Last night, our President delivered his State of the Union Address and while I’m not the most politically inclined person on the planet, I still feel it’s our duty as American citizens to be aware of what he’s been able to accomplish from his 2011 goals and what he hopes to cross off his to do list in 2012.
Seeing as how this is the last year of President Obama‘s term (unless we re-elect him), it’s important for us to know what he has planned and how it will effect us. Here are three points from the State of the Union that you should be aware of, either for water cooler talk or just to be in the know.
Economy: This has been a pressing issue for the United States even before President Obama was elected. Last night, this was the star of the speech. The President wants to provide programs to improve education and job training. There’s a gap in the skill set between under-trained, under-educated and unemployed Americans and the jobs they’re not quite qualified for. Realistically speaking, Obama knows that it’s going to take time to get the almost 50% of Americans who’ve been without a job for 6 months or more back to work, but is determined to make that happen within his term and hopefully within the next.
He also wants to provide a tax break to companies who “insource” jobs back to the United States. With this break, companies are rewarded for hiring U.S. citizens. He also wants to see U.S. exports increase and is willing to travel all around the world to open up new markets for U.S. products.
And what about college loans putting students further into debt? If the President’s intentions come to pass, congress would prevent student loan rates from going up, extend a tax credit for college tuition and double the number of work-study jobs in the next five years.
Energy: President Obama wants to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil and would like to develop every available source of American energy, from using our natural gas resources (he noted that he wants all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use to avoid health risks) to new technology in the clean energy sector.
Clean energy is key in the preservation of our world as we know it. “I’m directing my administration to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power 3 million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, working with us, the world’s largest consumer of energy, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history — with the Navy purchasing enough capacity to power a quarter of a million homes a year.”
American Values: This topic is a heavy one for the American people. President Obama wants us all to have equal economic opportunities, specifically with the tax code. He wants this economy to work for us all, not just the wealthy 1%.
This means that the wealthy Americans will pay the taxes they should be paying as opposed to paying less than the lesser paid Americans–“The Buffet Rule.” If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes and if you make under $250,000 a year, like most Americans do, your taxes shouldn’t go up.
In the speech, President Obama stated, “If you worked hard, you could do well enough to raise a family, own a home, send your kids to college and put a little away for retirement.” Basically, our President wants a “fairer America,” a country that allows for the equal treatment financially for us all.
The speech of course brought up more topics, like an extension on mandatory school age attendance, creation of trade enforcement unit, an urge for immigration overhaul, establishment of financial crimes unit, protecting homeowners from abusive lending, peaceful resolutions to Iran, building a relationship with Afghanistan among many other pressing topics. In case you missed it, you can read the transcripts of the entire speech here or view it here.
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