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Obama Gets 'Average' Grade for His First Three Years in Office

The promise of President Obama was great in 2008. Some things like foreign policy went well. His economic policies were little more than an extension of the Bush Administrations' policies.

After three years on the job, President Obama gets a C+ grade with lots of room for improvement. There are many conservatives that claim that the President deserves nothing better than a failing grade. I believe that the President used much of his political capital getting the new Affordable Healthcare bill passed over his first two years. The Congressional elections in 2010 made getting anything passed with bipartisan support nearly impossible. Here are several components that went into the President’s grade:

Positive

Foreign policy was excellent. The decision to kill/capture Osama Bin Laden was courageous and successful. The decision to surge in Afghanistan was controversial, but he followed the advice of his military commanders. He is hoping for an outcome like Iraq - securing the country while training the Army and Police. In Iraq, the President kept his campaign promise and American forces exited by the end of 2011. Now the Iraqi people must “stand up” and do the right things. America gave them the training to have the tools to succeed - will they have the will?

President Obama campaigned on reining in the runaway healthcare costs. After bipartisan attempts, he pushed through the Affordable Healthcare Act in 2010.  It was modeled  after Governor Romney’s plan in Massachusetts. There are areas of the law that will be refined, but the intended consequences of lower costs and more people with insurance are happening.  

The President initiated policies, in concert with the Federal Reserve, that slowed the decline and now has led to slow growth in the economy. After the economy hit the skids in 2007-08, the Bush Administration took many actions that angered Conservatives. The Obama Administration carried through on these plans and added a bailout of the auto industry. Some of these policies have been successful and some have not. Doing nothing would have been a worse option.

Negative

The economy has been slow to grow. Usually, at this stage of recovery and with this much fiscal and monetary stimulus, the economy should be accelerating more.  The unemployment rate has stayed particularly high. The President used a lot of political capital to get healthcare reform passed and probably neglected the economy.

When President Obama campaigned he was praised as a great communicator.  The economic crisis in confidence has been the worst since The Great Depression.  During the Depression, President Roosevelt had his “fireside chats” to explain fixes to the economy and to allay the fear of the people.  President Obama has chosen not to systematically talk to the American people – this has been a mistake.

Bottom Line

I am sure that my assessment will be judged too harsh or too easy by many. The President has set a fine example as a good family man in an age when many politicians fall short. The election in November and history will be the final arbiters of how successful the Obama Presidency has been. What grade would you give this President?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Jane Patla Tanner February 20, 2012 at 01:17 AM
Regarding birth control, it is far less expensive to pay for birth control than the medical costs of pregnancy and then the childhood expenses, especially if the mother or the child has serious health complications. Also, if the mother doesn't have health insurance and is unable to pay for emergency care at a place like Grady, the tax payer is then paying an even larger medical bill. For those who would rather the government not get involved or don't feel the government is reliable, do you feel the same way about medicare and medicaid?
Jane Patla Tanner February 20, 2012 at 01:45 AM
Please read up on the Health Care Reform Law facts - AARP.org has it organized into easy to read fact sheets and also offer experts to help you with further questions. The government is setting guidelines for insurance companies - like expanded coverage for preventive care and screenings; new options for people with pre-existing conditions; greater consumer protections against insurance cancellations; end to lifetime limits on health insurance coverage; higher annual limits on health insurance coverage; expanded coverage for adult children up to age 26. This is not a new medicare/medicaid government program (although I hear from seniors that these are not plans that they would give up or fight to end in order to save the tax payer $). There is a lot in this initial piece of legislation, find out the facts so that you can obtain the best health care coverage for less.
Karsten Torch February 20, 2012 at 01:11 PM
Again, insurance was never intended to pay for everything. If we'd government uninvolved, quit dictating all the little things insurance should cover (which raises costs) and let the insurance companies compete against state lines (which would lower costs by increasing competition) and go back to how it should be instead of this entitlement-mentality system we have now, then that mother could afford to buy insurance. So for me, no, it's not a matter of X being cheaper than Y. I shouldn't be forced to pay for either for somebody else. As far as Medicare and Medicaid, yeah, not a huge fan. I'm all for one that covers children, but even that gets abused. The ER is not for runny noses.
Jane Patla Tanner February 20, 2012 at 01:49 PM
Actually, it is all about x being cheaper than y. Insurers are most definitely looking for what is the most cost effective way to insure a person/population as this helps them to maximize profits. One way to do this is to have people take care of themselves and take preventative measures - yearly exams and screenings - and birth control is also preventative, strictly in terms of long terms costs. For example, it is a lot cheaper to treat cancer at Stage 1 than Stage 3. Just as it is a lot cheaper to cover birth control than prenatal care, delivery, and so on. Offering coverage for these less costly measures saves everyone in the long run. Read up on what the new Health Care law covers - AARP.org has some well organized Fact Sheets and is a place to start. Let us know exactly what will help you vs. cost you. So far, my family has found more coverage for less $. We have also been told to revisit our plan and shop around yearly through 2014.
Wes Allen February 20, 2012 at 02:46 PM
Jus t the facts...The Bush Tax Cuts promised to be a Ten Year Plan. They also were promising to Raise revenue.And, when they were promising all this theGOP was saying that the excess money the wealthy would get would Trickle Down to normal people. But, my real question to you Marc , is why do you defend the rich? Your idea of freedom of Religion and mine are at polar opposites. I see it as a way for me and my beliefs to not be trampled on by you and your beliefs. One more thing. What part of having more people pay into insurance companies making coverage less costly for all don't you understand? What part of paying into insurance companies constitutes a government takeover of health insurance? What part opf the insurance companies screwing us all for years are you defending?
Marc February 20, 2012 at 03:51 PM
Wes, As the Wall Street Journal’s Stephen Moore illuminates in his 2008 book “The End of Prosperity” (Threshold Editions), Mr. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts failed to revive an economy still staggering from the bursting of the dot-com bubble. Mr. Bush’s strategy had been to adopt a demand-side, Keynesian stimulus, hoping that putting a few extra dollars in Americans’ pockets would jump-start the economy through increased consumption. This approach faltered, not just because Americans opted to save their rebates, but because it neglected the importance of business investment to overall growth. Predictably, the economy lagged and government revenues stagnated. What the United States needed then (and needs now) was to stimulate investment, not consumption.
Marc February 20, 2012 at 03:53 PM
answer to Wes continued cont: By 2003, Mr. Bush grasped this lesson. In that year, he cut the dividend and capital gains rates to 15 percent each, and the economy responded. In two years, stocks rose 20 percent. In three years, $15 trillion of new wealth was created. The U.S. economy added 8 million new jobs from mid-2003 to early 2007, and the median household increased its wealth by $20,000 in real terms. But the real jolt for tax-cutting opponents was that the 03 Bush tax cuts also generated a massive increase in federal tax receipts. From 2004 to 2007, federal tax revenues increased by $785 billion, the largest four-year increase in American history. According to the Treasury Department, individual and corporate income tax receipts were up 40 percent in the three years following the Bush tax cuts. And (bonus) the rich paid an even higher percentage of the total tax burden than they had at any time in at least the previous 40 years. This was news to theNew York Times, whose astonished editorial board could only describe the gains as a “surprise windfall.”
Marc February 20, 2012 at 03:54 PM
answer to Wes Cont: Unlike the current President, Bush was able to see when something was not working and had the courage to say he was wrong and change it
Marc February 20, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Read this by the the Joint Economic Committee on the Regan Tax cuts. http://www.house.gov/jec/fiscal/tx-grwth/reagtxct/reagtxct.htm
Marc February 20, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Small businesses are responsible for most of the economic growth in our nation. Considering this fact, this figure doesn’t bode well for our economy or those looking for work: A recent Gallup Poll shows that 85% percent of small business owners say that they are currently not looking for any new workers Why are they not hiring? Of those who said they were not hiring, 48% cited their concern about possible rising healthcare costs (ObamaCare). Another 46% said that they were worried about new government regulations. Who can blame them? The economy, of course, is also a huge factor. And here’s one more interesting stat: 71% of small businesses surveyed said that revenues from sales wouldn’t justify hiring additional workers. The cost of employing people, thanks to government regulations, is not worth it to an employer, even if they are successful at generating revenue.
Marc February 20, 2012 at 04:24 PM
And Wes, I will remind you that this president had full control of Congress for the first 2 years of his Presidency. FULL CONTROL. And yet here we are.
Jane Patla Tanner February 20, 2012 at 04:47 PM
That is a very simplistic argument. It is more accurate to look at the lack of compromise in Committee of the legislation moving through both Houses, and the over use of the filibuster and cloture petitions over the last 10 years, when each party has had the advantage of majority but had a hard time getting anything accomplished, as far as their agenda is concerned. Any President to muscle through his/her agenda, without compromise, is labeled a "Dictator", as we have seen many times in the media over the last 12 years. It is simply not a problem with the current sitting President has, except that he is the current sitting President. It comes down to Congress and their willingness to compromise and move things through both Houses, as well as the need to change the environment of harsh polarization = no room for compromise / give-and-take.
Marc February 20, 2012 at 05:07 PM
Jane, I say again, this president(s) (party)had full control of congress for 2 years. Anything he or they wanted could have been passed. It has been almost 3 years since a budget has been passed. And again I say. Here we are.
Jane Patla Tanner February 20, 2012 at 10:27 PM
Hi Marc, it is hard to tell from your response how you feel about the process, filibuster, and cloture petitions that have been used in order to block legislation during the last decade. Our Democracy is not black and white, and while 'sound bites' seem to be in vogue, I feel they are a misrepresentation of what is happening to our political system. Thus, I must say again, there is a need to change the environment of harsh polarization and no give-and-take.
Marc February 20, 2012 at 11:59 PM
Jane I agree that the process must be changed. The easiest and immediately effective change would be term limits. If our congress was held to one, 6 year term, lobbying and all the nonsense that goes along with re-election would come to a grinding halt. Lifers on both sides of the isle have spent more time on re-election than anything else. And the amount of no votes on bills is appalling. But I still stand by my words. This president came in with many, many promises and his party ruled court for 2 years. He has no one to blame but himself and his fellow Dems for the mess we are in. His words almost 3 years ago were " If I cannot fix the economy then I will be a one term President. Well it ain't fixed but he has his spin doctors out blaming everyone and everything but himself. At least Bush realized the mistakes he made, took ownership and changed what needed changing.
Karsten Torch February 21, 2012 at 02:45 PM
I've read up on it. Still a dismal failure. I've stated all this already, but I'll say it again. All this expanded coverage and more regulations on what has to be covered is driving up costs, and hence premiums. That's why everybody's jumping over to the government-subsidized plans. AARP started out all gang-busters about ObamaCare, and hasn't really maintained that enthusiasm. It's turning the corner to the point of the only way that you're going to be able to get 'cheaper' insurance is to get on the government's roles. Of course, I'm convinced that's the plan anyway. Easiest way to get single-payer insurance is to make the private plans so bad that there's really no choice.
Karsten Torch February 21, 2012 at 02:49 PM
Assuming that birth control is less expensive than paying for unwanted pregnancies would imply that birth control is somehow hard to come by. It's not. And it's already covered at all kinds of clinics and places. Out of all the single teen pregnancies last year, only 13% said that birth control was hard to come by. 13%. So, readily available or paid-for birth control would have had little to no effect. Sorry, but that's barking up the wrong tree. How about if we make it less acceptible to be an unwed teen mom? We stop glorifying it? Stop letting them stay in the high schools and take them out again like we used to? We're never going to stop it, but raising insurance costs by adding mandatory items to policies really isn't the way to solve this problem.
Jane Patla Tanner February 21, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Marc, I appreciate your opinion and also agree that the process needs some work. We are all so lucky to live in a country where we can openly discuss these kinds of issues and also agree to disagree on issues such as these.
Marc February 21, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Here Here!
Jane Patla Tanner February 21, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Hi Karsten, I don't think the intent was to target teens but to help all women. And again, it is all about economics for the insurance industry. I hope that you are able to find someone knowledgeable about the different health plans out there so that you can take advantage of the lower rates and new services that are now covered. It has been a positive relief to our family to finally end the ballooning 20-30% yearly premium increases and get our yearly wellness exams covered. My best to you and your family in finding a plan that is helpful to you.
Marc February 21, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Read what the Congressional Budget office has to say about Obama Care And if you want to know were Gov controlled heath care will take us, ask any soldier that has been through the VA system. http://blog.heritage.org/2011/02/23/new-cbo-report-proves-we-cannot-afford-obamacare/ http://www.cbo.gov/publication/22000
Jane Patla Tanner February 21, 2012 at 09:56 PM
Hi Marc, I'm sorry that you too have not had a positive experience w/the new Health coverage options. Re: gov't assisted health care, my parents & grandmother are not looking to give up their medicare & medicaid any time soon. Re: the VA, has been underfunded for yrs, even during the Bush administration while the need for services was increasing. Between 2003-06 the White House put budget caps on the VA. In 2006, the VA was asked to cut their funding by $1 billion dollars. In 2009, President Obama began putting America's finest 1st by signing a law to fully fund the VA for 2010. The Veterans Health Care Budget Reform & Transparency Act mandates that appropriations for VA medical programs be approved 1 yr ahead of time & another law mandating that Congress appropriate $ for veterans medical care programs 1 yr in advance. He asked for a 15% increase in funds for the VA in 2009 & 10% increase for 2010 & rightfully so with so many veterans needing services & many buildings in a state of disrepair. The system can't be fixed in just a couple of yrs, but w/a postive increase in funding, it is now in a better position to begin helping those in need. Many large institutions have difficulty keeping up with innovation, quality, &/or ethics - ie Bank of America, GM, Kodak, Enron to name a few private sector companies. Quality standards, people, and oversight are needed to make any large institution run properly, be that a private, state, or a federal work place.
Marc February 21, 2012 at 10:38 PM
Jane, medicare and medicaid take up the largest part of our nations budget. All these programs cost billions of dollars. Instead we need a mandatory individual health savings and retirement savings. If all the monies I had put into Social Security was put into a individual retirement account, I would get 5,000 amount instead of 1200. We cannot keep raising taxes to pay for them. Something has to be cut and cut deeply. In theory BOA , GM and others have to stand up to standards or the customers go elsewhere. But the Feds just step in to bail them out so there is no incentive for them to perform well. But if federal programs fail, we keep funding them to buy votes.
Karsten Torch February 21, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Wes, the tax cuts weren't promised to be a ten-year plan. The GOP back then wanted them permanent, the Dems didn't want them at all, this was the compromise. The GOP had every intention of going in and making them permanent. The lack of permanence and the ongoing lack of permanence is why they aren't working like they really should be. It's not a matter of defending the rich. It's defending liberty and common sense. The rich create the jobs, they supply the jobs. I've never gotten a job from a poor person. The rich already pay more than others - anything else you hear from the left is a lie, don't fall for it. So how much is enough? Should they be paying twice the rate of everybody else, on average? Would that make you happy? Or maybe three times the rate? At what point would you be satisfied that the rich are paying their 'fair share?' If more people paid into insurance and could compete across state lines and the insurance companies could dictate policies based on needs and not on what the government dictates needs to be covered. Where it constitutes a takeover of insurance companies is when the system is set up to fail so that more and more people wind up on the government teat. Insurance companies really haven't had a lot of opportunity to lower our rates with the government regulations they keep getting piled up on them.
Hal Schneider February 21, 2012 at 11:05 PM
This is the very heart of the problem with the country today. Of course your parents and grandparents are not looking to give up their medicare and medicaid. Of course, you are happy that your healthcare costs have been reduced (mine went up 34% this year). That is the way the liberals addict us to more government. They get us hooked on "free stuff" so that we become reliant on it and cannot imagine doing without it. The problem is, none of it is free! Someone actually has to pay for it. 47% of families pay ZERO taxes, which means the rest of us are paying the freight, or at least part of the freight. The rest is being CHARGED to our children and grandchildren and their children and grandchildren to the tune of $1.5 TRILLION dollars a year. This INSANITY cannot continue! Either we take steps to reverse what's been done or wait for it to collapse of its own weight. Your choice!
Marc February 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Wes, The fact is that 49% of the working population pay no taxes at all, 0. Nada. That leaves 51% paying 100% of the taxes. And the top 1% pays 40% of that. And that does not include the massive charitable donations the 1% make. So what is the Presidents definition of "Fair"?? As long as the well off feel they are being punished for being successful. they will continue to hold on to their money. And that means no new start ups. No new jobs. No new raises. So just how fair is fair? How much is enough. How rich is to0 rich? If I am only making 250,000 and have a family of 4 and live in NY city I am worst off the then a similar family in Greenville SC bringing home 100,000 a year. Stop punishing people for being innovated and successful. Those are the people that create new jobs. Not the federal government.
Jane Patla Tanner February 22, 2012 at 12:00 AM
The 47-49% who don't pay taxes are the working poor and elderly, (ex. families with 2 children making less than $26,400). It is sad when 1) there are that many working poor and 2) people are complaining that the working poor aren't 'paying their fair share'. Try living these days on $26,400, buying food, shelter, clothes, transportation, health care for 2 adults and 2 children. Since when was it the Christian way to demand that the poor pay up while those with massive excess get a pity party? I think that those with many resources have the funds to stick up for themselves. If you are feeling the pinch, talk about that, but no need to recite the 'talking points'. I also find it a bit hypocritical that those who are crying the loudest now of how "deficits are insanity", have been saying from the 1980s through the early 2000s, to quote Dick Cheney, "Deficits don't matter". After 2 wars, tax cuts, and an economy that collapsed in 2008 it is about time that everyone is in agreement on at least this issue. Now maybe we can all move forward, together, to find solutions that will help all Americans, especially those in need.
Jimmy February 22, 2012 at 01:25 AM
Jane, having children is a big, and expensive, responsibility. If you have two adults, who arent smart and/ or industrious enough to make more than $26K between them, they probably shouldnt be having children. If the 53% who do pay all the tax, were taxed at 100%, it still wouldnt be enough to eliminate the deficit for even one year. You can try to blame on it on who ever you want, the numbers dont lie.
Karsten Torch February 22, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Jimmy, you're just being mean. To say that two people who are either too lazy or too stupid to even make minimum wage if it wasn't guaranteed to them shouldn't have children is just a sign that you don't care about people. It's peoples' right to have all the children they want, and it's not any of your business if your money is spent to take care of them. You're just hearless and mean! (Note the sarcasm font) Seriously, though, good job on saying it. We're all thinking it, you just throw it out there. At any point it would actually be OK to teach abstinence or personal responsibility rather than just handing out prophylactics with our money to whoever wants it and saying "Have Fun!!!!" Let's hold people accountable. Have a kid? Be prepared to take care of it. Can't? Then you WILL fund that child for the first 18 years of his life - regardless of whether he winds up in foster care. And no, abortion is not an option for being stupid. We'll save that little procedure for rape and health issues. We make it too easy to make mistakes. Maybe if we didn't, the problems would be greatly reduced in number. Maybe. And you're right about the other - we can't tax the tax base enough to carry this current level of spending. But the liberals are right, it's definitely an income problem, not a spending problem. God help me....
Bob Chadwick March 14, 2012 at 11:27 AM
I'm a little late coming to this discussion but just wanted to mention that the true cost of Obamacare has just been announced at $1.7 trillion and expected to go up at least another $250 billion. The biggest problem with this plan was that 10 years of reveune was compated to 6, or was it 7 years, of cost.

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