Thursday, January 19, 2017

Farewell President Obama

Tomorrow a change in power takes place.  My youngest child has not known life without President Obama, my two others probably could not recall an honest memory prior administrations. 

Without regard to winners or losers, to how much you liked or disliked President Obama, he has been the president of all Americans for the last 8 years.  He has not been perfect, and I lost hope during parts of his presidency.  But, it is time to give thanks to him for leading us through a very tricky time in our country's history.  For that, credit is due.  President Obama took office on January 20, 2009.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was at 7,949.09.  Today (January 19, 2017), The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 19,732.40.  In 8 years, the value of the stocks has risen 148%.  That reflects solid real growth in the economy.

Eight years ago the unemployment rate was at 8%, it went over 10% in January 2010, but has since fallen to 4.9%, amongst the lowest in the world.  The GDP in 2008 was $14.72 trillion, but in 2016 rose to $18.56 trillion. The housing crisis has ebbed, and in fact we are facing the reverse problem: our houses have become unaffordable for many.  So, thanks in part to President Obama's leadership, the country has come out of the great recession. 

I commend President Obama for using solid Keynesian economic principles: spend in times of recession, and save in times of growth.  President Obama's stimulus package worked.  While European countries tried austerity measures, President Obama stuck to his guns and passed a huge spending bill.  The rest is history, The USA recovered faster and further than the European countries.  We have been the economic engine that has brought the world from a huge financial meltdown.

President Obama has been committed to his oath of office.  He and his wife are a credit to the office; not a single moral or ethics scandal tarnished him or his cabinet. (I do not include the email and Libya debacle as either moral or ethical, but rather lapses of judgment; I accept that this is open to debate).  Even Congressman Paul Ryan said on January 19, 2017 that President Obama was a good man, they enjoyed talking sports, and commended President Obama on making it through the presidency without the tarnish of other Presidents.   

Certainly, many will argue that our stature abroad has been diminished over the last eight years.  They will argue that we have put a wedge between us and our ally Israel.  Mr. Ryan was very critical of President Obama's foreign policy during his presidency.  Time will of course tell, but President Obama inherited two wars, plus the war on terrorism.  I won't argue he has been perfect, or even good, but he has tried to make the most of a bad situation. 

I want to take this moment and say thank you to President Obama for his commitment to this country.  He has left it a better place than when he arrived. 

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