President Obama delivered his final State of the Union address on Jan. 12, speaking of not only the coming year but also the future of the United States.
He started by thanking other congressional leaders for compromising on the recent budget passing, then went on to talk about the economy and how far the United States has come financially since he has taken office.
“Let me start with the economy,” Obama said, “and a basic fact: The United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs, the strongest two years of job growth since the ‘90s, an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. That’s just part of a manufacturing surge that’s created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three quarters.”
Obama talked more specifically about ideas like Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s plans to cut taxes for the working class, agreeing with policies and showing appreciation for the work the two parties have done together, which includes the reformation of the “No Child Left Behind” system of education in the U.S.
President Obama has taken some criticism for looking past his presidency to the next 10 to 20 years, but freshman Courtney Coder believes looking to the future from Obama’s perspective helps him protect his legacy and helps the country succeed long after he is gone.
“I feel it’s necessary to look forward to the future,” Coder said. “Even as college students, we’re looking forward to senior year, what we need to do to build ourselves up. We have our short term goals, which he has, and we have long term goals, ones that may stretch beyond his presidency. I think he’s done quite a bit. Whether we agree with what he’s done or not, a lot has changed since he’s taken office, so he’s trying to make the transition smooth for the next president. The transition from Obama to Bush could have gone better, and he’s trying to set up the next president and the country for success.”
President Obama also talked about the threat of ISIS and how the more we let them threaten us, the more we “claim this is World War III,” the more we play into their hands. He talked about how they are no longer a threat to our national existence.
“But as we focus on destroying ISIL, over-the-top claims that this is World War III just play into their hands … We don’t need to build them up to show that we’re serious, and we sure don’t need to push away vital allies in this fight by echoing the lie that ISIL is somehow representative of one of the world’s largest religions,” Obama said. “We just need to call them what they are: killers and fanatics who have to be rooted out, hunted down and destroyed.
“People are gonna look at ISIS very differently. Some people are panicking, some take it is a warning, some don’t care about it, but we should always be aware of something like this. Whether they’re a threat to us or not, we should pay attention but not panic. Take it day by day.”