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It’s no great shocker that jobs and the economy were a major focus of President Obama’s State of the Union address last night. As a working mom and freelance writer, I've seen first hand how jobs that were once abundant are now really hard to come by -- and I know exactly how that affects parents' ability to pay the bills and provide for our kids.
Obama said we are poised for progress, and I sure hope that’s the truth. These last couple years have been tough on working moms. I have friends who feel stuck in their jobs because there’s nothing better out there, and friends with young children who have had to go back to work to make ends meet. (The stats prove it. According to a recent Census report, the percentage of stay-at-home moms went down to 23% in 2010.) I also know plenty of moms who have faced layoffs, or because of a layed off spouse have had to jump back into the workforce asap.
As Obama said, the world has changed. My dad, with a high school degree, landed a great job at a local car plant. He worked hard, held that job for all of his adult life and is now living off his pension. That’s not how things work anymore. Obama said today’s workforce is filled with “proud men and women that feel like the rules have changed in the middle of the game.” I’m still looking for the rule book.
To support job growth, Obama also proposed other changes including lowering the business tax, doubling exports by 2014, fixing regulations that put barriers on business growth, and placing freezes on spending and making cuts to reduce the deficit.
Although the president said 1 million jobs were added to the private sector last year, I don’t see the proof of that where I live. So I was glad to hear him acknowledge that those 1 million jobs aren’t nearly enough. I’m glad that Obama gets it. I’m glad he understands that while he wears designer suits, many of us are scraping the bottom of the bargain barrel. We need change, and it needs to happen now. In the meantime, I’ll keep looking for that new rule book.
Did the State of the Union address make you feel better about job creation -- or not? Chime in below!