Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

Fact Sheets compiled by Grayson County Democrats

Fact Sheet #1, compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

The Economy

Action:  

Facing the greatest recession since the Great Depression, including the near-collapse of the banking industry (which had been ‘bailed out’ under the previous administration), the Obama administration worked to pass the 2009 Stimulus Bill.  This bill provided investments in infrastructure, support for education and other public sector jobs, health care for the poor, and tax relief for low and middle income workers.  The Wall Street Reform Act   created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in order to prevent future financial crises.  Other bills were passed to provide loans to the American auto industry, to help families save their homes, to prevent excessive credit card interest increases, and to provide help and incentives for small businesses.

Results:

  1. Unemployment Rates, which had begun to rise in May 2008, reached a high of l0% in October 2009.  Since then, there has been a steady decline, with lows of 8.3% reached in January and February 2012.  Unemployment Claims dropped in December 2011 to a three-year low.

  1. Jobs Creation:  The economy has added more than 3.9 million private sector jobs over 24 consecutive months of jobs growth.  In February, 2012 alone, 233,000 jobs were added.  The economy during the 8-year Bush administration added just 1 million jobs, while, in contrast, the Obama administration added 1.1 million jobs in one year alone (2010).  This included the first year-over-year gain in manufacturing jobs since 1997.  These accomplishments were made during a time of substantial cuts to public sector jobs.

  1. The Dow Jones Stock Market has risen from less than 7000 in early 2009 to over 13,000 in the first quarter of 2012.

  1. The U.S. Auto Industry which was on the verge of collapse in 2009, responded to President Obama’s decision to extend the emergency rescue loans, by commitments to cut labor costs, to streamline processes and meet new and challenging gas mileage standards.  As a result, all three major auto manufacturers are showing a surge in profits for the first time in years, with GM showing its largest ever profit in 2011.  Sales in January and February 2012 were up 13.7%.   More than 1.4 auto industry-related jobs have been saved, and much, though not all, of the money loaned has been repaid to the government.

5.  Overall retail sales set records in 2011, and the housing industry is

beginning to show new growth.  Home construction grew over the last      three months of 2011, and in January 2012, builders started construction on 699,000 homes, nearly matching November 2011’s three-year high.

6.  President Obama’s National Export Initiative set a goal to double exports

    by 2015, and we are ahead of schedule to meet that goal, with new trade

    agreements withSouth Korea,Colombia, andPanama.

7.  The new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is in place to provide

protection to consumers from abuses from credit card companies and

other financial institutions.  New reforms hold Wall Street companies      accountable and will prevent future ‘bailouts’ by the public.

(Sources for statistics are the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Commerce Dept.)

Fact Sheet #2, compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

Energy and the Environment

  1. President Obama has implemented a comprehensive energy policy that  includes more drilling for oil and natural gas, developing nuclear

and alternative energy sources such as wind, solar and geothermal, using better conservation measures and tougher fuel efficiency standards, and doing it all with responsible environmental standards.

  1. According to U.S.Dept. of Energy figures, domestic oil and gas production has increased every year under President Obama, reaching an eight-year high in 2011.  (A recent Associated Press study of unleaded gasoline prices from 1976 to 2012 shows no correlation between increasedU.S. drilling and lower gas prices.  World market factors and speculation are much greater factors.)

  1. Reliance on foreign oil was at a 16-year low in 2011.

  1. Offshore drilling projects in the U.S.are operating under new safety standards.

  1. The President’s agreement with the auto companies, as part of the Emergency Rescue Loans program will improve auto fuel efficiency to 54.5 mpg by 2025.  The first ever fuel economy standards for trucks have been implemented.  These measures will cut in half vehicle greenhouse gas pollution.

  1. Sixteen commercial-scale solar facilities, 5 wind, and 8 geothermal projects, along with the first-ever offshore wind farm on public lands have been approved.  Construction of four alternative refineries to produce advanced bio-fuel is ahead of schedule.

  1. First-ever standards for mercury emissions and other dangerous toxins from coal and oil-fired power plants have been set.

  1. President Obama has implemented the largest land and water conservation and protected wilderness programs in the last generation.

Fact Sheet #3, compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

National Security

  1. Under President Obama the 9-year-long war in Iraq was ended

responsibly, and the security of their country was turned over to the Iraqi people.

  1. U.S.forces have refocused their efforts on defeating al-Qaeda and the

Taliban in Afghanistanand Pakistan.  On May 2 2011 the President ordered a daring raid by Navy Seals, which resulted in the long-sought death of al-Qaeda leader, Osama bin Laden.

  1. The President authorized increased use of unmanned drones in

Afghanistanand along the border in Pakistan, resulting in the deaths of at least 31 key al-Qaeda leaders, along with many other known terrorists.

  1. The President has begun reducing the number of troops in

Afghanistan, withU.S. forces increasingly occupied with training the Afghans to provide security for their country.

  1. President Obama’s decision to join a NATO-led intervention inLibya

led to the toppling of Moammar Gadhafi, a brutal dictator, who was directly responsible for terrorist activities that had killed Americans.

  1. The lawful interrogation of detainees was ordered by the President,

resulting in the banning of torture and the closing of secret CIA

detention facilities.

  1. The Administration has increased its commitment to veterans by:

-implementing the most comprehensive educational benefits since the original G.I. bill of 1944.

– improving care for 1.8 million women veterans through the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Care Act in 2010.

– giving incentives to businesses that hire returning veterans through the Returning Heroes and the Wounded Warriers Acts.

 – creating the Veterans Job Corps to put up to 20,000 veterans back to work.

8.  The START Treaty with Russia will reduce the number of nuclear

weapons in both countries, and allows theU.S.to resume

inspections of Russian nuclear facilities. The National Nuclear Security Administration has greatly increased its work with other countries to better safeguard civilian nuclear facilities and/or to actually remove and safely store nuclear materials from some countries.

  1. To strengthen border security, President Obama has placed more Border Patrol officers on the U.S. border than ever before, and has increased deportations of illegal aliens, concentrating on those with criminal records.

Fact Sheet #4, compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

Equal Rights

     1.  Pay discrimination based on gender, race, color, national origin, age,

          and disability is prohibited by law, due to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay

          Restoration Act, the first legislative action of the Obama

          administration.

  1. The Affordable Care Act contains several measures to advance women’s equality, including being able to receive preventive services and contraceptives through their health insurer.

  1. With the approval of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other top military leaders, President Obama repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.  It has been implemented with little or no adverse reactions.  The administration has taken other actions to ensure spousal benefits to partners of gay and lesbian federal workers.

  1. The Americans with Disabilities Act and the Hate Crimes Prevention Act have been strengthened.

Fact Sheet # 5, compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

Health

The Affordable Care Act, signed into law by President Obama in March 2010, is a gradual overhaul of the health care system, designed to provide affordable coverage for the nation’s 50 million uninsured citizens, to make insurance companies more accountable, and to reign in the spiraling costs of health care.  The following are some of the key provisions presently in effect.  (Other future provisions are under review by the Supreme Court.)

  1. Children with pre-existing medical conditions can no longer be denied

coverage.

  1. Young people may stay on their parents’ health plans until age 26,

unless they are offered coverage through their employers.

  1. The gap (“donut hole”) in the Medicare prescription drug coverage

has been partially reduced for 3.6 million seniors, and will continue

to be reduced until it is closed in 2020.

  1. Insurance companies can no longer cancel a policy when the policy

holder gets sick.

  1. Insurance companies have to justify rate increases, and are required

to spend at least 80% of collected premiums on actual care.

  1. The Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan helps people with serious

health problems obtain coverage.

  1. Tax credits are offered to small businesses to help them provide

health insurance benefits for their employees.

  1. Insurance companies can no longer place a lifetime limit on coverage.

  1. Certain preventive services are provided for seniors on Medicare with

no deductibles or co-pays.

Fact Sheet #6, Compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration:

Education

  1. Under President Obama, funding was doubled for Pell Grants, and the

number of recipients increased from 6 million to 8 million students.  Part of the money to achieve this came from eliminating banks as the middlemen in the loan process.

     2.  Student loans were made more manageable by a new law that allows

          students to pay no more than 10% of their disposable income.  Loans

          may be forgiven after 20 years of payments, or after 10 years if the

          person is employed in public-service professions.

  1. The President enabled 9.4 million students and their families to benefit from college tax credits for up to $10,000 through the creation

of the American Opportunity Tax Credit.

  1. The Obama administration’s Recovery Act supported almost 300,000 education jobs, and in 2010 161,000 teacher and school staff layoffs were prevented.

5.  The President gave flexibility to local districts to improve their

          schools through modifying the No Child Left Behind mandates.

          the Race to the Top program awards grants to states which make

          tough new reforms and high quality standards.

Fact Sheet #7, Compiled by the Grayson County Democrats for Progress Club

Accomplishments of the Obama Administration

Taxes

One of the first actions of the Obama Administration was to pass the Stimulus Act (Recovery Act), which contained, among things, over $240 billion in tax cuts for American families.  These came in the form of tax credits in the following programs:

  1. Making Work Pay Tax Credit – benefitted 95% of working families by giving tax credits up to $800 in the reduction in the amount of money withheld from their paychecks.

  2. American Opportunity Tax Credit – gives tax credits of up to $2,500 per year for four years to families of college students to help pay for tuition and other costs.

  3. Earned Income Tax Credit – increased the maximum amount of tax credits to $5,657 for moderate-income working families with 3 or more children.

  4. Child Tax Credit – expanded the amount of earned income used to calculate child tax credits, which benefits low to moderate income working families.

  5. COBRA and Unemployment Benefits – for those who lost jobs in the recession, the first $2,400 in unemployment benefits were made tax-free, and a 65% tax credit was allowed to help cover the cost of their health care.

  6. Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Incentives – allows taxpayers to take up to $1,400 in tax credits for making certain energy efficient improvements to their homes.

President Obama has signed legislation that created or extended 17 tax cuts and credits to small businesses:

From the Recovery Act, HIRE Acts, and Affordable Care Act:

  1. A new small business health care tax credit

  2. A new tax credit for hiring unemployed workers

  3. Bonus depreciation tax incentives to support new investment

  4. 75% exclusion of limits on small business capital gains

  5. Expansion of limits on small business expensing

  6. Five-year carryback of net operating losses

  7. Reduction of the built-in gains holding period from 10 to 7 years to allow small businesses greater flexibility in their investments

  8. Temporary small business estimated tax payment relief to allow small businesses to keep needed cash on hand

From the Small Business Jobs Act:

  1. Zero capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses

10. The highest small business expensing limit ever – up to $500,000

  1. An extension of 50% bonus depreciation

  2. A new deduction for health care expenses for the self-employed

  3. Tax relief and simplification for cell phone deductions

  4. An increase in the deduction for entrepreneurs’ start-up expenses

  5. A 5-year carryback of general business credits

  6. Limitations on penalties for errors in tax reporting that disproportionately affect small business

From the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act:

17. 100 percent expensing

In addition, President Obama was successful in getting the payroll tax cut extended for the year 2012.

The President continues to push for the wealthiest earners to pay a more equitable portion in income taxes to help restore the balance that in recent years has increasingly favored this group of earners.