Obama In Pantheon of Most Successful U.S. Presidents?


January 22, 2014 by Anders Ingemarson

Since the botched launch of the healthcare initiative bearing his name, talk radio and TV, editorial pages and the blogosphere have been abuzz with predictions of the demise of our current president.

If history is an indicator, they’re wrong. When the kinks of the website have been worked out and most people have managed to enroll, when time has worked its therapeutic magic and the initial frustration has faded into memory, “ObamaCare” runs the risk of becoming like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid—another program that most Americans consider a fact of life and that most politicians on either side of the aisle loathe to question the existence of, never mind proposing radical alternatives to.

As a result, Barack Obama will most likely take his place in the Pantheon of our four most successful presidents of the past 100 years as measured by their lasting legacy—the scope and staying power of the programs, institutions, and regulations signed into law during their presidency.

Who is included in this prominent POTUS quartet?  Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, and yes, Barack H. Obama.

Woodrow Wilson’s main claim to fame is the creation of the Federal Reserve, the introduction of the federal income tax (16th Amendment), and the establishment of direct elections of U.S. Senators by popular vote (17th Amendment), all instituted in 1913 and remaining to this day.

Franklin D. Roosevelt gets the nod for the 1930s programs initiated under the “New Deal” that are still with us, among them Social Security, the Wagner Act (pro labor union legislation), and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

Lyndon B. Johnson’s admission ticket is the “Great Society” which gave us Medicare and Medicaid in the 1960s, both of which are cornerstones of today’s welfare programs.

And finally Barack H. Obama, whose ramming through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) in 2009 probably will guarantee him a place alongside the other three.

What do their achievements have in common? In one form or another, they directly or indirectly violate our individual rights.  Each has taken us a step or two or more further down the slippery slope of limiting our rights to life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness:

  • The direct election of U.S. senators by popular vote weakened constitutional checks and balances, tilting the country towards democratic populism. As a result we’ve been increasingly subject to rights violations through majority rule, contributing to paving the way for many of the programs on this list.
  • The Federal Reserve Act, among other things, violates the rights of banks and financial institutions to freely compete for borrowers and depositors by dictating interest rate levels. It has also exposed all of us to increased market volatility (booms and busts) that comes with concentrating financial policy decisions in a federal reserve system.
  • SEC regulations, just as the Federal Reserve rules, violate the rights of banks and financial institutions to freely compete for private and corporate borrowers and depositors.
  • The federal income tax violates the right to keep and dispose of the fruits of our labors.
  • Social Security violates our rights to plan for old age by taxing us and our employers and using the proceeds to pay for other people’s retirement needs.
  • Labor regulations violate the rights of employers to hire and fire as their business needs dictate, and the right of individuals to seek employment without the interference of labor unions.
  • Finally, Medicare, Medicaid, and ObamaCare violate our rights to choose the healthcare solutions that best suit us. It also violates the rights of doctors, health insurance providers, medical device manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies to conduct business without government interference.

Notice the complete absence of initiatives upholding and strengthening individual rights, and removing existing rights violations. It is no coincidence. The past 100 years have been an orgy in Statism, the political doctrine advocating the subjugation of the individual to the state, at the expense of its polar opposite, Individualism, which champions the rights of each of us to live our lives free of government coercion. Consequently, the Pantheon of most successful U.S. presidents during this time period reads as a Who Is Who of most successful statists.

It obviously doesn’t have to stay this way. But dethroning the statists will require a breed of presidents who champion Individualism, individual rights and Capitalism as moral ideals for a free society. Such presidents will only become a reality if we pave the way with our activism, expressing moral certainty in the virtues of Individualism. Furthermore, we have to show America the constructive individual rights respecting solutions that are possible as alternatives to today’s immoral rights violating government institutions, programs and regulations in every area of society—healthcare, retirement, education, banking & finance, energy & environment, food & agriculture, communications & transportation, commerce & employment, and so on.

One day, as a result of our efforts, the Pantheon of most successful U.S. presidents will read as a Who Is Who of most successful individualists. And Woodrow Wilson, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson and Barack H. Obama will be relegated to the statist horror cabinet.

6 thoughts on “Obama In Pantheon of Most Successful U.S. Presidents?

  1. randshurts says:


    Excellent demonstration of how this is a century old problem.

    Well Done,

    Russ Shurts


  2. brenda piper says:

    You people make me sick.Without the SS and the Obamacare I as many people would be without any money in our old age as well as healthcare. This country is run by the rich for the rich and poor people are at their mercy, thats why you are seeing a rise in crime because poor people have nothing and they will take it anyway they can to survive. I have NEVER drawn one cent of welfare and we have worked like dogs to live as many others have and all because we are the working poor. All people cannot be a genius, educated fools, Drs. lawyers, politicians, etc. with the evil mind to get rich off of the backs of others. Being poor is no crime. You obviously have never been afraid of being homeless and without food and worry yourself to death because you can’t see a Dr. when you’re sick but I have. I am a 63 yr. old woman and I am going to Dr. for first time in three years since my husband retired from a job he worked at for 35 yrs as a concrete worker that has broke him down from far to early in his life. So to hell with you and all like you that cannot offer any better solution and if any of you cared about us something would have been done a long time ago about the poor in THIS country.You or the politicians don’t give a damn or there would be NO homeless in THIS country. Now suppose there was no SS for the poor that has not been able to work for the companies that have the best benefits and paid good wages and they had to use EVERY penny earned to survive so therefore could not save a nickel for their older years. What would be our fate when we can barely live on SS meager allotment, exactly thats not your problem right. The one thing that I can see coming to all the rich and righteous is we outnumber you and when the time comes that we have to watch our families go hungry and homeless while the rich live high off the hog there will be a revolt and the poor will rise to the occasion because we will do whatever is necessary for OUR families to live and I want to see you and your kind survive like we have had to and we will see who is the stronger then. If you want to do somethinng take all the money thats being wasted on the “perks ” of politicians and use that money to pay for SS or Obamacare and it would pay for itself. Have a nice meal tonite with your family and try to remember some are not eating in THIS country and All over the world, then do something to help, but then again you have to be poor to care about poor.


    • Hi Brenda,
      I’m sorry you’re going through tough times. I agree that most pundits who want to repeal Social Security, ObamaCare and the like don’t offer a positive vision of what society would look like without them, or plans for how to get there. While this post doesn’t address those topics, I’ve tried to add my 2 cents on the Separate What pages on my blog, for instance Healthcare and Social Security.
      However, it remains a fact that your needs, however dire they may be, don’t give you a claim on your neighbor’s property, neither directly nor indirectly through government redistribution. That is tantamount to turning you into the master and your neighbor into your slave.


    • Mike says:

      Mrs. Piper, congrats on earning your way through life. You mentioned that you managed to support yourself without taking welfare. Imagine how much easier this would have been if you had the additional 15% in pay that SS takes in taxes. And would your rent have been lower if your landlord wasn’t paying so much in income and property taxes?


  3. Mike says:

    I think if you look, you can find many presidents who have upheld individual rights. Carter deregulated the airline industry and the gas pipeline industry. This step toward individual rights led to a huge increase in the wealth of our country. Today I can fly round trip from Denver to New Orleans for $138. Many presidents have helped by doing nothing in most areas.


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