Obama : A Fruitful Economic Milestone


The outgoing US President focused his economic action on the 787 billion-dollar package approved by Congress in 2009. 

 

The economic floodgates of US President Barack Obama opened in February when Congress approved his 787 billion dollar-economic stimulus package. The results were almost immediate including tax cuts, extended employment benefits and funded public works projects. Barely six months after, the United States registered a significant end to the recession that stared the country registering a GDP growth rate of 3.9 percent by early 2010. As Obama leaves the White House, Americans will remember him for bailing out the US auto industry March, 30, 2009. In effect, his government took over GM and Chrysler saving three million jobs and forcing the companies to become more fuel efficient and more globally competitive.

Bank Regulation

In order to ensure fluidity in the contribution of the banking sector to the country’s economic progress, President Obama undertook a number of measures to regulate major banking structures. In July 2010, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act improved regulation of eight areas that led to the financial crisis.

The Consumer Financial Protection Agency improved regulation of credit cards and mortgages. The Financial Stability Oversight Council regulated hedge funds and banks that became too big to fail. The « Volcker Rule » banned banks from being too involved hedge funds. Another milestone covered was the agreement in December, 2010 between Obama and Congress upon additional stimulus in the form of an 858 billion dollar- tax cut with three main components:   extension of the Bush tax cuts,  extension of unemployment benefits, and reduction in workers’ payroll taxes. Businesses received 140 billion dollars in tax cuts for capital improvements and 80 billion dollars in research and development tax credits.

Economic Diplomacy

President Obama made history on October 04, 2015 when his team negotiated the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). It replaces NAFTA as the world’s largest free-trade agreement. It removes tariffs between the United States and 11 other countries that border the Pacific Ocean. In December of the same year, Obama led global efforts to reach the International Climate Agreement. It was negotiated in Paris on December 12, 2015. Countries agreed to reduce carbon emissions and increase carbon trading. Members decided to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures. Developed countries agreed to contribute 100 billion dollars a year to assist emerging markets.

Obamacare

On March 23, 2010, Obamacare revolutionized healthcare in the United States. Six months later, concerns over the program’s cost helped Republicans win control of the House of Representatives in the mid-term elections. Why did healthcare need to be reformed? Rising costs threatened to outstrip Medicare’s ability to pay for it, and contributed to 50 percent of all bankruptcies. The quality of care was one of the worst in the world.  By 2014, the economy benefited from having 95 percent of the population on health insurance. That reduced the number of emergency visits to the hospital and lowered costs. Bankruptcies declined since medical expenses were the number one cause.

Bluffs

But all was not rosy in President Obama’s administration. As he prepares to leave office the nation is putting his legacy under the microscope. Was the Affordable Care Act a step forward or backward? Did Obama’s policies improve the economy? And how did the president handle the threat of terrorism? These are some of the questions in many minds. Results of several polls reveal some disapproval on the way Obama handled issues related to climate change.  Critics think the administration’s proposals were expensive and overwrought. In another development, about 50.2 percent of those polled disapprove of the outgoing President’s job performance.

Obama has equally registered slightly unfavourable ratings on his handling of the economy, almost exactly in line with his marks for overall job performance. While some Obama proponents point to the nation’s steadily decreasing unemployment as a signal of his success,  his detractors often note, however, that many people have left the workforce altogether on his watch.


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