Preamble: I searched the Internet high and low to find lists of Obama’s accomplishments or efforts to improve America. This list is touted as accomplishments and is the longest list I could find. I wanted to find the longest list so that I could give credit for large and small accomplishments. This is what I found. A list of twenty-eight accomplishments. With each listed accomplishment, I give my comments as to whether arguably the effort or activity is an accomplishment. I tried my best to be objective and look at the effort as to whether it benefited the “average American”. Please ponder whether my comments are fair and if not message me. And for those not completed, feel free to send me your comments as well.
The results are 12 serious accomplishments out of 28 listed. I would say this is a pretty poor record for 8 years. But I could not objectively say he accomplished more. Furthermore, the gravity of his accomplishments were minimal except for the auto industry bailout. His response to the financial crisis was predictable and anemic.
You must see my summary at the end for an assessment of Obama as President.
1 – Rescued the country from the Great Recession, cutting the unemployment rate from 10% to 4.7% over six years.
COMMENT: One could arguably say this was an accomplishment, but once you know how it was achieved you wonder. On February 17, 2009 (right after Obama was sworn-in in January), an all Democrat Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The $787 billion Economic Stimulus Plan ended the recession. It granted $288 billion in tax cuts, $224 billion in unemployment benefits, and $275 billion for “shovel-ready” public works which ended up being non-existent. Equally arguable is that I could have given them the recipe… it doesn’t take a Phd in economics to know that stimulus whether through tax cuts, cash infusions into the economy or changes in interest rates will cause growth. So is this really an accomplishment? I would have preferred other measures, such as cuts in burdensome regulations, changes in accounting techniques… the very accounting techniques that caused the mess, and other techniques as opposed to throwing cash at the problem. Who couldn’t do that. Reagan didn’t when he came into the Carter quagmire. DEEMED NOT AN ACCOMPLISHMENT
2 – Signed the Affordable Care Act which provided health insurance to over 20 million uninsured Americans.
COMMENT: Clearly not an accomplishment. He lied about his plan so egregiously that this should be stricken from his list of quasi-accomplishments. He said: “You can keep your doctor, your medical plan and save $2500 per year.” He said this 18 times in the press. It was a lie of colossal proportions. I personally lost my doctor, my plan and my deductible went from $250 to $5,000/yr while my premiums barely changed. Overall to this day I am personally worse off. Yes more people are covered but at what cost to the economy. Not an accomplishment… rather a disaster.
3 – Ended the war in Iraq
COMMENT: He ended the war and created a monster within Iraq called ISIS. His leaving abruptly while signaling his departure gave Iran the opportunity to fund ISIS and allow them to takeover Iraq. Complete failure of leadership. Not an accomplishment… rather a disaster.
4 – Ordered for the capture and killing of Osama Bin Laden
COMMENT: A true accomplishment and example of leadership rather than cowering to idle threats. Best and only example of leadership in foreign policy.
5 – Passed the $787 billion America Recovery and Reinvestment Act to spur economic growth during the Great Recession
COMMENT: Repeated in 1. above. This act is credited with bringing the US out of 2008 Bush recession. Not an accomplishment.
6 – Supported the LGBT community’s fight for marriage equality
COMMENT: When I think of accomplishments I think of things that impact the Country at large. The LGBT community is estimated to be 3% of the population. Of this group what percent were actually impacted? Not an accomplishment for the Country.
7 – Commuted the sentences of nearly 1200 drug offenders to reverse “unjust and outdated prison sentences”
COMMENT: Much like 6. above… is this an accomplishment? Unless he changed the laws to prevent anyone from being incarcerated for similar crimes this was nothing more than amnesty and not an accomplishment. I will give Obama the benefit of the doubt and call this an accomplishment.
8 – Saved the U.S. auto industry
COMMENT: A very interesting business decision: bankruptcy or bailout. Two of the 3 US owned automakers were bankrupt, but hadn’t filed. Ford staved off bankruptcy due to advantageous advance financing. The thought in 2009 was: “We bailed out the BIG banks, can we allow the BIG auto to fail?” This is a purely political question not an economics questions. The Obama administration felt, and maybe rightfully so, allowing our largest manufacturing industry to fail would be disastrous. So it was decided to loan money to GM and Chrysler to shore up their finances so they could once again start manufacturing. Chrysler was gobbled up by FIAT at a bargain price and is reaping the rewards. FIAT is barely a car company, but had the cash needed. GM went it alone. Both companies transformed themselves dramatically in order to survive. Management was fired, and a new breed took over… one more technologically savvy. Still the fundamental question is: “Was bailouts the right thing to do.” There are plenty of arguments against bailouts. For example, had GM and Chrysler failed there were more than enough foreign owned American made cars on the market. Arguably these companies would have picked up the slack, hired displaced workers and paid their fair share of taxes. And the government would not have had to be involved. In the end the government bailouts were repaid, not sure if tax dollars were lost, but employees kept their jobs in their hometown. But the jury is still out on this accomplishment because had GM and Chrysler gone bankrupt who knows what possible positive impacts might have been gained. But overall I am giving Obama a POSITIVE mark ON THIS AS an accomplishment.
9 – Helped put the U.S. on-track for energy independence by 2020
COMMENT: Obama had nothing whatsoever to do with our energy independence. He fought tooth and nail to stop drilling on all public land, he stopped the Keystone pipeline which was to bring Canadian crude to Louisiana for refining into fuels. He expanded EPA’s efforts to find new and creative ways to crack down on oil & gas. This is blasphemy to give Obama any credit for accomplishing our current energy independence. He accomplished nothing, contributed nothing and fought against independence in favor of renewable energy. Laughable! Not an accomplishment
10 – Began the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan
COMMENT: Once again, like in Iraq Obama exercised pathetically poor judgement in announcing withdrawal. The Taliban resurfaced and now Trump is actually negotiating with this terrorist group, so we can indeed leave. But had Obama stayed the course, the Taliban would not have re-emerged only to cause current day turmoil. Accomplishment not achieved. Merely removing troops with no meaningful outcome is meaningless.
11 – Signed the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals allowing as many as 3/4 of a million people living in the U.S. illegally to avoid deportation and receive work permits
COMMENT: How is this an accomplishment. I understand who these people are and I feel mercy for them, but to call this an accomplishment is a stretch. 750,000 illegal aliens are allowed to stay here and enjoy all of the benefits of being an American only stimulates others to come. A work visa would have been a better option once a child was of age. I fail to see how this is an accomplishment. How did this benefit Americans? Granted there and are some very outstanding individuals in this group, but where do we draw the line. Everyone in the world has a sad song… I have one want to hear it? I dare say “no”. Not an accomplishment as I don’t see how this helps the average American. One could argue it helps the Country’s employee asset base, but that is assuming we couldn’t find Americans that could have taken their place.
But let me put on my less conservative hat for a moment. It is true that over 90% are working and 5% own their own businesses. Arguably a very impressive statistic. These would seem and may be, just the type of immigrants we need. But I wonder how much the American tax payer contributed to their success. They came here illegally… brought by their parents by no fault of their own. They went to American schools likely on Uncle Sam, they enjoyed all the rights and privileges of Americans, they enjoyed use of our infrastructure and probably received free college tuition without their parents paying taxes. And if they did file a tax return, they received an “earned income credit” in the form of a cash stipend from the Feds. So it’s great they can be successful, but who paid the price? What about our own American children trying to get ahead. My son has $50,000 student loan debt, I bet few if any DACA residents do. It’s a terrible situation for all involved, but Congress must act and act soon.
12 –Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act to re-regulate the financial sector
COMMENT: More research needed as this is a very complicated issue that starts under the Glass Steaggal Act in 1933 which separated investment banking and retail banking to prevent events like the Great Depression from happening again. Playing into the 2008 banking crisis was passage of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) under Carter in ’78 which required banks to make loans in “credit poor” areas creating sub-prime mortgage portfolios that Freddie Mac was to purchase. Then came Leach-Bliley Act in 1999 which repealed Glass Steaggal opening the door for a two-pronged source of the banking debacle in 2008. Banks had sub-prime mortgages on their books of no value and simultaneously were investing in derivatives. The combination resulted in banks… due to “mark to market” accounting as showing “on paper” they were bankrupt and illiquid. Despite the banks only being bankrupt due in large part to “mark to market” accounting requirements of the Federal government, they were bailed out anyway to prevent a meltdown of the banking industry. Freddie Mac was to buy these loans as part of CRA, but Freddie Mac was bankrupt thus forcing banks to keep these loans on their books. Once the bailout was complete, in 2010, the Dodd Frank Act was passed to once and for all, prevent this combination of events from leading to a near melt-down of the banking industry. But many argue it went too far. Without more research to the contrary I am going to award Obama accomplishment for signing Dodd Frank in 2010.
13 – Dropped the veteran homeless rate by 50 percent
COMMENT: I would like to know how this was determined, because politicians have a funny way of counting. But I will give Obama an “accomplishment” for this one.
14 – Reversed Bush-era torture policies
COMMENT: This is not an accomplishment, but rather stupidity. If we know someone has the timing of the Trade Tower disaster, I am sorry some form of increased pain or uncomfort is necessary. End of story. Not an accomplishment as it potetentially could negatively impact the Country.
15 – Began the process of normalizing relations with Cuba
COMMENT: Once again Obama is given credit for an accomplishment that is of little benefit to the average American. To poke fun… does this mean more cigars can come to this Country? The Castro regime, as with Iran duped Obama into thinking if he would just be a “nice American” he would be rewarded with a sea of change. That’s just delusional thinking. I see no benefit from “normalizing” relations with brutal dictators. No accomplishment should be awarded as there was no change in Cuba and Americans really get no benefit. No accomplishment.
16 – Increased Department of Veteran Affairs funding
COMMENT: He did increase funding but it was a pittance. No accomplishment should be awarded.
17 – Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act of 2009
COMMENT: I read the Act and I believe that the provisions are a net positive for the consumer, but the funny and odd thing is that I see today the very activities that were to be prohibited occurring on my credit cards. Like 27% interest rates, overdraft fees, and fees for exceeding credit limit. So I don’t know whether this law has “sunset” or what is going on. I will give Obama an accomplishment even though it would appear the provisions have expired.
18 – Boosted fuel efficiency standards for cars
COMMENT: This was done by executive order and was cancelled by Trump. If Obama was really serious about this he would have had Congress pass legislation. Executive orders are only good for the term of the President that signs them and can be cancelled anytime in the future. No accomplishment should be awarded as he went about boosting fuel standards the wrong way.
19 – Improved school nutrition with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act
COMMENT: Really! This is an accomplishment? From my research I find that this is at best a murky accomplishment. The Obama new food standard while indeed healthier, led to increased “plate waste” or food being thrown out. Trump’s USDA Secretary relaxed the standards to reduce plate waste. I cannot accept this as an accomplishment as it has been so politicized that it failed to make a serious difference in school nutrition.
20 – Repealed the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy
COMMENT: The original policy was sufficient and needed no tinkering. Why Obama decided to change this begs the question: “Why did Obama do anything?” Most of his so-called accomplishments are symbolic and do not improve the Country’s prosperity. I ask you: “What good came from this to the average American?” No accomplishment should be awarded as the significance is so insignificant it does not even warrant mentioning.
21 – Signed the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, making it a federal crime to assault anyone based on sexual or gender identification.
COMMENT: I fail to see how a crime against someone based on sexual or gender identification is a “hate crime” and a crime against a regular American is not. Crime regardless of what it is based on has “hate” has hate as an element. If the KKK would attack a black man… that is hateful. If the New Black Panther party would attack a white man… that is hateful. If a MS-13 Hispanic gang member kills a Hispanic man because he agrees to testify against a gang member… that is hateful. So again I fail to see the distinction… in other words hate crimes as defined by Obama’s legislation, is claiming a “difference without a distinction”. This fails to protect ordinary citizens from hateful crimes. In my estimation this is at best a “gimme” accomplishment.
22 – Helped negotiate the landmark Iran Nuclear Deal
COMMENT: Just intuitively you can conclude this was a hallmark disaster of the Obama administration. When I say intuitively I mean giving $150 billion dollars to a rogue regime, a regime that is the well known for being the worlds largest sponsor of terrorism, a regime that despises America and one that took Americans hostage for 444 days cannot and should not be trusted to honor any deal one would enter. But John Kerry and Obama decided to enter a nuclear non-proliferation agreement with Iran regardless of what simple intuition tells you. I have heard all kinds of stories about the protections that were in the legislation, but I read the entire law and saw none. The only inspection detail I found was a 10 day advance notice if inspectors wanted to visit a particular site to verify they were not enriching uranium. That’s it! Furthermore, I saw nothing that prohibited them from developing long-range ballistic missiles. To my reading they could continue to develop ballistic missiles and within 8 years from today begin enriching uranium again to coincide with their missile program. A horrible dumb deal by any measure… a deal that could have jeopardized the safety of the United States had Trump not cancelled it and apply harsh sanctions. No accomplishment, rather an abysmal and frightening effort by Obama JUST to say he got a deal with Iran.
23 – He signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to combat pay discrimination against women
COMMENT: This seems straight forward and I award Obama an accomplishment.
24 – Nominated Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court, making her the first Hispanic ever to serve as a justice.
COMMENT: Justice Sotomayor received appointments by both Clinton and Bush to various Courts. She has a strong legal background and would certainly be among the small group of people that would be worthy of being on the Supreme Court. I consider this an accomplishment as Obama nominated and got appointed a Hispanic to the Court. Through his appointment the Court became more liberal or “loose constructionist” oriented, but that was Obama’s executive privilege and how our government works. Trump has since shifted the Court to a more conservative demeanor. In plain English that means the Court is comprised of more “strict constructionists” than liberal “loose constructionists” Space and my lack of energy, prevents me from explaining “constructionist”, but this is very very important to all Americans. Again it is an accomplishment ONLY BECAUSE A FEMALE HISPANIC WAS APPOINTED.
25 – Supported veterans through a $78 billion tuition assistance GI bill
COMMENT: This seems straight forward and I award Obama an accomplishment.
26 – Won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples”
COMMENT: What exactly did he do when they say: “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples?” I really am not sure what he did. It did nothing for the American people. I see no accomplishment here.
Let me digress a moment and compare and contrast. Trump has changed the dynamics of how the United States interacts with the world. His perspective is the United States should do things that are in the best interest of the United States just as every other Country in the world does. For decades we have let other nations walk all over us… bad trade deals, foreign aid, not paying their share… are just a few things that Trump has changed. So Trump has erased the notion that we should “strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation among peoples”. I believe Obama’s notion of our role in the world is that we are “global citizens” and as such we have to give our precious resources to others thus allowing the United States to be taken advantage of by other nations. Obama didn’t purposely do this, but those were the unintended consequences of his limp-wristed actions. The United States and its citizens are not “global citizens” we are Americans “first” with our own distinct culture and only secondarily are global citizens. It’s chic or cool for Obama to get a Nobel, but what did this do for the average American?… nothing, No accomplishment can be awarded as this had little to no positive impact on the average American. FURTHERMORE THE EXPRESSED PURPOSE FOR HIS NOBEL DID NOTHING FOR THE AVERAGE AMERICAN OR ANY AMERICANS FOR THAT MATTER.
27 – Launched My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative designed to help young minorities achieve their full potential.
COMMENT: I believe this is more of an accomplishment than most of the so-called accomplishments the left purport. I did not research the details, but I believe it is intuitive that this initiative had a positive impact on many young minorities. How many minorities this impacted and to what degree I do not know. This is an accomplishment.
28 – Expanded embryonic stem cell research leading to groundbreaking work in areas including spinal injury treatment and cancer.
In summation, Obama was a total disaster. His greatest accomplishment is $10 trillion in new debt not even hinted at in the talking points of liberals who wrote these. This is more debt than all his predecessors combined. And what’s so tragic is that Obama’s increase in GDP was just under 1.5% averaged over 8 years. That is the lowest of any President since Truman.
And to those who would argue Obama inherited a failing economy I say this: “If after spending $10 trillion over 8 years averaging barely 1.5% GDP growth one must intuitively conclude he was doing something wrong”. “His policies were wrong-headed and stymied economic growth”. And beyond that all Presidents since Truman have exceeded Obama’s growth numbers yet did not spend $10 trillion with any individual President. In fact all Presidents prior to Obama COMBINED raised $10 trillion in debt. Obama doubled the debt and achieved pathetic results. GW Bush averaged over 2% and he had to deal with 911 which shutdown the economy and crushed consumer confidence. Under Trump GDP was over 3% his first year… of course Obama tried to lay claim, but only fools were fooled.