“I do not accept second-place for the United States of America”

January 27, 2010

President Barack Obama started the State of the Union tonight quickly after handshakes and kisses by dispelling the concerns of Americans regarding the condition of their economy. With Joe Biden smiling brightly behind him, Obama started off the speech lightly and confidently.

He reminded the people that he ran for presidency because of the problems we are facing now–wars, a job market on decline, deep government debt, and antiquated school systems.

“Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted – immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed,” Obama said.

The Recovery Act that brought tax cuts to first-time homeowners, parents and college students kept our country afloat, according to Obama.

The president continually acknowledged the struggles of the 7 million people who lost jobs in the past two years–those working harder, longer, and for less money.

Plans for a better America include: giving money to small banks to support local businesses, initiating a new Jobs Bill, laying a new foundation for our economy and guarding against the recklessness of big businesses.

“I do not accept second-place for the United States of America. As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may be, it’s time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth,” Obama stated to a deafening applause.

The night’s proposals:

1. Jobs Bill
-$30 billion from Wall Street banks going to small businesses
– a new small business tax credit so small businesses can hire new workers
– eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment

2. Improvement to America’s Infrastructure
– build faster trains
– new factories = more exports
– clean fuel/energy products = providing more jobs in this

3. Financial reform

“I am not interesting in punishing backs, I’m interest in protecting out economy,” he said.

– create new jobs
– raise incomes
– provide information to middle class to stay in middle class

4. Support U.S. Innovations
– world’s cheapest solar cells
– more effective, less invasive cancer treatment
– innovative clean energy

5. Elementary and Secondary Education Act
– apply this to all 50 states
– passing a bill that will give $10,000 tax credit for four years of college
– increase Pell Grants

“And let’s tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only ten percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after twenty years – and forgiven after ten years if they choose a career in public service.”

6. Starting a task force to help Middle-Class Families
– child care tax credits
– bigger retirement funds
– more affordable mortgages

7. Securing Government Funds/ Spending Freeze
– In 2011, the government will freeze spending for three years
– work within a budget
– put back the $1 trillion it took to save the economy during 2009

Obama conveyed an early sense of hope for America that is sitting on a long to-do list. He reminds us that his promises one year earlier were multifaceted and not an easy task to attain.

“We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don’t quit. I don’t quit. Let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more.”

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