This Week’s Mtg, Part II: A Good Summary of Obama’s Achievements

Here’s a great short summary of Obama’s many achievements during the brief time he had large majorities in Congress (2009-10).  This is from a great public policy blogger and analyst (source).

In 2009 and 2010, the years Democrats controlled both houses of Congress, Obama signed several sweeping pieces of legislation  – overhauling everything from student loans to financial regulation. He also signed into law a series of initiatives designed to rescue the economy, chief among them the Recovery Act.  The cumulative results of these measures? A new agency to protect consumers from financial industry abuse; more vigilant food inspections; new public works coupled with a new system for awarding grants based on merit; a new program for rewarding innovations in public education; and cash for struggling Americans, in the form of unemployment benefits, aid to states, and tax cuts that most economists believe saved the nation from a much worse economic crisis.

All of that is in addition to health care reform, which is already reshaping the industry and will eventually make insurance available to all. One could argue (ok, I have argued) that it’s the single most important domestic policy initiative since the 1960s.

And that’s just the legislative record. Obama also used executive authority to rescue the U.S. auto industry, doing so in a way that Romney now says was wrong. He’s implemented stringent new regulations on mercury and other dangerous emissions. As commander-in-chief, Obama presided over the killing of Osama Bin Laden, among other terrorist leaders, as well as the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

Obama did this despite unprecedented use of the filibuster and the open willingness of congressional Republicans to make Obama’s defeat their top priority. That’s an obstacle Romney never faced in Massachusetts. Keep in mind that, because of the filibuster, true Democratic control of Congress lasted only seven months – from early July, 2009, when Al Franken gave the Democrats sixty voters, until early February, 2010, when Scott Brown reduced the Democratic majority to 59.

Emphasis added by me, since so few people know that Obama only had anything approaching a working majority in Congress for seven months.  BTW, this guy’s a health care specialist.  Here’s his blog at The New Republic.

[UPDATE:  Two views on why bipartisanship failed.  One very thoughtful and moderate in tone; the other angry but – in my generally well-informed view – more accurate.]


7 responses

  1. James H. Zimmerman | Reply

    The President can do very little domestically without a working majority in Congress. Foreign policy is a different matter, and here is where I would fault Mr. Obama.
    True, he has not launched any new wars, but neither does he have many achievements. The Middle East is still a mess, we are still in Afghanistan, and he has not fulfilled his campaign promises to close Guantanamo, etc.

    But where are we to turn? There is no one on his left and he knows it.
    What he might do in a second turn, is very much a mystery at this point.

  2. Nice post! This is the information that needs to penetrate through the falsehoods and short-term memories. Obama and the Democrats have done so much but so many people have blocked it out or are completely unaware of it.

  3. Are you sure you weren’t drinking kool-aid instead of coffee at these meetings.

    1. They said it was grape-flavored coffee.

  4. I wish Obama advertises these achievements more effectively this summer and fall on the campaign trail. However, it is lamentable that a working majority means 60 votes in the senate.

    By the way, I wish I were in San Diego to attend your events at the Filter Coffee House…sounds like a lot of fun…those topics are right up my alley!

  5. For those of you who believe lowering the capital gains tax creates jobs, read this article in the New York Times:

    Even among the rich, individuals are taxed unfairly. Earned income, especially from high income job creators, is taxed at higher rates, as much as 50%, depending which state you live. That’s because many of the tax deductions most Americans use are not available to those with high six and seven figure incomes.

    By contrast, capital gains earnings are generated on interest or sale of capital. There are fewer jobs created and fewer job multipliers created with capital gains. Of course there’s some debate on that; doesn’t venture capital come to mind.

    Professionals are almost penalized for working for a living and being successful. Multimillionaires living off interest and (as the Romneys are doing) dodging all taxes on a $100 million trust fund for their kids, seems un-American to me. And I’m in the 99%.

  6. James H. Zimmerman | Reply

    In general, it’s hard to avoid taxes on earned income. By contrast, unearned income has many more loopholes and may be taxed at a lower rate. As witness Bishop Romney’s 15% tax rate.
    And what about the inheritance tax?
    People who inherit millions can’t “afford” to pay tax?

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