INSTANT REACTION! My top 3 favorite ideas from this year’s State of the Union

13 Feb

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That speech was crazy long, is my first reaction.  I mean, that was a lot of things that we can do.  Personally, what I had always liked about Obama is that he knew how to distill the most important policy goals from the broader realm of ideal policies, but today he threw the kitchen sink.  I’m sure there was some strategy behind this laundry list approach, but somewhere between immigration reform and the gun control part, I couldn’t help but drift in and out.  However, I did like all of his proposals, and here are my top three favorites from tonight:

 

#3: Raising the minimum wage.  Now, this is not something that will ever get passed in this Congress, which is a damn shame because the arguments against it are so weak and the realities of the current system are so harsh.  Raising the minimum wage, it is said, and there is plenty of truth behind it, reduces the supply of jobs and prevents low skilled workers from gaining a job.  However, as the President perfectly argued, what kind of country are we when, at the minimum wage, the best you can attain through hard work is still below the poverty line? Poverty does not just impact a person’s pocketbook, but their health and their productivity, damaging their prospects of climbing the economic ladder and creating more jobs through both their spending and their entrepreneurship.  By sentencing the lowest skilled among us to poverty, we limit their capacity for growth.  Raising the minimum wage is not just a matter of justice, it is an investment in the security and future of our workers.

 

#2: Making colleges (and our health care system) more accountable.  As health care poses a daunting challenge to our budget, and as student loan debt races past $1 trillion, we have to ask ourselves how we are going to prevent these time bombs from exploding our nation’s budget.  Is it to tell students and poor folks and the elderly that they have to choose between shouldering a crippling portion of the burden for their education or health care and not getting the education or health care they need? Does the entire blame of rising costs lie in increased demand? Absolutely not.  Our country’s health care and educational institutions are failing us.  Universities and hospitals are not providing their students and patients with the quality of services their rising bills would have them believe they are receiving.  We need to make sure our schools and hospitals are spending money on the things that improve the lives of students and patients, and tying federal funds to their ability to do so is a crucial part of accomplishing that.

 

#1: Gun control.  Because nothing has changed since Sandy Hook except more kids getting shot.  

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