44 Barack Obama

Democrat Barack Obama was elected the first African-American President of the United States in 2008.  It is difficult to assess his Presidency from this vantage point, which is often standard.  But here are some possible accomplishments that may be highlighted in history.

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA)—nicknamed “Obama-care”—was passed by Congress in 2010.   It requires people to have health care coverage and also reforms parts of the health care industry.  It remains to be seen how this legislation impacts health care in the United States.  But the intention behind it is to make health care accessible for all Americans.  It will begin to be implemented in 2014.

When President Obama took office, the United States was deep in a long recession.  He was elected as a symbol of hope—like many Presidents before him—and his administration was eager to improve things. Two major industries threatened the economic health of the country.  Major corporations in banking and auto manufacturing claimed that they were doing so poorly that they were faced with bankruptcy.    Obama asked Congress to supply both industries with money to allow companies to stay in business, preventing widespread unemployment that would have had catastrophic effects on the entire economy.  These corporate bailouts were controversial as the federal government giving money to private industries was unprecedented.  Since, the companies have rebounded and are doing quite well.  But the long term impact of such government intervention is yet to be measured.

Finally, Al Queda terrorist Osama bin Laden—mastermind behind the attacks on 9/11—was located in Pakistan and killed by U.S. Special Forces under President Obama’s direction.

Obama won re-election in 2012.  His second term will be measured by his reaction to the issues that present themselves.  The implementation of the health care program is being closely watched by all and has the potential for being a huge success or an abysmal failure.  Only time will tell.  The economy remains sluggish, causing a dissatisfaction of many people.  Other international issues loom, such as problem with Iran and North Korea and their attempts to develop nuclear weapons.

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BEFORE:  George W. Bush         *          ?

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