On Aug. 28, 2008, Barack Obama, then a senator from Illinois, accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Denver. In his speech, he made a lot of promises about what he would do as president of the United States. Seven years later, we looked at how he’s keeping up with those promises.
“For the sake of our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, I will set a clear goal as president: In 10 years, we will finally end our dependence on oil from the Middle East.”
While the United States’ dependence on foreign oil has been declining since 2005, the United States is still importing crude oil from Middle Eastern countries such as Saudi Arabia and Iraq. Some have projected the United States to be energy independent by 2035.
As president, I will tap our natural gas reserves, invest in clean coal technology, and find ways to safely harness nuclear power. I’ll help our auto companies re-tool, so that the fuel-efficient cars of the future are built right here in America. I’ll make it easier for the American people to afford these new cars.
Natural gas reserves have increased under Obama, in large part because of the process known as fracking, which has raised concerns among environmental advocates. The Washington Post reported in February that the Department of Energy had invested $6 billion in clean coal technology.
In 2009, Obama released a plan to put 1 million cars with advanced technology on the road by 2015 by offering a combination of consumer rebates and giving car companies money to develop more efficient vehicles.
In March, the Obama administration cut back on its purchase goals for consumers. Since Obama took office, the United States government has bought just under 25,000 electric and hybrid vehicles. Bloomberg reported that consumers in the U.S. bought 286,814 of these models between 2009-2014, accounting for 3 percent of overall sales, which was helped by a spike in gas prices in the summer 2008. In 2012, the Obama administration also issued new rules that would nearly double the required fuel efficiency for new cars and trucks by 2025.
And I’ll invest $150 billion over the next decade in affordable, renewable sources of energy — wind power, and solar power, and the next generation of biofuels — an investment that will lead to new industries and 5 million new jobs that pay well and can’t be outsourced.
In 2012, a Brookings Institution report projected that the Obama administration would spend about $150 billion on solar power and other renewable energy sources between 2009 and 2014.
I’ll invest in early childhood education. I’ll recruit an army of new teachers, and pay them higher salaries, and give them more support. And in exchange, I’ll ask for higher standards and more accountability.
While funding for early childhood education did get a bump with the stimulus when Obama first took office, funding only slightly increased between 2008 and 2013. In December, Obama announced a $1 billion investment in early childhood programs through a combination of public and private sources.
Race To The Top, the signature education policy of Obama’s presidency, offered incentives to states to raise educational standards, improve student performance and recruit new teachers. But the program has faced criticism for focusing too much on testing and tying teacher evaluations to test scores.
And we will keep our promise to every young American: If you commit to serving your community or our country, we will make sure you can afford a college education.
In 2009, Obama signed legislation that extended GI benefits to help veterans who served after Sept. 11 pay for college. In 2012, Obama also signed an executive order protecting veterans from deceptive practices by for-profit colleges. However, Senate Democrats have accused the Department of Education of misleading the public when it cleared its student loan servicers of cheating service members on their loans.
You know, unlike John McCain, I will stop giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas, and I will start giving them to companies that create good jobs right here in America.
I’ll eliminate capital gains taxes for the small businesses and startups that will create the high-wage, high-tech jobs of tomorrow.
I will cut taxes — cut taxes — for 95 percent of all working families, because, in an economy like this, the last thing we should do is raise taxes on the middle class.
Obama has been unsuccessful in his efforts to close tax loopholes for companies to move jobs to other countries. Obama did attempt to address this by including proposed changes in his fiscal year 2014 budget. But Democrat-sponsored bills introduced to disincentives this failed in Congress in both 2012 and 2014.
In 2010, Obama signed a bill temporarily eliminating the capital gains tax for small business investments. While it was extended through 2011, the exclusion rate for small businesses reverted back to the pre-Obama level of 50 percent in 2012.
Obama’s stimulus in 2009 cut taxes for 95 percent — 94.3 percent to be exact — of working families, allowing him to quickly follow through on his promise to do so.
If you have health care, my plan will lower your premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of coverage that members of Congress give themselves.
And as someone who watched my mother argue with insurance companies while she lay in bed dying of cancer, I will make certain those companies stop discriminating against those who are sick and need care the most.
Now is the time to help families with paid sick days and better family leave, because nobody in America should have to choose between keeping their job and caring for a sick child or an ailing parent.
Most health care premiums have actually increased since the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2013. Under the law, members of Congress now get their employer insurance through the exchanges — the same place uninsured Americans can get coverage.
The Affordable Care Act does prohibit insurance companies from denying health care coverage to people with pre-existing conditions. However, there are loopholes in the act that insurance companies can take advantage of to avoid paying for their coverage.
The U.S. is the only OECD country that does not mandate paid sick or family leave. While Obama is taking steps this year to guarantee paid sick and family leave for federal workers, he has been unable to do so for the rest of the country. He did bring new attention to the issue during his 2015 State of the Union address, calling on Congress to pass a bill guaranteeing seven days of paid sick leave.
Now is the time to change our bankruptcy laws, so that your pensions are protected ahead of CEO bonuses, and the time to protect Social Security for future generations.
Obama has not taken action to reform Social Security while in office, though he once considered cutting benefits as part of a deal to get Republicans to go along with a deficit reduction deal. He eventually abandoned the proposal. In 2013, a judge in Detroit also ruled that employee pensions could be cut in bankruptcy.
And now is the time to keep the promise of equal pay for an equal day’s work, because I want my daughters to have the exact same opportunities as your sons.
The very first bill that Obama signed into law was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Restoration Act, which gave workers more time to sue for descrimination. The Obama administration has made a pretty good effort at tackling the gender pay gap through executive actions, educational apps, memorandums, and the creation of a national equal pay task force. Although Obama has instructed federal contractors to report wage details by gender, Republicans have blocked equal pay legislation multiple times.
Now, many of these plans will cost money, which is why I’ve laid out how I’ll pay for every dime: by closing corporate loopholes and tax havens that don’t help America grow.
Last year, the Treasury issued new tax rules to disincentivize companies from moving their headquarters to a tax-friendly country while maintaining operations in the United States.
But I will also go through the federal budget line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less, because we cannot meet 21st-century challenges with a 20th-century bureaucracy.
Shortly after he took office, Obama signed a spending bill that contained earmarks that he admitted he objected to. In 2011, Congress banned earmarks — money allocated for lawmakers’ pet projects — although some members have more recently been calling for the earmarks to return.
As commander-in-chief, I will never hesitate to defend this nation, but I will only send our troops into harm’s way with a clear mission and a sacred commitment to give them the equipment they need in battle and the care and benefits they deserve when they come home.
Last year, the Obama authorized the United States to begin airstrikes against the Islamic State, but didn’t submit a formal proposal to Congress authorizing force until several months later — a proposal that lawmakers are still considering.
In April, Obama described his foreign policy doctrine as “we will engage, but we preserve all our capabilities.” In 2013, Obama seemed to be on the verge of attacking Syria after convincing signs that President Bashar al Assad used chemical weapons on its citizens, but abruptly changed course and decided to ask Congress for approval. That vote was avoided when Syria agreed to turn over what it portrayed as its stockpile of chemical weapons.
Obama has kept his promise to veterans to get them the care that they need by keeping the VA fully funded, increasing VA access in rural areas, and expanding housing vouchers for homeless vets.
But last year it was revealed that the VA kept secret waiting lists and and deliberately hid long wait times for veterans. The scandal eventually led to the resignation of Veterans Affairs Secretary Eric Shinseki and prompted Congress to pass legislation to reform the agency. Despite that reform, a rigid bureaucracy remains in place — documents obtained by The Huffington Post in July showed that more than 238,000 of the 847,000 veterans with pending applications for health care through the agency had died.
I will end this war in Iraq responsibly and finish the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The last U.S. troops left Iraq in 2011 under a timetable that was initially negotiated by the administration of former President George W. Bush. Since then, Obama has ordered the deployment of more troops to Iraq to train Iraqi soldiers fight ISIS.
Obama authorized the successful mission that killed Osama bin Laden, the head of al Qaeda, in 2011, but the terrorist group has retained a strong presence in Syria and Yemen.
I will rebuild our military to meet future conflicts
Defense spending under the Obama administration has declined since 2010, but spending is still 45 percent higher than pre-9/11 levels. There has been a push to retool how the military is funded, and that would be where Obama really has earned the bragging rights to say that he kept this promise.. The force may be getting trim at the request of the administration, but more resources are going towards next-generation warfare like cybersecurity and drone programs, and less spending on older programs like fighter jets and warthogs.
I will also renew the tough, direct diplomacy that can prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons and curb Russian aggression.
In July, the United States and five other countries — including Russia — reached an agreement that will require the country to drastically downsize the amount of nuclear material that it has in exchange for lifting economic sanctions.
I will build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century: terrorism and nuclear proliferation, poverty and genocide, climate change and disease.
The United States partnered with five countries — the United Kingdom, China, Russia, Germany, France — to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. After nearly 50 years of hostility, the Obama administration also normalized relations with Cuba.
Obama has also expanded the United States’ trade partners through an agreement called the Trans-Pacific Partnership with 11 Pacific countries. Some have raised objections to the deal over the human rights records of some of the countries involved.
The reality of gun ownership may be different for hunters in rural Ohio than they are for those plagued by gang violence in Cleveland, but don’t tell me we can’t uphold the Second Amendment while keeping AK-47s out of the hands of criminals.
There have been numerous mass shootings since Obama has taken office. While he has issued 23 executive orders on gun control, Obama has said that failure to pass gun reform in Congress has been the most frustrating part of his presidency.
Source: Hufftington Post
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