Obama’s State of the Union tackles important issues head-on
Every year the most important speech in American politics is given by the president of the United States to lay out the nation’s annual blueprint. It’s known as the State of the Union speech. With a second term starting this year for President Barack Obama, the stakes are a lot higher than they were in the first term, especially with divided government.
President Obama pointed out that deficit reduction alone is not enough to get our economy back running again and that government has its purpose, even if the Republicans refuse to see it.
Many key points stood out in the State of the Union in a pursuit to rebuild America. One of them includes raising the federal minimum wage to $9.00 an hour. While the Republicans cry foul about this proposal, it is important to note that a few dozen Republican members of Congress voted for a raise of the federal minimum wage when George W. Bush was president, when it rose from $5.15 to the current rate of $7.25.
Staying on the issue of jobs, the president called in his speech
for $50 billion investments in infrastructure to repair our crumbling bridges and roads and $15 billion on a construction job program to boost our economic growth. President Obama called for a national program called “Fix-It-First” that will respond to the urgent repairs of nearly 70,000 structurally-deficient bridges across the country.
The rise of the federal minimum wage and the promise to rebuild America will keep our citizens out of poverty and safe.
If working-class citizens are paid decently, that money will be put back into the economy into places like Starbucks, movie theaters, Target, restaurants, etc., which will lead to more jobs being created and the economy growing the way it should.
The president also issued a challenge to Congress on the issue of climate change by urging Congress to pass a cap-and-trade bill with framework developed by Republican Sen. John McCain and former independent Sen. Joe Liebermann. The president said in his speech that if Congress does not act, he will take executive order and direct the Environmental Protection Agency to limit emission standards for power plants imposed under the Clean Air Act, which was created under Republican President Richard Nixon.
Gun control came near the end of the speech, and in that moment as the president addressed Congress and the millions of Americans watching at home, he mentioned the 15-year-old girl from Chicago who was murdered a week after performing at President’s Obama inaugural. The president reminded Congress what is at stake on this issue.
“More than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun since Newtown,” President Obama said in response to the issue of gun control.
The president is using his bully pulpit and must not stop.
He is demanding justice be done on every issue laid out in the most important speech of the year. He is realizing that some things are worth fighting for even if the odds of defeat are strong.
The justice demanded in this speech will be met and it will be so because the Republicans will grow up and vote on the issues that matter. Or they will be given a pink slip from the voters in 2014 who are becoming tired of the fighting in Washington while their futures remain nothing more than a question mark.