Last Tuesday night’s State of the Union Address proved to be entertaining due to more than just the first lady’s attire, which, by the way, was a black and red dress that did in fact show off a bit of arm. Like the first lady, President Obama’s courage has clearly strengthened since his re-election, as he takes a confrontational approach with no attempt to smooth over the opposition. However, the plan he laid out may be over-zealous with initiatives likely to provoke strong opposition in a Republican house.
To no one’s surprise, President Obama began his speech by addressing the number-one priority on Americans’ minds today, the economy. Included in his report card for the last four years were some grossly distorted claims for the deficit reduction and even accomplishments for miles per gallon for the average car, basing past accomplishments on future projections as far as the year 2025. Also notable was the difference in the claims between Obama’s estimation of manufacturing job increases, and the Republican rebuttal’s counterclaim that 600,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost since January 2009. Obama’s claim of about 500,000 new jobs in the last three years does not take into account the losses during the first year of his presidency.
After boasting those rather stretched accomplishments, President Obama went on to propose a plan consistent with his first term, with emphasis on raising taxes on the wealthiest one percent of the population, a plan most of the other 99 percent of Americans ought not to mind. As expected, the president called for what he considers a “balanced approach” that would include some cuts while still relying on the revenue made by eliminating special interest tax breaks and other loopholes that benefit the one percent. This balanced approach would also include investing government money to create new jobs. Acknowledging Apple, Ford, and Caterpillar for their efforts to bring jobs back to the U.S., President Obama proposed building 15 manufacturing hubs, investing in the latest medical research, and creating more alternative energy that he hopes will ensure that the next big revolution happens here in the United States.
Of course, Senator Marco Rubio’s Republican rebuttal attacked the president’s entire economic plan, reducing it to more government, more taxes, more borrowing, and more spending. Instead he suggested that we simply “grow our economy,” a phrase he used to suggest a reliance on the free market that will eventually fix itself. Certainly in today’s market, all government spending should be carefully scrutinized. However, we must not forget the importance of the New Deal on the economy after the Great Depression. Smart government spending is more logical than waiting on a crippled market to fix itself while the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
President Obama launched straight from the economy into combatting global climate change. He called for a bipartisan solution and said that “if Congress won’t work soon, I will.” Perhaps Senator Rubio was right when he countered, “We can’t control the weather.” Nevertheless, President Obama supported his claims with evidence from the last 15 years’ weather, and offered a plan for combatting climate change that included pollution reduction, community preparation, and a transition to sustainable energy sources.
Joy Wilson is a fourth-year student majoring in communications. She can be reached at JW794401@wcupa.edu.