When President Barack Obama was sworn into office in early 2009, he faced a political climate unlike any that a president had faced in recent memory. Many predicted his utter failure; some even wished for it.
The fact is, Obama walked into a situation in which the United States was involved in two separate wars, a crippling financial crisis, and an upcoming recession. Basically, he couldn’t have been dealt a worse hand. Despite the turbulent start, Obama was able to craft a way through his first term, get reelected to a second, end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and get the economy back on solid footing.
Not a terrible list of achievements, especially considering the undue malice large parts of the population had for him, whether it was based on race or manufactured conspiracy theories regarding his religion or place of birth.
Of course, there have been big missteps during the president’s past six years in office. The failed healthcare rollout, the unconstitutional killing of U.S. citizens, Guatanamo Bay — the list goes on.
But for as much as the president’s adversaries like to paint him as an economic disaster, the numbers seem to indicate otherwise. After the recession officially came to an end in the middle of 2009, the economy has picked up steam and improved to its best levels yet, according to several indicators. Employment is up, the stock market is setting record highs, and corporate profits are as large as they’ve ever been, and yet there are still doomsayers who can’t stop slamming any new idea that comes from his administration as economic suicide.
Case in point: The president announced tough new regulations from the Environmental Protection Agency in hopes that emissions can be cut by up to 30 percent in an effort to curb the effects of climate change down the road. By all estimates, this is probably not enough to actually do anything, but it’s a start. And it’s also a way for the United States to take a position of leadership in reducing emissions and preparing for the future. The general backlash from Republicans was that the idea is so draconian that it could irreversibly wreck any economic progress that has been made.
Will those regulations have an effect on some levels? Most likely. But will the economy be able to handle it? Yes.
That said, Obama has had five years to put his economic policies to work. How has it been going so far, and what can we expect moving forward?