While Gov. Mitt Romney, vying for the Republican nomination, campaigned in Illinois, he spoke to a crowd at the University of Chicago. Answering a question concerning the extreme expenses of student loans and the availability of employment opportunities, Romney said, “I don’t see how a young American can vote for a Democrat.”
This is a continuation of the assertion made in his victory speech after winning the Puerto Rico primary. Basing his claim on projections of unending tough economic times, Romney continues to exhibit his removal and alienation from Americans by overlooking the strides made in President Barack Obama’s first term. The Obama administration has a long list of policy successes benefiting us, young Americans, and establishing a foundation to provide for a healthy economy throughout our lives.
The first congressional legislation signed into law by President Obama was the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, a Democratic bill establishing equal pay for equal work among genders, and in doing so, furthered the career opportunities available to young women.
The Obama administration increased investments in Pell Grants and extended the Hope Scholarship Credit, a tax credit of up to $2,500 for two to four years, by enacting the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Additionally, two months ago the president’s plan for student loan debt relief went into effect. The relief plan places a cap on loan payments at 10 percent of discretionary income and a 20-year forgiveness plan, a five year reduction from the previous 25-year plan. The second most prominent source of family debt is student loan debts. With these relief provisions in place, how’s that for economic projections?
Let us not discount those young Americans serving our country’s military. The president repealed the discriminatory and repulsive Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy. It cannot be overlooked that the president also removed thousands of our peers from the dangers in Iraq with the conclusion of the war and is gradually reducing those in harm’s way in Afghanistan.
Finally, the controversial process of health care reform, affectionately nicknamed Obamacare, ought not to be much of a controversy for young Americans as they are one of the primary beneficiaries. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act achieved substantial improvements to our health care system in that it expanded the availability to health care coverage to millions of Americans. The Affordable Care Act permitted parents’ insurance coverage to children up to the age of 26; already 2.5 million young Americans benefit from this provision alone.
Critics, charging the Affordable Care Act with an overbearing weight upon our economic future, conveniently ignore the facts. The law created 3 million new jobs in the private sector and established oversight to prevent the premium hikes previously felt by Americans paying for health insurance, and for the first time, tens of millions of patients are receiving preventative care. This saves the system millions from the more expensive reactive care typically sought by those uninsured.
Hold no illusions. While Mitt Romney nonchalantly condemns Democrats and the Obama administration, inform yourself of true actions and understand the actual benefit of supporting the president.
At this point, you may be convinced I’ve had too much Kool-Aid, but rest assured, I have my genuine disagreements, too. However, I give credit where credit is due, and when it comes to policy, the Obama administration deserves the vote it has earned for the work done in the name of protecting and improving the situations of young Americans. I’m in – that’s my declaration of commitment and support to the president’s re-election. Are you?
Trenton Garza is a sophomore political science major from Bushland and is the president of the Baylor Democrats.