President Obama came into office during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Financial markets were in turmoil and the country was hemorrhaging 700,000 jobs a month. Banks were shaky and anxiety was high.
The president and his team moved quickly, with a $787-billion economic stimulus plan that included over $200 billion in tax cuts, $100 billion in infrastructure, and $250 billion in direct aid to state and local governments. It passed the House without a single Republican vote.
The president and the Democratic-controlled Congress then passed the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, which tried to end the abuses that led to the financial crisis.
His auto task force finished what the Bush administration started and took General Motors and Chrysler through a managed bankruptcy with TARP financing. They’re now both profitable, growing companies.
Also, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke put the big banks through stress tests that helped restore their credibility and raise hundreds of billions of dollars in private capital.
Independent economists have estimated that the stimulus created or saved up to three million jobs.
Since early 2010, private-sector employers have hired more than five million workers over 31 consecutive months. And the US added more than half a million manufacturing jobs.
Overseas, the president ended the war in Iraq, as he promised, and is preparing to leave Afghanistan. He has launched an aggressive campaign against Al Qaeda terrorists in Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries and, of course, gave the order to capture or kill Osama bin Laden, which Navy SEAL Team 6 executed brilliantly.
And finally, health care reform addressed serious weaknesses in the US health care system, where costs are much higher and there are many more uninsured people than in any other advanced industrial country.
The final plan, while a big compromise, offered nearly universal coverage and required everyone to participate in a system that remained largely run by private insurers.
That led to a revolt by Tea Party Republicans who won the House in 2010 and then took the country to the brink of default over extending the debt ceiling in 2011. Their intransigence may have prevented Speaker of the House John Boehner from striking a “grand bargain.” Still, the president did make a deal to cut spending and stave off default.
If the president is reelected, he would go for a similar grand bargain to address the problem of long-term debt by cutting spending and raising revenue. He also would end the Bush tax cuts for those making over $250,000 a year while cutting corporate taxes to 28% from 35% and eliminating many loopholes.
He also would continue to hike domestic energy production, bring together community colleges and businesses to train two million students for existing jobs and recruit 100,000 new math and science teachers to prepare students for the opportunities of the future.
Voters who support the president say he played a bad hand well, despite stiff Republican opposition. The economy is improving and the wars are ending. Despite continued high unemployment, the country is in much better shape than when he took office. Voters who believe that should give him another term.
Also Read: The Case for Romney