Reflecting on the State of the Union Address

On Jan. 20, President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union Address. During this speech the president laid out his plan for the United States. He did an excellent job in delivering his agenda for America and effectively utilized economic statistics to show the progress that America has made under his administration.

“(Progress) begins with the economy,” said Obama in his speech.

The president gave a lot of statistics supporting his idea that middle-class economics work. One example was that the unemployment rate was lower than the unemployment rate before recession.

“Our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” said Obama.

The fact that he was able to support his idea about middle-class economics shows people that he is not simply saying what people want to hear. President Obama gave the people of the United States solid facts that not only support his agenda but gave them hope that things are getting better.

While he succeeded in showing what he has done during the State of the Union address, he has not been very successful in doing that during his time as president. This is partly the reason why Democrats were defeated during the midterm elections.

There were even politicians that distanced themselves from him during their campaigns. In the race between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, Hagan distanced herself from Obama in a 2014 ad. She claimed that she would stand up to the president.

The president presented a lot of proposals for the United States, which included a free community college education. Professor of Economics Robert Williams believes free community college will benefit the economy. However, he thinks that there should be some sort of stipulation, such as having good grades.

If Americans want to remain competitive in the world, education beyond high school is very important. Some people may wonder how the government is going to pay for this. That is where tax reform comes in.

“The wealthy are not paying their fair share of taxes because of loopholes in the tax laws,” said Robert Duncan, assistant professor of political science.

Williams agrees.

“The loopholes in the tax code benefit the wealthy,” said Williams.

Fixing those loopholes will benefit the United States and help pay for things such as free community college and ensure that the people who earn the most money pay the most taxes.

“It’s not a spending problem that the United States has,” said Duncan. “The problem lies within these loopholes. The president makes it very clear that they hurt our country, and they need to be closed.”

Another way that the president reached out to the American people was to share a story about a typical American family. He used a story about an American citizen named Rebecca to connect with people who have fallen on hard times.

He said Rebecca waited tables, and her husband worked in construction. When the recession hit, her husband’s business dried up, and he had to take jobs that would keep him on the road a lot. Rebecca took out student loans and retrained for a new career by enrolling in a community college.

Their sacrifices paid off. They ended up buying their first home. Rebecca got a new job and her husband is back working in construction.

The recession was hard on a lot of people, and the president wanted to give Americans someone they could relate to.

This connection with the average person worked well because sometimes politicians go to Washington and forget about the people that elected them. By using Rebecca’s story to connect with people, President Obama showed the people that he has not forgotten about them.

The topics that he brought up during the State of the Union address were what America needed to hear, but he also addressed big issues and gave real solutions.

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