In his State of the Union speech, President Obama highlighted a grand plan to ‘win the future’. He urged renewed investment in the American education, infrastructure and technology, whereas at the same time advocating for a more efficient federal government together with a reduction of the deficit. Although the speech lacked specific policy proposals, he outlines the areas whereby he would seek legislation in the following year. Regarding innovation, he called for eighty percent of the United States’ electricity to be obtained from clean energy sources by the year 2035. In an attempt of moving the nation away from dependence on the fossil fuels, the president suggested an end to the about four billion dollars in tax subsidies to the gas and oil companies, and also to have one million electric vehicles on the road by the year 2015.
In the educational field, the president supported reform measures which according to me is very essential; these include the program of ‘Race to the Top’, which he termed the most significant reform on the nation’s public schools in a generation. He also recommended the American Opportunity Tax Credit; which is entitled to providing families up to ten thousand dollars in credit toward the four-year college tuition, to be made permanent by the Congress. He also highlighted the need for inclusive immigration reform and urged the legislatures to refrain from the expulsion of talented, responsible young individuals who can start new businesses, staff the research labs and even further develop the country.
On matters regarding concepts of reform and responsibility, the president addressed probably the most controversial legislative issues, which included the federal deficit and tax reform. He advised the Congress to close the loopholes in the corporate tax code and then use the savings in reducing the corporate tax rate. The president promised to restructure the government, vowing to re-examine the needless regulations on the private enterprise. However, he defended the newly established health care reform law, claiming that they should fix what needs to be fixed instead of re-igniting the wars of the last two years. The president also recommended a five year freeze on the non-security discretionary spending, in an attempt to reign in government spending, which he argued would reduce the federal deficit nearly four hundred billion dollars over the next ten years. The speech by the president received much applause from the members of the Congress frequently, especially when he touched on critical issues such as health care and education. However, this is a very strong speech and I believe it shows how serious the president is in trying to deliver the promises he gave the people of America, since he knows how much they put their hopes in him during the elections.
On the contrary, in a report on behalf of the Republicans read by Wisconsin’s Representative Paul Ryan, he criticized the president for approving a spending that he according to him plunged the country deeper into debt. Furthermore, he disagreed with the President Obama’s health care reform law, claiming that it is increasing the costs of insurance as well as stiffing the creation of jobs. He asserted that the Republicans will try hard to make sure that it is replaced with what he referred to as ‘financially responsible, patient-centered reforms’ that greatly reduce costs as well as expanding coverage. He stated that the people are owed a better choice and a different version by the legislatures and promised that a new budget by the Republicans will address the reduction of debt, government reform and creation of job opportunities. Although the Republicans had some words to criticize the president’s speech in order to remain relevant in the eyes of the Americans, I believe their arguments are not realistic and some of their proposals might take several years to achieve, hence not addressing the current issues facing America.