This election is important. As Taylor Garland, president of Penn State Students for Barack Obama explained, the issues that define this election are ones that will form the foundation of our country moving forward — just one more reason that the youth vote is as important as ever.
“Regardless of where we go to school or live, we are faced with the same issues as young people,” Garland said. “The growing divide between the rich and poor, the fight for equality for all and the need to make both college and health care affordable for everyone are the same issues faced by young people.”
These issues will shape our nation for generations to come, no matter who we elect. So let’s make sure we elect the person with our best interests in mind.
President Barack Obama knows how to create jobs. We have had 31 consecutive months of job growth that added 5.2 million private sector jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And he has provided detailed plans on how he would further spur job growth in a second term.
By cutting tax rates for domestic manufactures, ending tax breaks for outsourcing, creating subsidies for insourcing and training workers by investing $2 million in community colleges, President Obama has said we can generate 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016.
And when you hear President Obama say that he will “invest in a nation at home,” he means half of the savings from ending overseas operations will be put to repairing roads, bridges, highways and ports — an infrastructure improvement program that will require thousands or even a million jobs.
Obama cares about protecting the rights of every individual. And the laws he passed to ensure these rights are important as they affect many in our diverse Temple community.
In terms of creating an atmosphere of equality in the White House, President Obama has led by example. He has appointed the most diverse Cabinet in history including more women appointees than any other president, the most U.S. gay officials, the first transgender appointment and the first Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy, Kareem Dale, a legally blind man.
President Obama has also passed legislation to empower these disenfranchised groups. The repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and the presidential memorandum reaffirming the rights of gay couples to make medical decisions for each other in federally funded hospitals, were two of many laws passed to protect the rights of the LGBT community. And beyond establishing the White House Council on Women and Girls and other positive legislation for women, he understands that a woman’s healthcare choices are personal decisions best made with her doctor — and without interference from politicians.
The Affordable Care Act was one of the most monumental laws passed by the Obama Administration. As a nation, it is a big step forward considering we are the only country that spends way more on healthcare per person than most countries with free, universal healthcare.
In terms of affecting us as a group specifically, it allows us to be covered under our parents’ policies until we turn 26. As a result, 91,000 young adults gained insurance coverage in Pennsylvania as of December 2011.
It will also help us in years to come. Effective under the law by 2014, if you’re unemployed with an income up to $15,000 per year as a single person, you may be eligible for healthcare coverage under Medicaid, and if your income is less than $43,000 as a single and not offered affordable coverage by your job, tax credits can help pay for insurance.
Plus, we are now covered for preventive services with no co-pay costs. Healthcare plans can no longer exclude, limit or deny coverage to anybody based on pre-existing conditions and women can no longer be charged a higher premium than men.
President Obama understands that higher education is a necessity and has been working toward making it a reality for everyone. He also understands the crisis on our hands with $8.1 billion in defaulted private loans and student loan debt has been estimated to be as high as $1 trillion.
In 2010, Obama increased funding for student loans and Pell Grants. He also cut subsidies for private banks that were providing loans to college students, which provided $40 billion in savings, helping to expand the Pell Grant program until 2020.
Obama also called on Congress to keep rates on new subsidized Stafford loans at 3.4 percent instead of doubling them this past summer.
The Next Four Years
In Obama’s Announcement Speech in Springfield, Ill., Feb. 10, 2007, he said:
“Let us be the generation that reshapes our economy to compete in the digital age. Let’s set high standards for our schools and give them the resources they need to succeed. Let’s recruit a new army of teachers, and give them better pay and more support in exchange for more accountability. Let’s make college more affordable, and let’s invest in scientific research, and let’s lay down broadband lines through the heart of inner cities and rural towns all across America.”
Let’s be that generation. Let’s give him four more years to succeed.
Bri Bosak can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @BriBosak.