President Barack Obama held his second State of the Union address on Tuesday. It was the 222nd to ever be held.
Obama began the address by “congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress,” especially John Boehner, the new Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Arizona congresswomen, Gabby Giffords, was not present due to the tragic shooting that she became a victim of in Tucson. However, she was not forgotten by Obama or any of the other members of Congress on Tuesday.
Obama said that the moments of unity we are currently experiencing need to be continued into the future for the United States to prosper.
President Obama said he has faith in the new Congress. He said, “We will move forward together, or not at all,” as with how Congress is now split, all new laws will require bipartisan support to pass.
Now is a crucial time for Congress to make sure that the economy continues to grow. Since the 2008 economic crash, “the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again,” said Obama.
However, Obama said that to truly measure the success of the economic resurrection, we must make sure that Americans are prospering on every level and are getting the jobs that will help them maintain the American standard of living.
The President sympathized with how the job market went from a place where “if you worked hard, chances are you’d have a job for life, with a decent paycheck, good benefits, and the occasional promotion,” to a place where businesses are shutting down, people are losing money, and others are losing their jobs all together.
Obama credited the advances in technology to the shrinking of the job market. Factory jobs no longer need as many workers and some jobs don’t require humans at all anymore.
President Obama then complimented China and India on their economic successes and their ability to act quickly to educate their children on the necessary skills to succeed in the new world.
But Obama made it clear that Americans are still leading the pack. “America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. No workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We are home to the world’s best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any other place in the world,” said Obama.
Obama then reminded the men and women of Congress, as well as the millions watching at home, that they should not forget that once upon a time, the United States was a new nation founded on “the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny.”
He then told his audience that we must work to maintain our success. He quoted Robert Kennedy when he said, “The future is not a gift. It is an achievement.”
Obama said that the keys to success were innovation, education, and production. In addition, Obama also focused on taking on the national deficit.
Obama emphasized the need to promote imagination and creativeness. Obama told Americans that we cannot become stagnant in our innovations. From the Wright brother and Thomas Edison to the Internet and Google, we must take a note from our past that innovation is necessary.
“Biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology,” as the areas that Obama is investing in.
Obama is challenging the United States to become a nation of clean energy. To do so Obama has suggested to Congress that the tax money that goes to oil companies goes to those working on clean energy instead. As Obama put it, “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, let’s invest in tomorrow’s.”
To make sure that Americans are ready for the new technologies and to take the jobs that will come with the innovations, Obama stressed progressions in education, especially in math, science, and graduation levels.
Obama challenged parents to make sure that the knowledge of why learning is important is instilled in every child. Obama has also challenged schools to raise the standards for students and teachers with programs such as the Race to the Top.
Obama is also working on providing more grants for college students as the rates of a college education grow. The work Obama is putting in will benefit students from Harvard Law to the local community college.
Obama then alluded to his disappointment with the DREAM Act not passing. He then asked Congress to work with him to settle the issues of illegal immigration so that intelligent young adults with good moral character don’t get deported when they could instead contribute to the American economy and society.
Obama then directed focus on improving the speed of American technology and the quality of American infrastructure. Part of the additions will be high-speed rail to increase the speed that Americans can travel.
In addition, faster Internet signals and phone signals will also be made a priority to connect Americans.
Obama is also calling on Congress to change the way businesses are taxed in order to help out the small businesses of America.
Obama then address the health care law. He said the door is open to discuss any ideas for improvements with him at any time as his top concern is providing the best possible plan for the American people.
Finally, Obama addressed the issue of the national deficit. To tackle the issue, the President offered up ideas from freezing annual domestic spending for the next half-decade as well as freezing federal and military salaries.
Obama concluded his address by asking the men and women of Congress to work together for the good of the American people. Obama also spoke of the issues in the Middle East in Iraq and Afghanistan and in Tunisia.
Obama touted the American Dream. He reiterated the need to dream in order to succeed in the future.
To cap off his speech, Obama said, “Our destiny remains our choice. And tonight, more than two centuries later, it is because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.”
After two years of a divided Congress, it is now clear that Republicans and Democrats have no choice but to work together. And President Obama knows that. With foreign affairs, the economy, energy, jobs, education, and health care all needing attention from Congress, it is now time for the men and women of the House and the Senate to come together and resolve the issues that have been holding back Americans for far too long. And President Obama is leading the way.