By Matt Jackson
With Congress as inactive as ever, the president recently issued an executive order — a topic he spoke about in his State of the Union addres — that moves past Congress and into direct action to aid further growth of the weak U.S. economy. The Obama administration has gathered some of the nation’s most successful companies to help provide jobs for the unemployed. As Obama told CNN, his administration has “gathered together 300 companies … companies like Walmart, and Apple, Ford and others, to say, ‘let’s establish (the) best practices.’”
Going in to the New Year, the unemployment rate had dropped to a nearly seven-year low of 6.7 percent. The current rate is down 1.2 percent from this time last year, the most dramatic decline within 12 months, over the past four years. Although things seem to be improving for the jobless, the economy still feels to many Americans to be less than ideal.
The goal of Obama’s new deal with the large corporations that often overlook the long-term unemployed is to give those who have been out of the job market for an extended period a better opportunity of receiving a job. As the president said, “do not screen people out of the hiring process just because they’ve been out of work for a long time.”
The President has also pushed for and succeeded in raising minimum wage in several states.
Actions such as these are crucial in times of Congressional deadlock, such as the one in which the U.S. finds itself.
While President Obama’s healthcare rollout may have been a disaster, the Congressional fixation on the President’s past failures block necessary progress. Yes, the healthcare website was a disaster, but complaining about it now is pointless. In order for the economy to continue to grow, the President must use executive orders to maintain the country’s growth.
As Obama explained in his State of the Union address, his new plan for action sets him up to act alone if necessary in improving the economy. Such actions are crucial in a time when bipartisanship is dead. The Congress need not agree with the president’s entire agenda to accomplish progress. It is their duty to move mountains in aiding the improvement of the country they serve. With the President taking such desperate actions to fix the gridlock, Congress seems destined to fall back into bad terms with the public.
In the end, the realm of politics relies on the court of public opinion to determine its success. In politics, there is always a winner and a loser, and if the President’s plan succeeds the inactive Congress will have suffered a great loss. Republican members of Congress must remember that the overwhelming majority of the American public no longer cares about their reasoning for being inactive.
Americans rely on the media to choose sides in the political game. With the President’s positive publicity following his state of the union address, the Republican Congress must now attempt compromise with the President on the other issues that are currently setting the country back.
Without bipartisan action in the present, Congress is destined to fail in the future.