trump administration ended it even though it cost about $70 million in the first place.
The myRA plan had some close similarities to a Roth IRA. This was such that a person who earns less than $131,000 each year would contribute $5,500. Also, couples filing may have a combined income of $193,000.
There was notable power abuse among some agencies within the Obama administration. An agency such as the Health and Human Services department was one. The secretary of the department made threats to deal with insurance companies. She did this threatening to put them out of business. Threatening to deal with those that didn’t fall in line based on party lines. She also indicated to them that the rates would not go beyond 2%. Internal documentation indicated that the rates would go beyond 7%.
It is on record that Sebelius went on to approve billions of dollars for insurance companies. This is even though the Obama Care Act was not in support of such an action.
The ATF gun-walking program
Though the gun-walking tactic began in 2006, he continued the program till 2011. The loopholes of this policy were that his administration still permitted firearms sales. This was to illegal straw buyers. This was to track them to the leaders of the Mexican cartel. The guns that sold in this program came from crime scenes on both sides of the border. The program was soon renamed “Operation Fast and Furious.”
Vetoing of the 9-11 crime bill
One of the disasters of the United States has always been the tragedy of September eleven. And one of the policies enacted and implemented was the September 11 Crime Bill. This bill permitted families who were victims of the 9-11 attack to sue the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This was if they feel the Kingdom may have played a role in it.
Obama felt this rule would set a negative precedent for the future and as such moved to reverse it. This faced stiff opposition and rebuke from the House and Senate. They soon moved against Obama in this regard.
Some people believed Obama should have done more for the black community than he did. People in Africa had thought that the emergence of a black president would herald an influx of aids. The aids did come but not in the volume they had expected.
The Obama regime goes into the history books as one of those that didn’t face any scandal. This was a departure from the norm with past leaders. But, like any other administration, he was not without its ups and downs and sometimes a mixture of both. With innovations such as the Obama Care Act, Obama did do something’s right. It is worthy of note that President Obama indeed left some prominent steps in the sands of time.
Only time will tell how much of the pros and cons will still be valid in time to come.