The President That Forgot Millennials: Obama’s 2014 Address
WASHINGTON, DC — In this week’s address, the President reflected on the significant progress made by this country in 2014, and in the nearly six years since he took office. This past year has been the strongest for job growth since the 1990s, contributing to the nearly 11 million jobs added by our businesses over a 57-month streak. America is leading the rest of the world, in containing the spread of Ebola, degrading and ultimately destroying ISIL, and addressing the threat posed by climate change. And earlier this week, the President announced the most significant changes to our policy towards Cuba in over 50 years. America’s resurgence is real, and the President expressed his commitment to working with Congress in the coming year to make sure Americans feel the benefits.
That was the introduction of a press release from the White House outlining the President’s speech below. But before you delve into that bit of prose take a moment to consider the following:
While this statement from the White House and the subsequent speech which you can read below paints a rosy picture there is much in our country that still necessitates fortuitous work economically and healing and reconciliation socially. The events of the past few months in terms of citizen and police relations have highlighted both the real and perceived inequities of our nation’s justice system and have seen civil disobedience and protests not present in our collective consciousness since the LA Riots of the 1990s. While the country has recovered economically from the brink of total collapse the recovery has been anemic. With banks and stock recovering to pre-2008 levels but the average wage staying well below the steep increase in the cost of living.
As a millennial with 7 years of combine college and law school I still find myself working an hourly job doing non technical work at a rate that allows me to just get by living in the most expensive area of the country. It is a predicament that I find many of my peers in. Our careers delayed due to the only recently resurgent job market. It is true that as the president remarks below that the US economy is creating jobs they are not the ones I got buried under a mountain of debt to do. The higher education system in this country is broken and is leaving millennials over-qualified to do the jobs now available to them and lacking experience to do the jobs now available that would pay them a living wage. It is these injustices, that most heavily weigh on me, as I ponder what this president, who my generation views uniquely as our own, did these past 6 years that bucked the status quo?
Certainly, Obamacare was an attempt, which now seems to be marginally successful, to address one of the primary grievances that plague our generation; but what will affordable health care matter when large and larger portions of our salaries go to paying down student debt –financed by the government no less– for the first 15 to 30 years we are in the workforce. How will that put us into any better position than our parents, the Baby Boomers, who now find themselves ready for retirement with no money from which to live from.
As I sit and ponder this generational conundrum, I take solace in the fact that, at least hopefully, the policy altering mindedness and the power that socially connective technologies [social media] that have combined forces in recent months to fight injustice have now permeated millennial’s worldview to bring us to the understanding we have the ability to effect meaningful change through our collective actions. Neither Obama nor “the government” is the enemy, though after viewing his actions and the actions of congress over the past few years, my disenfranchisement has firmly established in my mind that neither are they a friend. It is on the precipice of this reality that I lament the lack of millennials ushered into the new congress during these past midterms and resign myself to the importance of their ascendency in the coming elections in 2016. It is here that I pledge my commitment to that end and dwell upon how to achieve such a feet.
So now enjoy the presidents speech for whatever it’s worth.
Remarks of President Barack Obama
The White House
December 20, 2014
Hi, everybody. As 2014 comes to an end, we can enter the New Year with new confidence that America is making significant strides where it counts.
The steps we took nearly six years ago to rescue our economy and rebuild it on a new foundation helped make 2014 the strongest year for job growth since the 1990s. Over the past 57 months, our businesses have created nearly 11 million new jobs. And in a hopeful sign for middle-class families, wages are on the rise again.
Our investments in American manufacturing have helped fuel its best stretch of job growth since the ‘90s. America is now the number one producer of oil and gas, saving drivers about 70 cents a gallon at the pump over last Christmas. The auto industry we rescued is on track for its strongest year since 2005. Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, about 10 million Americans have gained health insurance in the past year alone. And since I took office, we have cut our deficits by about two-thirds.
Meanwhile, around the world, America is leading. We’re leading the coalition to degrade and ultimately destroy ISIL. We’re leading the global fight to combat the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. We’re leading global efforts to address climate change, including last month’s joint announcement with China. We’re turning a new page in our relationship with the Cuban people.
And in less than two weeks, after more than 13 years, our combat mission in Afghanistan will be over, and our war there will come to a responsible end. Today, more of our troops are home for the holidays than at any time in over a decade. Still, many of our men and women in uniform will spend this Christmas in harm’s way. And as Commander-in-Chief, I want our troops to know: your country is united in our support and gratitude for you and your families.
The six years since the financial crisis have demanded hard work and sacrifice on everyone’s part. But as a country, we have every right to be proud of what we’ve got to show for it. More jobs. More insured. A growing economy. Shrinking deficits. Bustling industry. Booming energy.
Pick any metric you want – America’s resurgence is real. And we now have the chance to reverse the decades-long erosion of middle-class jobs and incomes. We just have to invest in the things that we know will secure even faster growth in higher-paying jobs for more Americans. We have to make sure our economy, our justice system, and our government work not only for a few, but for all of us. And I look forward to working together with the new Congress next year on these priorities.
Sure, we’ll disagree on some things. We’ll have to compromise on others. I’ll act on my own when it’s necessary. But I will never stop trying to make life better for people like you.
Because thanks to your efforts, a new foundation is laid. A new future is ready to be written. We have set the stage for a new American moment, and I’m going to spend every minute of my last two years making sure we seize it.
On behalf of the Obama family, I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.
Thanks, and have a wonderful holiday season.
The audio of the address and video of the address will be available online at www.whitehouse.gov at 6:00 a.m. ET, December 20, 2014.
History will be the judge as to whether Obama is our generations first great triumph or our initial disaster.
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