This evening, President Barack Obama made a State of the Union Address. I cannot for the life of me figure out how he memorized an hour and a half speech. There was no teleprompter so I’m just dumbfounded. In any case, he was very optimistic about the state of our union, and he was basically setting up a foundation for his attempt at a reelection. His attitude was, ‘Hey, you don’t like Wall Street? Me either. Let’s fix it and put them under scrutiny because they are criminalizing the stock market. Hey you don’t like the way Congress is handling things? Me either. I’m here to change that.’ Not here to be political, I will get right down to it: I’m sure that most of us were not able to view it last night because today is the first day of midterms. I don’t blame you. So if you missed it and wish you could have seen it, here are the highlights of the speech that he made.
- Education- Obama stated that he would like the state governments to require all students to stay in high school until they graduate or until they turn 18. Next, he called for the federal government, State governments, and college boards to help fund college tuition for the economically handicapped. This includes lowering the interest rates on student loans. He also urged new emphasis on the teaching profession to improve teacher education, incentives for teachers to work harder, and new and more effective evaluation systems.
- Immigration- He first talks about how his administration has put more effort behind eliminating illegal immigration. He mentions how he believes instead of allowing people to come into the country and go to school here and then sending them away to use that knowledge elsewhere, they should have better access to becoming citizens to boost our economic growth. He also wants to give better access to citizenship to the youth who moved to America at a young age and have to constantly worry about deportation when they are clearly raised American.
- Outsourcing- He basically said that he wanted to deny big businesses tax incentives if the company outsources its jobs. It would require the companies to pay a minimum tax on all overseas dollar gain so that other countries don’t attract American businesses with extremely low taxing. Obama also wants to eliminate tax cuts for companies that shut down their factories and leave the U.S. Instead, he proposes that companies receive a financial credit for any factories shut down overseas and brought back to the United States. In addition, he calls for increasing tax deductions for manufacturers to create more jobs.
- Taxes- Obama argues that any person who makes more than $1 million annually should have to pay a minimum of tax rate of at least 30 percent. He said that this is a fair share for wealthy citizens and cites that Warren Buffett gets more of a tax cut annually than his secretary.
- Redistributing War Savings- Since drawing back from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there is a massive savings granted to the Unites States. Obama plans to use half of the savings to reduce the national debt. He then wants to use the other half to cover costs of new investments such as fixing roads, building new high-speed railroads, and repairing infrastructures. He also is going to sign an executive order to advance projects that have already been funded but have political and bureaucratic roadblocks.
- Housing- He proposed that there be a national program for homeowners to refinance their houses to lower mortgage interest rates. Any homeowners keeping up with their mortgage can use these lending rates which are now at 4 percent. The savings estimate at $3,000 per year.
- Workforce- Obama suggests creating a Veterans Jobs Corps to help hire veterans and firmly commits himself to equal wages for men and women.
- Healthcare- He is willing to hear GOP ideas on medical malpractice reform to bring down costs. He stands firmly behind his healthcare overhaul law as well. “So instead of refighting the battles of the last two years, let’s fix what needs fixing and move forward,” he said.
- International Trade- Obama addressed putting in stronger inspections for counterfeit money and illegal or unsafe goods entering the United States. He also wants to finance trade practices to put the country on the same level as China and other competitors. Lastly, he suggests that a trade enforcement unit be created to go after unfair trade around the world.
- Politics- Obama urges for the Republicans and Democrats to work together and ignore party lines to help our nation. “What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow,” Obama said. He acknowledged that after the shooting in Tuscon, AZ seriously wounding Representative Gabrielle Giffords, the bodies did not care about who belonged to what party. He only hopes that this can continue.
“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.” -President Barack Obama
Personally, my favorite part of the speech was when the President made a corny joke. “We got rid of one rule from 40 years ago that could have forced some dairy farmers to spend $10,000 a year proving that they could contain a spill, because milk was somehow classified as an oil. With a rule like that, I guess it was worth crying over spilled milk.” Very funny, Mr. President, very funny.
Secret white writ