On Tuesday, President Barack Obama used his State of the Union address to remind the public of the merits of the hands-on approach to economics. But he failed to address the economy’s most pressing issue: $15-trillion in federal debt.
If the plans put forth in Obama’s address are approved, we will have to face this debt long after earning our degrees — something that should cause us to think twice about voting for him in the presidential election.
Obama’s decision to make the economy the focal point of his address came in the middle of a barrage of Republican pro-free-market rhetoric. The ideological debate between the warring political factions must result in the victory of the Republican Party’s free-market principles.
After three years as president, Obama is still struggling with the economy. It is clear that the government needs to take a different approach to the economy if the country is to return to prosperity. The stakes are especially high for college students, who will face the aftermath of the upcoming presidential election as undergraduates and new entrants to the workforce.
The president outlined a long-term fix to the economy, but his strategy will not result in any benefits until he leaves office.
Though Obama called for an end to excessive outsourcing by American businesses, he also put forth the merits of a heavily involved government, which initially led to the problem. The best way to prevent outsourcing in the first place is to get the government out of the way and allow businesses to struggle and thrive on their own.
He emphasized a reformed tax code that runs by the “Buffett Rule,” which would ensure that any individual earning more than $1 million a year pays at least 30 percent of his or her income in taxes.
Though some of the president’s points were valid and his suggestions are honorable, his methods for addressing America’s ludicrous debt show he is missing the point. Instead of spending more on job training programs and slapping higher income tax rates on the wealthy, the government should simply spend less. When a country is in this much debt, the first thing it must do is cut all unnecessary expenditures, not tack on more to the federal budget.
Obama’s call for a return to “American values” is misleading. Ripping off the rich for the sake of the less wealthy while spending taxpayers’ hard-earned money on questionable foreign entanglements cannot be an American value. Americans that work hard and earn their wealth should not be penalized for their innovation, ingenuity or diligence.
As future hard-working Americans, we must remember that the government will someday want to take our money. By choosing an economic strategy that cuts the government’s frivolous spending and allows for a more independent private sector, we can expect to see much more substantial and lasting change. Otherwise, we can only expect to be hit even harder after graduation.
Sarah Cueva is a sophomore majoring in Middle East studies and religion. Point/Counterpoint runs Fridays.
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