Obama’s big 2014 plans

(Photo provided by Flickr)
(Photo provided by Flickr)

On Tuesday, Jan. 28, President Barack Obama gave his first State of the Union Address of the year. This address touched on many different subjects, with an emphasis on five main points. These five main points included increased graduation rates, increased minimum wage, a cap on student loan payments, emphasis on climate change and green energy and a thank you to veterans and the military. All of these main points need emphasis and could change America in a positive way. Obama stated that 2014 could be a “breakthrough year for America.”

The State of the Union Address, “Opportunity For All,” first focused on increasing the graduation rates. As of right now, the graduation rate in New York is 37.8 percent for students graduating in four years and 58.1 for students graduating in six years. President Obama wants to give everyone an equal opportunity and a chance to attend and graduate college.

In his speech Obama talked about the college opportunity summit the White House held where 150 universities, businesses and nonprofits made “concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus.” We all know how stressful college can be and President Obama initiating an equal opportunity program hopefully will cut down on the stress and give us all the reassurance that we will all graduate. However, after graduation there is always the burden of student loans. President Obama also addressed this point in his speech.

“Shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentive to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education,” Obama said.

This is a very good idea because the reason most people do not attend college is the cost.

“We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10 percent of their income and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt,” Obama said.

This would help many Americans due to the fact that many are still paying off loans years after attending college. This forces many Americans to make financial sacrifices, as they also must due to the low minimum wage. President Obama feels that the minimum wage should be raised to $10.10 and U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) have a bill drawn up to try to accomplish this. By raising the minimum wage President Obama hopes to create more jobs. President Obama stated “creating jobs and leading to a cleaner, safer planet.”

Creating a cleaner and safer planet is very urgent due to the fact that more species of animals are becoming endangered and pollution is on the rise. Obama is also trying to have new laws for pollution passed, however this could take some time. His final major point was that Americans should thank the veterans and the military for their services. These men and women have or are currently fighting for our country. They at the least deserve a thank you. Obama even gave examples of specific wounded veterans, such as Sgt. 1st Class Cory Remsburg.

“Men and women like Cory remind us that America has never come easy. Our freedom, our democracy, has never been easy,” Obama said.

It will be very interesting to see what the future of the United States brings and if the changes that Obama spoke about will occur.