The State of the Union

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

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 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.