As I watched the State of the Union Address on Tuesday evening, there were a few points made by President Obama that gave me cause for concern. That is not to say that the ideas posed by our President were ones I disagree with, although many of them were, but some caught my attention more than others.
First, the indication that a raise in the minimum wage is necessary. I whole-heartedly agree! However, to push to rate from $7.25 to $9 will surely cause significant job loss for those employed in jobs paying minimum wage. The $7.25 rate is absolutely impossible to live on as prices of everything continue to rise; however, the potential alternative of being out of work is a scary one.
I do not proclaim to know an answer to address the issue; however, perhaps a less substantial jump all at one time could be looked at. Or increase the rate in increments over time, allowing businesses to adjust their budgets to incur the increased salary level without having to lay people off.
I believe that our President has what he considers to be good intentions and ideas that he hopes will benefit the American people; however, I wonder at times if he completely thinks through where the cost of the benefits will come from.
That leads to another idea he posed which is that of preschool for all. I assume, although he gave sketchy details, that that involves requiring public schools to add preschool classrooms. Not a bad idea as education surely begins even prior to the preschool age; however, where does the revenue source come from to incorporate these classrooms into already overcrowded, understaffed and outdated school facilities? Is this a cost that will be just one more unfunded mandate handed down to the states?
The lion's share of our taxes in West Virginia already go to education and we rank way below the top in providing superior education for our youth. To add one more demand without the resources will lead to continued failure when we need to concentrate on how we can improve the systems we already have.
Along similar lines, I believe the President may not be seeing the reality of every day middle (and lower class) families when he continues to say that the economy is improving, our energy bills are down, healthcare and insurance costs are lower and we don't face as much of a threat from foreign terrorists as we have in the past. I wish, as a working parent that I saw that rosy outlook; however, within my own household, those things are not at all accurate.
To give the President his due, I was glad to hear of his Executive Order regarding cyberspace safety. I also hope that he is sincere in his desire to work on a bipartisan level to address other critical areas in our country such as spending cuts, energy and gun control. With that said, both Democrats and Republicans need to realize that bipartisan cooperation does not mean "my way or no way," it means compromise for the good of us all.