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Who Was The Best President?

With all the talk of the pros and cons of the current Administration taking place throughout the country, I asked friends who our best President was, especially from a business perspective.

In a lively Facebook discussion last week, some of the most popular answers were Ronald Reagan, Abraham Lincoln, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Teddy Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Barack Obama, and George Washington. Someone even mentioned Trump, though that would seem a bit premature!

The business community was helped by the relative stability that Ronald Reagan’s 8 years in office brought to the world. Defeating the Soviet Union without a direct conflict was a major factor, as was the regulatory and tax relief he delivered.   A major detriment, however, was runaway deficits and an inability to curb spending to the degree originally anticipated.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt was mentioned for similar reasons – he held the country together through first the Depression and then World War II, and was able to institute programs which incentivized business investment and strengthened our economy. Of course, the natural progression of mobilizing for war would have had this effect anyway, but the fact is this President successfully led our nation through some amazing trials.

Abraham Lincoln wins respect and admiration for his adaptability, dedication, honesty and patriotism. He clearly wanted to preserve our Union at all costs, and had the vision to implement the end of slavery through the conduct of the Civil War.   Repercussions from this period in our history still reverberate today, and the economics of our country is still shaped by its aftermath.

George Washington was an interesting mention, given that he was the very first. People felt that the tradition of the peaceful transition of power was very significant especially given the challenges we face today.

Finally, just-departed President Obama wins admiration for his trailblazing ascent to the nation’s top office as well as the positive economic period which lasted virtually his entire Administration. There are perhaps no right answers to this very interesting question!

-Jennifer Maher, Chairwoman, the Putnam County Chamber of Commerce, “A business advocacy group”

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