Five takeaways from the President's State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 12:
1. “Let’s get it done.”
Judging by the rhetoric being thrown around Washington lately, Republicans and Democrats would rather have nothing pass at all than be forced to sit, talk politely and compromise with members of the opposite party. Through all of his proposed bills and plans, President Obama repeatedly insisted how they followed common sense and how reasonable it should be that Congress work together to pass them. “None of us will get everything we want,” he concedes, but both parties must set aside their respective prides and egos in order to “get it done.”
2. A change in federal aid for universities?
Especially pertinent for the BC student and everyone enrolled in secondary education was the President’s statements that reform would be coming in regards to federal aid for universities. A “college scoreboard” will be created that will judge national universities on a variety of criteria, including the value of the education being given and affordability. The results of this new “grading” system will affect the amount of federal aid the university receives. This would affect matters such as Pell Grants. What exactly constitutes “value” and what “affordable” means today was not elaborated on, though it should be interesting to see how our schools stack up.
3. Science and technology reigns.
President Obama might not be stoked that Stokes is dedicated solely to the humanities. Once again, he stressed the importance of educating more and more Americans to catch up the world standard in science and technology. While we certainly could use more American engineers and researchers, already funding for humanities and the arts are falling by the wayside. This may have a detrimental effect on liberal arts schools like our own. Beyond education, it was notable that the President stressed national security against cyber attacks from foreigners stealing corporate information. It was a notable recognition of the fact that our world gets more and more digital every day.
4. Economic recovery still has precedence.
While gun control and immigration have dominated the headlines in the past weeks, President Obama’s plans for further economic recovery dominated the large part of his address; ultimately, the state of the nation’s economy at the end of his second term will more than likely determine his legacy. So urgent was his message to pass his measures that he repeated twice that they will fit into the already existing budget and will not add to the nation’s deficit. His plans: stop the impending automatic budget cuts, which would slash jobs and decrease funding for schools, continue to lower health care costs, increase the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour to raise the masses above the poverty line, create more national manufacturing, and repair infrastructure in terms of roads and bridges. The days of large bills like the stimulus seem to be gone, and in its place smaller bills that would add up together for the same affect.
5. Gun control has the most impact.
In wake of the tragedy at Sandy Hook, the calls for gun control have been stronger than ever in recent memory. After setting out his economic and immigration agenda, the President closed his address with his known agenda on gun control: a ban on assault weapons, a limit on magazines, more stringent background checks, and increased mental health opportunities for teenagers. The emotion in the room was clearly at the strongest point of the night as he insisted that the victims of Sandy Hook, Aurora, and Tucson deserve to cast a vote for gun control.
Lead photo courtesy of MicellneyNews/Flickr