This year’s problems, last year’s solutions

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Comparing the President’s State of the Union Addresses

By Jessica Skaggs

“So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger.”

This was said by President Obama in last year’s State of the Union address. But the American people seem to lack the same enthusiasm as the president this year.

In the last State of the Union speech, the president made several promises and proposals. And as expected with any administration, some were kept while others were not. Congress will be blamed for those broken promises, and a new performance of zeal will be birthed. However, whether or not the country will buy into this zeal is uncertain.

Last year the president painted a picture of economic recovery. Gone were the years of a “grueling recession” and the “true engine of America’s economic growth” would be reignited. But according to survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, 45 percent rated the economic conditions as “only fair” while a mere 16 percent labeled it as excellent or good.

In addition to the dismal outlook of the economic recovery, the administration continues to participate in major clean-up efforts as the rollout of the president’s signature healthcare law proved to be disastrous, especially considering how during the last address the president spoke so highly of the decreased health care costs the Affordable Healthcare Act would provide. According to the Pew Research Center, 54 percent of Americans disapprove of the health care reform law, and 48 percent said the law would only worsen the nation’s health care condition.

Tuesday evening we learned nothing new. The president reaffirmed the promises made in 2013. Sweeping government actions and executive orders to close the income gap and improve the economy. The same problems and so-called solutions. However a recent Rasmussen report found that although 69 percent of Americans think income inequality is a problem, 59 percent believe less government involvement would aid in closing the income gap.

“[…] I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth.”

Although Tuesday night President Obama ardently declared this year as a year of “breakthrough,” the American people will need new solutions to last year’s problems before coming anywhere close to rallying behind him.

If the Obama administration fails to keep the majority of its promises in the upcoming year while still observing the role of Congress, the approval ratings will only continue to slip. As of now 51 percent of voters disapprove of the president’s job performance, according to a recent Rasmussen report.

The American people are waiting for a leader to step up to the podium. One who will demonstrate significant effort to work with a bipartisan Congress and cease to make promises that simply cannot be kept; a leader who refuses to participate in the partisan blame game both sides in Congress are guilty of and who will listen to the voices of all Americans.

Maybe then the 2015 State of the Union address will sound a bit differently.

Contact Jessica Skaggs, managing editor, jskaggs4@jccc.edu.

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