Barack Obama’s Presidential Legacy

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After eight years in office, President Obama has certainly left his stamp on the United States. Being the nation’s first black president, Obama has been an icon for change.

He entered office in 2008 having to deal with the effects of the Great Recession, which took away the jobs and homes of millions of Americans. President Obama implemented an $800 billion stimulus package to help revive the economy. Currently, the unemployment rate is less than 5% in comparison to the 10% that it was in 2009. Furthermore, the Dow Jones Industrial Average more than doubled in the past eight years. However, looking at other measures, the economy is not doing as well as people think. The middle class, during the Obama presidency, became even more narrow, and income inequality is the highest that it has been since 1928.

In 2009, President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in honor of his attempts to strengthen international relationships. He restored diplomatic relations with Cuba after over 50 years of Cold War hostility. However, President Obama was still not liked by several countries, including Russia and some Middle Eastern nations.

In 2011, President Obama had some of his greatest victories. During a night raid on May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed in a compound in Pakistan by special forces. Also, later that year, President Obama formally stated that the war in Iraq was over. The last troops left Iraq on December 18, 2011.

Several key court cases defined President Obama’s presidency. In 2010, the Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, was passed. Five presidents in the past 100 years had tried to form a universal health care plan, but President Obama was the first to make it happen. In 2012, the Supreme Court upheld President Obama’s signature health care law by a vote of 5 to 4. Furthermore, in 2015, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges.

In addition to the Affordable Care Act, President Obama signed several other important pieces of legislation. In 2010, he signed the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act which allowed gays and lesbians to serve openly in the US armed forces for the first time. A couple years later, in 2013, President Obama presented the United States’ first climate change strategy that focused on cutting down emissions and protecting the coastlines.
President Obama also signed the Iran deal in 2015 that forced Iran to reduce its nuclear materials so that it is unable to make a nuclear weapon. Regular checkups by international inspectors will verify that Iran is abiding by the agreement.
From starting off his campaign for the presidency with a belief that change was possible to now, former President Obama has altered the history of the United States forever in more unique ways than one.

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Seema Parikh

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