As the 2016 presidential election quickly approaches; Americans are looking fondly over the accomplishments of President Obama. Let’s celebrate the past eight years by taking a look at nine things Mr. Obama actually achieved during his time as president, despite insane and destructive opposition from his political enemies.
1. Reviving the American Economy
Comparatively speaking, President Obama has actually had a dramatic effect on the American economy. According to the President himself, unemployment levels have dropped over the course of his presidency to 4.9%. Throughout these eight years, the majority of his presidency saw a “69-month streak of job growth.”
In the 2016 State of the Union address, President Obama revealed, “the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world…. Unemployment, deficit, gas prices are all down. Jobs, wages and rate of the insured are all up.”
2. Shrinking the Federal Budget Deficit
President Obama inherited a 2.9 trillion deficit when he became president in 2009. In the past eight years, President Obama has reduced this deficit by at least 70% resulting in a new deficit of $439 billion. This shrinking deficit is directly tied to the shrinking unemployment rate. Over 11 million people have gone back to work and have brought an increase in tax dollars, thus allowing the nation’s debt to decrease.
3. Creating Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act
Love it or hate it, Obamacare has been a welcome change in affordable healthcare for most Americans. Through the President’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), Americans can afford healthcare prices through reduced premiums. Through Obamacare, patients can’t be turned down by their insurance for any preexisting conditions. Though the ACA earned its fair share of skeptics, Mr. Obama has stated that with his healthcare, over 17.6 million people are now insured, citing a huge drop in uninsured Americans to just below 10%.
As President Obama explains during his 2014 remarks on the Affordable Care Act, “100 million Americans have gained free preventive care… because of this law, nearly 8 million seniors have saved almost $10 billion on their…because of this law, a whole lot of families won’t be driven into bankruptcy by a serious illness.”
4. Restoring Diplomatic Relations with Cuba
In one of the most long-awaited moments in modern day history, President Obama moved to reopen the U.S. embassy in Cuba as a way to reestablish a relationship between both countries. In this symbolic and significant move, the American flag flew over Havana for the first time in 54 years.
Through this move of diplomacy, the United States’ lines of communication and travel with Cuba have improved dramatically. Many citizens in both Cuba and the U.S. view this significant step as one of the President’s greatest accomplishments in office.
“Havana is only 90 miles from Florida, but to get here we had to travel a great distance — over barriers of history and ideology; barriers of pain and separation…
I have come here to bury the last remnant of the Cold War in the Americas. I have come here to extend the hand of friendship to the Cuban people,” Mr. Obama shared in his speech to the people of Havana.
5. Spearheading the Nuclear Deal with Iran
President Obama, along with six other world leaders, signed a nuclear deal with Iran. This deal ensured the dismantling of uranium and plutonium factories and the military use of nuclear weapons. Though this deal has faced severe opposition from the republicans, the deal pulled through congress and was seen as a major success for the U.S.
“Over more than a decade, Iran had moved ahead with its nuclear program, and, before the deal, it had installed nearly 20,000 centrifuges that can enrich uranium for a nuclear bomb. Today, Iran has removed two-thirds of those machines,” Mr. Obama explains in a 2016 speech. “Under the nuclear deal that we, our allies and partners reached with Iran last year, Iran will not get its hands on a nuclear bomb.”
6. Standing Against Terrorism – the Smart Way
Obama’s presidency has seen the American nation endure several shootings and terror attacks. From the San Bernadino shootings to the Orlando Nightclub massacre, the country has suffered a lot at the hands of terrorism, racism, and hatred. President Obama has worked hard to see the U.S. achieve better gun control and a stronger stance against terrorists.
“We are reminded not only of our obligations as a country to be resolute against terrorists, we are reminded not only of the need for us to implement smarter policies to prevent mass shootings, we’re also reminded of what unites us as Americans, and that what unites us is far stronger than the hate and the terror of those who target us,” President Obama shared after the 2016 Orlando shooting.
7. Lowering Income Taxes
During Mr. Obama’s presidency, Americans across the country enjoyed the lowest income taxes the United States has seen in the past 50 years. Though many wrongly believed that President Obama’s tax cuts were actually raising their taxes, Mr. Obama’s attempts to stimulate the economy resulted in a raise in taxes only for taxpayers with an annual income of over $400,000.
Indeed, President Obama reminded the American people of his tax reductions throughout his Presidency. During his campaign for reelection, the president shared, “the average middle-class family, your taxes today are lower than when I took office…We have cut taxes for small businesses not once, not twice, but 17 times.”
8. Allowing Love to Win with Same-Sex Marriage
In a move that shocked the world, President Obama oversaw the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision to allow same-sex couples to marry on June 26, 2015. Citizens across the United States of any sexual orientation applauded this groundbreaking decision and viewed the ruling as one of the most significant achievements of the Obama administration.
Following the landmark decision, President Obama tweeted his sentiments, “today is a big step in our march toward equality. Gay and lesbian couples now have the right to marry, just like anyone else.”
9. Ending the War in Iraq
Let’s not forget President Obama calling an official end to the War in Iraq. As one of his first moves following reelection, President Obama swore to have United States troops withdrawn from Iraq by December 30th, 2011. As of December 18, 2011, all U.S. troops were withdrawn, effectively ending the Iraqi war.
“I’ve kept the commitments I’ve made, I told you we’d end the war in Iraq, we did…
Everything that American troops have done in Iraq, all the fighting and all the dying, the bleeding, and the building and the training and the partnering – all of it has led to this moment of success,” Mr. Obama reassured the world in 2012.
Obama Presidency Summary
With the ups and downs that come with running a country, President Obama definitely accomplished his share of change. As we approach the last few months of his presidency, let’s try to remember the good times.