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State of the Union banks on economy

Shelby Dehaven, ’Doah Staff Writer
February 20, 2013

President Obama kicked off his fifth State of the Union address on Tuesday, Feb. 12, with these words: “51 years ago, John F. Kennedy declared to this chamber that ‘the Constitution makes us not rivals for power, but partners for progress.’” He then outlined all of his hopes for the country over the next few years. While he covered a lengthy list of topics, there are few that especially stood out.

The economy, and in turn the building of the middle class, was the topic President Obama focused on the most throughout his hour-long speech. He praised the creation of new jobs in the U.S., as well as the return of companies like Caterpillar, Ford and Apple from foreign countries.

Obama also encouraged that the minimum wage be raised to $9 an hour. “Let’s tie the minimum wage to the cost of living, so that it finally becomes a wage you can live on.”  With more jobs and better pay, Obama hopes to re-establish a thriving middle class.
He also addressed the end of the war in Afghanistan, an issue that has been a major factor in many Americans’ minds. He stated that American forces will move into a support role while Afghan security forces take the lead in Spring 2013. In addition, over the next year another 34,000 soldiers will return home. By the end of 2014, the war in Afghanistan will be complete.

The president also touched on issues like gun laws, the environment and immigration. Senior psychology major Rachel Shows feels that the most important issue President Obama discussed was “the need for awareness and control of our country’s environmental waste and emissions.” She feels that without a healthy planet, we will cease to exist. During his speech, the president discussed the growing use of renewable energy, such as wind and solar and the decreased use of fossil fuels.

The hour-long speech called for a lot of bipartisan actions to improve the well-being of the nation but Shows, and many others, still remain skeptical. With the large number of topics and ideas, only time will tell how many of them actually become a reality.

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