On November 4th 2008, Barack Obama won the most votes of any presidential candidate in American history. He became an icon of hope as he took over from the weary Bush, his broken economy and his unpopular war. Almost 70 million people voted for the African American over Republican John McCain.
What won him his first term was his stance of opposition towards the war (McCain stated he would foolishly have the US occupy Iraq for another century), Bush’s failure (as 70% of the population were not happy), his race, the mess the economy was in, and his promise of radical change. These promises included universal health care, full employment, a green America, and a respected, not feared, America.
So how has that first term gone?
Well, to be perfectly honest, quite well. The poor guy has been ripped into about the economy, the fiscal cliff, the national debt, and the list goes on. But all this is really, is thick, naive people putting an over-emphasis on the negatives. Obama has done a hell of a lot of things right (despite the presence of the odd dodgy policy here and there). Observe . . .
- Obamacare – yes, a good thing, Google it if you don’t believe me.
- Eliminated Osama Bin Laden – the thing that probably won him his second term.
- Ended the war in Iraq – the last troops left in December 2011.
- Supported and saw the ousting of several of the world’s most evil dictators – Gaddafi, Mubarak etc.
- Passed the stimulus – a $787 billion economic booster.
- Reversed Bush torture policies – methods that were deemed inhumane under the Geneva Convention.
- Tightened sanctions on Iran – punishing firms that aided the Iranian petroleum sector to deter the nuclear program.
- Wall Street reform – well, this one might be a bit “iffy”.
- Boosted fuel efficiency – remember he wants to be green . . .
And there are many more successes to add to his name. Go check out: http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/magazine/march_april_2012/features/obamas_top_50_accomplishments035755.php.
Yes, the US national debt is absolutely colossal, but the problem has been building for a long time. The debt ceiling is how much money the Treasury is able to borrow (it was set at $16.4 trillion in 2011). Technically, this limit was reached on 31st December 2012, but Obama took measures to allow spending to continue. The crisis now is over whether to raise it further.
Shall we put it in perspective?
The average human on Earth would earn $1 million after 92 years of work. A bit depressing yes, as most of us don’t even live that long.
It would take 3500 Americans 1 year to make $100 million, shown in the image below. The smaller group of people and the miniscule pile, is $1 million and the 35 Americans needed to make it in a year:
$1 billion would weigh 10 tons. 10 tons. That’s two and a half full-grown African elephants. $1 trillion is when it starts getting ridiculous. And I mean, ridiculous. The image below shows stacks of $100 bills scaled next to the biggest passenger plane in the world on a football pitch, and the White House:
If you had spent a million dollars every single day since “Jesus was born”, 0AD (assuming you were immortal obviously), you would have only spent $700 billion by now (the same amount the banks got during the bailout). This is why it’s just inconceivable to try and comprehend the sheer size of America’s debt. The US debt ceiling is currently at $16.394 trillion (larger than the size of the economy), and will soon surpass 20% of the entire world’s combined economy . . . Here is this gargantuan amount stacked up around the Statue of Liberty (who is looking slightly concerned), again in $100 bills:
Wow. If the national debt was laid out in a single line of $1 bills, it would stretch from Earth, all the way past Uranus. But enough of these staggering little facts, can all of that really be blamed on Obama? Really? Be reasonable here. Be rational. This is what he has to deal with.
So, what will the second term bring for the people of America?
Well, it is looking a tad fragile at the moment, as less than a third of Obama’s original team are actually keeping their positions. But the emphasis is on domestic issues such as job growth and social inclusion. He wants to fix the damaged labour market, revitalise the middle class, and restore the frayed social fabric of the nation. First and foremost though, is an inherent desire to leave a positive legacy behind him in four years, with a healthier economy than the one he so boldly took the helm of in his inauguration.
All we can really say to that then . . . is good luck, we do not envy you (seriously). So, on behalf of all of us Britons (well, all of the smart ones at least), bloody good luck to you mate.
After all, it could be a lot worse . . . Romney could be president.