President Obama says he is aware that the public is uncertain of America’s economic future.
Obama delivered his first State of the Union address on national television on Wednesday night.
Emphasizing the public’s doubts, Obama acknowledged the tough times the nation faces.
“I know the anxieties that are out there right now,” Obama said. “They’re not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for president.”
Obama began his speech with proposed solutions to federal debt and the economic crisis.
“Because of the steps we took, there are about 2 million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed,” Obama said. “The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act.”
According to recovery.gov, a government Web site devoted to the Recovery Act, the plan aims to create new jobs, encourage economic activity and long-term growth and give government spending details to the public.
As part of Obama’s plan to make government spending and giving more transparent, the “Track the Money” page of recovery.gov shows funds and jobs in each state. For example, Colorado received $686,310,000 and created 8,094 jobs through the Recovery Act.
Obama said trade can also help expand the economy.
“We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs in America,” Obama said. “To help meet this goal, we’re launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security.”
President Obama touched on the American health care system, a controversial topic with high disapproval ratings, and asked Congress not to step down from health care reform.
“Millions will lose [coverage] this year,” Obama said. “I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber.”
The State of the Union address prompted various responses from students, both for and against Obama’s policies.
“I thought his speech was rather inspiring for some and extremely deceitful and misleading to others,” said Zack Hoyt, a 19-year-old freshman architectural engineering student.
Hoyt said he does not see Obama making the changes promised.
“His stance on change makes no sense when he hasn’t put forth anything,” Hoyt said. “He says, ‘I’m going to decrease the deficit,’ but then he takes more money for the economy. He’s turning this into uber-socialism.”
Sadie Joy, a 20-year-old sophomore architectural engineering student, said she expected Obama to make a lot of promises in his speech.
“As usual, he made a lot of general promises, but we want to see actions more than words,” Joy said. “A lot of the policies he suggests get tied up in government, but that’s not his fault.”
For Christina Bonfanti, a 19-year-old freshman open-option engineering major, Wednesday night was her first time watching a State of the Union address.
“It was good to see that he wasn’t so complex in his speech in the fact that he was speaking toward middle class people,” Bonfanti said. “It was different to hear from a politician.”
Obama said he attributed his drive to the American people, not the politicians.
“What keeps me going, what keeps me fighting, is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism – that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people lives on,” Obama said.
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Jennifer Retter at Jennifer.email@example.com.