Washington: The US is stronger and more prosperous than it was eight years ago, US President Barack Obama has said, attributing it to a series of steps taken by him during his two four-year terms.
“Almost every country on Earth sees America as stronger and more respected today than they did eight years ago. In other words, by so many measures our country is stronger and more prosperous than it was when we started. It is a situation that I’m proud to leave for my successor,” Obama told White House reporters during his last year ender press conference.
On foreign policy, Obama said when he came into office when the US was in the midst of two wars.
“Now nearly 180,000 troops are down to 15,000. Bin Laden, rather than being at large, has been taken off the battlefield, along with thousands of other terrorists,” he said.
“Over the past eight years no foreign terrorist organisation has successfully executed an attack on our homeland that was directed from overseas. Through diplomacy, we have ensured Iran cannot obtain a nuclear weapon without going to war with Iran,” Obama said.
“We opened up a new chapter with the people of Cuba. And we have brought nearly 200 nations together around a climate agreement that could very well save this planet for our kids,” he added.
Recollecting January 2009 when he became the 44th President of the United States, Obama said unemployment rate was on its way to 10 per cent. Today it is at 4.6 percent, the lowest in nearly a decade, Obama stated.
“We’ve seen the longest streak of job growth on record, and wages have grown faster over the past few years than at any time in the past 40,” he said.
“When I came into office, 44 million people were uninsured. Today we have covered more than 20 million of them. For the first time in our history, more than 90 per cent of Americans are insured. In fact, yesterday was the biggest day ever for healthcare, more than 670,000 Americans signed up to get covered, and more are signing up by the day,” Obama said.
“We’ve cut our dependence on foreign oil by more than half, doubled production of renewable energy, enacted the most sweeping reforms since FDR to protect consumers and prevent a crisis on Wall Street from punishing main street ever again. None of these actions stifled growth as critics are predicted. Instead, the stock market has nearly tripled,” he said.
Obama highlighted that since he signed Obamacare into law, US businesses have added more than 15 million new jobs, and the economy has undoubtedly become more durable than it was in the days when the US relied on oil from “unstable nations” and banks took risky bets with American people’s money.
Last year the poverty rate fell at the fastest rate in almost 50 years, while the median household income grew at the fastest rate on record, he said.
“In fact, income gains were actually larger for households at the bottom and the middle than for those at the top. And we have done all this while cutting our deficits by nearly two-thirds, and protecting vital investments that grow the middle class,” said the US President.
Obama said after he leaves office he intends to continue to work with organisations and citizens doing good across the country on these and other pressing issues to build on the progress that the country has made.