After 1,200 Days, Obama Has Left His Mark on America

With one of Barack Obama's signature legislative achievements on the Supreme Court chopping block and his re-election bid against Mitt Romney shaping up into a close race, many conservative pundits are claiming the president's legacy is in peril. Since their assertions have received ample play in the mainstream media, I decided it would be appropriate to offer a different perspective.

Here is a look at some of Obama's most important achievements, nearly 1,200 days into this presidency:

The economy. Obama stopped the Great Recession from deteriorating into a second Great Depression. Although the first nine months of the Great Recession saw only a gradual climb in unemployment (from just under 5 percent in the last pre-recession month, November 2007, to slightly more than 6 percent in August 2008), the Wall Street meltdown of September 2008 caused it to spiral out of control. Unemployment rose at a dangerous average rate of almost 0.4 percent per month from the time of the crash to May 2009. Once Obama's stimulus bill began taking effect, however, the jobless rate stabilized; after doubling to 9.4 percent in the year and a half since November 2007, it remained at or under 10 percent for the next 18 months. Since then it has declined, in large part due to a second stimulus Obama appended to the Bush tax cut extensions, with unemployment ranging from 8.5 percent to 9.1 percent throughout 2011 before falling to a low of 8.2 percent in March.

This article originally appeared on The Morning Call.