Obama pleads to the American people

By Samantha Dennis/The Guardsman

President Barack Obama gave the annual State of the Union address Jan. 28 and if you tuned in, you were sure to see that not only was the president speaking to Congress, but he was reaching out to the American people.

Opportunity for the middle class was a key topic Obama made clear in the address. An increase in minimum wage is something that I myself would benefit from along with every other college student who is juggling work and going to school.

Working five nights a week and also being a full-time student is no easy task. The task is that much more stressful when it’s a struggle to make ends meet financially.

As if school isn’t stressful enough, not being able to put money away in your savings account can make it feel like you’re just working to get by, living paycheck to paycheck.

I’m sure the majority of college students are in the same boat as I am, but that doesn’t make it okay. If we work hard, shouldn’t we at least be able to have a little extra spending change to go treat ourselves to something nice?

I’m not asking for a new Michael Kors watch or a Gucci handbag. All I’m asking for is to be able to pay all my bills and have a few extra dollars that I can put away in my savings account in case times get rough or something comes up.

Fortunately, many college students have their parents to turn to for help if necessary, but for students like me, I make just as much as my mother and she supports a household of three.

I ask myself if I’m being selfish, because I couldn’t tell you the last time my mom was financially able to treat herself to something nice, let alone save money. My mother works full time and barely gets by. I don’t think that’s fair.

“No one who works full time should have to raise a family in poverty,” Obama said in the address. This resonated with me because, as with my family and so many families across the nation, this is a reality.

Congress can make a change for the better by increasing the minimum wage, but business owners can also step up and do the same for their employees.

Raising wages could potentially heighten productivity and minimize turnover for business owners, while also stimulating the economy.

It is my sincere hope that Congress puts American families first for a change, instead of the corporations that seem to be driving policy decisions these days. We’re not asking for a hand out. We’re merely asking for our fair share.

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