Feature: The challenges Obama will face in office

President-elect Barack Obama will face a number of challenges once he assumes office in January. Here we take a brief look at some of them.


Obama identifies stagnant wages, rising prices, and inappropriate distribution of taxes as the main problems plaguing the economy and causing the financial problems of Americans. His plan to “Jumpstart the economy” intends to first provide an Emergency Energy Rebate to Americans struggling to pay their bills. The initial stage also includes a scheme to pump money into State growth and jobs and growth funds, to protect the jobs of over one million people.

Following this he will pursue his plan to rearrange taxation, giving middle class citizens a ‘break’.

These funding measure will of course have to face either some changes or delays in light of the Wall Street bailout.

National Security

Obama has said ending the war in Iraq must happen before a clear strategy against terrorism can be formed and pursued. It will allow the over-stretched military to focus its efforts in Afghanistan. He prioritises global collaboration in the effort to diminish the support for extremism, and to monitor and secure nuclear weapons and weapons of mass destruction.

Eliminating North Korea’s nuclear weapon program and preventing Iran from acquiring such weapons will prove to be extremely difficult tasks for the next president.


Obama’s plan to reform immigration policies centres on improved border control. This depends on better technology and more appropriate distribution of resources along the border, as well as an electronic system for employers to ensure their employees are working legally. He also has a vast plan to identify those undocumented people who are working and living in America, and following a fine, provide them with provisional status in the country.


The educational reform plans described by Obama have a genuine focus on creating better circumstances for teachers, with regard to their allotted time to plan required for success and their wages. His plans also include reforms to No Child Left Behind and support of affirmative action schemes.

Bringing Americans Together

Though Obama has marketed himself as a sort of “post-partisan” political figure in the coming months trying to handle the economic downfall and possible recession as well as other major issues while bringing together a racially, socio-economically fractured nation will be difficult.

He may have trouble holding up this promise of bringing the country together as in the wake of trying to accomplish everything else, he drops some campaign promises along the way.

Foreign Policy (repairing America’s image)

The Middle East will be a huge issue but beyond that Obama must work worldwide to fix America’s damaged image. Anti-American sentiments currently run deep and Obama will look to improve the county’s standing abroad.

Obama will also have to look to try to help solve the growing problems in the Congo and Darfur as in the past week the Congo has reached close to crisis level. In terms of African nations, however, Obama has a favorable rating – the Kenyans have declared a national holiday on his electoral victory. One thing that can definitely be expected is that Obama will be heavily involved in diplomatic engagement.

Climate Change

As global warming, energy efficiency, and climate change become more and more important, Obama will have to work to get the United States to decrease carbon emissions and use his role to enforce manufacturers and industries. In fact, he has previously stated that this will be one of his top priorities. Finding renewable energy resources, increasing fuel efficiency standards, and decreasing America’s reliance upon oil and gas.

Health Care

Obama has stated that during his presidency he will have a policy of getting affordable health care available to more American citizens saying that it should be a right and not a privilege.

Building upon the current insurance system the US has in place, Obama hopes to offer more in the way of public health care through medicaid and SCHIP systems and by making all employers offer health insurance to their employees.

Social Security

Obama must face the growing concern over the availability of social security. He has stated that he opposes the privatisation of social security but that he recognises the importance of social security benefits to aging senior citizens who rely on such money for everyday living expenses. He has cited the need for bipartisan cooperation to solve the problems