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President Obama Challenges the Country About the Economy

by Hanna Houck

President Barack Obama addressed the nation on January 20, 2015 in his State of the Union.

Obama opened his speech discussing the times of tragedy and prosperity that our country has been through in these fifteen years into the century.

The theme was centered around “middle-class economics”. Early in his address Obama asked the crowd “Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”

The President called for universal paid family leave. He stated that the US is the only advanced country whose government “forces many parents to make the gut-wrenching choice between a paycheck and a sick kid at home.”

Obama also asked Congress to pass a law that made sure women are paid the same as men in the workplace.

Obama announced his idea about free community college earlier this month. In his address he reiterated it. He stated “By the end of this decade, two in three job openings will require some higher education. Two in three. And yet, we still live in a country where too many bright, striving Americans are priced out of the education they need. It’s not fair to them, and it’s not smart for our future.”

The free community college program would aim to reduce the cost  of community college for those who maintain decent grades.

The President called for companies to offer more educational benefits and paid apprenticeships.

Addressing the controversy over the hacking of Sony by North Korea, Obama said that ““No foreign nation, no hacker, should be able to shut down our networks, steal our trade secrets, or invade the privacy of American families, especially our kids. We are making sure our government integrates intelligence to combat cyber threats, just as we have done to combat terrorism.”

Despite the opposition from Republicans for the past six years, Obama asked again for them to raise taxes on the wealthy. Democrats and Liberals view the wealth gap as a “major” problem, yet Republicans and conservatives do not.

77% of Americans agree that the country is in good shape overall and approve of the message that Obama sent out in his address.