Obama is one of, if not, America’s greatest President. His Presidency came against the odds, but he was a man of vision. Obama created a flourishing economy despite being elected to office during the worst economic crisis since The Great Depression. He fought for and achieved the next steps for equality. In the face of political adversity and racism, he stood on the higher ground. There is not a whiff of scandal or an act of embarrassment surrounding him. When Obama took office, he gave all the people of America and black people of the diaspora, Hope. We will need to hang on to that hope and vision in the times ahead.
Obama’s Economic Record
nThere are no arguments to counter the economic facts of Obama’s success. Ronald Regan was considered the best modern economic President. Until Obama out performed him in all the key areas such as employment, growth and investment. Under Obama leadership, America experienced 78 months of continuous economic expansion and the fastest productivity growth in the G7. He also made history with the longest period of private sector job creation. His job creation strategy saw unemployment tumble to less than half. From 10.1% in October of 2009 to 4.9% by early 2016.
Obama has not achieved this through government spending. That is at its lowest since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Simultaneously, the Obama administration has shrunk the Federal budget deficit by two-thirds since 2009. So while The Tea Party has protested about Obama’s tax ‘increases’, the reality puts paid to the lie. In fact, 95% of Americans have seen the lowest income tax rate in 50 years.
Obama’s Social Record
I think that Obama’s vision for America was as close to the ideas of the Founding Fathers 240 years ago as one got in recent times. He pursued liberty and equality for all Americans. His social programmes, like Obama Care and the of grant commutations, reflect that.
American does not have a national health service. Around 50 million Americans had no health insurance so consequently, about 18,000 people died annually. Obama Care has helped 20 million more Americans get health insurance. Yet, health care spending cost is the lowest on record. That is in direct contradiction of the Republican argument that care costs would increase. Similarly, health care price inflation is at its lowest rate in 50 years. Moreover, The Affordable Care Act which requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of collected premiums on healthcare, has seen insurance companies make refunds to millions of Americans. I am sure that will all change under the Trump Administration.
America’s justice system reflects its callous attitude to social issues. It has a remarkable record for jailing its citizens, especially those who are non-white. The country imprisons more people than any other nation and selling a bag of ‘weed’ carries a life sentence. In recognition of the harsh justice system and while the House, debates or blocks his criminal justice reforms, Obama has been commuting prison sentences. With over 1,000 sentences reduced, his record is the equal of the last 11 presidents combined. That excludes Gerald Ford conditional amnesty to draft Dodgers and Military Deserters of course. Obama’s acts of clemency, fortunately, cannot be overturned by the incoming Trump administration.
Obama America’s First African American President.
Obama has an excellent track record; it is not perfect, but politics seldom is. Nonetheless, there were great expectations of Obama from the black community. Many saw him as the messianic realisation of the 1960’s Civil Rights Movement. Including Obama himself on occasion. For some black people, Obama has not lived up to expectation. On the other hand, there was GOP who have tried to stop Obama’s success and have denied those achievements he made.
Those issues have to be examined when considering the greatness of Obama’s Presidency and will be in part two.
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