Staff editorial: Obama’s State of the Union addresses key problems in U.S.

Duke Staff

President Barack Obama gave his sixth State of the Union address Tuesday night. Obama’s speech focused less on a “checklist” for the current administration, and more on values, or so it was presented. After taking executive action on immigration and actively trying to abolish the antiquated Cuba embargo, Obama has recently been putting his foot down more so than before, and that was no different in his address.
One of the president’s big ideas in the State of the Union was to provide financial assistance to citizens continuing their education. Obama vowed to send Congress a “bold new plan” to lower the cost of community college zero “Too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need,” Obama said. This would help those struggling to afford higher education. On the surface, this sounds great. But if one digs into the issue, the plan’s implementation proves to be troublesome. If the proposal were to pass, only those who qualified would be able to attend for free. However, the government will have to put up $60 billion over 10 years for this free venture. Not to mention states being required to contribute a quarter of the money.
Obama also proposed a new tax program that would eliminate loopholes that benefit the one percent and help “working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy.” Taxes would increase $320 billion over the next 10 years to pay for expanded tax credits and educational benefits for the middle class. If making community college free wasn’t enough, add making the wealthiest part of the United States pay taxes to help the middle class to the uphill battle Obama is facing. While it makes sense, convincing a majority Republican Congress to pass such a bill will not be easy. The unfortunate part of this Robin Hood-esque tale is that the poor and the wealthy both share a voice in this issue.
But these ideas and proposals are only the half of it, as bipartisanship seems as strong as it ever has been. After Obama declared he had no more campaigns to run during his speech, the Republicans in the crowd began to cheer. That moment alone was a microcosm of the relationship between the president and Republican Party. Both sides have fought back and forth beyond a reasonable amount, at this point. With no future presidential plans to worry about, Obama seems to want to accomplish some good before he leaves office, but if party politics stand in the way, the country is the one that suffers. “If we’re going to have arguments, let’s have arguments – but let’s make them debates worthy of this body and worthy of this country,” Obama said.