As Barack Obama left office last week the world’s press were dishing out headlines, judgements and labels as if handing out certificates at an Eisteddfodd. So let’s just state some facts.
Financially (by any measure) Obama has been triumphant
When Barack Obama took office the US economy was entering the worst depression in 70 years. In the last two years of the Bush administration the Dow Jones halved from 14,500 to 6,500. On the day Obama left office the Dow Jones was at 19,942. In simple terms the stock market had tripled in value under Barack Obama – after halving in value under George Bush.
When Obama took office the US was losing 800,000 jobs a month. Within one year that trend was reversed, and the US has had 82 months in a row of job creation (the longest positive job growth since the 1930s). Unemployment has dropped from 9.8% to 4.9%. And more important, wages in 2015 and 2016 rose more than in any time in the last 20 years.
One of the US’s largest employers and economic drivers is the motor industry. In 2008 General Motors was bankrupt. In February 2016, they decreed their best year, with $11-billion in profits, and gave all their workers a bonus profit sharing cheque of $11,000. Oh and the motor industry has paid back every cent of the bailout money.
In eight years, the budget deficit of the US economy dropped from 9.8% of GDP in the last year of Bush’s presidency by two thirds of GDP by 2015. And remember that is while the economy, employment and wages consistently grew.
Socially he moved the country into the 21st century
Obama appointed two new Justices to the Supreme Court, both of them women who represent only the third and fourth women ever appointed. One of these, Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is the first Latina Justice in US history. He also appointed more qualified women and minority judges to federal courts than any president in the history of the US, as well as the most diverse cabinet ever.
Under Obama it became for legal for millions of same-sex couples to marry; no federal branch of government or federal government supplier could discriminate against someone because of their sexual orientation, and gays and lesbians were allowed to serve in all positions in the US military. He also restored the protection of women to receive equal pay for equal work.
Under Obama the number of military veterans who were homeless dropped by 47%, and he added $4.6-billion to the Veteran Affairs to pay for mental health treatment for affected veterans, as well as providing extra money for medical treatment and subsidies for training of veterans into new professions, especially clean energy professions.
Under Obama the graduation rate for high school students reached an all time high of 89.9 %. This is after he had put an extra $5-billion into early education, reformed the student college loan system which has proved to be so burdensome, as well as increasing the number of children covered by health insurance by 4-million.
Aside form introducing the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) which gave health insurance to more than 20-million Americans who were not covered before, he also reduced the cost of prescription drugs for seniors by 50%, and provided tax breaks to 3.5-million small businesses to allow them to provide health insurance for their employees.
He ordered the SEALS into action, who killed Bin Laden; he took Iran’s nuclear capability away, took the chemical weapons out of Syria, reduced US dependence on foreign oil and ensured that the combined clean energy industries are the fastest growing sector in the American economy, opened an embassy in Cuba, and more.
If you really want to be gobsmacked please read this list of 450 of these achievements.
And by the way, he annoyingly stayed healthy, kept in shape, cherished his wife, and raised two gorgeous kids – and did all of that while being both dignified and loaded with swag. Hell, even I am starting to dislike him now.
So if any editor, sub-editor, reporter, tweeter etc grandly pronounces on Obama’s disappointing presidency, feel free to print this out and make them eat it. That means the next time they are spewing out a load of crap at least it will be factually based.
More facts and less opinion make for a much safer world. DM