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Opinion

The State of the Union: Republican view

By William Swett '16

February 14, 2013

Although the remarks and proposals made in Tuesday’s State of the Union Address sounded uplifting and new, President Obama was hiding his incompetence by watering down his potentially destructive plans with clichés. He may have seemed like a revolutionary to some when he remarked on the importance of the future of generations to come.


What is hidden behind the generalizations about a perfect society is his failed leadership and the ever present finger of blame towards the opposite party. President Obama has made these same accusations and proposals for the past four years now and justifies his inability to pass this wish list to “do what works” on bipartisan gridlock that he has not even tried to solve. Once again, President Obama has shown that he is full of empty promises and impractical solutions.


What Mr. Obama does not understand is the opportunity to pursue ones dreams is not a gift bestowed upon the people by the grace of Washington. The ability to ascend to the middle class— “the pursuit of happiness” which is enshrined in our Declaration of Independence, is a right of all citizens, and is best accomplished through individual choice, in a free economy where, through hard work and determination, anything is possible. The ever-present social ladder is, and always has been, one of the staples of United States’ greatness and if the tax reforms the President has proposed become a reality, then that ladder will become a slide where everyone falls to the bottom.


By increasing taxes on the wealthy members of society yet again, President Obama hopes to grow the economy and improve the GDP. However, by increasing taxes on the job-creators of America, the costs will only be passed on to their employees and customers, making it harder to become a middle class citizen. There was one silver lining to President Obama’s tax proposals, which was his call to lower corporate tax rates. This would bring profits, companies and jobs back from overseas. More American investments at home instead of in foreign countries will mean a lower unemployment rate and more opportunities for the graduating Hamilton students who will be heading to the real world next year.
President Obama has touted his reduction of the deficit as a triumph, yet he seems to forget that the annual deficit remains above a trillion dollars, and he has presided over more debt in four years than his predecessor did in eight. Puzzlingly, to reduce the deficit going forward, President Obama plans to increase government spending and magically decreasing the deficit at the same time. Obama claims that the United States deficit is the most important issue, yet his speech was littered with proposals for more government spending.


Furthermore, much to the contrary of what President Obama stated during his speech, the deficit is not on the path of being stabilized; the report from his own debt commission opened by saying “our nation is on an unsustainable fiscal path”, which would “put America at risk” with continued inaction. The wealthy and the successful are called upon to “do their part” by paying higher taxes to solve a problem that Washington politicians created, perpetuate, and appear unable to solve. Why is it the responsibility of hard working businessmen to clean up the mess of the government? President Obama has painted the picture that tax hikes and benefit cuts as the only ways to reduce the deficit, but history shows that if the economy is allowed to grow without reckless spending, wealth creation and new tax payers will generate faster growth economically and in government revenue.


Although most of these tax plans and deficit reforms matter little to the average Hamilton student now, what does matter is the reforms to student loans which President Obama called for on Tuesday. He is accurate that the interest rate for student loans should be kept low in order to support the continued pursuit of students like us who want to get a higher education. What is troubling is President Obama’s demand to “make sure [colleges] keep costs down”. This is clearly not the role of the federal government to involve itself in decisions of private institutions.


Perhaps if the federal government reduced its role in college financing and allowed competition to thrive, the laws of economics would reduce the cost of college and college loans. I think we would all like to see the Hamilton tuition  go down by a few bucks. Unfortunately, by using simple analytical skills one can see that the State of the Union is not what President Obama has depicted it to be and reality will catch up with him eventually.

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