Accomplishments

barack-obama-got-heckled-in-israel-and-he-handled-it-spectacularly

As Paul Krugman argues in his piece In Defense of Obama, this has not been a feel-good presidency. But it has been a consequential one. The policy victories Obama has delivered have been hard-fought, messy and politically fraught. The achievements may not be all that the president’s 2008 boosters hoped for, but change has come. Here, six years of progress, by the numbers:

Related
In Defense of Obama
Peak unemployment, October 2009: 10 percent
Unemployment rate now: 5.9 percent
Consecutive private sector job growth: 55 months
Private sector jobs created: 10.3 million
Federal deficit, 2009: 9.8 percent of GDP
Deficit in 2014: 2.8 percent of GDP
Average under Ronald Reagan: 4.2 percent of GDP
Average tax rate for highest earners 2008: 28.1 percent
Average tax rate for highest earners 2013: 33.6 percent
Banks regulated as too big to fail, 2009: 0
Banks regulated as “systemically important financial institutions” — a.k.a. too big to fail — 2014: 29
Billions returned to consumers by Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement: $4.6 billion
Americans compensated for being swindled by banks, lenders and credit card companies: 15 million
Dow Jones close, inauguration day 2009: 7,949
Dow Jones yesterday: 16,719
Required MPG (miles per gallon) for cars when Obama took office: 27.5
Required MPG for light trucks/SUVs when Obama took office: 23
MPG requirement by 2016 for cars, light trucks/SUVs: 35.5
MPG required by 2025: 54.5
Gigawatts of wind power installed when Obama took office: 25
Gigawatts of wind power installed through end of 2013: 61
Peak summertime solar power generation June 2008: 128 gigawatt hours
Peak summertime solar power generation June 2014: 2,061 gigawatt hours
Coal burned in electrical generation 2008: 1 billion short tons
Coal burned in electrical generation 2013: 858 million short tons
Reduction: 14.2 percent
EPA-proposed CO2 reductions for power sector by 2030: 30 percent
Pell grant funding 2008-2009: $18 billion
Pell grant funding 2013-2014: $33 billion
Adults gaining insurance under first year of Obamacare: 10.3 million
As a percentage of the uninsured: 26
Annual cost for birth control prior to Obamacare: Up to $600
Annual cost for birth control under Obamacare-compliant policies: $0
Prescriptions now required to obtain emergency contraception: 0
2009 projection for Medicare going broke: 2017
2014 projection for Medicare going broke: 2030
Troops in Iraq, inauguration day 2009: 144,000
Troops in Iraq today: 1,600
Osama bin Ladens alive 2009: 1
Osama bin Ladens alive 2014: 0
Troops in Afghanistan, day, 2009: 34,400
Troops pledged in Afghanistan by end of 2014: 9,800
Guantánamo detainees inauguration day 2009: 242
Gitmo detainees today: 149
Crack vs. Powder cocaine-crime sentencing disparity when Obama took office: 100:1
Crack vs. Powder disparity today: 18:1
Drug offenders eligible to seek early release under new sentencing guidelines: 46,000
States with medical marijuana, 2009: 13
Jurisdictions with medical marijuana today: 23 states, plus Washington, D.C.
States with legal recreational pot 2009: 0
States with legal recreational pot today: 2
Jurisdictions with marijuana legalization on the ballot in 2014: Alaska, Oregon, Washington D.C.
States where gay marriage was legal inauguration day 2009: Massachusetts, Connecticut
States where gay marriage is legal: 24, plus Washington, D.C. (soon to be 30 plus D.C., following Supreme Court refusal to intervene)
Immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children now shielded from deportation: 800,000

Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/the-obama-hope-and-change-index-6-years-of-progress-by-the-numbers-20141008#ixzz3Fu6BmJtq
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1. Ordered all federal agencies to undertake a study and make recommendations for ways to cut spending

2. Ordered a review of all federal operations to identify and cut wasteful spending and practices
3. Instituted enforcement for equal pay for women
4. Beginning the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq
5. Families of fallen soldiers have expenses covered to be on hand when the body arrives at Dover AFB
6 Ended media blackout on war casualties; reporting full information
7. Ended media blackout on covering the return of fallen soldiers to Dover AFB; the media is now permitted to do so pending adherence to respectful rules and approval of fallen soldier’s family
8. The White House and federal government are respecting the Freedom of Information Act
9. Instructed all federal agencies to promote openness and transparency as much as possible
10. Limits on lobbyist’s access to the White House
11. Limits on White House aides working for lobbyists after their tenure in the administration
12. Ended the previous stop-loss policy that kept soldiers in Iraq/Afghanistan longer than their enlistment date
13. Phasing out the expensive F-22 war plane and other outdated weapons systems, which weren’t even used or needed in Iraq/Afghanistan
14. Removed restrictions on embryonic stem-cell research
15. Federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research
16. New federal funding for science and research labs
17. States are permitted to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards
18. Increased infrastructure spending (roads, bridges, power plants) after years of neglect
19. Funds for high-speed, broadband Internet access to K-12 schools
20. New funds for school construction
21 The prison at Guantanamo Bay is being phased out
22. US Auto industry rescue plan
23. Housing rescue plan
24. $789 billion economic stimulus plan
25. The public can meet with federal housing insurers to refinance (the new plan can be completed in one day) a mortgage if they are having trouble paying
26. US financial and banking rescue plan
27. The secret detention facilities in Eastern Europe and elsewhere are being closed
28. Ended the previous policy; the US now has a no torture policy and is in compliance with theGeneva Convention standards
29. Better body armor is now being provided to our troops
30. The missile defense program is being cut by $1.4 billion in 2010
31. Restarted the nuclear nonproliferation talks and building back up the nuclear inspection infrastructure/protocols
32. Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect the Antarctic
33. Reengaged in the agreements/talks on global warming and greenhouse gas emissions
34. Visited more countries and met with more world leaders than any president in his first six months in office
35. Successful release of US captain held bySomali pirates; authorized the SEALS to do their job
36. US Navy increasing patrols off Somali coast
37. Attractive tax write-offs for those who buy hybrid automobiles
38. Cash for clunkers program offers vouchers to trade in fuel inefficient, polluting old cars for new cars; stimulated auto sales
39. Announced plans to purchase fuel efficient American-made fleet for the federal government
40. Expanded the SCHIP program to cover health care for 4 million more children
41. Signed national service legislation; expandednational youth service program
42. Instituted a new policy on Cuba, allowing Cuban families to return home to visit loved ones
43. Ended the previous policy of not regulating and labeling carbon dioxide emissions
44. Expanding vaccination programs
45. Immediate and efficient response to the floods in North Dakota and other natural disasters
46. Closed offshore tax safe havens
47. Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals
48. Ended the previous policy of offering tax benefits to corporations who outsource American jobs; the new policy is to promote in-sourcing to bring jobs back
49.. Ended the previous practice of protecting credit card companies; in place of it are new consumer protections from credit card industry’s predatory practices
50. Energy producing plants must begin preparing to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources
51. Lower drug costs for seniors
52. Ended the previous practice of forbidding Medicare from negotiating with drug manufacturers for cheaper drugs; the federal government is now realizing hundreds of millions in savings
53. Increasing pay and benefits for military personnel
54. Improved housing for military personnel
55. Initiating a new policy to promote federal hiring of military spouses
56. Improved conditions at Walter Reed Military Hospital and other military hospitals
57 Increasing student loans
58. Increasing opportunities in AmeriCorps program
59. Sent envoys to Middle East and other parts of the world that had been neglected for years; reengaging in multilateral and bilateral talks and diplomacy
60. Established a new cyber security office
61. Beginning the process of reforming and restructuring the military 20 years after the Cold War to a more modern fighting force; this includes new procurement policies, increasing size of military, new technology and cyber units and operations, etc.
62. Ended previous policy of awarding no-bid defense contracts
63. Ordered a review of hurricane and natural disaster preparedness
64. Established a National Performance Officer charged with saving the federal government money and making federal operations more efficient
65. Students struggling to make college loan payments can have their loans refinanced
66. Improving benefits for veterans
67. Many more press conferences and town halls and much more media access than previous administration
68. Instituted a new focus on mortgage fraud
69. The FDA is now regulating tobacco
70. Ended previous policy of cutting the FDA and circumventing FDA rules
71. Ended previous practice of having White House aides rewrite scientific and environmental rules, regulations, and reports
72. Authorized discussions with North Korea and private mission by Pres. Bill Clinton to secure the release of two Americans held in prisons
73. Authorized discussions with Myanmar and mission by Sen. Jim Web to secure the release of an American held captive
74. Making more loans available to small businesses
75. Established independent commission to make recommendations on slowing the costs of Medicare
76. Appointment of first Latina to the Supreme Court
77. Authorized construction/opening of additional health centers to care for veterans
78. Limited salaries of senior White House aides; cut to $100,000
79. Renewed loan guarantees for Israel
80. Changed the failing/status quo military command in Afghanistan
81. Deployed additional troops to Afghanistan
82. New Afghan War policy that limits aerial bombing and prioritizes aid, development of infrastructure, diplomacy, and good government practices by Afghans
83. Announced the long-term development of a national energy grid with renewable sources and cleaner, efficient energy production
84. Returned money authorized for refurbishment of White House offices and private living quarters
85. Paid for redecoration of White House living quarters out of his own pocket
86. Held first Seder in White House
87. Attempting to reform the nation’s healthcare system which is the most expensive in the world yet leaves almost 50 million without health insurance and millions more under insured
88. Has put the ball in play for comprehensive immigration reform
89. Has announced his intention to push for energy reform
90. Has announced his intention to push for education reform

Oh, and he built a swing set for the girls outside the Oval Office.

1. Appointing two Supreme Court Justices: When people consider their presidential voting decision, most don’t consider that amongst the most important and enduring presidential responsibilities is the president’s ability to appoint supreme court justices. This is arguably a president’s biggest opportunity to influence his country, because Supreme Court justices sit until they retire or pass away, so the impact of his decision generally will last many decades beyond his years as president.  Obama has been fortunate enough to have two Supreme Court Justices retire in his first few years in office and he has managed to secure both of his nominations through wise selection and political skill.  He has added two Democrats, replacing two moderate Democrats in the process.  If a Republican has won the presidency instead, we would now be looking at an unbalanced Supreme Court with six conservatives and only three liberal judges – a balance that would have been in place for many many decades.  In the appointment process, Obama also introduced needed diversity to the bench with two more women on the court, bringing the count to a record three women sitting, while also introducing the nation’s first Hispanic to the Supreme Court with his choice of Sotomayor.

2. Passing Universal Healthcare: Obama accomplished what no prior Democrat could in expanding coverage to 32 million more Americans while simultaneously reducing the deficit by an estimated $1.3 trillion over the next 20 years. It delivers on every provision of the Patient Bill of Rights that Bill Clinton unsuccessfully tried to get passed, including making it illegal to deny coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and capping out of pocket expenses when people get sick (so people don’t go in to bankruptcy after getting ill).  It helps shift our medical system’s focus to preventative care by covering the cost of early warning tests so our doctors find diseases before they are too advanced – avoiding larger medical expenses down the road and requires the largest and richest American companies to provides insurance for all their employees.  It attempts to lower health care costs by forcing all Americans to have medical insurance and pay their fair share so the system is more efficient – similar to how all Americans need to have car insurance – while providing tax credits to help the poor and small businesses afford this coverage.  It increases competition by creating marketplace exchanges to make it easier for small businesses and those without insurance to shop and compare plans.  It funds co-ops who can offer competitive insurance plans and provide further competition for insurance companies.  It allows insurance companies to offer plans across state borders further increasing the supply of competitive plans.  It provides funding, infrastructure, and support to automate, digitize, and unify the country’s outdated medical information system reducing system-wide costs, improving care, and increasing productivity.  Perhaps most importantly, it sets up an independent commission of doctors and medical experts to identify and root out medical system waste, fraud, and abuse and includes many pieces of reform that will reduce the most wasteful medical system practices.

3. Financial industry reform: The most sweeping financial industry reform legislation since the Great Depression, this legislation tries to correct those industry issues that helped create the current recession we are still digging outselves out of.  It provides a system to allow the government to break apart large financial institutions that threaten the economy, creates a council of federal regulators to coordinate the detection of risks to the financial system, subjects a wider range of financial companies to government oversight, creates a Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection to help protect citizens from unscrupulous practices, and reins in banks’ ability to trade in risky financial instruments such as credit derivatives.

4. Preventing a 2nd Great Depression: While preventing a depression is not sexy and certainly is reactive, history may say that this is still one of his most important accomplishment to date.  The vast majority of economists and experts say that the nation had a high chance of slipping in to a Depression had this stimulus not passed along with the innovative actions of the Fed.  Obama has worked with Bernanke and the Fed, put a team of some of the best economic minds around him, helped save America’s 3 major car manufacturers from going out of business, passed the largest economic Stimulus Bill in the nation’s history, and executed other legislative changes to keep liquidity flowing in our economy, save jobs that would have otherwise been lost, and fund areas of our economy that are strategic and important for our long term economic competitiveness including health care, education, green energy, science, and infrastructure.

5. Bringing the war in Iraq to an end: Obama has reduced troops from a peak of 170,000 down to 50,000, with the remaining troops focused on training and recruiting Iraqi forces, rather than participating in combat.  With this news, Obama delivered on a campaign promise he made while bringing to an end a misguided, expensive, and costly war which served no clear purpose.  He also ensured that, in the process of wrapping up efforts in the region, he did so responsibly.  Iraq is not in utter chaos as it once was at the peak of the insurgency and it stands a chance of having a reasonable future and being a reasonably stable Democratic state in the Middle East.

6. Passed legislation to curb greenhouse gases and improve the environment:Obama implemented new regulations on power plants, factories, and oil refineries to limit greenhouse gas emissions and curb global warming, required energy producing plants to produce 15% of their energy from renewable sources, allowed states to enact federal fuel efficiency standards above federal standards, increased, for the first time in more than a decade, the fuel economy standards for Model Year 2011 for cars and trucks, funded investment in clean energy technologies through a combination of spending and tax breaks, signed an omnibus public lands bill, which allows for 2 million more acres to be declared wilderness, and issued a Presidential Memorandum to the Department of Energy to implement more aggressive efficiency standards for common household appliances, like dishwashers and refrigerators, which, over the next three decades, will save twice the amount of energy produced by all the coal-fired power plants in America in any given year.

7. Nuclear non-proliferation agreement: Obama met with 47 presidents in a 3 day nuclear summit to lower the nuclear weapons count with a treaty signed between US and Russia, putting the world back on a path to reducing nuclear warheads.

8. Repairing Our Image Abroad: After 8 years of damage to our country’s image, Obama has helped repair badly damaged relationships with foreign powers across the world from Russia to Europe and reached out to the Arab world.  This is necessary and critical in order for the most influential countries to work together to fight challenges such as Global Warming and Nuclear expansion.  It also helps to fight terrorist recruiting by helping change America’s negative image.  It is increasingly important for the US to engage with other countries as fast-growing nations like Brazil, China, and India join the traditional powerhouses and as America adjusts to a world with more diverse and influential players in the political equation.

9. Lifted Bush restrictions on embryonic stem cell research: Obama provided federal support for stem-cell and new biomedical research, helping make it easier for scientists to find cures for our most dangerous diseases.

10. Reversed George W. Bush’s ban on federal funding to foreign organizations that allow abortions.

11. Implemented education reforms: Made higher college more accessible and affordable through significant increases in scholarships and funding, funded early learning programs, and, most importantly, through an innovative program called Race to the Top, spurred reforms in state and local district K-12 education by providing states with incentives to make positive changes to their education systems.  Race to the Top prompted 48 states to adopt common standards for K-12.  Some notable changes prompted by the program include Illinois lifting a cap on the number of charter schools it allows, Massachusetts making it easier for students in low-performing schools to switch to charters, and West Virginia proposing a merit pay system that includes student achievement in its compensation calculations.

12. Tobacco regulation. On June 22, 2009, Obama signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which, for the first time, gave the U.S. Food & Drug Administration the authority to regulate the manufacturing, marketing, and sale of tobacco.

After all of these achievements, it will be interesting to see what else Obama can get done over the next few years of his first term.  Even if he did not achieve anymore legislative accomplishments during the remainder of his tenure, Obama will have had one of the most productive terms of any president in the history of our country.

Obama signs technology access bill for disabled

President Obama signs Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010

President Obama Signs Tax Cut Bill Into Law

President Obama Signs DADT Repeal Act

President Obama  Signs 9/11 Health Bill

http://edition.cnn.com/2011/POLITICS/01/02/obama.9.11.bill/

Washington (CNN) — President Barack Obama signed the 9/11 health bill into law in Hawaii on Sunday, White House spokesman Bill Burton said.

President Obama signs historic food safety law

http://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2011/01/president_obama_signs_historic.html

With the flick of a pen, President Obama signs a bill today that paves the way for the first major overhaul of the food safety system in the United States in nearly a century.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2011/01/04/statement-press-secretary

On Tuesday, January 04, 2011, the President signed into law:

H.R. 81, the “Shark Conservation Act of 2010 and International Fisheries Agreement Clarification Act,” which generally prohibits the removal of shark fins at sea and amends certain laws related to international fisheries;

H.R. 628, which establishes a pilot program regarding the adjudication cases where patent or plant variety protection issues are to be decided;

H.R. 1107, which restates and reorganizes the public contract laws of the United States in Title 41, United Sates Code;

H.R. 1746, the “Predisaster Hazard Mitigation Act of 2010,” which authorizes appropriations for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation (PDM) program for FYs 2011-2013;

H.R. 2142, the “GPRA Modernization Act of 2010,” which amends the Government Performance and Results Act to establish a Federal government performance plan;

H.R. 2751, the “FDA Food Safety Modernization Act,” which modernizes the food safety system to better prevent food-borne illness and better respond to outbreaks;

H.R. 4445, the “Indian Pueblo Cultural Center Clarification Act,” which repeals a restriction on the treatment of certain lands held in trust for Indian Pueblos in New Mexico;

H.R. 4602, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the Emil Bolas Post Office;

H.R. 4748, the “Northern Border Counternarcotics Strategy Act of 2010,” which requires the Office of National Drug Control Policy to develop a Northern Boarder Counternarcotics Strategy;

H.R. 4973, the “National Wildlife Refuge Volunteer Improvement Act of 2010,” which reauthorizes and amends authorities relating to volunteer programs and community partnerships for national wildlife refuges;

H.R. 5116, the “America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science (America COMPETES) Reauthorization Act of 2010,” which reauthorizes various programs intended to strengthen research and education in the United States related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics;

H.R. 5133, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the Staff Sergeant Frank T. Carvill and Lance Corporal Michael A. Schwarz Post Office Building;

H.R. 5470, which excludes specified external power supplies from certain energy efficiency standards required by the Energy Policy and Conservation Act;

H.R. 5605, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the George C. Marshall Post Office;

H.R. 5606, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the James M. “Jimmy” Stewart Post Office Building;

H.R. 5655, which designates the Little River Branch facility of the United States Postal Service as the Jesse J. McCrary, Jr. Post Office;

H.R. 5809, the “Diesel Emissions Reduction Act of 2010,” which modifies and reauthorizes through FY 2016 the Environmental Protection Agency’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Program;

H.R. 5877, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the Lance Corporal Alexander Scott Arredondo, United States Marine Corps Post Office Building;

H.R. 5901, which authorizes the U.S. Tax Court to appoint employees under a personnel management system that includes the merit system principles and prohibitions on personnel practices;

H.R. 6392, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the Colonel George Juskalian Post Office Building;

H.R. 6400, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the Earl Wilson, Jr. Post Office;

H.R. 6412, the “Access to Criminal History Records for State Sentencing Commissions Act of 2010,” which requires the Department of Justice to exchange records and information with State sentencing commissions;

H.R. 6510, which directs the General Services Administration to convey to the Military Museum of Texas the parcel of real property in Houston, Texas, on which the museum is located;

H.R. 6533, the “Local Community Radio Act of 2010,” which modifies current restrictions on low-power FM radio stations;

S. 118, the “Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Act of 2010,” which amends financing and project operation requirements for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s program to allow for increased housing opportunities for low-income seniors;

S. 841, the “Pedestrian Safety Enhancement Act of 2010,” regarding pedestrian safety related to motor vehicles;

S. 1481, the “Frank Melville Supportive Housing Investment Act of 2010,” which amends financing and project operation requirements for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s program for low income individuals with disabilities;

S. 3036, the “National Alzheimer’s Project Act,” which establishes a National Alzheimer’s Project within the Department of Health and Human Services and an advisory council on Alzheimer’s research, care, and services;

S. 3243, the “Anti-Border Corruption Act of 2010,” which requires the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that all applicants for law enforcement positions with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) receive polygraph examinations;

S. 3447, the “Post-9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Improvements Act of 2010,” which amends the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and other educational assistance programs for veterans;

S. 3481, which clarifies the Federal Government’s responsibility to pay reasonable service charges to a State or local government to address stormwater pollution from Federal properties;

S. 3592, which designates a facility of the United States Postal Service as the First Lieutenant Robert Wilson Collins Post Office Building;

S. 3874, the “Reduction of Lead in Drinking Water Act,” which modifies the Safe Drinking Water Act definition of “lead free” with regard to pipes, pipe fittings, plumbing fittings, and fixtures;

S. 3903, which authorizes 99-year leases on land held in trust for the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo in the State of New Mexico; and

S. 4036, which amends authorities of the National Credit Union Administration.

President Obama Signs START Treaty

President Obama signed the START nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia this morning.

May 1st, 2011 11:30pm:

Osama Bin Laden Is Dead; Mission is finally accomplished. 

5 comments on “Accomplishments

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  2. Features
    March/ April 2012 Obama’s Top 50 Accomplishments

    By Paul Glastris, Ryan Cooper, and Siyu Hu
    Facebook Twitter Digg Reddit StumbleUpon Delicious

    (Also check out the main article, The Incomplete Greatness of Barack Obama, and the issue’s Editor’s Note.)

    1. Passed Health Care Reform: After five presidents over a century failed to create universal health insurance, signed the Affordable Care Act (2010). It will cover 32 million uninsured Americans beginning in 2014 and mandates a suite of experimental measures to cut health care cost growth, the number one cause of America’s long-term fiscal problems.

    2. Passed the Stimulus: Signed $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 to spur economic growth amid greatest recession since the Great Depression. Weeks after stimulus went into effect, unemployment claims began to subside. Twelve months later, the private sector began producing more jobs than it was losing, and it has continued to do so for twenty-three straight months, creating a total of nearly 3.7 million new private-sector jobs.

    3. Passed Wall Street Reform: Signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (2010) to re-regulate the financial sector after its practices caused the Great Recession. The new law tightens capital requirements on large banks and other financial institutions, requires derivatives to be sold on clearinghouses and exchanges, mandates that large banks provide “living wills” to avoid chaotic bankruptcies, limits their ability to trade with customers’ money for their own profit, and creates the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (now headed by Richard Cordray) to crack down on abusive lending products and companies.

    4. Ended the War in Iraq: Ordered all U.S. military forces out of the country. Last troops left on December 18, 2011.

    5. Began Drawdown of War in Afghanistan: From a peak of 101,000 troops in June 2011, U.S. forces are now down to 91,000, with 23,000 slated to leave by the end of summer 2012. According to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, the combat mission there will be over by next year.

    6. Eliminated Osama bin laden: In 2011, ordered special forces raid of secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in which the terrorist leader was killed and a trove of al-Qaeda documents was discovered.

    7. Turned Around U.S. Auto Industry: In 2009, injected $62 billion in federal money (on top of $13.4 billion in loans from the Bush administration) into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since bottoming out in 2009, the auto industry has added more than 100,000 jobs. In 2011, the Big Three automakers all gained market share for the first time in two decades. The government expects to lose $16 billion of its investment, less if the price of the GM stock it still owns increases.

    8. Recapitalized Banks: In the midst of financial crisis, approved controversial Treasury Department plan to lure private capital into the country’s largest banks via “stress tests” of their balance sheets and a public-private fund to buy their “toxic” assets. Got banks back on their feet at essentially zero cost to the government.

    9. Repealed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”: Ended 1990s-era restriction and formalized new policy allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military for the first time.

    10. Toppled Moammar Gaddafi: In March 2011, joined a coalition of European and Arab governments in military action, including air power and naval blockade, against Gaddafi regime to defend Libyan civilians and support rebel troops. Gaddafi’s forty-two-year rule ended when the dictator was overthrown and killed by rebels on October 20, 2011. No American lives were lost.

    11. Told Mubarak to Go: On February 1, 2011, publicly called on Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to accept reform or step down, thus weakening the dictator’s position and putting America on the right side of the Arab Spring. Mubarak ended thirty-year rule when overthrown on February 11.

    12. Reversed Bush Torture Policies: Two days after taking office, nullified Bush-era rulings that had allowed detainees in U.S. custody to undergo certain “enhanced” interrogation techniques considered inhumane under the Geneva Conventions. Also released the secret Bush legal rulings supporting the use of these techniques.

    13. Improved America’s Image Abroad: With new policies, diplomacy, and rhetoric, reversed a sharp decline in world opinion toward the U.S. (and the corresponding loss of “soft power”) during the Bush years. From 2008 to 2011, favorable opinion toward the United States rose in ten of fifteen countries surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, with an average increase of 26 percent.

    14. Kicked Banks Out of Federal Student Loan Program, Expanded Pell Grant Spending: As part of the 2010 health care reform bill, signed measure ending the wasteful decades-old practice of subsidizing banks to provide college loans. Starting July 2010 all students began getting their federal student loans directly from the federal government. Treasury will save $67 billion over ten years, $36 billion of which will go to expanding Pell Grants to lower-income students.

    15. Created Race to the Top: With funds from stimulus, started $4.35 billion program of competitive grants to encourage and reward states for education reform.

    16. Boosted Fuel Efficiency Standards: Released new fuel efficiency standards in 2011 that will nearly double the fuel economy for cars and trucks by 2025.

    17. Coordinated International Response to Financial Crisis: To keep world economy out of recession in 2009 and 2010, helped secure from G-20 nations more than $500 billion for the IMF to provide lines of credit and other support to emerging market countries, which kept them liquid and avoided crises with their currencies.

    18. Passed Mini Stimuli: To help families hurt by the recession and spur the economy as stimulus spending declined, signed series of measures (July 22, 2010; December 17, 2010; December 23, 2011) to extend unemployment insurance and cut payroll taxes.

    19. Began Asia “Pivot”: In 2011, reoriented American military and diplomatic priorities and focus from the Middle East and Europe to the Asian-Pacific region. Executed multipronged strategy of positively engaging China while reasserting U.S. leadership in the region by increasing American military presence and crafting new commercial, diplomatic, and military alliances with neighboring countries made uncomfortable by recent Chinese behavior.

    20. Increased Support for Veterans: With so many soldiers coming home from Iraq and Iran with serious physical and mental health problems, yet facing long waits for services, increased 2010 Department of Veterans Affairs budget by 16 percent and 2011 budget by 10 percent. Also signed new GI bill offering $78 billion in tuition assistance over a decade, and provided multiple tax credits to encourage businesses to hire veterans.

    21. Tightened Sanctions on Iran: In effort to deter Iran’s nuclear program, signed Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability, and Divestment Act (2010) to punish firms and individuals who aid Iran’s petroleum sector. In late 2011 and early 2012, coordinated with other major Western powers to impose sanctions aimed at Iran’s banks and with Japan, South Korea, and China to shift their oil purchases away from Iran.

    22. Created Conditions to Begin Closing Dirtiest Power Plants: New EPA restrictions on mercury and toxic pollution, issued in December 2011, likely to lead to the closing of between sixty-eight and 231 of the nation’s oldest and dirtiest coal-fired power plants. Estimated cost to utilities: at least $11 billion by 2016. Estimated health benefits: $59 billion to $140 billion. Will also significantly reduce carbon emissions and, with other regulations, comprises what’s been called Obama’s “stealth climate policy.”

    23. Passed Credit Card Reforms: Signed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (2009), which prohibits credit card companies from raising rates without advance notification, mandates a grace period on interest rate increases, and strictly limits overdraft and other fees.

    24. Eliminated Catch-22 in Pay Equality Laws: Signed Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, giving women who are paid less than men for the same work the right to sue their employers after they find out about the discrimination, even if that discrimination happened years ago. Under previous law, as interpreted by the Supreme Court in Ledbetter v. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., the statute of limitations on such suits ran out 180 days after the alleged discrimination occurred, even if the victims never knew about it.

    25. Protected Two Liberal Seats on the U.S. Supreme Court: Nominated and obtained confirmation for Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic and third woman to serve, in 2009; and Elena Kagan, the fourth woman to serve, in 2010. They replaced David Souter and John Paul Stevens, respectively.

    26. Improved Food Safety System: In 2011, signed FDA Food Safety Modernization Act, which boosts the Food and Drug Administration’s budget by $1.4 billion and expands its regulatory responsibilities to include increasing number of food inspections, issuing direct food recalls, and reviewing the current food safety practices of countries importing products into America.

    27. Achieved New START Treaty: Signed with Russia (2010) and won ratification in Congress (2011) of treaty that limits each country to 1,550 strategic warheads (down from 2,200) and 700 launchers (down from more than 1,400), and reestablished and strengthened a monitoring and transparency program that had lapsed in 2009, through which each country can monitor the other.

    28. Expanded National Service: Signed Serve America Act in 2009, which authorized a tripling of the size of AmeriCorps. Program grew 13 percent to 85,000 members across the country by 2012, when new House GOP majority refused to appropriate more funds for further expansion.

    29. Expanded Wilderness and Watershed Protection: Signed Omnibus Public Lands Management Act (2009), which designated more than 2 million acres as wilderness, created thousands of miles of recreational and historic trails, and protected more than 1,000 miles of rivers.

    30. Gave the FDA Power to Regulate Tobacco: Signed the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act (2009). Nine years in the making and long resisted by the tobacco industry, the law mandates that tobacco manufacturers disclose all ingredients, obtain FDA approval for new tobacco products, and expand the size and prominence of cigarette warning labels, and bans the sale of misleadingly labeled “light” cigarette brands and tobacco sponsorship of entertainment events.

    31. Pushed Federal Agencies to Be Green Leaders: Issued executive order in 2009 requiring all federal agencies to make plans to soften their environmental impacts by 2020. Goals include 30 percent reduction in fleet gasoline use, 26 percent boost in water efficiency, and sustainability requirements for 95 percent of all federal contracts. Because federal government is the country’s single biggest purchaser of goods and services, likely to have ripple effects throughout the economy for years to come.

    32. Passed Fair Sentencing Act: Signed 2010 legislation that reduces sentencing disparity between crack versus powder cocaine possessionfrom100 to1 to 18 to1.

    33. Trimmed and Reoriented Missile Defense: Cut the Reagan-era “Star Wars” missile defense budget, saving $1.4 billion in 2010, and canceled plans to station antiballistic missile systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in favor of sea-based defense plan focused on Iran and North Korea.

    34. Began Post-Post-9/11 Military Builddown: After winning agreement from congressional Republicans and Democrats in summer 2011 budget deal to reduce projected defense spending by $450 billion, proposed new DoD budget this year with cuts of that size and a new national defense strategy that would shrink ground forces from 570,000 to 490,000 over the next ten years while increasing programs in intelligence gathering and cyberwarfare.

    35. Let Space Shuttle Die and Killed Planned Moon Mission: Allowed the expensive ($1 billion per launch), badly designed, dangerous shuttle program to make its final launch on July 8, 2011. Cut off funding for even more bloated and problem-plagued Bush-era Constellation program to build moon base in favor of support for private-sector low-earth orbit ventures, research on new rocket technologies for long-distance manned flight missions, and unmanned space exploration, including the largest interplanetary rover ever launched, which will investigate Mars’s potential to support life.

    36. Invested Heavily in Renewable Technology: As part of the 2009 stimulus, invested $90 billion, more than any previous administration, in research on smart grids, energy efficiency, electric cars, renewable electricity generation, cleaner coal, and biofuels.

    37. Crafting Next-Generation School Tests: Devoted $330 million in stimulus money to pay two consortia of states and universities to create competing versions of new K-12 student performance tests based on latest psychometric research. New tests could transform the learning environment in vast majority of public school classrooms beginning in 2014.

    38. Cracked Down on Bad For-Profit Colleges: In effort to fight predatory practices of some for-profit colleges, Department of Education issued “gainful employment” regulations in 2011 cutting off commercially focused schools from federal student aid funding if more than 35 percent of former students aren’t paying off their loans and/or if the average former student spends more than 12 percent of his or her total earnings servicing student loans.

    39. Improved School Nutrition: In coordination with Michelle Obama, signed Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act in 2010 mandating $4.5 billion spending boost and higher nutritional and health standards for school lunches. New rules based on the law, released in January, double the amount of fruits and vegetables and require only whole grains in food served to students.

    40. Expanded Hate Crimes Protections: Signed Hate Crimes Prevention Act (2009), which expands existing hate crime protections to include crimes based on a victim’s sexual orientation, gender, or disability, in addition to race, color, religion, or national origin.

    41. Avoided Scandal: As of November 2011, served longer than any president in decades without a scandal, as measured by the appearance of the word “scandal” (or lack thereof) on the front page of the Washington Post.

    42. Brokered Agreement for Speedy Compensation to Victims of Gulf Oil Spill: Though lacking statutory power to compel British Petroleum to act, used moral authority of his office to convince oil company to agree in 2010 to a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico; $6.5 billion already paid out without lawsuits. By comparison, it took nearly two decades for plaintiffs in the Exxon Valdez Alaska oil spill case to receive $1.3 billion.

    43. Created Recovery.gov: Web site run by independent board of inspectors general looking for fraud and abuse in stimulus spending, provides public with detailed information on every contract funded by $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Thanks partly to this transparency, board has uncovered very little fraud, and Web site has become national model: “The stimulus has done more to promote transparency at almost all levels of government than any piece of legislation in recent memory,” reports Governing magazine.

    44. Pushed Broadband Coverage: Proposed and obtained in 2011 Federal Communications Commission approval for a shift of $8 billion in subsidies away from landlines and toward broadband Internet for lower-income rural families.

    45. Expanded Health Coverage for Children: Signed 2009 Children’s Health Insurance Authorization Act, which allows the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to cover health care for 4 million more children, paid for by a tax increase on tobacco products.

    46. Recognized the Dangers of Carbon Dioxide: In 2009, EPA declared carbon dioxide a pollutant, allowing the agency to regulate its production.

    47. Expanded Stem Cell Research: In 2009, eliminated the Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, which shows promise in treating spinal injuries, among many other areas.

    48. Provided Payment to Wronged Minority Farmers: In 2009, signed Claims Resolution Act, which provided $4.6 billion in funding for a legal settlement with black and Native American farmers who the government cheated out of loans and natural resource royalties in years past.

    49. Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Helped South Sudan Declare Independence: Appointed two envoys to Sudan and personally attended a special UN meeting on the area. Through U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice, helped negotiate a peaceful split in 2011.

    50. Killed the F-22: In 2009, ended further purchases of Lockheed Martin single-seat, twin-engine, fighter aircraft, which cost $358 million apiece. Though the military had 187 built, the plane has never flown a single combat mission. Eliminating it saved $4 billion.

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