This is a very useful look back at what President Obama stated he wanted to accomplish one year ago. Kudos to the HuffPost‘s Shahien Nasiripour and Sam Stein for writing it.
On the plus side, President Obama delivered on overhauling financial regulation, reforming federal aid for college students, bringing combat troops home from Iraq, cracking down on Iran and North Korea, repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and increasing enforcement of equal-pay laws.
He failed on taxing financial institutions to pay the costs of TARP, failed to add 1.5 million jobs over the last year, failed to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill, failed to improve home values and increase mortgage refinancings, and failed to hold regular meetings with Republican Congressional members. Oh yes, and he failed to reform immigration laws.
He is on the edge of pass/fail, according to the writers, on increased transparency on lobbying and campaign finance, extending Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class but not for the wealthy (isn’t this a fail?), and stimulating lending to and tax cuts for small businesses.
There are some incompletes as well — but best to read the whole thing below. From a release on their piece:
As President Barack Obama prepares to deliver his second formal State of the Union address Tuesday night, it is worth looking back at the ambitious policy promises he made a year ago. According to a Huffington Post analysis of last year’s speech, Obama made 18 broad pledges to the country, ranging from economic growth and financial reform to troop withdrawals in Afghanistan. On many of those pledges, analysts say, he delivered. But the main thrust of Obama’s speech turned on his vow to generate jobs and jolt the moribund economy back to life — and there, he came up short.
Obama is not the first president to fall short of his State of the Union promises, which are generally broad blueprints for the chief executive’s vision of governance. But the Obama administration’s accomplishments and failures of the past year illustrate the daunting challenges facing the country and, to some extent, the overwhelming expectations this White House set for itself.
In 2010, after the end of a bruising yearlong health care fight, Obama followed through on promises to pass a sweeping law overhauling financial regulations and repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military’s ban on openly gay service members. In addition, he largely stuck to the script he set with respect to his foreign-policy agenda.
He will likely be defined, however, by his failure to deliver on the public’s top concern — jobs. Despite promises of bold action, 2010 saw the U.S. economy regain just a small fraction of the jobs lost to the Great Recession, and recovery continues to sputter.
Below is a virtual report card from last year’s State of the Union address, which The Huffington Post pulled together from interviews with experts and reviews of government and independently-sourced data. Obama tallied 7.5 promises broadly kept, 7.5 failures and 3 “incompletes.” The individual results, in order of when the promises made during the speech, are as follows:
PROMISE: Tax on the biggest financial institutions to recoup the cost of the Troubled Asset Relief Program and incentivize them to shrink
Obama proposed a levy on the nation’s biggest banks to repay taxpayers for the cost of TARP and to induce the firms to shrink so that their potential failure would pose less risk to the entire financial system. After the industry objected, the White House dropped the issue.
PROMISE: Add 1.5 million jobs in 2010
In discussing how many jobs his economic stimulus plan created, Obama said “we’re on track to add another one-and-a-half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.” Instead, the economy added 1.1 million jobs. Nearly one in ten American workers is jobless. At 9.4 percent, the unemployment rate has been stuck above 9 percent for 20 consecutive months, the longest such streak since records began in 1948, according to the Labor Department. When Obama took office, the nation’s unemployment rate stood at 7.8 percent.
PROMISE: Stimulate lending to and cut taxes for small businesses
Obama told Congress he would call for “a new jobs bill tonight.” What he delivered was a bill that took $30 billion in TARP funds and redirected it to community banks — in hopes that they’d lend to small business — and an abundance of tax breaks. He added that “it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America.” The small-business bill was enacted in September, but credit remains tight and hiring is tepid. The tax overhaul for corporations never happened.
Much more. . .
— Steve Clemons