Obama-SOTU

5 Takeaways From President Obama’s State of the Union Address

(AllHipHop News) President Barack Obama delivered the first State of the Union Address of his second term last night. The speech presented several policy agendas the President hopes will get signed into law this year. AllHipHop.com recaps the five points from the 2013 SOTU that have the greatest impact on the Hip-Hop community.

Economic Growth

What the President said:

“Our economy is adding jobs, but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs, but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged. It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth: a rising, thriving middle class.”

What the President plans to do:

President Obama proposed several ideas that he believes will help grow the middle class. He mentioned a job creation plan, deficit reduction centering around entitlement reform & tax reform, a mortgage refinancing bill, repairing America’s infrastructure, and investing in research and development.

While most of those ideas were extensions of his 2012 campaign, the President did propose a new plan – raising the minimum wage. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour which many financial experts believe is far below an effective living wage. President Obama wants the federal minimum wage raised to $9 an hour.

Climate Change

What the President said:

“Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, floods, all are now more frequent and more intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science and act before it’s too late.”

What the President plans to do:

President Obama called on the Congress to create bipartisan legislation to combat climate change similar to the Lieberman-McCain Climate Stewardship Acts. The three failed bills from 2003, 2005, and 2007 would have given economic incentives for companies that put a cap on the amount of Global Warming causing pollutants they released.

The President did say that if Congress refuses to act he will direct his Cabinet to take action to reduce pollution and find ways to speed up the transition to sustainable energy sources like solar power and clean natural gas. President Obama also proposed creating an Energy Security Trust that would eventually get American vehicles off of oil permanently.

Education

What the President said:

“Now, to grow our middle class, our citizens have to have access to the education and training that today’s jobs require.”

What the President plans to do:

The President spent a large portion of the speech talking about the importance of education and how he plans to help citizens of all economic backgrounds have access to affordable, quality education. He began by focusing on early childhood education and asking the states to work with him to make preschool available to all Americans.

He mentioned that students should be able to graduate from high school with a technical or associate’s degree and that high schools need to partner with colleges and businesses to create classes that focus more on science, technology, engineering, and math.

The President also said that Congress needs to change the Higher Education Act to improve the implementation of federal aid, and that the federal government will begin releasing a “college scorecard” so parents and students can make better decisions about choosing the best higher education institution that they can afford.

Voting Reform

What the President said:

“We must all do our part to make sure our God-given rights are protected here at home. That includes one of the most fundamental rights of a democracy, the right to vote. When any American – no matter where they live or what their party – are denied that right because they can’t wait for five or six or seven hours just to cast their ballot, we are betraying our ideals.”

What the President plans to do:

After acknowledging 102-year-old Desiline Victor (a Florida voter who was one of the citizens that had to wait for hours to cast her vote) sitting in the vistors’ gallery, President Obama announced that he has selected lawyers from his own and Governor Mitt Romney’s presidential campaigns to head a new nonpartisan commission to review and give suggestions on how to eliminate voting obstacles across the country.

Gun Control

What the President said:

“I know this is not the first time this country has debated how to reduce gun violence, but this time is different. Overwhelming majorities of Americans – Americans who believe in the Second Amendment – have come together around commonsense reform…Each of these proposals deserves a vote in Congress.

If you want to vote no, that’s your choice. But these proposals deserve a vote, because in the two months since Newtown, more than a thousand birthdays, graduations, anniversaries have been stolen from our lives by a bullet from a gun. More than a thousand. One of those we lost was a young girl named Hadiya Pendleton.”

What the President plans to do:

In what was clearly the most emotional section of the speech, President Obama called on members of Congress to vote on a series of gun control measures like universal background checks, limiting the ability to buy military grade rifles, and reducing the amount of ammunition in magazine clips.

The President believes these measures will help lessen the high number of violent gun crimes in this country like the death of the Chicago teenager Hadiya Pendleton, the Newtown school shooting, the assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabby Giffords, and the Aurora Theater massacre.

President Obama simply repeated, “they deserve a vote,” to rousing applause from the audience in the Capitol which included Pendleton’s parents and other family members of gun violence victims. #TheyDeserveAVote became a number 1 trending topic on Twitter during the State of the Union.

You can watch President Obama’s entire State of the Union Address below.

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