The State of the Union

The State of the Union Address marks something other than business as usual

by Published: Feb 20, 2013

Many stu­dents may not have watched the speech, but land­mark poli­cies that will define United States President Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency and our gen­er­a­tion are soon underway.

“From my expe­ri­ence talk­ing to com­pa­nies, the job mar­ket is com­ing back strong because there’s a gap between the baby boomers retir­ing, and now they need high cal­iber peo­ple to fill those posi­tions,” Todd Carlson, Ferris senior in man­u­fac­tur­ing engi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy, said.

The State of the Union Address is an annual occur­rence for the pres­i­dent to touch on cur­rent national polit­i­cal and social issues. With job cre­ation as the focus of the last elec­tion and still hav­ing a strong empha­sis cur­rently, President Obama claimed that six mil­lion new jobs have been cre­ated since the eco­nomic down­fall of 2008, a large con­trib­u­tor from the American Jobs Act, accord­ing to Obama.

The leg­is­la­ture cut $245 bil­lion worth of tax respon­si­bil­i­ties to com­pa­nies, a claim made by the White House web­site. New avail­able rev­enue was cre­ated which could be used else­where, such as the acqui­si­tion of new employees.

“Companies are pick­ing peo­ple out of the pro­gram left and right,” Carlson said.

Carlson, who has two inter­views this week, is excited about the direc­tion the job mar­ket is headed toward. Based on his assump­tions, for every one Ferris stu­dent there are a total of four job offers within his field of study.

From a Democratic van­tage point, job cre­ation has the poten­tial to help bring down the nation’s deficit, which sits at $16.5 tril­lion, accord­ing to the U.S. National Debt Clock. Obama claims in his speech to make a con­certed effort to reduce that figure.

Creating a larger con­sumer base could help sus­tain a revived economy.

“Given how every­thing has increased over the past few years, this is the right thing to do. And I don’t buy into the notion that it’s going to be a job killer; that’s con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal speak,” Dr. Gerald Matthews, a 17-year Ferris pro­fes­sor of social work, said.

Matthews, who authored “The Fog of Racial Politics: The Unique American Experience Under the Presidency of Barack Obama,” is con­vinced invest­ing more money into the aver­age pock­et­book will actu­ally help small busi­nesses rather than do harm.

In President Obama’s address, he pro­posed increas­ing the fed­eral min­i­mum wage stan­dard from $7.25 to $9 an hour. Many states, includ­ing the state of Michigan, have min­i­mum wage require­ments higher than fed­eral sanc­tions by a total of 15 cents an hour, accord­ing to the U.S. Department of Labor.

“I can see for the Average Joe but­ton pusher, but the major com­pa­nies are going to have to up their prices,” Carlson said.

If the leg­is­la­tion sees an action phase, an employee at min­i­mum wage could earn approx­i­mately $18,700. This assumes that the employee does not miss a sin­gle day of work, works 40 hours a week every week of the year and before taxes are withdrawn.

The sug­gested income is based on the cost of liv­ing, accord­ing to President Obama. In a month’s time, the same worker as described above could make $1,560 before taxes.

Coupled with the aver­age cost of liv­ing in Mecosta County where rent equates to $503 a month, sus­tain­abil­ity is pos­si­ble. The rough data gath­ered by city​-data​.com shows that the vast major­ity of peo­ple here in Mecosta County work under a wage system.

As rough esti­mates were exam­ined con­cern­ing costs for min­i­mum wage house­holds, the total at a very fru­gal level exceeds $1,300 a month, which would make work­ing for $9 extremely tough but fun­da­men­tally fea­si­ble. The cal­cu­la­tion vari­ables do not include any sort of flex­i­bil­ity for other than nec­es­sary costs.

The econ­omy and the aver­age work­ing fam­ily will bear the out­come of these polit­i­cal prin­ci­ples, and its effec­tive­ness will surely not be known today.