On Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address, diplomatically re-highlighting many of the issues he touched upon in his Inaugural Address in January, including education costs and quality, climate change, war, gun control and the economy, and calling for a government that “encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.” This time around, however, Obama offered more specific plans of action. The American economy seems to be high on the presidential agenda. Obama said his administration’s first priority is to make America “a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing.” He will also address the national debt in order to stabilize finances, and noted his administration’s progress in its efforts at deficit reduction. This, he said, will help achieve his enduring goal of strengthening the middle class. His other method will be a raise in taxes on the rich: Obama still intends to tax the country’s “wealthiest and most powerful” in order to achieve his goals, claiming that it is unfair to ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the burden of deficit reduction.
Obama’s emphasis on economy and the American job force is a solid ground on which to build a platform for the country’s bettermend. Turning inward to make America a manufacturing hub for technology, solar infrastructure, and a number of other industries will empower our domestic industry as well as our exports.
Regarding climate change, the president called for more investment in American oil companies, as well as more progress in the front of alternative energy development. This is more than necessary: Much scientific evidence has pointed to a rapid increase in global warming as a result of human activity; storms like Sandy have been proof of this. Addressing the issue is crucial for reasons both environmental and economic. It is encouraging to see Obama working with scientific evidence, keeping the U.S. on par with other countries’ responses to the global energy crisis while also making our country less dependent on foreign oil. Hopefully, he will be successful in implementing changes.
Obama will also focus on the rising cost of college and college debt, which while a hot-button issue for young citizens (and young voters), is still a problem in need of a solution if we want the U.S. to remain an education powerhouse, and one in which all citizens can afford high-quality higher education. A young generation in debt is antithetical to Obama’s call for a strong and financially stable middle class and country as a whole. Perhaps the president’s speech will encourage universities to start addressing their tuitions and adjust their financial aid policies.
Obama also claims he will pull troops out of Afghanistan, as well as continue to fight for gun control. Whether he succeeds in these efforts has yet to be determined. But all in all, Obama gave a strong speech that called for bipartisanship and action, addressing crucial issues of our times and laying out some groundwork regarding the ways in which Congress will go about furthering the betterment of the country.