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Opinion: Obama’s legacy will be seen as move forward

Photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

By Michael Taszarek ’18
THE ROUNDUP

Will President Barack Obama be more comparable to Jimmy Carter or Lyndon Johnson?

The last sensible president before Donald Trump, or the president that just couldn’t bring the change he promised?

I believe that Obama’s presidency will be looked back upon as a move forward, and that the progress his administration achieved will be more and more appreciated as time progresses.

I am by no means saying that Obama’s presidency has been perfect. Like every president’s administration, there are always a plethora of problems.

The passing of the Affordable Care Act was a momentous step forward for our nation, and I have felt its direct effect. No longer can an insurance company deny me coverage because of my pre-existing condition.

However, with this progress, new problems have arisen, such as soaring premium costs. I am hopeful that President-elect Trump will be able to lower the costs of healthcare while also retaining the parts of the law that me and so many other Americans are so thankful for.

I will never forget seeing the worry in my parent’s eyes during the Great Recession; the first time that I asked my father if everything would be ok and he responded with “I don’t know.” I will never forget the burden of paying almost $100 to gas up our family’s green 2001 Chevrolet Suburban.

The Great Recession arose after the banking industry recklessly issued subprime mortgages, which many of the mortgage holders ended up defaulting on.

Obama inherited this catastrophe, and under his leadership, we have recovered to where the country was before the recession. Housing prices are almost up to their 2006 peaks, and it seems like you can’t drive anywhere these days without passing by construction.

Unemployment is down from its 10 percent peak during the Great Recession to 5 percent today. Middle-class incomes rose 5.2 percent in 2015, the highest yearly increase ever recorded by the U.S. Statistics Bureau.

Again, much like the Affordable Care Act, the economic recovery has not been perfect. The recovery has been sluggish overall, and it has taken two terms for the recovery to really become noticeable to everyday Americans.

President-elect Trump will inherit a stable economy, and his administration now has the potential to build off of the Obama administration’s progress.

There are so many other issues as well. Racial tension seems to have increased in recent years, and Obama has largely failed to effectively bring the nation together in response to the increased tension.

It will be interesting to see how President-elect Trump attempts to bring the country together, as he himself has contributed greatly to the rise of tensions in the country. Americans are more divided than ever before in the modern era, and it is important that Trump attempts to mend the wounds.

I could go on, and on, and on about the what has been good and what has been bad about Obama’s presidency. However, there is no question that we are better off than we were almost 10 years ago.
Barack Obama will leave office in January. He will pass the torch on to Donald Trump, whose inauguration will not only signal the end of Obama’s presidency, but may also halt the way the country has been progressing under the Obama administration.

President-elect Trump has the potential to build off of Obama’s progress and to unite the nation, and if he is successful, our great nation will be stronger and more prosperous than ever before.