What Obama Has Done [Comprehensive Edition]

There has been a great deal of change and reform delivered over the last two years.  While most of these have gone by unnoticed or are not remembered, a fine Wiki team has recorded and organized every major point in a comprehensive database, now available here.

There are a few excellent resources where the victories of Change and Reform have been assembled on the internet, including the Democratic Change Update (reposted on News Junkie Post), the 244 Accomplishments of Obama, and the Things Obama Has Done page on Facebook.

While the mainstream media narrative has been dominated by right wing and Tea Party talking points, many of the fundamental changes in direction of this country have not received the attention they deserve.  Now in one day, the very politicians who venomously opposed these reforms, the very people who want to take America back to the days of Bush are poised to retake the US House of Representatives.  They are banking on the short attention span of voters, so share this list liberally!


Arts and Culture
Banking and Financial Reform
Civil Rights
Commerce, Trade and technology
Education: College
Education: Health of Children
Employment: Jobs
Energy: Green
Energy: Old
Energy: Oil
Foreign Affairs and International Relations
Government Efficiency
Health and Wellness
Health Care Reform (See also Taxes)
Law and Justice
Medicaid/Medicare/Social Security
Military and National Security
Military Veterans and Families
National Disasters and Emergencies
National Service
Scientific and Medical Research
Space Exploration and Space Station
Transparency and Accountability
Recovery, Progress and Change


Broad Policy

Established the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. [pdf]

Established President’s Advisory Council on Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans. [pdf]

Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010.

Dodd-Frank (DF) Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, the biggest financial reform law since the Great Depression.

Managed the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) [pdf]

Assigned a Special Inspector General for the Troubled Asset Relief Program Act of 2009.

Pension Relief Act of 2010.

Fraud Enforcement and Recovery Act.

Played a lead role in G-20 Summit re: financial crisis.

Reformed deferral rules to curb tax advantages for investing overseas.

Established new offshore investment policy that promotes in-sourcing.


Cut salaries for 65 bailout executives (Pay Czar).

Banks have repaid 75% of TARP funds, bringing the cost down to $89B as of June 2010.

Closed offshore tax safe havens, tax credit loopholes. [pdf]

Targeted Actions

Created the Financial Stability Oversight Council to monitor stability of the financial system & individual firms. [pdf]

New requirements for reporting financial data. [pdf]

Created self-funded Office of Financial Research (OFR) to collect information from financial firms. [pdf]

OFR employees must wait a year before working for certain financial firms. [pdf]

Provided for orderly liquidation of financial companies. [pdf]

Limited trading activities of banks (Volcker Rule) beginning 2 yrs after passage. [pdf]

Swaps Pushout Rule prevented federal assistance to swaps (including derivatives) traders. [pdf]

Derivatives must be traded transparently through a clearing house. [pdf]

Defined the amount and nature of assets required to meet capital requirements. [pdf]

Originators of asset-backed securities must retain 5% ownership/risk. [pdf]

Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection (DF). [pdf]

Stronger client fiduciary duty for broker-dealers. [pdf]

Higher standards for securities advertising and disclosures. [pdf]

Expanded “insider loans”. [pdf]

Higher standards for systemically important ($50 billion assets+) institutions, including annual stress tests and restrictions on bank acquisitions. [pdf]

Executive compensation must be determined by an independent committee.[pdf]

Issued compensation guidelines for bank executive salary and bonuses.

Financial agencies must establish Offices of Women & Minorities to promote more diverse hiring. [pdf]

Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act.

Credit CARD Technical Corrections Act of 2009.

Established a credit card bill of rights.

Reformed credit card swipe fees.

Created new criminal penalties for mortgage fraud.

Congress pursued Goldman Sachs for securities violations.

Permanently extended Research and Experimentation Tax Credit for domestic investments.


(Treasury) Sold 1.5 billion shares of Citigroup at a profit.

G-20 summit produced a $1.1 trillion deal to combat the global financial crisis.

Negotiated deal with Swiss banks to permit US government to gain access to records of tax evaders and criminals.

Financial reform has ‘strongest consumer financial protections in history


Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act

Requires large employers to contribute to a national healthcare plan

Requires Insurance Companies to cover pre-existing conditions

Requires health plans to disclose how much of premium goes to patient care

Establishes an independent health institute to provide accurate & objective information

Provides minimal essential healthcare coverage by Veterans Affairs

Kids can stay on their parent’s insurance until 26 under certain conditions

Prevents children from being denied health insurance coverage

Establishes early retiree reinsurance program

Increased regulation of drug manufacturers

Cut prescription drug cost for medicare recipients by 50% and began eliminating the plan’s gap (doughnut hole) in coverage

TRICARE Affirmation Act

Extended COBRA (Consolidate Omnibus Budget Reconciliation) to provide for a continuation of healthcare

Medicare Physicians Repayment Act of 2009



Provide $12.2 Billion in new funding for Individuals With Disabilities Act through the American Recovery and Investment Act

Targeted Actions

Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Acts: Equal pay for equal work

Extended Benefits to same-sex partners of federal employees

Presidential Memorandum protecting gay and lesbian partners’ visitation and healthcare decision making rights

Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act to include gender, sexual orientation and disability

Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act

Appointed more openly gay officials (150) than any other president in history

Established White House Council on Women & Girls

Financial agencies must establish Offices of Women & Minorities to promote more diverse hiring

Increase minority access to capital

Signed the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities

Increased federal employment of persons with disabilities

Pushing through settlement in black farmers lawsuit against USDA


Increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts to highest level since 1992

Created an artist corps for public schools

Championed the importance of arts education

Promoted cultural diplomacy

Chapter 4: Commerce, Trade & Technology, Conservation

Broad Policy:

Promoted internet freedom as part of US foreign policy

Webcaster Settlement Act of 2009

Satellite TV Extension Act of 2010


Expanded loan programs for small businesses

Targeted Actions

Small Business Act

Small Business Investment Act

Proposed tougher meat industry antitrust rules

Denied federal contracts to tax delinquents

Appointed the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer

Established Federal IT Dashboard

Modernized USA.gov portal to connect people to services they require

Launched National Export Initiative with goal of doubling exports by 2015 [pdf]

National Export Initiative/Progress report & named President’s Export Council

Launched piracy crackdown


Broad Policy:

Morris K Udall Scholarship & Excellence in National Environmental Policy Amendments Act of 2009

Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009

North American Wetlands Conservation Act

Stewardship of the Ocean (established National Ocean Council) for Coasts and the Great Lakes (executive order)

Federal Leadership in Environmental, Energy, and Economical Performance (exec. order) [pdf]

Established partnerships to share environmental technology with other countries


Increased funding for Land and Water Conservation Fund

Increased funding for national parks and forests

$175 million of ARRA allocated for water conservation – $135 million of that in the West

Targeted Areas:

Reengaged in the treaties/agreements to protect Antarctic

Expanded access to places to hunt and fish

Chesapeake Bay Protection & Restoration (executive order) [pdf]

Led effort to phase out whaling

Pursued wildlife management plan

Encouraged more controlled burns to reduce wildfires

Ordered removal of more brush, small trees and vegetation that fuel wildfires

Chapter 5: THE ECONOMY

Broad Policy

The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009: a $789 billion economic stimulus plan [pdf]

US auto industry rescue plan – Most of which has been paid back [pdf]

Start-up activity now higher than it was during the dotcom boom

Created task force to fight deficit (actually senate voted it down – only 53 votes)

Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009

Temporary extension of programs under Small Business Investment Act of 1958


Increased minority access to capital

$26 billion aid to states package (Aug. 2010)

Targeted Actions

Raised small business investment limit to $250,000 through the end of 2009

Created an Advanced Manufacturing Fund to invest in peer-reviewed manufacturing processes

Improper Payments Elimination & Recovery Act – establishes a federal “Do Not Pay” list

Extended and indexed the 2007 Alternative Minimum Tax patch

Adopted Economic Substance tax doctrine

Extended unemployment insurance benefits and temporarily suspended taxes on those benefits

Economy grew 5.9% in 4th quarter

U.S. Economy: Manufacturing has grow more than since 2004

U.S. GDP up 3.2% in first quarter

Largest rise in consumer spending in three years

Orders for most durable goods rose

Wholesale inventories and sales rose

$26 billion state aid triggered a surge of private municipal investment


Success of the stimulus: How do you illustrate it could have been much worse?

Distribution of ARRA funds by years

Need for financial education: Investors who act on their own than T-bills; market timers warn negative returns

Consumer debt patterns (revolving & non-revolving) through end of 2009

Growth of the national debt from 2000-2009

Bar chart: 2009 showing increases in national debt by president (since Carter)

Pie chart: 2009 annual deficit contrasting large Bush tax cuts and relatively small ARRA

The Legacy: August 2010

The economy has been growing – seasonally adjusted change in GDP by quarter 2007-2010

The private sector has begun to add jobs – Monthly change in nonfarm employment 2008-2010

GDP would have been lower without the Recovery Act: 2007-2010

Unemployment would have been higher without ARRA: 2008-2010

The gap between actual and full-employment GDP would have been much larger without TARP and AARA: 2008-2010

More Private Sector Jobs Created In 2010 Than During Entire Bush Years

Chapter 6: EDUCATION


Broad policy:

Enacted largest reform of student aid in 40 years

Health Care & Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010

Established President’s Advisory Council in Financial Capability to assist in financial education for all Americans [pdf]


Increased funding for land-grant colleges

Provided means for students struggling to make college loan to refinance

Targeted Actions:

Expanded Pell grants for low-income students

Expanded Pell grant pool by eliminating private lender subsidies for student loans


Broad Policy:

Created the Race to the Top Fund ($4.35 billion) to reward states that create comprehensive education reform plans [pdf]

Children’s Health Insurance Reauthorization of 2009


Provided funding for high speed, broadband internet access to K-12 schools

Established State Equalization Fund: new funds for school construction (ARRA)

Provided $77 billion for reforms to strengthen Elementary and Secondary education [pdf]

Fully funded the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)

Provided $12.2 billion in new funding for the Individuals with Disabilities and Reinvestment Act.

$26 billions state aid package saved 160,000 teacher jobs (Aug. 2010)

Provided over $2.3 billion in additional funding to Head Start & Early Head Start programs in 2009

Provided $5 billion for Early Learning Programs under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. [pdf]

Doubled the amount available in Federal Child Care Block Grants

Established “Promise Neighborhood” Grants (modeled after the Harlem Children’s Zone)

Eliminated abstinence-only funding in budget

Targeted Actions:

Helped rebuild schools in New Orleans

Established school programs to highlight space and science achievements

Recruited math and science degree graduates to the teaching profession

Expanded the Nurse-Family Partnership to all low-income, first time mothers

Provided affordable, high-quality child care

Unveiled initiatives to help men be better fathers

Chapters 7-33 and the full expandable database are located at the Obama Achievements Center, a project led by @shoq and @maysgg71 and contributed to by over 80 researchers on the oWiki crowdsourcing team.  Special thanks to Wayne Bomgaars for some style corrections and list/citation additions and creating a discussion group for this on Reddit.  The banner was designed by Ole Ole Olson.


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