15 Ways President Obama has changed the direction of America

With less than nine months left in his term, President Obama must be thinking about how his presidency will be assessed by history. The 44th president had an unusually ambitious agenda upon taking office, but economic and political realities forced him to put aside some goals and compromise on others. Mr. Obama himself, in a 2015 interview with Marc Maron, host of the podcast “WTF With Marc Maron,” said, “Sometimes the task of the government is to make incremental improvements or try to steer the ocean liner two degrees north or south so that 10 years from now, we’re in a very different place than we were.” He sympathized with those hoping for more sweeping changes during his administration but said, “you can’t turn 50 degrees.”

Here are some of the ways in which President Obama has steered an ocean liner—assuming the United States has a fleet of them—by at least a few degrees.

1. The Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”). Perhaps the most important law of the past half-century, the A.C.A. cemented several new principles in American health care. Health insurance is now mandatory for all citizens, part of a grand bargain that prohibits insurance companies from denying coverage on the basis of pre-existing conditions and that subsidizes premiums for those who cannot afford them. Obamacare also prohibits insurance plans that charge women higher premiums, and it requires that mental health be covered as comprehensively as physical conditions.

A poll by National Public Radio this February found that perceptions of the law are mixed, with only 35 percent saying it has directly helped the people of their state and 27 percent saying it has hurt people. Still, by many measures the law has been a success, with 20 million more Americans now insured, the uninsured rate dropping from 20 percent to about 12 percent and a lower rate of health care cost inflation than in recent decades. The Republican Party can still rouse its base by calling for Obamacare’s complete repeal, but with each year it becomes more unlikely that a president of either party will do anything to yank coverage from the newly insured.

2. The 2009 economic stimulus package. Mr. Obama’s first order of business was to deal with the economic crash of 2008, and he did it  by reaffirming Keynesian economics and turning away from the “government is the problem” mantra made popular by President Ronald Reagan. He proposed new federal spending on infrastructure and health programs, as well as an expansion of unemployment benefits and funds for other social welfare programs. Michael Grunwald of Time magazine writes that the stimulus also “jump-started clean energy in America, financing unprecedented investments in wind, solar, geothermal and other renewable sources of electricity.... It improved more than 110,000 miles of broadband infrastructure. It launched Race to the Top, the most ambitious national education reform in decades.”

Many Democrats wanted a much larger stimulus, but conservatives argued that any deficit spending would only worsen long-term economic security, and a $787 billion package passed with only three Republican votes in the Senate and zero Republican votes in the House. Five years after its passage, the White House estimated that the stimulus added six million jobs, and avoided a “double-dip” recession. Republicans called this guesswork and countered that the stimulus did not bring down the unemployment rate as fast or as far as promised.

3. The auto industry “bailout.” With General Motors and Chrysler near bankruptcy in late 2008, the incoming Obama administration feared a total job loss near one million, plus a collapse of parts suppliers that would have affected even the relatively healthy Ford Motor Company. Mr. Obama created a task force that gave $80.7 billion in federal funds to G.M. and Chrysler but on the condition that the companies formally file for bankruptcy, streamline their operations and shift the administration of retirement benefits to an independent trust. After these reforms, the auto industry became more stabilized and restored jobs (though not to the pre-recession level), and the Obama administration later claimed to have recouped $70.5 billion, or almost all its investment. The Obama administration calls the revival of the industry an unqualified success; libertarians object that the bailout simply preserved the industry’s high labor costs (i.e., wages) and perpetuated the power of labor unions.

4. The Dodd-Frank Act. Mr. Obama proposed reforms to the finance industry in 2009; the following year, Congress passed and he signed this legislation. It creates multiple agencies to monitor financial markets, regulate hedge funds and intervene to avoid a repeat of the 2008 crisis—for example, by dissolving large banks without government bailouts. Banks are now required to make less risky investments and to keep more capital on hand to cover potential losses. The law also created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to write and advocate regulations on behalf of the borrowers of mortgages, credit cards and student loans.

Because of its complexity, the effectiveness of the Dodd-Frank Act is hard to measure and something of a moving target. Adam Davidson of the New York Times Magazine wrote last year that the finance industry has used hundreds of meetings with banking regulators, along with lawsuits over “every tiny detail” of Dodd-Frank “to change the letter of the law so as to alter its spirit.” But a New York Times financial reporter, Peter Eavis, concluded this April that “Dodd-Frank is mostly intact—and exacting slow, steady results. The act has stamped out many risky practices…. The largest banks appear to be slowly shrinking.”

5. Tax and budget compromises. In 2010, the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, ending any hope of a second economic stimulus package and forcing Mr. Obama to govern according to smaller-government principles. In December, he agreed to a compromise that extended by two years the income tax cuts signed into law in 2001 by President George W. Bush but also targeted additional tax relief to middle- and working-class families and provided new funds for unemployment insurance.

In 2011, Republicans demanded deep cuts in government spending as a condition for raising the federal government’s debt ceiling. Mr. Obama signed the Budget Control Act, which mandated a “sequester,” or across-the-board cuts, of $1.2 trillion in domestic and defense spending over nine years, unless or until the passage of a deficit-reduction package that saved the same amount of money; the sequester took effect in 2012. Since then Congress has softened the spending cuts in various ways, but using the debt ceiling as a bargaining chip in budget negotiations has become commonplace, and Mr. Obama has presided over a slowdown in federal spending. Critics say that spending is still high by historical measures and that we have failed to address the soaring costs of entitlement programs like Social Security, but Mr. Obama’s deals with the Republican Congress will make it difficult for any future Democratic president to increase federal spending greatly.

6. The “net neutrality” rule. Net neutrality pitted content generators (such as YouTube and Netflix) against cable companies and other Internet service providers; the latter wanted the ability to block content or to charge websites more to stream content that takes up more bandwidth. Mr. Obama eventually came down against different pricing for different content, saying “companies who connect you to the world have special obligations not to exploit the monopoly they enjoy over access into and out of your home or business,” and the Federal Communications Commission followed his lead by adopting net neutrality rules in 2015—over the protests of Internet service providers who argued that the rules discouraged technological innovation. In this case, Mr. Obama made his mark by staying the course and leaving things alone; no one knows how much the Internet as we know it would be different if your service provider could, say, make it more expensive to watch a video than to read text.

7. Rejecting the Keystone Pipeline. One of the bigger disappointments for Mr. Obama has been the lack of progress in addressing climate change during his administration. But he did catch the world’s attention in late 2015 by blocking the construction of the 1,179-mile Keystone XL pipeline, which would have carried 800,000 barrels of carbon-heavy petroleum from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The move may not have much of an impact on the emission of greenhouse gases that are warming the planet, as the oil is already being transported by rail and other pipelines. (New E.P.A. rules limiting carbon-dioxide emissions from power plants would have a more direct impact—if they survive court scrutiny.) However, nixing Keystone and coming down against those who said the project would provide jobs and other benefits was a moral decision that put the long-term health of the planet over short-term economic growth.

8. The appointment of (at least) two Supreme Court justices. Mr. Obama has named two members of the nine-person Supreme Court; Republican leaders in the Senate are determined not to let him name a third, despite the vacancy caused by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. In 2009, Mr. Obama nominated the federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor to replace the retired David Souter; she became the first Hispanic and the third woman ever to serve on the court. With her confirmation, six of the nine members of the court were Catholic. In 2010, the president named Elena Kagan, U.S. solicitor general, to replace the retired John Paul Stevens. Because both women replaced justices in the more liberal bloc, Mr. Obama’s appointments preserved rather than upset the court’s ideological balance, but he has continued its evolution into a more diverse, and thus more representative body.

9. Speaking frankly about racism. In July 2009, Mr. Obama weighed in on the case of a black Harvard University professor, Henry Louis Gates, arrested for “disorderly conduct” after he protested being questioned by the police while trying to enter his own home. The police acted “stupidly,” the president said at a press conference, adding, “there's a long history in this country of African-Americans and Latinos being stopped by law enforcement disproportionately. That's just a fact.” This was only one of several times when Mr. Obama reminded Americans that his own election did not mean that racism had ceased to exist. After Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager, was shot to death by a neighborhood watchman in Florida in 2012, Mr. Obama pointedly said, “If I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” And just a couple of months ago, the president met invited leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement to the White House to talk about the often-tense relations between police and racial minorities.

10. Criminal-justice reform. The United States is rethinking policies that have led to the incarceration of more than two million citizens, or four times the number in 1980. We now have 5 percent of the population and 25 percent of the world’s prisoners. Many of the attempts to reduce mass incarceration and to reclaim human potential are taking place at the state level, but Mr. Obama has helped to steer the public conversation away from the “tough on crime” overreach that peaked in the 1990s. Last July, he met with inmates at a federal prison in Oklahoma, focusing media attention on excessive sentences for nonviolent, drug-related crimes. The president has also commuted the prison sentences of 248 individuals, convicted mostly for nonviolent drug crimes—more than the past six presidents combined. Criminal justice reform is the rare initiative with bipartisan support, and there is good reason to hope that the next president, whether a Democrat or Republican, will continue moving in this direction.

11. Civil rights for gays and lesbians. PolitiFact called it a “full flop.” In 2012, Mr. Obama declared his support for same-sex marriage, telling ABC News, “I’ve been going through an evolution on this issue.” As recently as 2008, in the closing days of his first presidential campaign, he told MTV viewers, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. I am not in favor of gay marriage.” But public opinion was rapidly changing as more states instituted same-sex marriage, and Mr. Obama adopted a more inclusionary definition, at least in the civil sphere. This spirit of inclusion also led Mr. Obama to issue an executive order in 2014 protecting federal workers and contractors from discrimination based on sexual orientation.

12. Immigration policy. In 2014, the head of the National Council of La Raza, the largest Hispanic advocacy group in the United States, called Mr. Obama “the deporter-in-chief” for overseeing more than two million deportations of undocumented migrants, more than any previous president. Such aggressive enforcement of the law may have seemed necessary while the president lobbied for an immigration reform law that would have provided a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding residents, but that legislation died in Congress in 2013. So Mr. Obama, as he has done on several major issues, turned to “executive action,” announcing just after the 2014 midterm elections that some four million undocumented residents would be eligible for a new legal status protecting them from deportations and allowing them to work here legally. Republicans denounced the new policy as “lawless” and initiated a lawsuit against the president; the Supreme Court has said it will rule on the legality of the executive action before this summer. Immigration has become an ever-more partisan issue over the course of the Obama administration; as on other issues, Mr. Obama has positioned his party firmly on the side of pluralism and social change—and may have strengthened the Republicans among Americans uncomfortable with the speed and the scope of such change.

13. “No-drama” foreign-policy. In March, the New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman summed up Mr. Obama’s foreign-policy agenda as “to get out of office being able to say that he had shrunk America’s involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, prevented our involvement on the ground in Syria and Libya, and taught Americans the limits of our ability to fix things we don’t understand.” Not everyone is happy with Mr. Obama’s aversion to tough language. The Republican presidential candidates argue that his low-key manner only encourages terrorism and instability. In the column cited above, Mr. Friedman also says the president underestimates “the dangers of his passivity,” and some Republicans argue that “no-drama” Obama is responsible for the popularity of Donald J. Trump. It is not surprising that presidential candidates (even Hillary Clinton, his former secretary of state) are promising a tougher foreign policy, even if it means putting more American troops in combat.

14. Drone warfare. As a candidate, Mr. Obama criticized President George W. Bush for bringing “more and more power into the executive branch” and for extending the “war on terror” to include torture and the mass surveillance of American citizens. As president, he has scaled back some of the worst excesses of his predecessor (see “Presidential Powers,” by America’s editors, 4/18), but he has also approved the routine use of drone warfare, killing as many as 5,000 people, enemy combatants and civilians alike, with no record or accountability. Mr. Obama’s countenancing of what is essentially a death penalty without trial or appeal is in stark contrast to his support for a more humane criminal justice system within American borders.

15. Normalization of U.S. relations with Cuba. In December 2014, Mr. Obama restored full diplomatic relations with Cuba and opened an embassy in Havana after more than 50 years of sanctions against the island nation, promising to “cut loose the shackles of the past.” He had been moving toward normalized relations since the first days of his administration, when he repealed some of the most punitive rules against travel and cash remissions to Cuba. At the time, America’s editors hoped (5/18/09) this was part of a move against the “approach of all stick and no carrot, which has characterized much of foreign policy in recent years, [and] has yielded little more than a world full of enemies.” Improved relations with Cuba, along with the negotiations leading to the nuclear nonproliferation deal with Iran, also fits Pope Francis’ prescription to build more bridges rather than walls.

The Status Quo

In some ways, such as the advancement of the “free trade” Trans-Pacific Partnership, Mr. Obama has followed the course of his predecessors. There are many other areas where he has not changed direction as much as he had hoped to do. He has expressed regret that he has not been able to reduce partisanship in Washington. Mr. Obama got the Affordable Care Act through Congress without a single Republican vote, but that kind of victory became impossible to repeat after the G.O.P. won control of the House of Representatives in 2010. With divided government, there has been little or no movement on major legislation to reform immigration, reduce gun violence or change the way elections are financed, and there is little reason to expect progress during an election year. Some course corrections have to be left to the next president.

 
Robert Koch
1 year 1 month ago
Thoses are accomplishments? Oh please!
Gregory Braun
1 year 1 month ago
15 more reasons I no longer subscribe to America Magazine...
Henry George
1 year 1 month ago
I came to the conclusion last week that President Obama should be impeached and removed from office along with Attorney General and all those who have violated their oaths to the Constitution. While well meaning, at least in their eyes, the Imperial Edict that all Schools should allow Self-Identified Transgendered students to use the bathroom/locker room of their choice ignored the 10th Amendment and the enormous discomfort placed upon the vast majority of American. Yes, build additional bathrooms that can be designated at Uni-Sex but do not force your ethical views via sweeping Presidential and illegal powers on the States. The continued war in the Middle East violates the Constitution. The Illegal/Undocumented Immigrant Fiasco is being handled in an Unconstitutional manner by Obama. We have an Imperial Presidency more dangerous than Nixon's ever was. Our Justice, or rather "Lack of Justice" system sends the guilty and innocent to vestibules of Hell.
Jill Caldwell
1 year 1 month ago
...and which of these 15 reflects true Catholic values?
Robert Koch
1 year 1 month ago
Robert David Sullivan it is past time to wake up.
Lisa Weber
1 year 1 month ago
President Obama has done a good job considering that he inherited a disaster from the Bush administration plus he has had to govern with the Republican party refusing to participate in the process of governance.
L J
1 year 1 month ago
Democrats controlled the US Congress for Obama's first term. Playing the victim card is a cop out
ed gleason
1 year 1 month ago
As an oldster, let me mention to you FDR with a Dem congress took 10 years to get out of the the Great Depression. The Pearl Harbor attack brought borrowing and jobs on line in the beginning of 1942. I bet all posting here have more money than he did in 2009,, Please stop whining... there are real poor where you live,. ..
L J
1 year 1 month ago
"The share of Americans participating in the labor force fell to 62.6% in May, down 0.2 percentage point from April." http://www.bls.gov/news.release/pdf/empsit.pdf . Obama had control of the US Congress for his first term. Thus this is all on him. Blaming the previous adminstration is precisely the victim paradigm many of us abhor. The buck stops with him and it has tanked during his two terms according to the US Dept of Labor. http://data.bls.gov/timeseries/LNS11300000
. . The US Federal societal programs (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, etc) were created for people who had no family or loved ones to care for them, particularly the elderly during President LBJ. Today these Federal programs are seen as a given, much like the prodigal son who demanded from his father "his share". We discuss how families are attacked by secular forces. While true to an extent, we have abandoned our own families. Divorce, abortion, abortifacient drugs, "nursing" homes, living out of wedlock, perpetually dating and not committed to one person, these and others have devastated our sense of commitment to one another. These have also made Americans very sick. Lack of self-care is an ongoing problem for our national physical and mental health. You treat others as you were taught at home. Since our nuclear families have become nearly extinct, Americans now turn to the government (taxpayers whom they do not know) to take care of them. This is Obama's legacy and the Democrats who controlled the US Congress for his first term. Hillary will continue it. Given her own nuclear family, we can see where she will take our nation's families. Like the prodigal son, families and individuals will climb aboard and demand what is "their's", thus abusing the charity of Americans. Charity should not be taken for granted nor abused. Love is never bullied. . Empires fall when the people are vanquished. We are a nation whose spirit is broken. We suffer a grand malaise and Obama has made it far worse for families, for individuals, for Americans. Given our grand malaise, it is no surprise Hillary, Trump and Sanders are popular: they are messiahs for their voters.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
"The share of Americans participating in the labor force fell to 62.6%... Obama had control of the US Congress for his first term…this is all on him.” A neighborhood fireman in the 60’s lived in a newly built house and had four kids in Catholic school all on one income. Labor force participation rates averaged less than 60% during the 50’s and 60’s. https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/series/CIVPART
L J
1 year 1 month ago
And then we Latinos entered the country and all Hades broke loose! Actually as I tell mis amigos Americano, most of the SW USA belonged to the Mexican Empire until Americans stole it from them in the 1800s. That Americans are indignant today about "Mexicans" entering our country is something I find really amusing. Apparently the Mexicans want their land back. May they bring their Catholic identity, roots and traditions with them. Perhaps they will infuse in us a sense of proper priorities so that a fireman can own a newly built house, have 4 kids in Catholic schools and the father can post comments on America website. ¡Viva Cristo Rey!
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
The founder of the Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in Minneapolis occasionally posts comments on the America website.
Bob Schwartz
1 year 1 month ago

Guillermo:
Your comment,

Actually as I tell mis amigos Americano, most of the SW USA belonged to the Mexican Empire until Americans stole it from them in the 1800s.

is not true. I urge you to attempt to actually prove it. You will. of course, fail. <i>And I am not your amigo<ii>

L J
1 year 1 month ago
California, Nevada, New Mexico (notice the word Mexico), Texas, Colorado and other parts of the West belonged to Mexico prior to Americans invading these regions that resulted in war with Mexico, aka Mexican-American War Mexican–American War https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican%E2%80%93American_War . You wrote: "And I am not your amigo" Which means you are not a Catholic Christian.
John Hess
11 months 2 weeks ago
You may not be his amigo, but you are his brother.
J Cosgrove
1 year 1 month ago
When are you going to stop posting these irrelevant comments and statistics. In 1960 the US had about 60% of global manufacturing capability as the bombed out countries (especially Germany and Japan) from World War II had only partially recovered. East Asia countries produced almost nothing at that time. In the US there was no medicare and social security was putting money into the economy not taking it out. Only a small percentage of married women worked which is why the labor participating number is low. Catholic schools were still mainly staffed by nuns, brothers and priests and were free in a lot of places or cost very little. You could get a college education for about $10,000 in todays prices. All those things changed but were especially accelerated as government programs came on line to transfer money to designated groups. Now one can argue over the effectiveness of these programs and their consequences but you pick a time which is no longer possible to go back to unless you want to bomb the major industrial nations of the world and prohibit married women from working. So I suggest you stop posting all these irrelevant and misleading statistics.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
“…a time (the 50’s and 60’s) which is no longer possible to go back to…” Does that mean punishing working Americans and rewarding billionaire inheritance will continue until further notice? A billionaire inheritance is now the gift that keeps on giving. There was one Walton on the first Forbes billionaire list in 1987. Now there’s four Waltons…they’re multiplying like rabbits. http://articles.latimes.com/1987-10-13/business/fi-13869_1_real-estate One percent of America’s workforce (Walmart’s 1.4 million employees) received $6 billion in government assistance (food stamps, Medicaid, etc.) in 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/clareoconnor/2014/04/15/report-walmart-workers-cost-taxpayers-6-2-billion-in-public-assistance/#5bc6e187cd84 The pinnacle of US capitalism, its largest company, doesn’t even pay its employees enough to get by without government aid. http://fortune.com/2015/06/04/biggest-companies-fortune-500/ History suggests billionaire heirs would fit right in with FDR’s Wall Street Bankers. “…they (Wall Street bankers) know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision, the people perish.” Is it really a surprise that Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan might also make its next president?
J Cosgrove
1 year 1 month ago
Billionaires again. Have you explained what causes billionaires and why they are bad yet. If you took all the money from every billionaire you would be able to run the government for a few months and then there would be nothing left for the government to get. I assume you are against anything published by the NY Times and Washington Post, since both are owned by billionaires. And how about all those billionaires supporting the Democratic Party, I assume you are against them too since they are obviously corrupting the party. I have no particular love for billionaires but don't see the harm they are doing. A lot of their wealth is artificial, the results of stock market holdings. That is why they increased so dramatically during the Clinton administration as the stock market took off
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
See my 6/7/2016 comment above.
Richard Booth
1 year 1 month ago
You write, and I paraphrase: Mr. Obama [vis-a-vis] President George Bush...when, actually, it should be Senator Obama and President Bush. You have scarcely given the president his proper title in your article, save in several instances. Words selected by writers say much about writers.
Kevin Clarke
1 year ago

Style on courtesy titles—first reference "President," all following references "Mr." That is all.

Ernest Martinson
1 year 1 month ago
President Obama did block the Keystone XL pipeline but a carbon tax could have plugged that pipeline with more finesse. A rising carbon tax could also obviate EPA rules to limit emissions from power plants. Unfortunately, while EPA rules may survive court scrutiny, a rising carbon tax does not have a snowball’s chance in hell of surviving voter approval.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
Walmart arguably is the largest user of US infrastructure including highways, ports, customs, ATF, FDA, US military protected shipping lanes, etc. Walmart paid $6 billion in federal corporate income taxes which covers the $6 billion in government assistance to Walmart’s employees. The US invests 1.4 million people in Walmart and China gets free use of US infrastructure. The US exempts Walmart’s largest shareholder (Walton family heirs own over 50% of Walmart stock) from inheritance tax for helping make China one of the world’s fastest growing economies.
J Cosgrove
1 year 1 month ago
Why the constant harping on billionaires? You obviously have a thing against billionaires, especially those who inherit the money. This obviously means you must detest the Kennedy's and Franklin Roosevelt since their inheritied money came from liquor and the drug trade. I personally don't see the harm since most of the money of these rich people eventually ends up in philanthropic causes and many of their efforts often employs tens of thousands. Of course not all and the Kennedy's and Roosevelt are good examples of money not doing as much good as others. Maybe the Walton's money will end up doing public good with all their wealth but like most very rich people it is mainly in the stock of their very successful company started by their parents. You have not made a case that billionaires are bad or are causing problems with others. This is an OP about the changes Obama has made in our country and one of them is the facilitating of increased billions for the very rich by the deficit spending and money creation that has occurred. So I assume you are against the Obama administration and what it has done. Join the club!!! And by the way I don't like Trump, but not because he is a billionaire. He is a liberal Democrat temporary masquerading as a Republican and has few good ideas.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year 1 month ago
The Walmart employees on government assistance lie in a demographic with high abortion and high divorce rates. Over 40% of abortion patients live below the federal poverty level. https://www.guttmacher.org/united-states/abortion/demographics The National Marriage Project notes: “What’s clear is that economic opportunity…matters. The breakdown of the traditional family is overwhelmingly occurring among working-class Americans.” http://www.brookings.edu/research/articles/2013/01/family-structure-class-sawhill A family that inherits the world’s largest company shows little, if any, support of the immortal declaration, “all men are created equal”.
James Schwarzwalder
1 year 1 month ago
Regarding the incarceration of American's referenced in the column "Steering the Ship of State" (America Magazine June 6-13, 2016, item #10), I think some "fact checking" is in order. Interestingly this same issue contains another column on the topic of fact checking for the media. So I've done some fact checking. I've read the population of the U.S. is around 330 million with 240 million of those old enough to vote. If, as stated, 2 million American's are presently incarcerated this represents less than one third of one percent of the total population of the U.S., not 5 percent of total population as stated in the column.
Robert Hugelmeyer
1 year 1 month ago
What a bunch of BS. He has destroyed the civility in the country. He has divided rich/poor, male/female, straight/gay/ black/white, etc etc. He's a liar over and over, violated the Constitution, spent more then all the previous presidents combined, destroy the armed services, has many many more scandals, IRS, Vets, gun running in Mexico, releasing terrorists from Gitmo to fight again, Iran deal, ACA a complete failure, failed investments in climate change, his intrusion into peoples rights to practice their faith forcing them to violate their consciences, supporting a deserter and covering up the process, Hillary's emails scandal, Benghazi scandal, Iran's capture of the men on two boats, lost Iraq by refusing to leave troops, ISIS crisis ignored, foreign policies in chaos, 95 million no longer looking for work, the unemployment levels a scam a lie, average spending power down 7% in the middle class, etc. etc. etc.So much more but he is the worse president ever to enter the White House. He could have been one of the best to unite, move forward, since we know what works but he chose fundamental transformation right out of "Dreams from My Father." There are criticisms cited by this author supporting some of Obama's lack of accomplishment.
Elizabeth Edens
1 year 1 month ago
This article seems to imply these "accomplishment" are a good thing. Sadly, as a Catholic publication, I would expect a more honest assessment of at least the healthcare act, which pays for abortion and is certainly is not affordable! I lost my insurance when I was forced to quit my job and Obamacare would have cost me $1,600 a month. My 71 year old retired husband had to return to work 30 hrs a week to get us affordable insurance.
Michael Barberi
1 year ago
This article would be more credible if it was more balanced and truthful. During Obama's presidency: 1. More people are on food stamps than ever before. 2. While the economy has seen more months of job growth, it is anemic growth with very few and not enough mid and high paying jobs. GDP growth is also anemic. We need 3%-4% percent growth per year to create good paying jobs and career opportunities. The labor participation rate is the lowest in 40 years which is indicative of a weak economy. 3. The deficit has grown significantly and it be 20 trillion in short order. All we hear is more spending programs and little in terms of effective legislation to create jobs (e.g., no taxing the 2 trillion in overseas profits which everyone agrees with but Congress cannot pass or true tax reform that is not replete with exaggerated claims like the problem is economic inequality and that our problems are solved by merely taxing the rich). 4. The Affordable Care Act is not affordable. Rate increases for the 2017 year will be significant. While more people have health insurance, it comes at a price. The largest insurance company, UHC, has dropped out and more will drop out in the next 2-3 years because the industry is losing money. To fix this problem, both Obama and Clinton want a single payer system, with the US government paying for everything and controlling everything. I was a senior partner for a worldwide healthcare consulting firm for more than 20 years. There is nothing in ObamaCare that truly addresses the control of healthcare cost increases. Obama's goals are noble but his strategy was flawed. I only wish I had the answer. However, ObamaCare is a flawed strategy that will get worse as times goes by. 5. Race relations has become more divided and violent. He has added fuel to the fire over his rush to judgment overtime there is a conflict or killing of a black man by police. Consider Ferguson as one example. He offers no solutions but inappropriate and toxic rhetoric. Granted law enforcement is not perfect and more effective training is necessary and those who violate the law should be brought to justice. Nevertheless, Obama is no uniter-in-chief. 6. While one can argue that there is plenty of criticism that can be levied on both sides of the political divide, Obama's efforts have been ineffective and toxic in terms of relationship building with Republicans and efforts to find comprise on legislation for the benefit of the People. When everything becomes "a standing on principle" the result is no compromise. As President, we expected much more from a commander-in-chief than blaming Republicans or ex-President Bush every time something goes wrong. In truth, he has done very little to mend fences. In conclusion, his pledge to 'fix Washington' has been a huge failure and his methods have not brought both sides together. 7. Our foreign policy has been a disaster. He has drawn red lines and done nothing when they were deliberately crossed as in Syria. His strategies in Libya, Egypt and the quick pull out in Iraq had terrible consequences. Our relationship with Russia has gotten far worse under Obama. Finally, his strategy to fight and destroy ISIS will take many, many more years and more innocent lives will be lost by terrorist attacks than the American public are willing to admit or put up with. We need a global initiative lead by the US, not global rhetoric or paper-tiger initiatives. 8. Obama has lied to the American people about Benghazi and Obamacare (you can keep your doctor and plan and you will save $2500 a year on average), not to mention the IRS scandal...among other untruthful and misleading statements. The GOOD news: his presidency ends in November (or January, 2017 to be precise). The BAD news: we have two flawed candidates for the Presidency. God help us.
Chuck Kotlarz
1 year ago
Nine of the top ten states for quality of living voted for Obama and nine of the ten states with the lowest voted for Romney. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's (OECD) in 2014 measured US quality of life by state. http://politicsthatwork.com/graphs/standard-of-living

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