A new beginning, that’s what inaugurations are supposed to be about. I know that’s what I felt in 2009 when I watched President Obama take the oath of office and give his speech. We would finally be turning around the months of despair would from the world economy basically in free fall. The President delivered even in the face of a Republican caucus who met on Inauguration Day and vowed to say no to everything the President proposed regardless if they thought it was a good idea or not and turns out even if it was their idea initially.
The President delivered by first passing the largest stimulus package in history and stabilized the economy that was losing job at the pace of 800,000 per month. He saved the auto industry and 1.5 million jobs that came with it. He had the Treasury Department work with the banks and create stress tests to ensure they had enough money to never need a bailout again and that they would start lending again. Speaking of those bailouts he got all the money repaid plus interests so bailouts essentially turned into loans that the American people made money on.
The investments he helped make in this early stage of his presidency helped set the stage for the rest of his 8 years in office where he closed out with 75 straight months of private sector job growth, that’s a record. He lowered the unemployment rate from a high of 10% to 4.7%. The economy is growing, wages are increasing and more people have jobs. The private sector agreed that these are good developments as the Dow Jones Average was under 7,000 when he took office and it nears 20,000 today as he leaves office. If he were any other president his actions on the economy would be enough to make him a legend.
He didn’t stop there, he got the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) passed by Congress. This helped 20 million people get healthcare that didn’t before. Not only that but it slowed the growth in healthcare costs and provided tons of benefits for people who already had health insurance have even better insurance and get better care. The uninsured rate is now the lowest that it’s ever been recorded. A feat that we’ve been trying to achieve for over 100 years and would put this President among the greats if he were any other president.
These are just a couple of the many, many things he did to make the country better. Make the country more fair, more inclusive and stronger. His actions in foreign policy by bringing our troops home and killing Osama bin Laden make his presidency well rounded and extremely consequential to not only our country but also to the world.
On a more personal note there are some presidents that you feel a real connection with, I would say if you’re lucky you get 1, maybe 2 of them in your lifetime. President Obama was mine not only because he was a great President but because I felt like I understood the choices he made. I could see how he made decisions and even if I disagreed with his choice I knew how he got there and believed the choice was made in good faith. Plus he was a great family man, loved his wife and children fiercely and it showed every day. Those are things I strive for in my own life. He was also extremely intelligent and because of that created a safe space for people who felt like being smart wasn’t valued by our society anymore. It allowed these people, people like me, to see themselves doing more for their family and doing more for their country.
So I honor the man, the leader, the President. He helped this country more than he will ever get credit for and he was truly a great President.