This Is The 2014 State Of The Union Address
State of the Union
We have our highest graduation rate in three decades. There have been eight million new jobs created over the past four years, and we currently have the lowest unemployment rate in 5 years. We had the strongest five year stretch in farm exports in our history. The Iraq War is ending after 12 years. Three million more people have health insurance now. The manufacturing sector is rebounding, and the housing market is booming. Childhood obesity is down for the first time in 30 years.
2014 could be a breakthrough year for the country. We are better positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on earth. Washington D.C. must decide if they want to help or hinder the progress we are trying to make. Questions on the size of government date back to the founding of the country. When democracy is prevented, whether it’s a shutdown of the government or endangering the full faith and credit of the United States government, American people get hurt.
Congress has passed a budget on a bipartisan nature. Washington should be focused on investing in the nation’s future while lowering the deficit. There should be a focus on creating jobs, not crises. People are tired of stale political arguments.
America is about opportunity for all. If you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead here. If you honor the dignity of work, hard work will pay off. However, corporate profits and stock prices have never been higher while wages have remained stagnant. Upward mobility has stalled. Most people are working just to get by, or not at all. We can reverse these trends by speeding up growth, strengthening the middle class, and creating more ladders into the middle class. Success should not be determined by the accident of birth, but on the merits of the individual. We live in a nation where the son of a barkeep can be the Speaker of the House, and the son of a single mom can be President of the United States. Opportunity is who we are, and access to good jobs is part of that opportunity. Some will earn more than others. No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty.
The president pledged to work with Congress or through executive orders to effectuate change. The executive branch has created programs to train 400,000 veterans and military spouses. 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits are working together to reduce inequality and to increase access to education-an effort spearheaded by the executive branch.
Companies say they intend to hire more people, and manufacturers are thinking of insourcing. We can reform taxes on businesses and rebuild infrastructure with savings from tax reform. Congress will finish the transportation and waterways bill to save 3 million jobs. Businesses will be connected to research universities to create jobs in hi-tech manufacturing. There will be trade promotion to protect workers’ environments and open new markets to new goods made in the USA. Federally funded research that helped Google and Facebook should be restored. Patent reform bills should be passed so companies can stay focused on core competency rather than litigation.
The President has made a commitment to energy reform. The all the above energy strategy is working. Natural gas is emerging as one of the best routes into the future. Cut red tape and build new fueling stations. Strengthen air, water, and protection for federal lands. The United states is a global leader in solar power. Every four minutes, another home goes solar. Smarter tax policy will steer $4 billion away from fossil fuel industries who don’t need it, and towards cleaner renewable energy. Energy reduction has also been a focus. New fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks in an effort to drive down imports and gas prices.
The debate is settled. Climate change is an acknowledged fact. We have reduced our carbon footprint more than any other nation on earth, and will enact further carbon pollution reduction measures.
Our broken immigration system needs to be fixed. Immigration reform will shrink the deficit by $1 trillion. Immigrants coming here and contributing to the work force makes us a more attractive place to do business.
Workers must be equipped with the necessary skills to compete in today’s marketplace. American Job Centers are examples of the types of effective reforms needed in American job training. This includes on the job training, apprenticeships, and the connection of companies to community colleges in designing training.
Women In The Workplace
Women make 77 cents on the dollar men make. There should be equal pay for equal work. A woman should be able to have a baby without sacrificing their jobs.
Five states have passed a minimum wage referendum on their own. The president raised federal minimum wage to $10.10. Minimum wage is worth less than what it was originally worth. America deserves a raise.
There must be reforms to unemployment insurance, but until then, we must restore what just expired. CEOs have said they will give the long term unemployed a chance.
Savings and Investment
Access to a quality education and improving standards of our education are the president’s priority. Race to The Top has raised expectations and performance. Problem solving, critical thinking, science, technology, engineering, and math are what’s necessary for the new economy. The reforms to education have been challenging but effective. However, we are not reaching enough kids, nor are we reaching them in a timely manner.
High quality early education is a must. 30 states have raised pre-k funding on their own.
High schools will be working closer with colleges in developing curriculum. There is also support for an initiative to cap student loan payments to 10% of income.
Look to conservative Kentucky to see the effect of Obamacare. We had a broken healthcare system. Preexisting conditions used to preclude many Americans from obtaining the care they needed. Health insurance reform means getting sick does not have to equal bankruptcy. Nine million have signed up for insurance through Obamacare. No woman can be charged higher premiums simply for being female. We have added years to medicare financing while keeping premiums flat and lowering prescription drug costs for seniors. Criticisms of reform should be specific so they can be addressed.