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Obama calls for investment in education and infrastructure

Joe Podelco / Lantern photo editor

Students who decided to watch the Ohio State men’s basketball game Tuesday might have missed someone on television offer them $10,000 for going to college.

President Barack Obama used his second State of the Union address to call for investment in American innovation and education, including making an annual $2,500 tax credit for students permanent.

Obama said these investments will help America out-compete other countries.

“To compete, higher education must be within reach to every American,” Obama said. “This year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit — worth $10,000 for four years of college.”

To pay for these investments, Obama suggested ending subsidies to oil companies, closing loopholes in the tax code and adding three years to a two-year freeze in domestic spending he proposed in last year’s speech.

“This would reduce the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, and bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was president,” he said.

Obama also said investing in infrastructure is important to restoring the nation to the prosperity of the 20th century.

“America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities and constructed the interstate highway system,” Obama said. “Within 25 years, our goal is to give 80 percent of Americans access to high-speed rail, which could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car.”

The president said accomplishing all of this must be done with members of Congress coordinating and not competing.

“We will move forward together, or not at all,” Obama said.

Herb Weisberg, an OSU political science professor, said he doesn’t expect the bipartisan spirit of Congress to last long.

“When he mentioned ending oil subsidies, you saw one side applaud, and one side sit,” Weisberg said. “So I think we’ll be back to the same old partisan rhetoric we saw before.”

One analysis of the speech gained widespread support: its vagueness.

“We didn’t see a lot of specifics,” Weisberg said. “Some, but not many.”

Meagan Cyrus, president of OSU College Republicans, agreed.

“My initial thoughts were that it was very vague,” said Cyrus, a third-year in political science. “I heard a lot about investment, which is just the new word for spending.”

Matt Caffrey, president of College Democrats at OSU and a third-year in political science, said the college tax-credit proposal is important for all students, but he has personally benefited.

“I pay for college myself,” Caffrey said. “Those tax credits helped me in a huge way.”

Obama also called for all universities to allow military recruiters and Reserve Officers’ Training Corps programs on campus.

“It’s time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past,” Obama said. “We must move forward as one nation.”

OSU’s ROTC offices are located in Converse Hall.

Ohio republican and House Speaker John Boehner’s history served as an example to restore the concept of the “American dream.”

“That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father’s Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth,” Obama said.

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