President Biden delivered a powerful State of the Union message to the American public and Congress.
His speech addressed issues and challenges dear to Gen Z’s heart, such as inflation, climate change, lack of access to healthcare, unemployment, tax evasion, and police brutality.
While his speech and promises were bold and beautiful, the question boils down to vision meets reality.
In his SOTU address, President called the ongoing inflation a “global problem.” In 2022, inflation was one of the main challenges faced by Gen Z-ers. According to a Bank of America survey, one-third of Gen Z consumers had no investments, and nearly half of the generation is under some form of debt, such as student loans and credit cards.
“We have more to do, but here at home, inflation is coming down. Food inflation is coming down. Inflation has fallen every month for the last six months while take-home pay has gone up,” stated Biden.
The President touted the Inflation Reduction Act for declining inflation and bringing healthcare costs down but warned that some Republicans want to repeal it.
“Make no mistake, if you try to do anything to raise the cost of prescription drugs, I will veto it,” said Biden.
Undeniably, the urgency and power of the President’s speech matched the energy of a Gen-Z generation known for its political activism and outspokenness.
But let’s be realistic. Biden spoke before a divided Congress. The future of policies crucial to the well-being of the American people, such as continuous access to affordable healthcare, is not entirely up to the President.
In his speech, Biden mentioned that some GOP members plan to sunset Medicare and Social Security every five years to decrease the economic deficit instead of making American billionaires pay their fair share of taxes.
“That means if Congress doesn’t vote to keep them, those programs will go away,” added the Head of State.
Republicans met Binden’s statement with rejection and loud boos.
In all seriousness, the healthcare concerns raised by President Biden are some of Gen Z’s top anxiety-inducing subjects. In 2022, social disconnection and technology co-dependency were top concerns amongst Gen Z-ers, according to YPulse research.
House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has urged Biden to avoid the “extreme MAGA Republicans” phrase in his State of the Union address tonight. “I don’t think that’s appropriate comment that the President should make,” noted McCarthy. “I’ve expressed that to him in private and we’ve had discussions about that as well,” he revealed his conversation with…Keep reading
In his State of the Union, Biden pledged to “do more” on mental health, especially for children.
“When millions of young people are struggling with bullying, violence, and trauma, we owe them greater access to mental health care at school,” urged Biden.
However, the President still needs to develop his plan to increase mental health resources in schools. The public was left wondering exactly how the Biden-Harris administration would approach Gen Z’ “loneliness epidemic.” Hopefully, powerful words will not be just that, words, but rather practical actions that will make mental healthcare accessible to Gen Z-ers from all socio-economic standings.
Moreover, Biden tackled the ongoing ban on reproductive health care in the US. According to a Pew survey, 74% of adults ages 18 and 29 argue that abortion should generally be legal, including 30% who believe it should be legal in all cases. In other words, this is an issue of extreme importance to Gen Z and one that, unfortunately, is out of the President’s control.
“The Vice President and I are doing everything we can to protect access to reproductive health care and safeguard patient privacy. But already, more than a dozen states are enforcing extreme abortion bans,” stated Biden.
The President promised to veto a national abortion ban if such ever gets to the Oval Office. Still, Biden failed to mention how he would help those in the Red States who are denied reproductive healthcare.
Although Biden’s speech was overall positive, featuring good news about the American economy and healthcare programs, the execution of his plan remains to be determined.