State of the Union addresses economy, unemployment, the environment


President Barack Obama took over multiple news agencies for his annual State of the Union address Tuesday night. After nearly 15 minutes of welcoming and introductions, the president began speaking at the podium in the national House of Representatives chambers in Washington, D.C.

“Citizens make the state of the union strong.”
The president mentioned how the unemployment rate is the lowest in five years, as well as a rebounding housing market. For the first time in 20 years, he said there has been more oil produced at home than imported from overseas. He said deficits have been cut by more than half and, for the first time in more than a decade, China is no longer the place to invest; America is.

“Breakthrough year for America.”
President Obama emphasized a focus on creating new jobs, not new crises.

“When you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America.”
He mentioned that while corporate American wages have continued to increase, average wages have barely budged, and upward mobility has stalled. He said the government’s job is to reverse these trends.

President Obama said all Americans should have access to a good job. He said big manufacturers have considered insourcing jobs from abroad. He said he wants to make that decision easier through working to close loopholes and lowering taxes that help keep jobs here in America.

Along with big manufacturers, President Obama wants more blue collar jobs for Americans, including finishing infrastructure and water construction projects this summer. He wants to streamline these projects to get more construction workers jobs.

Another point was to do more to help entrepreneurs and small business owners. He said 98 percent of American exporters are small businesses. He wants to build more partners with small businesses shipping to Europe and overseas.

Another area to build more jobs, according to Obama, is to reinstate federally-funded research from last year to potentially help find the next big discovery. He said entire industries should be built around innovation, not litigation.

President Obama said the U.S. is closer to energy independence than in previous decades, specifically with natural gas. He suggested building factories that run on natural gas, as well as vehicles that run on natural gas rather than foreign fuel. This will help create more jobs in the U.S., rather than providing them overseas.

Obama said the U.S. is becoming a global leader in solar energy. He wants smarter tax policy on reusable energy rather than fossil fuels. He said the U.S. reduced their carbon pollution more than any other country. He hopes to set new standards on carbon pollution and shift to a cleaner energy solutions.

He also said Congress can speed up growth and add more jobs, saying Americans have the skills to fill those jobs. Vice President Joe Biden has been appointed to make an across-the-board reform on vocational training to properly train people to get into better jobs or into a job to continue to return to the workforce, and restore unemployment insurance that expired for more than 1.6 million people.

“When women succeed, America succeeds.”
President Obama said he wants to honor the dignity of hard work, noting that women deserve equal pay for equal work. He called it an embarrassment that in 2014, women are still earning 77 cents for every dollar a man earns. He said every woman deserves the opportunity to succeed.

“Good for the economy and it’s good for America.”
He emphasized how Americans who work full time should not have to raise a family in poverty. Five states have passed laws of their own raising their minimum wage. Other small businesses have made the personal choice to raise wages.

Within the next few months, President Obama said he intends to pass a federal order raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. He said it will help families meet their needs, and they will have more money to spend in our economy without requiring any bureaucratic changes.

The president concluded by discussing health care reform, saying that everyone deserves to be able to afford insurance to keep them from going bankrupt in the event of a medical emergency. He addressed how he plans to conclude the war in Afghanistan by the end of 2014, as well as training soldiers who leave the Armed Forces with real world practical training to help assimilate back into civilian life.