The Path to the Presidency: With the election over, what now?
The victory speech has been given, the balloons and confetti have fallen, and now Barack Obama is the President-Elect of the United States of America.
After more than a year of campaigning, from the primaries to the general election, the nation has finally spoken, and now Obama’s journey has just begun. On January 20, he will make his way down Pennsylvania Avenue and be sworn in as President.
The next two months will be no vacation for the president-elect. Between now and the end of January, he will have to create policy to address the issues at hand, prioritize his goals in office and put together a staff of secretaries and cabinet members to assist and advise him in his duties.
With all of these new responsibilities, how will our new president accomplish the goals he talked about during the campaign? What issues do you think President-Elect Obama should tackle first? How would you advise the new leader of the United States of America?
The issues: from the war to healthcare to the economy
During the run for presidency, Obama made many proposals and plans on how to address the issues of concern to citizens of the U.S. Now, he will have step up to the plate and come through with those plans. Obama will have to address the issues of:
For more information on the issues, read the Speak Out “Path to the Presidency: What issues matter to you?”
- The economy: With the stock markets around the world in a state of high volatility, the troubled American economy is on the minds of many Americans. Obama has offered to boost the economy by encouraging small business growth and offering tax credits to small businesses that create new jobs for Americans, increasing government spending on the creation of “green jobs” and reducing taxes on lower and middle class families.
- Energy and the environment: During the campaign, Obama suggested that developing clean energy is important for the environment but also for the economy and security of the economy. In addition to the promotion of “Green Jobs” as mentioned above, Obama also has proposed fighting America’s dependence on foreign oil by investing in alternative energies like biofuels, solar power and clean coal technology. Obama also plans to enact legislation that would curb greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by the year 2050.
- Healthcare: Obama will offer mandatory coverage for children and a push for universal coverage for adults by requiring large employers to share in the cost of healthcare with their employees.
- Education: Obama plans to spend $18 billion on education, overhaul the No Child Left Behind, increase pay for teachers and offer a $4,000 tax credit for college tuition for students who work 100 hours of community service a year in addition to increasing the number or federal loans offered by the government, making college affordable for everyone.
- A vocal opponent to the war in Iraq, Obama plans for a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq over the first 16 months of his time in office. He plans on increasing troops in Afghanistan by about 7,000 as a means to thwart terrorist insurrections occurring throughout the country.
As president, Obama must set priorities if he is to accomplish the goals he set out during the campaign. Many of his plans cost large sums of money, which means that some of the plans will have to wait months if not years before beginning. Some of the issues can be accomplished at the same time, but they require vast amounts of time and research. Of the issues above, which ones are the most important, and which ones do you think can wait?
Creating a cabinet
Thankfully Obama is not alone when making decisions and setting priorities. When electing a president, you are also putting into power an employer; the president appoints many people – with the approval of the Senate -to high offices around him as advisers and executives of federal departments. He has a cabinet, which advises him on the issues of their expertise and speak for the president when asked to do so. From Secretary of State, who advises the president on domestic and international issues of the country, to the Secretary of Education, who oversees our nation’s education system, the people who fill these posts play an important role in the direction of the country.
In addition to his cabinet, the president has an army of staffers, secretaries, and policy gurus who advise him on matters ranging from natural disasters to public transit issues. These members of the president’s staff collect the data, conduct research and help the president get to the root of the issue before making decisions that affect the lives of millions of Americans.
Observers suggest that Obama will select many governors who are either nearing the end of their term or whose terms have come to a close to be part of his administration. Additionally, some say that other high-ranking members of former presidential administrations could be members of Obama’s staff. How should the new president select his cabinet?
What do you think?
How would you advise the new president? What issues do you think the he should set as his top priorities? How should Obama select his cabinet? What kind credentials or experience should the cabinet members have? Join the discussion and let us know what you think!
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