Opinion The Most Expensive President Since 1945

The new US president's first 100 days in office were expensive, glamorous and often contradictory. Barack Obama has done many things right against a host of intractable problems, but he's made at least two blatant mistakes.

By Gabor Steingart in Washington

US President Barack Obama: How good?

US President Barack Obama: How good?

It is often said that the Americans' most successful exports have been rock 'n' roll and Coca-Cola. But nowadays dancing to an Elvis beat is long since passé, and the brownish soda's reputation has always been dubious. A far more successful American export may be the introduction of the practice of appraising every new administration's first 100 days in office. Former US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt hit upon the idea 80 years ago. Since then, every democratic leader in the world has had to submit to a similar assessment of his initial performance.

The 100-day appraisal is more of a sport than a serious political observation. If Obama manages to be elected for a second term, thereby serving the two terms in office permitted under the US Constitution, this week will mark the completion of only 3.4 percent of his time in office. Nevertheless, even dubious habits are just that -- habits.

Here is a report card on Obama's first 100 days in office. As everyone knows, grades are not handed out in the first year of school, but written evaluations certainly are:


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