Tuesday January 28, 2014 may be remembered for one of the following reasons: 1) if you live in the South, being stuck in traffic for hours due to rarely seen and never prepared to handle snow, 2) President Obama’s 2014 state of the union address, or 3) another random day. For fellow southerners or citizens with only a slight interest in politics, below are potential changes President Obama addressed in his speech and the Republican’s response. Both speakers spent the majority of their time discussing issues or providing political philosophy, so this article is not intended to endorse one party over the other. Do keep in mind, however, that President Obama’s speech was longer and by virtue of his position is more pertinent than the Republican’s response. Therefore his speech has more content than the Republican’s response.
President Obama noted the importance of improving education for the future of America’s economy and workforce. After highlighting Estiven Rodriguez, a student who despite not knowing English at the age of 9 was able to successfully apply and encourage other students to apply for college, President Obama stated that he wanted to work with Congress, other elected officials, business leaders, philanthropists, and state governments to make pre-K programs available to everyone. He also pledged to connect 99% of high school students with high speed broadband in hopes of preparing students for high tech jobs.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers presented the Republican’s response. In response to President’s Obama’s education initiatives, she stated that Republicans wanted to work with parents to improve their child’s education. By enhancing various training and other educational programs, Republicans want to empower parents to decide the best institution for their child’s education.
Income Equality/Minimum Wage
President Obama focused on the disparate pay of women when addressing a lack of equal pay in the workforce. While calling for Congress to improve benefits and pay for women and men raising families, he also requested Congress raise the minimum wage to $10.10 per hour to enable all full-time workers to avoid poverty.
Representative Rodgers, on the other hand, encouraged Americans to focus on opportunity equality rather than income equality. She encouraged people to avoid focusing on possible limitations and focus on individual possibilities. She stated that individuals should not define themselves by their limitations, but rather by their potential. Congress should therefore empower them to achieve their potential.
Affordable Care Act
The exhausting yet must be mentioned spill on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). President Obama used Amanda Shelley to show that the Affordable Care Act helps millions of Americans obtain health insurance who would have otherwise been denied. As a result of having insurance, Ms. Shelley received medical care without liquidating all her assets.
In response to his praise of the Affordable Care Act, Representative Rodgers reminded viewers that the legislation raised premiums for several Americans. She therefore insisted that healthcare choices be the choice of individuals and not the government.
The main difference between the two speeches continues to rest in political philosophy. President Obama wants government to provide jobs, opportunities, educations, and other services to the people, whereas the Republican response indicates a desire to have government empower people to work hard and create their own jobs and opportunities. So we will once again see if they will work to stand on philosophy or work to stand for people.