As President Obama’s time in office draws to a close, Barack has spoken about the legacy he will leave behind. Hilariously, he puts “affordable healthcare,” “longest jobs growth streak in history,” and an “end to foreign conflicts” at the top of his list of accomplishments.
I’m not sure what country Barack has been running all of these years, but it isn’t mine. I see things rather differently. Here are the items that I see as Obama’s legacy.
A Failed Healthcare System
A health care system that bears his name, “Obamacare” is something that Obama wholly owns. He supported the law that famously had to be passed so that we could see what was in it. It was intended as a way to extend health care coverage (which is different than health insurance), and it was controversial in many ways.
Premiums have continued to increase, as have deductibles. Private companies are supposed to be involved, but they’re losing so much money under the new system that they’re leaving the system in droves. A growing number of doctors refuse to accept payment from the system. Obama claims that 20 million people are newly insured, but that number isn’t exactly accurate. Not even close.
The Obamacare system is collapsing – as anyone with an iota of sense predicted that it would – but that is only part of the story. We now have a government that gives you a choice: Pay a lot of money to be a part of this failed system, or buy insurance that meets the requirements set by someone you don’t know and has no idea what your life is like, or pay a lot of money because you don’t want to be a part of the system.
This is yet another government power grab, with a “payment” that oscillates between a “penalty” and a “tax” depending on what is convenient at the time.
Whatever you want to call this system, it is a mess. A desire to provide affordable health care to everyone in the country is a laudable goal, and it is certainly something that the country should strive to foster, but this path is not the way to reach the destination.
Obama’s legacy here? Objectively, it is a failure.
A Regression on Race Relations
A president with a black father and a white mother. A half-black, half-white, educated man elected to the highest office in the land, should have been able to make great strides towards improving race relations.
Unfortunately, we’ve seen the opposite. Racial tensions are worse than they have been in years – and yes, there’s data to back that up. Go ahead – read it.
In the past few years we’ve seen marches by the likes of Black Lives Matter who chant, “Pigs in a blanket, fry ’em like bacon!” We’ve also seen incredibly violent riots.
It’s extremely unfortunate. If nothing else things should not have not become worse, but under Obama who needlessly tosses out a casual “the police acted stupidly” we’re more divided than ever.
One would also imagine that under President Obama that the black demographic would be better off or, at least, wouldn’t get any worse. The same Pew study mentioned earlier shows that in Black families, total net worth has gone down, home ownership is down,and the number of children living in single parent homes has increased.
To be fair, culture is what it is, and the power a president has over that isn’t absolute; but a president can set the tone for the country and nudge things in a more desirable direction. During Obama’s term, however, instead of trying to hold black families up, instead of trying to lift them out of a bad situation, he seems to have spent his time flinging blame and tearing down everyone else, instead – which only serves to make the racial situation in this country even more divisive.
Obama’s legacy here? Again, sadly, it’s a failure.
Obama has claimed that “no foreign-planned terror attacks” have happened in the United States, but this kind of a claim is about as disingenuous as they come. We’ve had attacks in Boston, San Bernadino, and Orlando, just to name a few, and there are clear links to terrorist organizations in many of these instances.
On top of that, Obama approved of a ridiculous agreement with Iran along with giving then ten billion dollars in mixed currency, some of which will certainly go towards terrorism. But don’t take it from me; you can take it from John Kerry. There are also accusations that the administration armed jihadists.
Obama likes to talk tough on terrorism, and surely he’s been very effective. Who can forget Michelle’s hashtag activism against Boko Haram? That worked out well, right? Apparently not. He’s also been ordering terrorists to be released from captivity. Not surprisingly, they return to committing terrorism.
While some high value targets have indeed been taken out under the Obama administration, it feels like a token effort in order to save face. The world and, more importantly America, is no safer now than before he took office.
Obama’s track record here is, again, failure.
It started, of course, with Obama’s Apology Tour. Since then he’s embarrassed himself and our country on a regular basis. Sometimes it is the little things: Does the Queen of England really need an ipod? When the Prime Minister provides a gift with history, a pen holder made from the timers of the HMS Resolute (the same wood that was used to make the Resolute Desk), Obama gives, in return, a DVD collection of 25 classic movies.
But why quibble about the little things when Obama was worked to undermine relations with Israel? And if trying to punish Israel via the UN doesn’t raise eyebrows, what about Obama’s State Department getting involved in Israel’s elections? Whatever one’s stance on Israel’s settlements, the nation is an ally – and we are certainly not acting like one.
And then there’s Obama’s meddling in the Middle East lead to the Arab Spring, the failures of dealing with Russia – remember the Reset Button and Crimea? – not to mention getting involved in a proxy war.
We’ve altered relations with Cuba and started allowing American tourists – and money – to flow into the country. There is some weight to the argument that an isolationist policy hasn’t been working, so we should try something else. Time will tell if this was a good idea (unless Trump reverses this policy). But then, there’s a change to this policy regarding Cuban refugees. Neither decision seems to have gone over well with the Cuban community, likely because of Cuba’s less-than-stellar history of human rights abuses.
It’s difficult to find any truly bright spot in Obama’s foreign policy; indeed, America and the world seems to be, again, worse off with his meddling. I’ll have to chalk this one up as a failure, too.
The workforce participation rate is down. The consumer price index is up. Inflation is up. And the national debt? It is way up – and is now larger than our GDP. And yet, for all of these woes, this is one thing that I don’t lay at the feet of Obama entirely. National spending starts in the House of Representatives, and for the past six years, the Republican party – supposedly the party of fiscal responsibility – has allowed spending to run amok.
And yet, Obama has the power of the veto. As someone who agrees when Obama himself says that deficit spending is unpatriotic, I would have been happy to see him strike down the new spending. And yet he didn’t; he allowed it to continue, happily it seems, once he was in office.
One thing that Obama has done to damage the economy is encourage the use of regulations and, under his watch, the number of federal regulations has increased dramatically. Regulations make it harder for small businesses to compete and they make the economy less efficient, raising prices and reducing competition.
Speaking of reducing competition, Obama’s administration approved the Charter / Time Warner merger. And Net Neutrality? T-Mobile could be giving you free access to content, but Net Neutrality has made that illegal. And, as mentioned, the health care debacle has only served to reduce consumer power and raise prices.
Remember when he said that energy prices will necessarily skyrocket? Thankfully that didn’t happen, but he did wage an effective war on coal. Even though clean coal technologies exist, he instead pushed to put people out of work entirely.
Obama has bragged about job creation, but a most of these jobs are part time jobs – when we used to have full time jobs.
Ultimately, America is not better off economically than we were eight years ago. Obama has, once again, failed us.
The worst part of Obama’s legacy, perhaps, is what it has caused Americans to do to each other. He was an incredibly divisive president in many ways. Many of us will never forget his comments about “a typical white person” or “bitterly clinging to guns and religion” or how the “police acted stupidly.”
And those were many years ago.
Things never improved; over the years Obama has regularly made divisive comments. He’s tried to divide us by gender, by race, by religion, by political affiliation. Many articles have been written about his divisive effect on America. It isn’t difficult to get angry at his administration when he threatens to use a pen and a phone to bypass congress – and then does it (opening the door, of course, to abuse by the next administration – thanks, Obama).
He’s used his position to attack civil rights, attempting to weaken the first, second, and fourth amendments aggressively, either directly and openly (gun control attempts) and covertly (FISA courts and surveillance). These kinds of attacks are only going to make his opponents oppose him and those who support him even more.
Surely it isn’t his fault entirely; political tribalism has always been around, but his arrogance and snide remarks certainly didn’t help. A president should work to unify the country and always have a hand open to the “other” side.
To that point, however, in his farewell address to the nation he did comment on this and he did ask us all to treat each other with respect. That is nice but, with so little coming so late, it seems incredibly disingenuous.
As a unifier, Obama has failed the country completely.
Can I say anything good about Obama’s presidency?
I tried. I really did. I spent an evening looking for something that I could hold up and say, “This is something Obama did that was really good, and I applaud him for it. Congratulations!” Unfortunately, I couldn’t.
The only thing that I can come up with is that his eight years in the presidency made the country so upset that the Democrat party has lost seats all across the country and, not wanting a 3rd Obama term, Hillary Clinton lost the election.
Sadly that leaves us with Trump, but that’s a whole other story… and it may be the worst legacy of all.
Obama’s legacy will ultimately be the subject of many articles like this one, and later, popular books, and much later, history books. Given his terrible performance, it’s extremely difficult to see how his presidency will be viewed as a positive thing for the nation.