The Dow Jones industrial average increased by 29.5% in the one-year period following Barack Obama’s inauguration on Jan. 20, 2009—the third best showing, going back 110 years, for the U.S. stock market in the 12 months following the inauguration of a new President. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s first year, which began on March 4, 1933, tops the list with the Dow increasing by 96.5% over the next 12 months. Meanwhile, Jimmy Carter trails his peers with a loss of 19.6%. On average, Presidents in the Democrat party saw an average one-year gain of 24%, while Republicans averaged 1%.
During the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama’s message of a people-first public policy inspired people all over the world. His rhetoric was a breath of fresh air, especially copared to the unilateral approach of his predecessor. Many of us were looking for a return to New Deal-style governance, a truly progressive leader who would improve democracy in America. So has he lived up to his promises? What can we say about Obama after his first year-and-a-half? Has “change come to America,” or have we been short-changed?