By Saeed Villanueva |Staff Writer|
As Barack Obama’s presidency winds down, Americans’ take a look back at his time in office over the past eight years.
Obama made history by becoming the first African-American ever to be elected president of the U.S., which came with a lot of pressure.
Obama currently has a approval rating of 57 percent, the highest in four years, according to the most recent poll from Gallup.
His list of accomplishments have included bringing the country out of a bad recession by signing the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in 2009 which led to economic growth for the country.
In 2011, he ordered a special force team to raid a secret compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, which led to the death of terrorist leader, Osama bin Laden.
His administration helped create over 14 million jobs, nearly doubling what his predecessor George W. Bush was able to do, according to Money.cnn.com.
He assisted the auto industry by adding $62 billion in federal money into ailing GM and Chrysler in return for equity stakes and agreements for massive restructuring. Since 2009, the auto industry has added more than 500,000 jobs, according to Washingtonmonthly.com.
In 2014, Obama announced the beginning of normalizing relations between the U.S. and Cuba. which led to more lenient travel restrictions and establishing a U.S. embassy in Havana.
The Affordable Care Act in 2010 better known as, “Obama Care,” gave health insurance to over 30 million people who previously had no coverage, but has also created controversy because of the millions of people who buy private health insurance.
He insured millions of people by providing them with high quality healthcare through the expansion of Medicaid, but it created new taxes on those who were higher earners.
This alienated some of his former supporters who didn’t like these high taxes.
“I used to be a supporter of Obama in the beginning, but I didn’t like the fact that he forced healthcare on people that didn’t want it,” auto businessman stated Guillermo Molina.
He also did a lot for the rights of the LGBT community when he allowed gay marriage to become legal across the U.S.
Although Obama was able to accomplish many things, he wasn’t able to follow through on all his promises for the country.
He promised and hoped to bring both parties together to achieve a bipartisan agenda, but both parties seem more separated now more than ever.
“His legacy is really tied to unilateral actions via vehicles like executive orders. This highlights one of the biggest issues in his presidency is that he was really unable to work effectively with Congress to accomplish very much,” stated Political Science, Professor Aslanian, via email.
There are some who believe that the recent election of Trump will hurt Obama’s legacy considering that the new president elect seems to be the polar opposite of what he (Obama) stood for.
“It does affect his legacy, its like all these eight years of progress he made kind of goes to waste,” said student Vishaal Raju. “Its like we are going backwards.”
No president is perfect but ultimately a good portion of people believe Obama did an effective job.
“I believe that this reliance on unilateral authority may fuel a lot of the concern that some have of a Trump administration as the precedent of the previous administration lends itself to a “productive” presidency even with substantial congressional opposition,” stated Professor Aslanian.
Obama’s last day as president will be on Jan. 20, 2017.