Friday, November 2, 2012

The Scope of Obamas Achievements

Who Gets Credit for the Recovery? — — Readability: The final factor, one that Mr. Obama’s base often overlooks, is that his presidency has produced a more significant set of policies than any Democratic presidency in a half-century. And an assertive Republican Party has promised to undo many of those policies if it wins.

The scope of Mr. Obama’s changes is easy to miss in part because he has used incremental, even moderate, means to achieve liberal ends. The health care law he and his Congressional allies passed relies less on government-provided care than either Richard M. Nixon’s or Mr. Clinton’s plans. But it is nonetheless the largest expansion of the safety net since Medicare and the most aggressive attack on inequality since inequality began rising in the 1980s.

In education, the Democrats expanded college financial aid, partly by eliminating bank subsidies, and pushed dozens of states to make K-12 schools more accountable. The 2009 stimulus bill also expanded and revamped infrastructure, antipoverty and research programs, as Michael Grunwald documents in his recent book, “The New New Deal.”

Even Mr. Obama’s and his allies’ biggest domestic failure (aside from misjudging the depth of the economic downturn) was not complete. Although Washington never passed a sweeping climate bill, it sharply raised fuel-mileage standards and spurred a wind and solar boomwith subsidies — subsidies scheduled to expire on Jan. 1.