Cutting his speech just a few moments short of an hour, President Obama covered a myriad of topics in his State of the Union address this past Tuesday, Feb. 11. In his first address to the American public since his re-election, Obama hit on major topics like education, the economy, and gun control. In the flurry of new proposals lie a few specific changes that could possibly affect students here on campus.
On the subject of economics, President Obama stated that he would like to see the minimum wage raised to nine dollars an hour. The current minimum wage in Arizona as of January 1 is $7.80 per hour. This would mean a substantial increase in the paychecks of minimum wage workers, such as many school-employed students.
Also on the subject of economics, President Obama stated the need for careers and schooling in “Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”, subjects that engineers and aeronautical science majors should be familiar with. On the subject of popular majors, President Obama also mentioned his concern about our nation’s cyber defense capabilities. This should be good news for students thinking about enrolling in the new cyber security degree program coming to our campus.
Aside from pleas for education and economic reform, Obama also made an emotional appeal for better gun control in the US. After mentioning the many families recently affected by gun violence, he told lawmakers “[They] deserve a vote.” Under Obama’s idea of gun control there will be more background checks for gun buyers, a ban on high-capacity magazines and “assault rifles”. What does this mean for us? Many students on campus love to go shooting, and routinely do so as a hobby. Rifles are popular among the student body, so are high-capacity magazines. We can expect fewer and more expensive rifles and magazines as businesses prepare for whatever new laws Congress will pass.
Referring to all these propositions, Obama promised not to raise the deficit at all. The funds will probably come from closing loopholes in current tax laws, which will meet some opposition. This means that the future of his proposals is somewhat uncertain. It will be interesting to see what propositions his administration manages to push through during the first year of his second term.