In an election season that's revolved around the economic downturn, healthcare, civil rights, women's rights and America's foreign policy — one that's been drawn out for more than two years — nothing has proven President Barack Obama isn't lifting the country back up. It hasn't been instantaneous, but the direction we're headed in is the right one.
Having inherited a plummeting economy, Obama has proven his dedication to the working family. He's working to bring back Clinton-era tax levels, which would move more of the tax burden onto Americans in higher tax brackets, who can afford it. He wants to extend the Bush tax cuts for families making less than $250,000 a year. He understands that America's success depends on the middle class' success, and he's taking steps to make that more and more likely.
The economy isn't back up completely, but it is on its way there. Expecting Obama to fix the economy in four years is absurd; any president would need at least eight years to climb out of the economic hole Obama's presidency was born in.
Gov. Romney's plans for the economy would put a burden on the middle class that it wouldn't be able to shoulder. To balance the budget, he would cut spending and programs while keeping the Bush tax cuts for every tax bracket. Although this wouldn't raise taxes on the middle or lower class, defunding social programs would still hit them, while the wealthier class would remain unscathed. Every American needs to chip in to pull the economy up, and Romney would let the upper class sit on the sidelines.
This isn't to say Romney doesn't believe the upper class should give back — he just doesn't believe the government should require them to. He donates to his church and charity, but that isn't enough in today's economy. Those who are able to give back have to. Americans can't rely on private companies to help the middle and lower classes.
A Romney presidency would also threaten students' welfare. Romney has said he will diminish funding for Pell grants to levels that would cause one million students to lose funding. Education is the backbone of success — countless studies have proven that higher education levels are synonymous with higher incomes, leading to less dependency on the government. Making it more difficult for lower income students to attend college is counterproductive for any politician.
Meanwhile, Obama has increased Pell Grant funding by 25 percent, and understands one's ability to attend college shouldn't depend on economic activity.
Healthcare has been another talking point, and Obama's Affordable Care Act has proven to be the better choice for students. It allows children to stay on their parents' healthcare plan until 26 and prevents first-time insurance buyers from being discriminated against for preexisting conditions. This is just another example of Obama's understanding of the middle class — he recognized the healthcare system was not working, and took major strides to change that. Romney has promised to repeal the ACA if elected.
On civil rights, Obama and Romney are decades apart. Romney has promised to amend the constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, a move that would set America back as a country known for its freedoms. Romney is fighting progress. History has always trended on the side of giving Americans more freedoms, not taking them away. Romney doesn't see that there are no advantages to limiting people's basic rights. In 2012, the country shouldn't elect a candidate who is blatantly for discrimination. Obama has finally said he supports marriage rights for everyone, and that's the direction in which the American people need to be moved.
It's the same story for the candidates' positions on women's rights. Obama is for abortion rights — an issue that was decided in the '70s — and Romney plans to reverse Roe v. Wade. Romney's repeal of the ACA would send birth control prices back up, something lower and middle class women cannot afford. He doesn't seem to fundamentally understand the plight of the middle and lower classes. He doesn't see that giving women the power to plan their own families will drive down the number of abortions, the need for foster care, incarceration rates and several other programs using federal money. Obama sees that starting small, with sex education and easier access to birth control, is the best way to prevent the repercussions that Romney is so against.
On almost every issue, Obama is the candidate whose policies reflect the needs of the majority of Americans — the middle class. As students, we endorse President Obama and hope he will continue to fight for students' interests.