The State of the Union (#SOTU) Address: Then is Now?

Obama, u.s., commentary, review

Just recently, on January 28, 2014, the 44th president of the United States, Barack Obama delivered a State of the Union Address. Even though this most recent State of the Union Address covers topics that are affecting the United States currently, some of Obama’s “big points” address some topics that have been brought up in past, such as immigration and the unemployment rate, which has also been addressed in William Clinton’s 2000 State of the Union Address.

William Clinton stated that, “We should do more to help new immigrants to fully participate in our community” (Clinton, 2000) Similarly, Obama argued something similar, “it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, law enforcement — and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. And I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: When people come here to fulfill their dreams — to study, invent, contribute to our culture — they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everybody. So let’s get immigration reform done this year” (Obama, 2014). The biggest thing that they have in common is the fact that they said that the U.S must help the immigrants in order to make the country better for the native-borns and the immigrants.

Not only that, but both Barack Obama and William Clinton stated that the unemployment rate was at “the lowest it had been in years.” Even though they both worded their feedback on the condition of the unemployment rate (which has been a constant problem between then and now). William Clinton stated that, “We begin the new century with over 20 million new jobs; the fastest economic growth in more than 30 years; the lowest unemployment rates in 30 years; the lowest poverty rates in 20 years; the lowest African-American and Hispanic unemployment rates on record; the first back-to-back surpluses in 42 years; and next month, America will achieve the longest period of economic growth in our entire history. We have built a new economy” (Clinton, 2000). Similarly, Obama argued that, “It is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong. And here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years. A rebounding housing market. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world — the first time that’s happened in nearly 20 years. Our deficits — cut by more than half. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is” (Obama, 2014). It appears as if they are using different words, while still having the same meaning. However, when Clinton was president, there was no mention of China, giving the idea that China was not that big of a rival to the U.S in 2000 than it was before 2014.

It seems like the current state of the Union is not that different from how the Union was in the past. People usually expect something to be drastically different after 14 years, but there are some things, like the state of the Union, that people later see does not change as much as expected.



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