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Along party lines

Kevin+Brost+%2F+Daily+Wildcat%0A%0AThe+University+of+Arizona+College+Republicans+hold+a+meeting+during+President+Obamas+State+of+the+Union+address+in+the+Sabino+Room+of+the+Student+Union+Memorial+Center+on+Tuesday+night.
Kevin Brost
Kevin Brost / Daily Wildcat The University of Arizona College Republicans hold a meeting during President Obama’s State of the Union address in the Sabino Room of the Student Union Memorial Center on Tuesday night.

President Barack Obama discussed how he wants America to move forward through the coming years, focusing on taxes, the outsourcing of jobs and the importance of higher education during his State of the Union address on Tuesday.

Obama said that states need to emphasize funding for higher education in their budgets, and cannot expect continued increases in subsidies from the federal government to stymie cuts. He also said that colleges need to focus on ways to make attendance more affordable, be it through redesigned coursework that favors speedy progress through the college ranks, better use of technology, or other factors. He also hinted that consequences may be in store for institutions that prove resistant to change.

“So let me put colleges and universities on notice,” Obama said. “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”

Obama also said the Legislature should prevent interest rates on student loans from doubling come summer, during a time when most Americans owe more in tuition loans than in credit card debt.

“Higher education can’t be a luxury — it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford,” Obama said.

Obama emphasized that, because the economy is still in a bad state, jobs need to be created for Americans who became unemployed due to the recession, and reminded viewers that after the failure of the economy in 2008, nearly 4 million Americans lost their jobs within the first six months.

Obama declared that the government should no longer bail out big companies for making risky investments with their customers’ money, and blamed the corporations for the economic crash. Obama added that the government should instead bail out and help the people who need a bailout the most — members of the middle class.

“We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by,” Obama said, “or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share and everyone plays by the same set of rules.”

He said those who make more than $1 million a year should not only pay 30 percent of taxes, but even more. Obama then proposed that the United States raise taxes for the wealthy, and offer tax cuts to average, working-class Americans. In addition to these cuts, he proposed that small businesses should be given the same sort of tax break because they create local jobs.

He added that the U.S. government should also not give tax breaks to large companies that offer jobs overseas. He stressed that there are not nearly enough jobs at home and that there need to be more. As an incentive, he will offer tax breaks to companies who either move jobs back to the country or keep jobs here in the first place.

Campus reaction

Several groups on campus voiced their reactions to Obama’s address.

The UA Young Democrats, in collaboration with Organizing for America, a community-organizing project of the Democratic National Committee, held a State of the Union watch party at Arizona-Sonora Residence Hall.

Trevor Gervais, a political science freshman and Organizing for America media and field organizer, said Obama has fought for student loan reform and grants.

“He (Obama) fights for the youth,” Gervais said. “He has done so much. … He shows us a great vision for the future.”

Gervais said Organizing for America’s priority to get Obama re-elected is to register Democrats for the upcoming election, and to help students get involved.

Laura Zimmerman, a political science senior and former intern for the Arizona Students’ Association, a student lobbying group, hosted a “taco night” for friends to eat and watch the address in her home. As a “big Obama supporter,” Zimmerman said that she thought the address was great.

“I was really interested about the student loan part, and the jobs after college,” she said. Zimmerman added that a true testament for Obama as president was passing legislation allowing equal pay for women.

Despite all the support for Obama from the Young Democrats, many students said they were disappointed with Obama and felt that he has made little change to the economic landscape besides increasing the nation’s debt.

“Nothing has happened,” said political science senior Lauren Bouton, “but he came into office advocating change.”

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