Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

Progress Report: Obama's Top 10 Promises

Here's three green jobs. Obama wants 4,999,997 more. (Getty Images)
Here's three green jobs. Obama wants 4,999,997 more. (Getty Images)

Two months into his presidency, Barack Obama has made progress on most of the campaign promises that made our Obameter Top 10 list .

We created the list before he took office to show the most significant promises of the 513 in our database. Seven of the 10 show some sort of action. We've rated one Promise Kept, one Compromise, and five In the Works.

Of the three promises that are still rated No Action, Obama has said publicly he intends to pursue them.

Here's a look at our Top 10 and where they stand:

• No. 15 : Create a foreclosure prevention fund for homeowners   Obama proposed a $10 billion foreclosure fund to help struggling homeowners hold on to their homes. He kept his promise and then some, proposing a $75 billion fund. By providing incentives to both lenders and borrowers, the plan allows some homeowners to refinance loans. Obama's plan excludes investors, speculators and people who fraudulently obtained loans, just as he said on the campaign trail. Promise Kept .

• No. 32 : Create a tax credit of $500 for workers Obama wanted a Making Work Pay tax credit would yield a maximum credit of $500 for most workers as a rebate on payroll taxes. Congress scaled back the credit to $400 in the economic stimulus legislation passed in Feburary 2009, which Obama signed. Obama put the lower number into his 2010 budget proposal, which has yet to be taken up by Congress. Because of the reduction, we rated this Compromise .

• No. 38 : Repeal the Bush tax cuts for higher incomes Obama wants to raise taxes on roughly the top 3 percent of taxpayers in order to help pay for his health care plan. That translates to increases for single people making more than $200,000 or couples making more than $250,000. His 2010 budget includes the rate increases on the two highest income tax brackets, raising the 33 percent bracket to 36 percent and the 35 percent bracket to 39.6 percent. We'll see whether Congress agrees with this one or not. The Obameter says In the Works .

• No. 126 : Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq Obama said he would work with military commanders to bring troops home, with combat troops out in 16 months. On Feb. 27, 2009, Obama gave a major speech outlining plans to withdraw from Iraq, and extended the timeline to 18 months. We want to see how the withdrawal actually unfolds, so for now we rate this promise In the Works .

No. 177 : Close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center On his second full day in office, Obama issued an executive order to review the disposition of prisoners being held at the naval base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. He also ordered that the detention facility be closed within a year. The order establishes a review process with the goal of disposing of the detainees before closing the facility. We rated this In the Works .

No. 456 : Create cap and trade system with interim goals to reduce global warming   This is a regulatory plan to curb carbon emissions that contribute to global warming. Under the plan, polluters have to pay according to what they emit. Obama hopes that money can help pay for some of his other initiatives, like health care and education spending. His budget says that cap and trade could generate about $150 billion over 10 years. Cap and trade is sure to see a lively debate in Congress. The Obameter says In the Works.

No. 439: Create 5 million "green" jobs Changing the country's orientation from foreign oil to renewable energy should invigorate the "green" energy sector. That means 5 million jobs, Obama said. We found billions in the economic stimulus bill and in Obama's proposed budget for job creation in the renewable energy sector. We'll be looking for hard evidence to quantify this one before a possible move to Promise Kept. For now, it's In the Works.

No. 52 : Create a National Health Insurance Exchange This is part of Obama's comprehensive health care reform, which includes many other health promises. Under Obama's plan, the creation of a National Health Insurance Exchange would allow all Americans to select a private plan or enroll in a new public one. Obama has said he intends to address comprehensive health care this year, but he hasn't done it yet. We rate this promise No Action .

No. 422 : Create new financial regulations Obama said he wants "common-sense regulations and rules" to "restore accountability and responsibility in our corporate boardrooms." The campaign promise has become even more pressing given the unfolding financial crisis. Obama has said new financial regulations are on his agenda, even discussing the need for them on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. When he unveils his proposal, the Obameter will move, but currently it's No Action .


No. 441 : Reduce oil consumption by 35 percent by 2030 The time frame is long — more than 20 years — but Obama said he hopes his policies will cut U.S. oil consumption by more than a third. He's discussed the need for the country to do this many times since taking office, but the Obameter needs to see some more definitive changes in the nation's energy habits before we change our ruling from No Action.