1. He improved the rights of workers.
Our 44th president provided health insurance support to workers who lost their insurance because of foreign competition. He made it more difficult for employers to avoid paying their workers for overtime hours. He strengthened rules that prohibited discrimination against pregnant workers. He also prohibited federal contractors from discriminateing against gay workers.
2. He protected the rights of the LGBTQ+ community.
Obama appointed more openly homosexual officials than anyone else in history. He even appointed the first openly transgender official to the Cabinet! He advocated strongly for the United Nations to consider a worldwide policy to support LGBTQ+ rights. He also implemented an act that made it a crime to assault anyone due to their sexual preferences or gender identity. Obama extended benefits to homosexual partners of federal employees, as had been done to heterosexual partners previously.
3. He improved the rights of women.
He created rules allowing women with insurance to receive free birth control. Obama also appointed more women to his Cabinet than any other president when he entered Office. He established a separate council to ensure than any decisions made by the Cabinet had also considered the effects on women and families. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act protected against pay discrimination in the workforce. The Paycheck Fairness Act also made it harder for employers to distribute unfair paychecks.
4. He improved education nation-wide.
Obama saved over 300,000 education-related jobs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This act also gave a large amount of investment into elementary schools (including Head Start), all the way through post-secondary education. The GI Bill 2.0 gave veterans improved access to education. Obama also expanded the Pell Grant program, giving students a better opportunity to attend college.
5. He improved health and safety.
He helped expand the usage of electronic medical records by almost 90%, improving availability, efficiency, cost, and reliability of health care. Obama also ordered for all vehicles to be made with a rear-view camera by 2018. This helps in insurance cases as well as “hit-and-run” cases, carjackings, and car thefts. Under Obama, the cost of medication for Senior Citizens has been cut in half.
6. He fought to protect the environment.
Obama took steps to prevent pirate fishing in order to protect fish populations and keep them from diminishing further. He passed and initiated several acts to limit the impact big companies had on the environment by establishing fines and other methods to ensure these companies are more careful of how and where they get their resources. He even doubled the federal spending that went into clean energy research.
7. He protected small businesses.
Obama has always cared about protecting small businesses so that they are not bought out or run out by larger companies. One way he did so was by starting a $15 billion plan to encourage increased lending to small businesses. He also blocked the merger of several health insurers and the merger of Staples and Office Depot. This prevented a monopoly that would have put smaller companies out of business due to the lack of competition.
8. He improved national Civil Rights and equality.
Obama expanded recognition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities. He provided funding to Black and Native American farmers who had been cheated out of government loans and resource royalties. He vowed to stop breaking up families of immigrants and only enforce immigration laws on those who have committed crimes. His Justice Department investigated and took action against the Ferguson Police Department for its racism and unjust practices.
Obama has done a lot for this country in a short amount of time. From equality to environmental protection to a more diverse Cabinet, our first black president has improved the country greatly. Let’s just hope that presidents to come can follow Obama’s lead and keep this country moving in the right direction.
By Deja Y.
Photo Credit: Larry Downing / Reuters