by Ernesto Garcia
The President of the United States, Barack Obama, was re-elected back in November. With his second inauguration already done, it was then time to give annual State of the Union Address. Last week, he made his annual speech to a joint session of congress, outlining not only the current conditions of the nation but also his political agenda and goals for the year and his second term as president. For those of you who have not watched his most recent address, this summary will fill you in on the main points he laid out for the nation.
For the most part, President Obama declared that his main focuses are correcting our economy and providing Americans, especially middle class, with more jobs. He laid out a more liberal vision for the United States that incorporated better gun control, more jobs, environmental protection, and for students, an effort to keep tuition costs in check. The President spoke about hiking the minimum wage to $9 an hour to help all low income families in these tough times, as well as investing $50 billion on rebuilding roads and bridges to create more jobs.
Obama stated that growing the economy and creating good middle-class jobs “must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” but he also laid out some other interesting proposals. He proposed that gun control should be talked about in light of recent tragedies. In addition, the President wants to beef up border protection and combine that with a law to create a path for undocumented immigrant students to become legal U.S. citizens.
For education reform, he proposed rewards for effective schools, coupled with encouragement to follow their own curricula and methods. In addition, he stated that there should be State laws that require students to stay in school until graduation or age 18. For those in college, he wants to extend the college tuition tax credit and double the number of work-study jobs over the next five years.
President Obama also wants to help the middle class by reforming the tax code. This includes the so-called Buffett rule, a minimum 30% tax rate for individuals whose income exceeds $1 million and no tax increases for anyone earning less than $250,000.
On the environmental side, he wants to reduce greenhouse gasses and produce more clean energy. Among these proposals is support for domestic natural gas production, with regulations on chemicals used in the extraction process. This would also include the passage of clean energy tax credits and an end to subsidies for the fossil fuel industry. He wants to develop enough clean energy on public land to power three million homes and help manufacturers reduce energy waste in factories.
Finally, one of the more important things the president wants to do is create a more bipartisan Government, and he challenged the current Congress to get up and get to work on the nation by having both parties work together.
Ernesto Garcia is a current BECA Major at SFSU focusing on video production