(LIN) — As Inauguration Day draws near, it's clear to see President Barack Obama isn't pumping the brakes.
"It has been a busy and productive four years and I expect the same in the next four years," Obama said in his last news conference of his first term earlier this week.
It's already been a busy week. Monday, he vehemently proclaimed the obligations our country has in terms of its national debt ceiling, and two days later, he put into motion 23 new proposals to curb gun violence.
But over the next four years, what can Obama do to really move Generation Y forward?
We have a few ideas.
Jobs. In his campaign, Obama said he would help factories double exports to create 1 million new manufacturing jobs. But over the past four years, Obama and the manufacturing industry really haven't been the best of friends. While manufacturing is a viable and sustainable future for the American workforce, we need more outlets for future job growth not only to help with middle-class incomes, but for the economic outlook for our country. The unemployment rate for Gen Y is roughly 50 percent above the national average, and those 18-29 who have jobs are often overqualified and underpaid. This has got to change.
More productivity with Congress. It was exhausting hearing about the "fiscal cliff" talks. Both sides acted completely childish and didn't seem to care about the financial health of our country any more than their own party's image and agenda. This cannot continue. To get controversial, sweeping gun violence proposal discussions moving, Obama appointed Vice President Joe Biden to hold talks with lawmakers and interest groups. And guess what? It worked. In a little more than a month, 23 measures were outlined and moved into action. If this is what it takes to get the job done, let's involve more capable leaders to help rally a change.
College costs. Obama has already promised that America will be a leader in college degrees than any other country by the end of his term. But at what cost? College tuitions are soaring out of control, placing enormous debt on degree recipients and starting graduates out financially behind because of debt. We'd like to see Obama follow through on his promise to put the ball in motion on his plan to restraining the growth of college tuition prices by half over the next 10 years, and ensure that more graduates have access to dependable work when it comes time to enter the workforce, rather than a boatload of debt and stress.
Although it's a president's first term when many changes from past administrations go into effect, it's the second term that most presidents are remembered for. And let's face it – historically, presidents are typically less popular during their second term .
What will Obama's second-term legacy be? Can he buck the trend and go out on a strong note? And can he set America's future leaders up for success, or more debt and struggle?
Gen Y will be the judge of that.
Gen Y is a weekly opinion piece covering issues that matter most to young, influential Americans through their late 30s. Jessica O. Swink, a 20-something, is the digital political producer for LIN Media and contributing editor to onPolitix .
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