By Heather Hanenburg
President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union Address on February 12. In his speech, the President attempted to cover the successes of his first term and lay out the groundwork for the next four years.
The president began his speech by declaring that American troops are finally coming home. He promised that “by the end of next year, our war in Afghanistan will be over..
Obama stated that new Al Qaeda-like groups are sprouting up in other countries. The President proposed helping countries like Yemen, Libya, and Somalia with this growing threat.
Jobs and The Economy
The president touched on the topic of job creation and explained that, “our businesses have created over six million new jobs.” According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is true that six million jobs have been added after the lowest point of production in February of 2010. The president left out that job growth in the economy is at about 3.2 million lower than when the recession began in 2007.
The president spoke of the economy adding jobs, yet unemployment is still a problem for many Americans. Obama conveyed that although corporate profits are at “all-time highs…wages and incomes have barely budged.” revisiting the theory that the middle class is shrinking and that corporations are left with the blame of a stagnant recovery.
Education: Preschool to College
The president highlighted the need for adequate preschool accommodations for children in need. He focused on the importance of education for every child in America. Obama continued to point out that through his policies his Administration has made college more affordable.
He then asked Congress to progress with the Higher Education Act; A bill implemented by Lyndon B. Johnson meant to put money into financial aid programs for college students.
Cutting the Budget Deficit
The main theme for most of the president’s speeches seems to be the desire for the rich to pay their ‘fair-share’; a phrase that has loomed in his speeches since just before his 2012 campaign. Barack Obama states that from raising tax rates on the wealthy, “we are more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction.”
This is not entirely true. Senate Majority leader Harry Reid has stated congress had cut $2.6 trillion in “non-defense programs” alone. The president first used this number during a news conference on Jan. 14. Obama added that the figure had only “1.4 trillion in automatic spending cuts” and was bundled together with the $600 billion in tax revenue, “by making sure the wealthiest Americans begin to pay their fair share.”
Obama then began to go talk about how drastic cuts to the budget would result in the loss of, “hundreds of thousands of jobs.” While under his Administration, there has reportedly been a loss of over five million jobs.
President Obama explains, “Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime” and “It’s not bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities…”
The president’s policies reflect something different, the legislation Obama has been advocating for the past four years focuses on expanding our centralized government while adding to the deficit at an alarming rate. (
The president spoke about the need for immigration policy reform. He calls for “strong border security” and points out illegal border crossings have been at their lowest in forty years. He ‘applauds’ the new Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Chuck Schumer (D-NY) bill that grants amnesty to illegal immigrants.
One of the most important implications on our rights as citizens that has been overseen by President Barack Obama was lightly touched upon. A recently leaked document from the Justice Department reveals the proposed-need for predator drone use on American soil.
If the government intends on carrying out these plans, a person suspected of terrorism could face incarceration without due process at the very least. Nominee for CIA director John Brennan, has been pressed on this issue by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee but has yet to give an answer to whether or not the U.S. government has the authority to carry out such a dangerous form of protection.
One of the main issues being debated recently has been gun control. The president addressed this issue by picking examples from the Sandy Hook shootings and telling a story about a girl named Hadiya Pendleton who allegedly was reported liking Fig Newtons before she was shot to death in a park in Chicago (which ironically, has some of the toughest gun laws in the nation).
Another point that the president addressed was the problem of global climate change. Obama stated that the country’s carbon emission levels have fallen and “for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.”
He continued to say that “heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods” are “frequent and intense” blaming global warming for Hurricane Sandy. According to Obama, these natural disasters are means for implementing new policy to fight global climate change, “…before it’s too late.”