Someone’s Getting Feisty in the Oval Office!
Published: Friday, February 7, 2014
Updated: Sunday, February 9, 2014 15:02
As in, our president was determined to show us all last Tuesday how serious he was about not being a lame duck in his last term. There were the usual speaking points, like income inequality, immigration reform, and education, mixed in with some awesome enthusiasm about Sochi, supporting America’s finest winter athletes without even so much as a jab at the interesting sweaters they’ll be wearing at Opening Ceremonies. While explaining to us that our nation is really not doing so bad right now, there were definitely a few things that got Obama a bit fired up, namely his frustration with Congress’ lack of cooperation thus far. He not only called them out for making life a royal pain the past year or so but basically threatened Congress with the fact that if they continued to make his life difficult, he would be forced to act on his own (because, you know, he can do that). This definitely had more than a few people speculating about why Obama’s New Year’s resolution seemed to be along the lines of “I do what I want”; for instance, he claimed he was already planning on raising the minimum wage for government contractors, which of course was not well received by most of Congress.
So is this an intentional jab at our nation’s lawmakers, for giving Obama more than a few headaches over Obamacare? I’m not so sure. While his speech definitely seemed to have a bit of a retaliatory note, I’m also pretty sure he’s probably just in the business of trying to get some problems fixed for the country he leads. And the problems he’s identified as of the highest import are definitely not the worst things to be fixing: among other things, he singled out the fact that many employed women around America are still not receiving the full salaries that their male counterparts are receiving on a daily basis. This may come as a shock to you, but the statistic is something like women earning an average of around 77 cents on the dollar that men earn (according to Obama’s speechwriter, that is). Which is actually crazy. It’s about time stick to watching Mad Men, not living it, because women definitely deserve equal pay for equal work.
The thing that worries me in terms of Obama’s firy new outlook on the presidency is his clear intent on continuing to spend alot of money, as well as continuing to single out only a portion of America’s populous to talk to. Yea, I know it’s easy to alienate the rich people because alot of them are not such cool people and there really aren’t that many, but they still live in the country you lead too. Addressing solely the middle class in his State of the Union Address seemed pretty cool to those of us that are one of them, but it still feels alot like he is alienating an entire portion of the population when he talks; and even though this population only makes up about 3.1% of the nation, I might add that they also pay 47.9% of the annual income tax collected by the government. I’m also not so on board with the extension of unemployment insurance- we have, collectively as a nation, just spent so much current and future money on healthcare that we had to seriously debate raising the debt ceiling. Call me fiscally conservative, but if we can’t handle not spending more than $16.7 trillion without paying some back, I feel like something might be wrong here. I’m all for spending some money we don’t have in order to fix some urgent and pressing issues in our country, but after the pile of cash used on a healthcare bill that thus far hasn’t shown awesome results, we really need to pump the breaks. In the wise words of Ice Cube, it might be time to check ourselves before we wreck ourselves.
That being said, even though I am not the biggest fan of Obama, I still respect the fact that he has seemingly put a realistic checklist of issues to be addressed on the table. He’s made it clear that 2014 is go-time, and he’s not afraid to back up his claims. As exciting as it is to have someone in the White House that wants to get stuff done, it also turns me off that he’s so quick to dismiss the political process that has worked in our nation for so long. Congress not agreeing on something? Maybe there’s a reason, like that too many of the people in this nation don’t want something to happen, since they are actually the ones that put each member of Congress where they are. I am in no way defending the unfortunate amount of red tape and unecessary, often petty bipartisan infighting; simply pointing out that although Obama’s intentions are admirable, we should all keep in mind that there’s a reason Congress exists, and that is to represent all of us in lawmaking. As David so eloquently pointed out, the Government is our employee.