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Enam Puluh Hari Pertama - Seratus Kedua Pemerintahan Obama 29 Juni 2009 - Sejarah

Enam Puluh Hari Pertama - Seratus Kedua Pemerintahan Obama 29 Juni 2009 - Sejarah


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Presiden memulai harinya dengan briefing ekonomi dan keamanan. Dia kemudian bertemu dengan penasihat senoirnya.

Presiden kemudian menyampaikan sambutan untuk mempromosikan RUU energi dan mendorong efisiensi energi yang lebih besar. Perkataan

Sore harinya Presiden mengadakan pertemuan satu lawan satu dengan Presiden Uribe dari Columbia. Pertemuan itu kemudian diperluas hingga mencakup staf. Keduanya kemudian membuat diri mereka tersedia untuk pertanyaan dari pers. Perkataan

Presiden dan Ibu Negara kemudian menjadi tuan rumah resepsi bulan LGBT Pride.

Malam harinya Presiden menghadiri resepsi anggota Komite Keuangan Nasional.


100 Hari Pertama Obama Cukup Mengesankan

Presiden Trump mendekati 100 hari pertamanya menjabat, dan dia tidak bisa menunjukkan apa-apa untuk itu. Itu mungkin mengapa dia secara terbuka meremehkan pentingnya 100 hari pertama, men-tweet bahwa itu adalah "standar konyol" yang digunakan untuk menilai presiden. Tetapi untuk menilai apakah Trump benar-benar tidak memenuhi standar itu, ada baiknya melihat kembali apa yang dilakukan Presiden Obama dalam 100 hari pertamanya.

Obama hanya menandatangani beberapa undang-undang utama selama 100 hari pertama masa jabatan pertamanya, tetapi itu adalah undang-undang yang besar. Yang paling menonjol adalah American Recovery & Reinvestment Act — yaitu paket stimulus. Ini adalah paket investasi $831 miliar, yang diusulkan Obama sebagai cara untuk menghentikan pendarahan ekonomi yang disebabkan oleh krisis keuangan. Ini mengizinkan pendanaan untuk infrastruktur, tunjangan pengangguran, perumahan berpenghasilan rendah, Medicaid, dan banyak lagi. Lima tahun setelah pengesahannya, para ekonom konservatif dan liberal sepakat bahwa, secara umum, itu sukses.

Obama menandatangani dua undang-undang besar lainnya selama 100 hari pertamanya: Undang-Undang Pembayaran Adil Lilly Ledbetter dan Undang-Undang Pengesahan Ulang Asuransi Kesehatan Anak tahun 2009. Undang-undang pertama berusaha mengatasi kesenjangan upah gender dengan memperpanjang undang-undang pembatasan sehubungan dengan kesetaraan membayar tuntutan hukum — yaitu, memudahkan perempuan untuk menuntut majikan karena membayar mereka lebih rendah daripada rekan laki-laki mereka. Bagian kedua dari undang-undang mengesahkan $35 miliar dalam pengeluaran perawatan kesehatan, sehingga memperluas perawatan kesehatan ke sekitar 4 juta anak-anak Amerika.

Ini adalah pencapaian legislatif yang luar biasa. Yang lebih luar biasa lagi adalah Obama menandatangani ketiga RUU tersebut dalam waktu satu bulan sejak menjabat.

Namun, tidak hanya itu yang dilakukan Obama selama 100 hari pertamanya. Dia juga menyetujui pengerahan 17.000 pasukan tambahan AS ke Afghanistan, sebuah keputusan kebijakan luar negeri yang signifikan yang membuat marah banyak pendukung progresifnya pada saat itu. Namun demikian, Obama mengakhiri 100 hari pertamanya dengan persetujuan setinggi langit di antara basisnya: Pada saat itu, 88 persen Demokrat mengatakan dia telah melakukan pekerjaan yang baik atau sangat baik sejauh ini, menurut Gallup. Bahkan, pada tanda 100 hari, 56 persen dari semua orang Amerika mengatakan bahwa Obama telah memenuhi atau melampaui harapan.

Trump, sebagai perbandingan, saat ini memiliki peringkat persetujuan yang lebih rendah yaitu sekitar 42 persen, menurut FiveThirtyEight. Selain itu, upayanya yang terkenal untuk melarang warga negara dari negara tertentu memasuki Amerika Serikat telah berulang kali ditolak di pengadilan federal.

Ada banyak waktu bagi Trump untuk membalikkan keadaan, tentu saja. Tapi 100 hari pertamanya sejauh ini belum tentu cocok dengan pendahulunya, setidaknya dari sudut pandang progresif.


Barrack Obama dilantik

Pada hari yang dingin di Washington, D.C., Barack Hussein Obama dilantik sebagai presiden AS ke-44. Putra seorang ayah kulit hitam dari Kenya dan ibu kulit putih dari Kansas, Obama telah menjadi orang Afrika-Amerika pertama yang memenangkan pemilihan untuk jabatan tertinggi negara itu pada November sebelumnya.

Sebagai senator junior AS dari Illinois, ia memenangkan pertarungan pendahuluan Demokrat yang ketat atas Senator Hillary Clinton dari New York sebelum menang atas Senator Arizona John McCain, kandidat Partai Republik, dalam pemilihan umum. Dengan latar belakang keruntuhan ekonomi negara yang menghancurkan selama dimulainya Resesi Hebat, pesan harapan dan optimisme Obama sebagaimana diwujudkan dalam slogan kampanyenya, “Yes We Can”—menjadi inspirasi bagi sebuah bangsa mencari perubahan.

Saat Hari Peresmian menyingsing, kerumunan orang memadati National Mall, membentang dari Capitol Building hingga di luar Monumen Washington. Menurut perkiraan resmi yang dibuat kemudian oleh District of Columbia, sekitar 1,8 juta orang menyaksikan pelantikan Obama, melampaui rekor sebelumnya 1,2 juta, yang dibuat oleh kerumunan pelantikan Lyndon B. Johnson pada tahun 1965.

Upacara berjalan di belakang jadwal, dan baru pada siang hari Ketua Hakim John Roberts Jr. memberikan sumpah jabatan presiden kepada presiden terpilih. Saat dilantik, Obama meletakkan tangannya di atas sebuah Alkitab yang dipegang oleh istrinya, Michelle, Alkitab yang sama yang digunakan oleh Presiden Abraham Lincoln pada pelantikannya yang pertama.

Obama membuka pidato pelantikannya, yang berlangsung sekitar 20 menit, dengan mengakui tantangan yang dihadapi bangsa pada awal pemerintahannya-krisis ekonomi yang memburuk, perang yang sedang berlangsung melawan ekstremisme radikal dan terorisme, perawatan kesehatan yang mahal, sekolah yang gagal, dan hilangnya sumber daya secara umum. kepercayaan pada janji Amerika.

Dalam menghadapi rintangan ini, ia menawarkan pesan optimisme yang hati-hati namun percaya diri. “Tantangan yang kita hadapi adalah nyata,” Obama menyatakan. “Mereka serius dan banyak. Mereka tidak akan ditemui dengan mudah atau dalam rentang waktu yang singkat. Tapi ketahuilah, Amerika, mereka akan bertemu.”

Obama hanya menyebut secara singkat sifat historis kepresidenannya dalam pidatonya, dengan mengatakan di akhir pidatonya bahwa bagian dari kehebatan Amerika adalah fakta bahwa pria yang ayahnya kurang dari 60 tahun yang lalu mungkin tidak pernah disajikan di restoran lokal. sekarang dapat berdiri di hadapan Anda untuk mengambil sumpah yang paling suci.”

Sebaliknya, ia menekankan tema tanggung jawab sipil yang digunakan oleh presiden muda Demokrat lainnya—John F. Kennedy— dengan efek yang begitu besar hampir 50 tahun sebelumnya, menyerukan kepada rakyat Amerika untuk menerima tantangan yang mereka hadapi dalam periode yang sulit: “What yang dituntut dari kita sekarang adalah era baru tanggung jawab, sebuah pengakuan, di pihak setiap orang Amerika, bahwa kita memiliki kewajiban untuk diri kita sendiri, bangsa kita dan dunia, tugas yang tidak kita terima dengan berat hati, melainkan kita ambil dengan megah, tegas dalam pengetahuan bahwa tidak ada yang begitu memuaskan jiwa, yang begitu menentukan karakter kita, selain memberikan semua yang kita miliki untuk tugas yang sulit. Itulah harga dan janji kewarganegaraan.”

Setelah pelantikan, Obama menghadiri jamuan makan siang pengukuhan tradisional di Statuary Hall, ruang asli Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat. Dia dan Michelle kemudian melakukan perjalanan ke Pennsylvania Avenue ke Gedung Putih sebagai bagian dari parade pengukuhan yang dihadiri 15.000 orang, dan akan menghadiri tidak kurang dari 10 pesta peresmian resmi malam itu.


Pengembangan asuransi kesehatan modern

Pengembangan asuransi kesehatan modern

Usulan jaminan kesehatan nasional

Sepanjang abad kedua puluh, kelompok Progresif berulang kali menyerukan asuransi kesehatan nasional di Amerika Serikat. Partai Progresif, juga dikenal secara informal sebagai Partai Bull Moose, dibentuk pada tahun 1912 dan menominasikan mantan Presiden Theodore Roosevelt sebagai kandidatnya untuk pemilihan presiden. Platformnya menyerukan Layanan Kesehatan Nasional dan asuransi publik untuk orang tua, pengangguran, dan orang cacat. Proposal untuk asuransi kesehatan pemerintah kontroversial dan ditentang oleh organisasi berpengaruh seperti Federasi Buruh Amerika, Asosiasi Medis Amerika, dan organisasi persaudaraan. Roosevelt menempati urutan kedua dalam pemilihan 1912, kalah dari kandidat Demokrat Woodrow Wilson. Partai Progresif tampil buruk dalam pemilihan kongres tahun 1914 dan dibubarkan pada tahun 1916, namun gagasannya tentang asuransi sosial terus mempengaruhi para reformis seperti Presiden Franklin Roosevelt. ⎸] ⎹]

Pada tahun 1920, 16 negara Eropa telah mengadopsi asuransi kesehatan masyarakat. Sebaliknya, Amerika Serikat menolak model Eropa dan malah mengembangkan sistem asuransi kesehatan swasta di mana banyak pemberi kerja memberikan rencana kepada karyawan dan keluarga mereka. Sistem ini muncul pada akhir 1920-an ketika rumah sakit mulai menawarkan rencana kesehatan kepada guru sekolah umum. ⎺]

Munculnya asuransi yang disponsori majikan

Pada tahun 1929, sekolah umum Dallas menandatangani kontrak dengan Rumah Sakit Baylor. Berdasarkan perjanjian tersebut, para guru akan membayar biaya bulanan sebagai imbalan atas jaminan perawatan di Baylor. Rencana tersebut terbukti sukses dan ditiru oleh para administrator di seluruh negeri. Pencipta salah satu rencana tersebut mengilustrasikan poster iklannya dengan gambar salib biru. Asosiasi Rumah Sakit Amerika kemudian mengadopsi salib biru sebagai lambang untuk rencana yang mereka setujui, sedangkan Asosiasi Medis Amerika mengadopsi perisai biru untuk rencana yang mereka setujui. Paket Blue Cross/Blue Shield memunculkan model asuransi yang disponsori oleh pemberi kerja dengan biaya layanan, di mana perusahaan asuransi mengganti klaim untuk layanan yang diterima pendaftar mereka. Menurut seorang sejarawan, "Blue Cross membayar berapa pun biaya yang dibebankan rumah sakit. Blue Cross tidak dirancang untuk memantau biaya rumah sakit." ⎻] ⎼] ⎽]

Pada tahun 1930-an, seorang industrialis bernama Henry Kaiser mempekerjakan 5.000 pekerja pada proyek saluran air di California Selatan, dengan hanya satu rumah sakit di dekatnya. Kaiser setuju untuk membayar rumah sakit dengan tarif tetap untuk setiap pekerja, dan sebagai gantinya rumah sakit akan menyediakan semua perawatan medis untuk cedera kerja pekerja. Pengaturan tersebut memunculkan Rencana Kesehatan Kaiser Permanente, rencana asuransi kesehatan yang mengoperasikan rumah sakit dan kelompok dokternya sendiri. Sistem Kaiser menciptakan perawatan terkelola, yang merupakan model untuk organisasi pemeliharaan kesehatan (HMO) saat ini dan organisasi penyedia pilihan (PPO). Di bawah model perawatan terkelola, perusahaan asuransi melibatkan diri secara lebih langsung dalam perawatan medis, seringkali dengan memiliki rumah sakit, membayar gaji dokter, mengendalikan rujukan, atau membatasi perawatan yang ditanggung. ⎾]

Penyebaran asuransi yang disponsori majikan dan perawatan terkelola

Model asuransi kesehatan yang disponsori majikan menyebar selama Perang Dunia II, ketika kekurangan tenaga kerja mendorong pemerintah federal untuk melembagakan kontrol upah dengan tujuan mencegah inflasi. Pada tahun 1943, Dewan Buruh Perang memutuskan bahwa kontrol upah tidak berlaku untuk tunjangan yang ditawarkan oleh majikan, seperti asuransi kesehatan. Sebagai tanggapan, pengusaha mulai menawarkan tunjangan kesehatan yang lebih besar daripada gaji yang lebih tinggi untuk menarik pekerja. Model ini semakin populer setelah perang ketika pembayaran oleh majikan terhadap asuransi kesehatan karyawan dibuat bebas pajak. ⎿] ⏀] ⏁]

Pada tahun 1963, 77 persen orang Amerika memiliki cakupan rawat inap, dan lebih dari 50 persen juga memiliki cakupan untuk biaya pengobatan rutin. ⏂]

Pada 1980-an, RAND Corporation melakukan penelitian acak yang menugaskan orang ke berbagai jenis asuransi kesehatan swasta, biaya untuk layanan, atau perawatan terkelola. Organisasi perawatan terkelola dalam penelitian ini terbukti lebih baik dalam mengendalikan biaya, yang mengarah pada kebijakan publik yang mendorong jenis asuransi swasta ini. ⏃]


Mengapa Juneteenth Hampir Memudar

Sementara banyak orang kulit hitam Amerika merayakan Juneteenth hari ini, popularitas liburan berkurang selama periode masa lalu, khususnya Perang Dunia II, dan ada tahun-tahun ketika itu tidak dirayakan sama sekali.

Juneteenth kehilangan momentum selama era Jim Crow setelah emansipasi dan juga tidak dirayakan secara luas ketika Amerika Serikat terlibat dalam Perang Dunia II pada 1940-an. Meskipun "bebas", tetap saja tidak aman menjadi orang kulit hitam di Amerika Serikat. Setelah emansipasi, orang kulit putih Amerika membalas dengan meneror orang kulit hitam Amerika yang baru dibebaskan. Terlepas dari hukuman mati tanpa pengadilan yang meluas dan munculnya Jim Crow dan Ku Klux Klan, Kongres tidak pernah mengesahkan undang-undang anti hukuman mati tanpa pengadilan federal. Kata-kata Amandemen ke-13 digunakan untuk menciptakan cara baru penahanan massal rasial melalui Kompleks Penjara-Industri.

Liburan itu dibangkitkan pada tahun 1950, tetapi sejak saat itu hingga gerakan hak-hak sipil tahun 1960-an, beberapa orang kulit hitam Amerika secara terbuka merayakan Juneteenth. Itu telah berubah di awal abad ke-21. Hari ini, Juneteenth bukan hanya hari libur yang dirayakan dengan baik, tetapi ada gerakan kuat untuk menjadikan tanggal 19 Juni sebagai Hari Pengakuan Nasional untuk perbudakan.


21 Pro dan Kontra Kepresidenan Barack Obama

Barack Obama memenangkan pemilihan presiden 2008 di Amerika Serikat, menjadi Presiden ke-44 negara itu dan orang Afrika-Amerika pertama yang menjabat. Itu adalah waktu di negara itu ketika terjadi krisis keuangan, dengan rumah tangga berjuang dengan kehilangan pekerjaan, upah yang lebih rendah, dan biaya yang lebih tinggi berkat pinjaman subprime yang telah terjadi di tahun-tahun sebelumnya.

Salah satu inisiatif pertama Obama adalah meluncurkan Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau, yang secara kolektif dikenal sebagai "Obamacare." Ada banyak momen kemacetan selama delapan tahun menjabat, dimulai dengan pemilihan 2010 ketika sayap Partai Teh dari pihak Republik meraih kekuasaan. Masalah ini akhirnya memuncak dalam penghalang pencalonan Merrick Garland ke Mahkamah Agung oleh Senat.

Meskipun banyak tantangan yang dihadapi pemerintahan Obama, ada beberapa catatan prestasi yang membantu bangsa untuk tumbuh selama era politik Amerika. Ada juga beberapa kelemahan yang berkembang dari waktu ke waktu karena keputusan yang dibuat.

Ini adalah pro dan kontra dari Kepresidenan Obama.

Daftar Kelebihan Kepresidenan Obama

1. Resesi Hebat berakhir di bawah kepemimpinan Obama.
Bagian pertama dari undang-undang untuk memerangi masalah yang ditimbulkan oleh krisis ekonomi pada tahun 2007 berasal dari Pemerintahan Bush, tetapi paket stimulus ekonomi senilai $787 miliar-lah yang berhasil membuat ekonomi bangkit kembali. Undang-undang keuangan ini mencakup perpanjangan tunjangan pengangguran, pemotongan pajak, dan uang untuk mendanai proyek pekerjaan umum. Pertumbuhan PDB berubah positif hanya enam bulan setelahnya.

Selama 7 bulan pertama stimulus ekonomi, Undang-Undang Pemulihan dan Reinvestasi Amerika memasukkan hampir $250 miliar ke dalam perekonomian. Pada tahun 2010, tingkat pertumbuhan mendekati 4%. Hampir semua uang yang didedikasikan untuk pemulihan ekonomi telah dihabiskan pada Maret 2011.

2. Industri otomotif AS mampu memodernisasi di bawah Obama.
Tanpa intervensi dari paket stimulus ekonomi, hampir semua pembuat mobil Amerika akan menemukan diri mereka di tempat di mana mereka akan keluar dari bisnis atau dipaksa untuk mengajukan kebangkrutan. Pemerintah federal akhirnya mengambil alih Chrysler dan General Motors untuk menyelamatkan mereka, yang juga mencegah hilangnya lebih dari 3 juta pekerjaan. Sebagai bagian dari proses intervensi, pemerintahan Obama mendorong perusahaan untuk membuat produk mereka lebih hemat bahan bakar. Intervensi ini membantu kendaraan AS menjadi lebih kompetitif dari standar global.

3. Pemerintahan Obama mereformasi perawatan kesehatan di Amerika Serikat.
Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau disahkan pada 2010, mengubah cara orang Amerika dapat membeli asuransi kesehatan di negara tersebut. 95% dari populasi dapat memiliki beberapa bentuk cakupan pada tahun 2014, dengan lebih banyak orang yang menerima perawatan pencegahan untuk mengurangi jumlah kunjungan ruang gawat darurat yang terjadi di negara ini.

Meningkatnya biaya dari industri perawatan kesehatan mengancam akan membanjiri anggaran federal. Sebelum pengesahan Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau, lebih dari 60% kebangkrutan di Amerika Serikat disebabkan oleh tagihan medis. Meskipun Administrasi Trump melemahkan aturan dari upaya ini, periode pertanggungan yang tersedia membantu banyak keluarga berpenghasilan rendah menemui dokter, menghilangkan kondisi yang sudah ada sebelumnya, dan mengizinkan orang tua untuk mempertahankan anak-anak dewasa mereka pada rencana mereka sampai usia mereka. dari 26.

4. Industri perbankan mengalami perbaikan regulasi di delapan area kritis.
Undang-Undang Reformasi Dodd-Frank Wall Street disahkan pada Juli 2010, memperbaiki peraturan di Wall Street yang diyakini oleh para ahli ekonomi dan Demokrat bertanggung jawab atas krisis keuangan di tahun-tahun sebelumnya. Praktik berbahaya dari pemberi pinjaman hipotek dan agen kartu kredit dikurangi melalui Badan Perlindungan Keuangan Konsumen karena undang-undang ini. Dana lindung nilai dan bank yang "terlalu besar untuk gagal" berada di bawah bimbingan Dewan Pengawas Stabilitas Keuangan.

Aturan Volcker melarang bank mempertaruhkan kerugian dengan uang dari deposan mereka. Ini juga mengklarifikasi lembaga mana yang mengatur lembaga industri. Undang-undang ini juga mengarahkan SEC dan Komisi Perdagangan Berjangka Komoditi untuk mengatur derivatif dan berjangka sambil bekerja untuk meningkatkan lembaga pemeringkat kredit.

5. Pemotongan Pajak 2010 membantu melanjutkan stimulasi ekonomi.
Kongres dan Pemerintahan Obama bekerja sama untuk membuat pemotongan pajak $858 miliar yang akan membantu melanjutkan stimulus ekonomi yang dimulai awal tahun. Ada tiga komponen utama dari undang-undang ini.

  • Ada perpanjangan pemotongan pajak senilai $350 miliar dari Pemerintahan Bush.
  • $ 120 miliar disediakan untuk mengurangi pajak gaji pekerja.
  • Selain itu, tunjangan pengangguran senilai $56 miliar juga diberikan.

Bisnis juga menerima pemotongan pajak sebesar $140 miliar untuk mendorong mereka melakukan perbaikan modal, bersama dengan kredit pajak penelitian dan pengembangan senilai $80 miliar. Pajak tanah juga dibebaskan hingga $5 juta, dan kemudian ada kredit tambahan untuk membesarkan anak-anak dan untuk biaya kuliah.

6. Terjadi penurunan ancaman terorisme dari Timur Tengah.
Navy SEAL diperintahkan untuk menyerang kompleks pemimpin al-Qaida Osama bin Laden pada 1 Mei 2011. Serangan ini menyebabkan eliminasi tokoh-tokoh kunci dalam organisasi tersebut, termasuk bin Laden sendiri. Selama tiga tahun ke depan, akan ada penarikan lambat pasukan dari Irak, meskipun pengembalian menjadi perlu berkat kebangkitan ISIS di wilayah tersebut.

Ada juga meredanya perang di Afghanistan, meskipun masih ada kehadiran personel dan uang yang signifikan. Lebih dari $800 miliar per tahun dihabiskan untuk pertahanan selama waktu ini, yang lebih tinggi daripada selama pemerintahan Bush meskipun ada pergerakan pasukan.

7. Presiden Obama menerima Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian pada tahun 2009.
Meskipun beberapa orang Amerika melihat langkah itu sebagai salah satu yang kontroversial, Barack Obama adalah penerima Hadiah Nobel Perdamaian pada tahun 2009. Komite mencatat ketika mereka membuat keputusan untuk menawarkan kehormatan bahwa Pemerintahan Obama telah bekerja untuk memperkuat diplomasi internasional dan kerjasama antara orang yang berbeda. Di bawah panduan ini, Amerika Serikat mengurangi persediaan nuklirnya secara keseluruhan sebesar 10% sambil bekerja untuk mengurangi jumlah konflik yang melibatkan militer Amerika.

8. Terjadi pengurangan emisi karbon di Amerika Serikat.
Pemerintahan Obama mengumumkan serangkaian peraturan pengurangan karbon pada tahun 2014 yang dirancang untuk mulai membalikkan pengaruh Amerika terhadap potensi masalah pemanasan global yang terjadi pada saat itu. Tindakan ini diikuti oleh Rencana Tenaga Bersih pada tahun 2015 yang akan mengurangi emisi sebesar 32% pada tahun 2030 dari tingkat yang diukur pada tahun 2005.

Pembangkit listrik negara adalah salah satu target signifikan dari undang-undang ini, karena mereka setuju untuk menciptakan 30% lebih banyak energi terbarukan pada batas waktu tahun. Tindakan ini juga mendorong perdagangan emisi karbon dengan mengizinkan negara-negara yang berproduksi lebih sedikit untuk memperdagangkan surplus mereka ke negara-negara yang menghasilkan lebih banyak.

9. Pemerintahan Obama mencapai kesepakatan nuklir dengan Iran.
Perjanjian perdamaian nuklir dengan Iran, Amerika Serikat, dan negara-negara maju lainnya ditandatangani di bawah bimbingan pemerintahan Obama pada 14 Juli 2015. Sebagai bagian dari perjanjian, Iran tidak dapat lagi membangun bom nuklir dalam 90 hari. Sebagai imbalan untuk menundanya hingga 12 bulan, PBB berupaya mencabut sanksi yang telah dijatuhkannya pada negara itu lima tahun sebelumnya.

Meskipun Amerika Serikat memilih keluar dari perjanjian di Administrasi Trump, peserta lain di dalamnya masih berusaha membuat semuanya berjalan baik.

10. Perkembangan Kemitraan Trans-Pasifik terjadi di bawah Pemerintahan Obama.
Pada Oktober 2015, pemerintahan Obama bekerja untuk menegosiasikan perjanjian perdagangan terbesar di dunia pada saat itu, menghapus tarif yang ada antara 11 negara lain dan Amerika Serikat. Perjanjian ini akan mencakup sekitar 40% dari PDB dunia. Meskipun Administrasi Trump menarik diri dari TPP, peserta lain melembagakan versi mereka sendiri yang mengecualikan AS, sebagian, dari upaya negosiasi dari tim Obama. Jepang dan Uni Eropa juga bekerja sama dalam pilihan mereka sendiri.

Obama juga meluncurkan Kemitraan Perdagangan dan Investasi Transatlantik sebagai bagian dari pekerjaan ini, membawa AS lebih dekat ke Uni Eropa dalam hal perdagangan. Upaya ini masih berlangsung di bawah pemerintahan Trump.

11. Pemerintahan Obama membantu menyelesaikan Perjanjian Perubahan Iklim Internasional.
Pada bulan Desember 2015, Pemerintahan Obama dan 196 negara lainnya mengumumkan Perjanjian Iklim Paris. Tujuan dari perjanjian ini adalah untuk mengurangi emisi karbon dan meningkatkan perdagangan karbon untuk membatasi pemanasan global hanya 2 derajat Celcius lebih tinggi dari sebelum revolusi industri. Negara-negara maju setuju untuk menyumbang $100 miliar per tahun untuk membantu pasar negara berkembang memodernisasi tanpa menimbulkan masalah lingkungan yang signifikan.

Dunia berkembang juga menghadapi peningkatan risiko badai dan topan, naiknya permukaan laut, dan kekeringan karena dampak pada iklim yang disebabkan oleh emisi karbon yang lebih tinggi.

12. Ada lebih dari 16 juta orang yang ditambahkan ke angkatan kerja.
Pada saat penulisan ini (Juni 2019), Barack Obama adalah pencipta pekerjaan terbaik ketiga dalam sejarah AS. Kebijakan yang berasal dari pemerintahannya membuat jutaan orang kembali bekerja setelah resesi berakhir pada 2009. Bahkan dengan pengangguran meningkat sepanjang musim panas 2010, stimulus terus membantu bisnis dan rumah tangga menemukan kekuatan finansial yang mereka butuhkan untuk mulai membayar tagihan dan mempekerjakan sekali lagi.

Daftar Kontra Kepresidenan Obama

1. Pemerintahan Obama memiliki tingkat pengeluaran defisit yang signifikan.
Salah satu masalah ekonomi utama yang harus dikelola oleh pemerintahan Obama adalah kebutuhan akan pengeluaran defisit untuk mendorong perekonomian. Selama masa jabatannya, total defisit naik menjadi $6,78 triliun, lebih banyak dari presiden lain mana pun dalam sejarah Amerika Serikat. Meskipun defisit mulai turun selama masa jabatan keduanya karena ekonomi mulai menguat setelah pemulihannya, utang ini adalah sesuatu yang kemungkinan akan membebani anggaran Amerika Serikat untuk generasi berikutnya.

2. Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau menciptakan hasil yang tidak diinginkan.
Tujuan dari Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau adalah untuk menjaga agar asuransi kesehatan tetap terjangkau bagi rata-rata keluarga Amerika. Pada 2016, pemerintahan Obama terpaksa mengakui bahwa premi yang ditawarkan di bursa akan meningkat rata-rata 25%. Mereka mengumumkan bahwa akan ada subsidi yang lebih tinggi untuk membantu mengimbangi biaya, tetapi itu mengabaikan fakta bahwa menggunakan uang pemerintah untuk mengimbangi biaya yang dihadapi keluarga adalah model ekonomi yang buruk.

J.T. Young, yang menjabat sebagai staf di Kantor Manajemen dan Anggaran dan Departemen Harta, mengatakan ini tentang kerugian ini. “Usaha ekonomi yang sukses tidak perlu subsidi,” katanya. “Produsen menciptakan produk yang ingin dibeli konsumen dan mewujudkan tingkat keuntungan yang kompetitif. Kedua belah pihak mendapatkan dan dengan sukarela melakukan transaksi. Tanpa hubungan yang saling menguntungkan ini, tidak ada pasar.”

3. Biaya perluasan Medicaid di bawah pemerintahan Obama meroket.
Ada 32 negara bagian yang memutuskan untuk mengambil keuntungan dari opsi ekspansi Medicaid yang tersedia karena pekerjaan pemerintahan Obama. Biaya upaya ini adalah 49% lebih tinggi dari yang diantisipasi, yang disebabkan oleh fakta bahwa lebih banyak orang dari yang diantisipasi mulai mendaftar dalam program ini. Ada 11,5 juta pendaftaran ketika hanya 5,5 juta orang diharapkan untuk memanfaatkan opsi ini.

Itu berarti negara bagian dibiarkan dengan tagihan Medicaid yang lebih tinggi karena pemerintah federal tidak memiliki kewajiban untuk membayar 100% dari kenaikan tersebut. Itu akan mempersulit badan legislatif di seluruh negeri di masa depan untuk menyeimbangkan anggaran masa depan mereka.

4. Rencana myRA gagal mendapatkan momentum apapun dengan publik Amerika.
Program myRA dirancang untuk membantu orang Amerika menemukan cara untuk merencanakan pensiun karena solvabilitas jangka panjang Jaminan Sosial tidak dijamin untuk generasi pensiunan berikutnya. Setelah tiga tahun memiliki opsi ini, hanya 30.000 orang yang membuka akun – dan lebih dari 30% dari mereka bahkan tidak menyimpan uang dalam satu akun. Itu adalah program yang menghabiskan biaya $70 juta untuk diimplementasikan, dan pemerintahan Trump akhirnya mengakhirinya.

Struktur rencana ini mirip dengan Roth IRA, yang akan memungkinkan kontribusi sebesar $5.500 untuk siapa saja yang berpenghasilan kurang dari $131.000 per tahun atau $193.000 untuk pasangan menikah yang mengajukan bersama. Itu 100% bebas risiko karena disponsori oleh pemerintah, dan tidak ada biaya administrasi. Saldo rata-rata hanya $500.

5. IRS mulai menargetkan kelompok konservatif untuk pengawasan yang lebih besar.
Internal Revenue Service mengungkapkan pada tahun 2013 bahwa mereka telah memilih kelompok politik yang mengajukan status bebas pajak untuk melalui pengawasan intensif berdasarkan tema politik atau nama mereka. Sebagian besar kelompok konservatif, dengan banyak dari mereka mengadakan Pesta Teh atas nama mereka. Meskipun kelompok-kelompok liberal, seperti gerakan Occupy, menerima perlakuan serupa, namun tidak pada tingkat yang sama dengan pihak lain.

Masalah dengan kepresidenan Obama ini akhirnya menyebabkan kecaman terhadap badan tersebut, beberapa penyelidikan atas perilakunya, dan penyelidikan kriminal yang diperintahkan Jaksa Agung Eric Holder pada saat itu. Secara total, dari 2004-2017, IRS menggunakan penargetan kata kunci untuk menggali lebih dalam urusan kelompok tertentu. Administrasi Trump setuju untuk menyelesaikan gugatan yang diajukan oleh lebih dari 400 kelompok konservatif.

6. Ada cerita yang berubah dari serangan Benghazi.
Ada serangan terkoordinasi terhadap dua fasilitas pemerintah AS di Libya oleh anggota kelompok Ansar al-Saria. Kompleks diplomatik di Benghazi diserang, mengakibatkan kematian duta besar AS dan tiga orang Amerika lainnya. Pasca penyerangan tersebut, penyebab di balik kekerasan tersebut terus bergeser, yang akhirnya berujung pada serangkaian 10 investigasi mengenai perilaku pemerintahan Obama saat itu.

7. Pemerintahan Obama melanjutkan skandal tembak-menembak ATF.
Meskipun Barack Obama tidak memulai taktik tembak-menembak di Kantor Lapangan Arizona ATF (dimulai pada tahun 2006), mereka tidak mengakhiri program tersebut hingga tahun 2011. Salah satu kegiatan yang diizinkan oleh pemerintah federal adalah dengan sengaja mengizinkan penggunaan senjata api. penjualan ke pembeli jerami ilegal, dengan tujuan melacak senjata ke pemimpin kartel Meksiko. Itu dilakukan di bawah payung Project Gunrunner, yang akan menjadi Operation Fast and Furious.

Senjata yang dijual melalui program ini ditemukan di TKP di kedua sisi perbatasan AS dan Meksiko. Agen Patroli Perbatasan AS Brian Terry dibunuh oleh salah satu senjata api pada tahun 2010, bersama dengan 150 petugas penegak hukum di Meksiko.

8. Ada penyalahgunaan wewenang dari departemen Kesehatan dan Layanan Kemanusiaan.
Kathleen Sebelius bertugas di pemerintahan Obama sebagai Sekretaris Kesehatan dan Layanan Kemanusiaan. Pada tahun 2010, dia mengancam akan membuat perusahaan asuransi kesehatan gulung tikar, dengan mengatakan bahwa agensi yang gagal mengikuti garis partai dapat dikeluarkan dari bursa yang akan datang. Dia mengatakan kepada mereka bahwa tarif akan naik tidak lebih dari 2%, meskipun dokumentasi internal menunjukkan bahwa tarif akan naik setidaknya 7%.

Subsidi ratusan miliar dolar kepada perusahaan asuransi kesehatan swasta telah disetujui oleh Sebelius pada tahun 2011 meskipun faktanya Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau secara tegas melarang tindakan semacam itu. Dia juga menulis ulang dan mempersempit putusan Mahkamah Agung yang memungkinkan departemennya untuk terus memaksa negara bagian untuk menerapkan program ekspansi Medicaid.

9. Pemerintahan Obama memveto RUU Kejahatan 9-11.
Barack Obama memveto tindakan yang disebut RUU Kejahatan 9-11, yang merupakan undang-undang yang memungkinkan keluarga mereka yang terbunuh dalam serangan 11 September 2001, untuk menuntut pemerintah Arab Saudi atas peran apa pun yang mungkin mereka mainkan. dalam plot. Obama mengatakan pada saat itu bahwa dia yakin tuntutan hukum terhadap Kerajaan akan menjadi preseden berbahaya untuk masa depan.

Kongres mengesampingkan veto dengan memberikan suara 97-1 di Senat dan 348-77 di DPR untuk membuat undang-undang itu resmi, memberikan teguran yang luar biasa kepada Obama. Itu memungkinkan pengadilan di Amerika Serikat untuk menyita aset Saudi di negara itu untuk membayar keputusan yang diperoleh oleh keluarga korban. Pejabat dari Arab Saudi membalas bahwa mereka akan menjual kepemilikan di AS untuk menghindari hasil seperti itu.

Dalam beberapa jam pemungutan suara untuk mengesampingkan veto, hampir 30 senator menandatangani surat yang menyatakan keberatan atas tindakan mereka.

Putusan Pro dan Kontra Kepresidenan Obama

Masih terlalu dini untuk mengatakan sejarah apa yang akan dicapai oleh Pemerintahan Obama selama delapan tahun kepemimpinannya. Tentu saja ada beberapa keuntungan luar biasa yang dicapai selama ini, tetapi itu datang dengan label harga yang menurut banyak orang terlalu tinggi.

Beberapa kebijakan memiliki keberhasilan parsial, seperti Undang-Undang Perawatan Terjangkau, tetapi juga menjadi tidak populer karena tidak dapat mencegah kenaikan biaya. Meskipun lebih banyak orang memiliki cakupan, ada juga lebih banyak keluarga yang berurusan dengan deductible dan biaya tinggi dengan perawatan medis mereka sampai sekarang.

Pro dan kontra dari kepresidenan Obama mirip dengan banyak presiden, tetapi ada satu pengecualian. Barack Obama tidak memiliki skandal pribadi, menjabat lebih lama dari presiden mana pun dalam beberapa dekade tanpa kata (skandal) yang diterbitkan di samping namanya di berita utama surat kabar.


100 Hari Pertama Presiden Obama

Barack Obama mengambil sumpah jabatan pada 20 Januari 2009, hanya empat bulan setelah runtuhnya Lehman Brothers, titik nadir dari Resesi Hebat.

Kepresidenan Bush dimulai dan diakhiri dengan kehancuran pasar saham, yang bersama-sama mengakibatkan hilangnya satu dekade bagi investor. President Obama, elected in the aftermath of the housing crash and the meltdown of the financial system, came to office as hundreds of thousands were losing their jobs each month and homes were being foreclosed en masse. The job losses would mount through his first year in office.

Obama’s relief efforts proved mixed. While he was able to help pass a huge stimulus package, it was much smaller than what many economists had called for and pales in comparison to the CARES Act stimulus package passed at the outset of the Covid-19 crisis. Moreover, programs to help homeowners stay in their homes did precious little. Still, the economy slowly rebounded during Obama’s two terms in office, with the unemployment rate ultimately reaching 4.7% in January 2017—well off the peak around 10% in the first year of his presidency.

Biden is in a much better situation. The labor market has already recovered from the worst of the pandemic-imposed lockdowns and is poised to return to pre-crisis levels by 2023, per the Fed. It took the economy more than a decade to recover from the housing crash.

And thanks to both relief packages passed last year, some households ended up in a better financial position than they were in before the pandemic struck thanks to thousands in direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance.

While we’re not out of the woods yet, investors should note the respective rates of recovery from both crises. The Great Recession was caused by the financial system nearly melting down while the current recession is much closer to a natural disaster. The former is much harder to bounce back from than the latter, which is why the S&P 500 is presently at all-time highs while Covid-19 still rages.


Politics Podcast: Trump Vs. The Polls -- Vol. II

How this applies to the incoming Trump administration is hard to say. First, Trump is less popular than any other newly elected president in modern history. Second, many of Trump&rsquos central campaign promises, such as building a wall across the Mexican border and enacting protective trade barriers, depart from the usual Republican legislative agenda. The stated goals of Republican legislative leaders revolve heavily around repealing the Affordable Care Act and paring back social safety net programs like Medicaid and Medicare. The complexity involved in these policy changes, which would affect millions of Americans, suggests that they may take longer to enact.

In this sense, we may see Trump&rsquos first 100 days follow the mold of Obama&rsquos, with a number of bills and executive orders that highlight the major symbolic differences between the new administration and the previous one, and a flurry of executive actions reversing Obama-era policies. But recent history suggests that, despite the pressure of the first 100 days benchmark, major initiatives require sustained attention and effort from the president, and the ability to build a coalition that will hold beyond the honeymoon.

CORRECTION (June 23, 5:05 p.m.): A previous version of this article gave an incorrect number of bills signed during the first 100 days for several presidents. The number for Barack Obama was wrong because of a transcription error. For the other presidents, there were discrepancies between our initial counts &mdash based on data from John Frendreis, Raymond Tatalovich and Jon Schaff &mdash and other sources. The first table and the text of the article have been updated with numbers from the U.S. Statutes at Large. For presidents beginning with Jimmy Carter, those numbers were confirmed using GovTrack.us data.

The first table has also been updated to clarify the time period that Franklin Roosevelt&rsquos number covers.


Gasoline Prices Under Presidents Bush, Obama, and Trump

President Donald Trump speaks at a roundtable on immigration and border security at U.S. Border . [+] Patrol McAllen Station, during a visit to the southern border, Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019, in McAllen, Texas. Photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS

On New Year's Day, President Trump tweeted:

President Trump's tweet on gasoline prices.

I have written many times about the limited impact a sitting President can have on gasoline prices. Presidents can pursue policies that over a period of time can influence gasoline prices in one direction or another, but their ability to impact prices quickly is pretty limited.

However, this year President Trump did indeed impact gasoline prices.

Gasoline prices fell sharply because oil prices collapsed. President Trump influenced that by conning Saudi Arabia into increasing production and then letting Iran continue to export oil.

I would also point out that gasoline prices at this time of year are usually low, because seasonal demand is low (and it's cheaper to produce winter gasoline).

For comparison, below is the national average retail gasoline price during the first week of January over the past 12 years.

Average national retail gasoline price during the first week of January.

President Bush was still in office in January of 2008 and 2009. Oil prices had collapsed in 2008 in response to the financial crisis, and gasoline prices followed. In January 2009 -- just a couple of weeks before Barack Obama's inauguration -- gasoline prices had fallen by nearly half from the previous year. That price, $1.74/gallon, is the lowest on the graph.

The second lowest price, $2.14/gallon, happened in 2016 following another oil price collapse. That same collapse had also impacted the price of $2.31/gallon in 2015, the third lowest price on the chart. President Obama was in office at that time.

This year's price of $2.33/gallon is the fourth lowest on the graphic. However, I would acknowledge that President Trump probably had more impact on this price than Bush or Obama had on the other low prices.

Nevertheless, if we return to President Trump's tweet and the question of whether it's just luck that gasoline prices are low -- I think it's clear that sometimes it is just luck. President Bush's energy policies weren't responsible for gasoline prices being below $2/gallon in 2009. Nor did President Obama's energy policies cause gasoline prices to fall in 2015 and 2016.

But the jury is still out as to whether President Trump's impact will be more than fleeting. The short-term benefit of lower gas prices came at a cost. Saudi Arabia is already reducing oil production and pushing oil prices higher. It is doubtful they will be as compliant when it comes to future requests that they pump more oil.


The Climate Expert Who Delivered News No One Wanted to Hear

From 2009: How a scientist known as the “father of global warming” watched his dire predictions for the planet come true.

A few months ago, James Hansen, the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, in Manhattan, took a day off from work to join a protest in Washington, D.C. The immediate target of the protest was the Capitol Power Plant, which supplies steam and chilled water to congressional offices, but more generally its object was coal, which is the world’s leading source of greenhouse-gas emissions. As it happened, on the day of the protest it snowed. Hansen was wearing a trench coat and a wide-brimmed canvas boater. He had forgotten to bring gloves. His sister, who lives in D.C. and had come along to watch over him, told him that he looked like Indiana Jones.

The march to the power plant was to begin on Capitol Hill, at the Spirit of Justice Park. By the time Hansen arrived, thousands of protesters were already milling around, wearing green hard hats and carrying posters with messages like “Power Past Coal” and “Clean Coal Is Like Dry Water.” Hansen was immediately surrounded by TV cameras.

Published in the print edition of the June 29, 2009, issue.

“You are one of the preëminent climatologists in the world,” one television reporter said. “How does this square with your science?”

“I’m trying to make clear what the connection is between the science and the policy,” Hansen responded. “Somebody has to do it.”

The reporter wasn’t satisfied. “Civil disobedience?” he asked, in a tone of mock incredulity. Hansen said that he couldn’t let young people put themselves on the line, “and then I stand back behind them.”

The reporter still hadn’t got what he wanted: “We’ve heard that you all are planning, even hoping, to get arrested today. Is that true?”

“I wouldn’t hope,” Hansen said. “But I do want to draw attention to the issue, whatever is necessary to do that.”

Hansen, who is sixty-eight, has greenish eyes, sparse brown hair, and the distracted manner of a man who’s just lost his wallet. (In fact, he frequently misplaces things, including, on occasion, his car.) Thirty years ago, he created one of the world’s first climate models, nicknamed Model Zero, which he used to predict most of what has happened to the climate since. Sometimes he is referred to as the “father of global warming,” and sometimes as the grandfather.

Hansen has now concluded, partly on the basis of his latest modelling efforts and partly on the basis of observations made by other scientists, that the threat of global warming is far greater than even he had suspected. Carbon dioxide isn’t just approaching dangerous levels it is already there. Unless immediate action is taken—including the shutdown of all the world’s coal plants within the next two decades—the planet will be committed to change on a scale society won’t be able to cope with. “This particular problem has become an emergency,” Hansen said.

Hansen’s revised calculations have prompted him to engage in activities—like marching on Washington—that aging government scientists don’t usually go in for. Last September, he travelled to England to testify on behalf of anti-coal activists who were arrested while climbing the smokestack of a power station to spray-paint a message to the Prime Minister. (They were acquitted.) Speaking before a congressional special committee last year, Hansen asserted that fossil-fuel companies were knowingly spreading misinformation about global warming and that their chairmen “should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.” He has compared freight trains carrying coal to “death trains,” and wrote to the head of the National Mining Association, who sent him a letter of complaint, that if the comparison “makes you uncomfortable, well, perhaps it should.”

Hansen insists that his intent is not to be provocative but conservative: his only aim is to preserve the world as we know it. “The science is clear,” he said, when it was his turn to address the protesters blocking the entrance to the Capitol Power Plant. “This is our one chance.”

The fifth of seven children, Hansen grew up in Denison, Iowa, a small, sleepy town close to the western edge of the state. His father was a tenant farmer who, after the Second World War, went to work as a bartender. All the kids slept in two rooms. As soon as he was old enough, Hansen went to work, too, delivering the Omaha World-Herald. When he was eighteen, he received a scholarship to attend the University of Iowa. It didn’t cover housing, so he rented a room for twenty-five dollars a month and ate mostly cereal. He stayed on at the university to get a Ph.D. in physics, writing his dissertation on the atmosphere of Venus. From there he went directly to the Goddard Institute for Space Studies—GISS, for short—where he took up the study of Venusian clouds.

By all accounts, including his own, Hansen was preoccupied by his research and not much interested in anything else. GISS’s offices are a few blocks south of Columbia University when riots shut down the campus, in 1968, he barely noticed. At that point, GISS’s computer was the fastest in the world, but it still had to be fed punch cards. “I was staying here late every night, reading in my decks of cards,” Hansen recalled. In 1969, he left GISS for six months to study in the Netherlands. There he met his wife, Anniek, who is Dutch the couple honeymooned in Florida, near Cape Canaveral, so they could watch an Apollo launch.

In 1973, the first Pioneer Venus mission was announced, and Hansen began designing an instrument—a polarimeter—to be carried on the orbiter. But soon his research interests began to shift earthward. A trio of chemists—they would later share a Nobel Prize—had discovered that chlorofluorocarbons and other man-made chemicals could break down the ozone layer. It had also become clear that greenhouse gases were rapidly building up in the atmosphere.

“We realized that we had a planet that was changing before our eyes, and that’s more interesting,” Hansen told me. The topic attracted him for much the same reason Venus’s clouds had: there were new research questions to be answered. He decided to try to adapt a computer program that had been designed to forecast the weather to see if it could be used to look further into the future. What would happen to the earth if, for example, greenhouse-gas levels were to double?

“He never worked on any topic thinking it might be any use for the world,” Anniek told me. “He just wanted to figure out the scientific meaning of it.”

When Hansen began his modelling work, there were good theoretical reasons for believing that increasing CO2 levels would cause the world to warm, but little empirical evidence. Average global temperatures had risen in the nineteen-thirties and forties then they had declined, in some regions, in the nineteen-fifties and sixties. A few years into his project, Hansen concluded that a new pattern was about to emerge. In 1981, he became the director of GISS. In a paper published that year in Sains, he forecast that the following decade would be unusually warm. (That turned out to be the case.) In the same paper, he predicted that the nineteen-nineties would be warmer still. (That also turned out to be true.) Finally, he forecast that by the end of the twentieth century a global-warming signal would emerge from the “noise” of natural climate variability. (This, too, proved to be correct.)

Later, Hansen became even more specific. In 1990, he bet a roomful of scientists that that year, or one of the following two, would be the warmest on record. (Within nine months, he had won the bet.) In 1991, he predicted that, owing to the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo, in the Philippines, average global temperatures would drop and then, a few years later, recommence their upward climb, which was precisely what happened.

From early on, the significance of Hansen’s insights was recognized by the scientific community. “The work that he did in the seventies, eighties, and nineties was absolutely groundbreaking,” Spencer Weart, a physicist turned historian who has studied the efforts to understand climate change, told me. He added, “It does help to be right.” “I have a whole folder in my drawer labelled ‘Canonical Papers, ’ ” Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton, said. “About half of them are Jim’s.”

Because of its implications for humanity, Hansen’s work also attracted considerable attention from the world at large. His 1981 paper prompted the first front-page article on climate change that ran in the Times—STUDY FINDS WARMING TREND THAT COULD RAISE SEA LEVELS,” the headline read—and within a few years he was regularly being invited to testify before Congress. Still, Hansen says, he didn’t imagine himself playing any role besides that of a research scientist. He is, he has written, “a poor communicator” and “not tactful.”

“He’s very shy,” Ralph Cicerone, the president of the National Academy of Sciences, who has known Hansen for nearly forty years, told me. “And, as far as I can tell, he does not enjoy a lot of his public work.”

“Jim doesn’t really like to look at anyone,” Anniek Hansen told me. “I say, ‘Just look at them!’ ”

Throughout the nineteen-eighties and nineties, the evidence of climate change—and its potential hazards—continued to grow. Hansen kept expecting the political system to respond. This, after all, was what had happened with the ozone problem. Proof that chlorofluorocarbons were destroying the ozone layer came in 1985, when British scientists discovered that an ozone “hole” had opened up over Antarctica. The crisis was resolved—or, at least, prevented from growing worse—by an international treaty phasing out chlorofluorocarbons which was ratified in 1987.

“At first, Jim’s work didn’t take an activist bent at all,” the writer Bill McKibben, who has followed Hansen’s career for more than twenty years and helped organize the anti-coal protest in D.C., told me. “I think he thought, as did I, If we get this set of facts out in front of everybody, they’re so powerful—overwhelming—that people will do what needs to be done. Of course, that was naïve on both our parts.”

As recently as the George W. Bush Administration, Hansen was still operating as if getting the right facts in front of the right people would be enough. In 2001, he was invited to speak to Vice-President Dick Cheney and other high-level Administration officials. For the meeting, he prepared a detailed presentation titled “The Forcings Underlying Climate Change.” In 2003, he was invited to Washington again, to meet with the head of the Council on Environmental Quality at the White House. This time, he offered a presentation on what ice-core records show about the sensitivity of the climate to changes in greenhouse-gas concentrations. But by 2004 the Administration had dropped any pretense that it was interested in the facts about climate change. That year, NASA, reportedly at the behest of the White House, insisted that all communications between GISS scientists and the outside world be routed through political appointees at the agency. The following year, the Administration prevented GISS from posting its monthly temperature data on its Web site, ostensibly on the ground that proper protocols had not been followed. (The data showed that 2005 was likely to be the warmest year on record.) Hansen was also told that he couldn’t grant a routine interview to National Public Radio. When he spoke out about the restrictions, scientists at other federal agencies complained that they were being similarly treated and a new term was invented: government scientists, it was said, were being “Hansenized.”

“He had been waiting all this time for global warming to become the issue that ozone was,” Anniek Hansen told me. “And he’s very patient. And he just kept on working and publishing, thinking that someone would do something.” She went on, “He started speaking out, not because he thinks he’s good at it, not because he enjoys it, but because of necessity.”

“When Jim makes up his mind, he pursues whatever conclusion he has to the end point,” Michael Oppenheimer said. “And he’s made up his mind that you have to pull out all the stops at this point, and that all his scientific efforts would come to naught if he didn’t also involve himself in political action.” Starting in 2007, Hansen began writing to world leaders, including Prime Minister Gordon Brown, of Britain, and Yasuo Fukuda, then the Prime Minister of Japan. In December, 2008, he composed a personal appeal to Barack and Michelle Obama.

“A stark scientific conclusion, that we must reduce greenhouse gases below present amounts to preserve nature and humanity, has become clear,” Hansen wrote. “It is still feasible to avert climate disasters, but only if policies are consistent with what science indicates to be required.” Hansen gave the letter to Obama’s chief science adviser, John Holdren, with whom he is friendly, and Holdren, he says, promised to deliver it. But Hansen never heard back, and by the spring he had begun to lose faith in the new Administration. (In an e-mail, Holdren said that he could not discuss “what I have or haven’t given or said to the President.”)

“I had had hopes that Obama understood the reality of the issue and would seize the opportunity to marry the energy and climate and national-security issues and make a very strong program,” Hansen told me. “Maybe he still will, but I’m getting bad feelings about it.”

There are lots of ways to lose an audience with a discussion of global warming, and new ones, it seems, are being discovered all the time. As well as anyone, Hansen ought to know this still, he persists in trying to make contact. He frequently gives public lectures just in the past few months, he has spoken to Native Americans in Washington, D.C. college students at Dartmouth high-school students in Copenhagen concerned citizens, including King Harald, in Oslo renewable-energy enthusiasts in Milwaukee folk-music fans in Beacon, New York and public-health professionals in Manhattan.

In April, I met up with Hansen at the state capitol in Concord, New Hampshire, where he had been invited to speak by local anti-coal activists. There had been only a couple of days to publicize the event nevertheless, more than two hundred and fifty people showed up. I asked a woman from the town of Ossipee why she had come. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to hear bad news straight from the horse’s mouth,” she said. For the event, Hansen had, as usual, prepared a PowerPoint presentation. It was projected onto a screen beside a faded portrait of George Washington. The first slide gave the title of the talk, “The Climate Threat to the Planet,” along with the disclaimer “Any statements relating to policy are personal opinion.”

Hansen likes to begin his talk with a highly compressed but still perilously long discussion of climate history, beginning in the early Eocene, some fifty million years ago. At that point, CO2 levels were high and, as Hansen noted, the world was very warm: there was practically no ice on the planet, and palm trees grew in the Arctic. Then CO2 levels began to fall. No one is entirely sure why, but one possible cause has to do with weathering processes that, over many millennia, allow carbon dioxide from the air to get bound up in limestone. As CO2 levels declined, the planet grew cooler Hansen flashed some slides on the screen, which showed that, between fifty million and thirty-five million years ago, deep-ocean temperatures dropped by more than ten degrees. Eventually, around thirty-four million years ago, temperatures sank low enough that glaciers began to form on Antarctica. By around three million years ago—perhaps earlier—permanent ice sheets had begun to form in the Northern Hemisphere as well. Then, about two million years ago, the world entered a period of recurring glaciations. During the ice ages—the most recent one ended about twelve thousand years ago—CO2 levels dropped even further.

What is now happening, Hansen explained to the group in New Hampshire, is that climate history is being run in reverse and at high speed, like a cassette tape on rewind. Carbon dioxide is being pumped into the air some ten thousand times faster than natural weathering processes can remove it.

“So humans now are in charge of atmospheric composition,” Hansen said. Then he corrected himself: “Well, we’re determining it, whether we’re in charge or not.”

Among the many risks of running the system backward is that the ice sheets formed on the way forward will start to disintegrate. Once it begins, this process is likely to be self-reinforcing. “If we burn all the fossil fuels and put all that CO2 into the atmosphere, we will be sending the planet back to the ice-free state,” Hansen said. “It will take a while to get there—ice sheets don’t melt instantaneously—but that’s what we will be doing. And if you melt all the ice, sea levels will go up two hundred and fifty feet. So you can’t do that without producing a different planet.”

There’s no precise term for the level of CO2 that will assure a climate disaster the best that scientists and policymakers have been able to come up with is the phrase “dangerous anthropogenic interference,” or D.A.I. Most official discussions have been premised on the notion that D.A.I. will not be reached until CO2 levels hit four hundred and fifty parts per million. Hansen, however, has concluded that the threshold for D.A.I. is much lower.

“The bad news is that it’s become clear that the dangerous amount of carbon dioxide is no more than three hundred and fifty parts per million,” he told the crowd in Concord. NS Betulkah bad news is that CO2 levels have already reached three hundred and eighty-five parts per million. (For the ten thousand years prior to the industrial revolution, carbon-dioxide levels were about two hundred and eighty parts per million, and if current emissions trends continue they will reach four hundred and fifty parts by around 2035.)

Once you accept that CO2 levels are already too high, it’s obvious, Hansen argues, what needs to be done. He displayed a chart of known fossil-fuel reserves represented in terms of their carbon content. There was a short bar for oil, a shorter bar for natural gas, and a tall bar for coal.

“We’ve already used about half of the oil,” he observed. “And we’re going to use all of the oil and natural gas that’s easily available. It’s owned by Russia and Saudi Arabia, and we can’t tell them not to sell it. So, if you look at the size of these fossil-fuel reservoirs, it becomes very clear. The only way we can constrain the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is to cut off the coal source, by saying either we will leave the coal in the ground or we will burn it only at power plants that actually capture the CO2.” Such power plants are often referred to as “clean coal plants.” Although there has been a great deal of talk about them lately, at this point there are no clean-coal plants in commercial operation, and, for a combination of technological and economic reasons, it’s not clear that there ever will be.

Hansen continued, “If we had a moratorium on any new coal plants and phased out existing ones over the next twenty years, we could get back to three hundred and fifty parts per million within several decades.” Reforestation, for example, if practiced on a massive scale, could begin to draw global CO2 levels down, Hansen says, “so it’s technically feasible.” But “it requires us to take action promptly.”

Coincidentally, that afternoon a vote was scheduled in the New Hampshire state legislature on a proposal involving the state’s largest coal-fired power plant, the Merrimack Station, in the town of Bow. The station’s owner was planning to spend several hundred million dollars to reduce mercury emissions from the plant—a cost that it planned to pass on to ratepayers. Hansen, who said he thought the plant should simply be shut, called the plan a “terrible waste of money.” A lawmaker sympathetic to this view had introduced a bill calling for more study of the project, but, as several people who came up to speak to Hansen after his talk explained, it was opposed by the state’s construction unions and seemed headed for defeat. (Less than an hour later, the bill was rejected in committee by a unanimous vote.)

“I assume you’re used to telling policymakers the truth and then having them ignore you,” one man said to Hansen.

Hansen smiled ruefully. “You’re right.”

In scientific circles, worries about D.A.I. are widespread. During the past few years, researchers around the world have noticed a disturbing trend: the planet is changing faster than had been anticipated. Antarctica, for example, had not been expected to show a net loss of ice for another century, but recent studies indicate that the continent’s massive ice sheets are already shrinking. At the other end of the globe, the Arctic ice cap has been melting at a shocking rate the extent of the summer ice is now only a little more than half of what it was just forty years ago. Meanwhile, scientists have found that the arid zones that circle the globe north and south of the tropics have been expanding more rapidly than computer models had predicted. This expansion of the subtropics means that highly populated areas, including the American Southwest and the Mediterranean basin, are likely to suffer more and more frequent droughts.

“Certainly, I think the shrinking of the Arctic ice cap made a very strong impression on a lot of scientists,” Spencer Weart, the physicist, told me. “And these things keep popping up. You think, What, another one? Another one? They’re almost all in the wrong direction, in the direction of making the change worse and faster.”

“In nearly all areas, the developments are occurring more quickly than had been assumed,” Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, the head of Germany’s Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, recently observed. “We are on our way to a destabilization of the world climate that has advanced much further than most people or their governments realize.”

“I said I don’t want to fight. That’s your cue to apologize.”

Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren, a physicist on leave from Harvard, has said that he believes “any reasonably comprehensive and up-to-date look at the evidence makes clear that civilization has already generated dangerous anthropogenic interference in the climate system.”

There is also broad agreement among scientists that coal represents the most serious threat to the climate. Coal now provides half the electricity in the United States. In China, that figure is closer to eighty per cent, and a new coal-fired power plant comes online every week or two. As oil supplies dwindle, there will still be plenty of coal, which could be—and in some places already is being—converted into a very dirty liquid fuel. Before Steven Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist, was appointed to his current post as Energy Secretary, he said in a speech, “There’s enough carbon in the ground to really cook us. Coal is my worst nightmare.” (These are lines that Hansen is fond of invoking.) A couple of months ago, seven prominent climate scientists from Australia wrote an open letter to the owners of that country’s major utility companies urging that “no new coal-fired power stations, except ones that have ZERO emissions,” be built. They also recommended an “urgent program” to phase out old plants.

“The unfortunate reality is that genuine action on climate change will require that existing coal-fired power stations cease to operate in the near future,” the group wrote.

But if Hansen’s anxieties about D.A.I. and coal are broadly shared, he is still, among climate scientists, an outlier. “Almost everyone in the scientific community is prepared to say that if we don’t do something now to reverse the direction we’re going in we either already are or will very, very soon be in the danger zone,” Naomi Oreskes, a historian of science and a provost at the University of California at San Diego, told me. “But Hansen talks in stronger terms. He’s using adjectives. He has started to speak in moral terms, and that always makes scientists uncomfortable.”

Hansen is also increasingly isolated among climate activists. “I view Jim Hansen as heroic as a scientist,” Eileen Claussen, the president of the Pew Center on Global Climate Change, said. “He was there at the beginning, he’s faced all kinds of pressures politically, and he’s done a terrific job, I think, of keeping focussed. But I wish he would stick to what he really knows. Because I don’t think he has a realistic view of what is politically possible, or what the best policies would be to deal with this problem.”

In Washington, the only approach to limiting emissions that is seen as having any chance of being enacted is a so-called “cap and trade” system. Under such a system, the government would set an over-all cap for CO2 emissions, then allocate allowances to major emitters, like power plants and oil refineries, which could be traded on a carbon market. In theory, at least, the system would discourage fossil-fuel use by making emitters pay for what they are putting out. But to the extent that such a system has been tried, by the members of the European Union, its results so far are inconclusive, and Hansen argues that it is essentially a sham. (He recently referred to it as “the Temple of Doom.”) What is required, he insists, is a direct tax on carbon emissions. The tax should be significant at the start—equivalent to roughly a dollar per gallon for gasoline—and then grow steeper over time. The revenues from the tax, he believes, ought to be distributed back to Americans on a per-capita basis, so that households that use less energy would actually make money, even as those that use more would find it increasingly expensive to do so.

“The only defense of this monstrous absurdity that I have heard,” Hansen wrote a few weeks ago, referring to a cap-and-trade system, “is ‘Well, you are right, it’s no good, but the train has left the station.’ If the train has left, it had better be derailed soon or the planet, and all of us, will be in deep do-do.”

GISS’s headquarters, at 112th Street and Broadway, sits above Tom’s Restaurant, the diner made famous by “Seinfeld” and Suzanne Vega. Hansen has occupied the same office, on the seventh floor, since he became the director of the institute, almost three decades ago. One day last month, I went to visit him there. Hansen told me that he had been trying to computerize his old files still, the most striking thing about the spacious office, which is largely taken up by three wooden tables, is that every available surface is covered with stacks of paper.

During the week, Hansen lives in an apartment just a few blocks from his office, but on weekends he and Anniek frequently go to an eighteenth-century house that they own in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, and their son and daughter, who have children of their own, come to visit. Hansen dotes on his grandchildren—in many hours of conversation with me, just about the only time that he spoke with unalloyed enthusiasm was when he discussed planting trees with them this spring—and he claims they are the major reason for his activism. “I decided that I didn’t want my grandchildren to say, ‘Opa understood what was happening, but he didn’t make it clear,’ ” he explained.

The day that I visited Hansen’s office, the House Energy and Commerce Committee was beginning its markup of a cap-and-trade bill co-sponsored by the committee’s chairman, Henry Waxman, of California. The bill—the American Clean Energy and Security Act—has the stated goal of cutting the country’s carbon emissions by seventeen per cent by 2020. It is the most significant piece of climate legislation to make it this far in the House. Hansen pointed out that the bill explicitly allows for the construction of new coal plants and predicted that it would, if passed, prove close to meaningless. He said that he thought it would probably be best if the bill failed, so that Congress could “come back and do it more sensibly.”

I said that if the bill failed I thought it was more likely Congress would let the issue drop, and that was one reason most of the country’s major environmental groups were backing it.

“This is just stupidity on the part of environmental organizations in Washington,” Hansen said. “The fact that some of these organizations have become part of the Washington ‘go along, get along’ establishment is very unfortunate.”

Hansen argues that politicians willfully misunderstand climate science it could be argued that Hansen just as willfully misunderstands politics. In order to stabilize carbon-dioxide levels in the atmosphere, annual global emissions would have to be cut by something on the order of three-quarters. In order to draw them down, agricultural and forestry practices would have to change dramatically as well. So far, at least, there is no evidence that any nation is willing to take anything approaching the necessary steps. On the contrary, almost all the trend lines point in the opposite direction. Just because the world desperately needs a solution that satisfies both the scientific and the political constraints doesn’t mean one necessarily exists.

For his part, Hansen argues that while the laws of geophysics are immutable, those of society are ours to determine. When I said that it didn’t seem feasible to expect the United States to give up its coal plants, he responded, “We can point to other countries being fifty per cent more energy-efficient than we are. We’re getting fifty per cent of our electricity from coal. That alone should provide a pretty strong argument.”

Then what about China and India?

Both countries are likely to suffer very severely from dramatic climate change, he said. “They’re going to recognize that. In fact, they already are beginning to recognize that.

“It’s not unrealistic,” he went on. “But the policies have to push us in that direction. And, as long as we let the politicians and the people who are supporting them continue to set the rules, such that ‘business as usual’ continues, or small tweaks to ‘business as usual,’ then it is unrealistic. So we have to change the rules.” He said that he was thinking of attending another demonstration soon, in West Virginia coal country. ♦