President Obama has been dedicated to issues affecting students since he took office in 2009. His overhaul of the federal government’s student aid program cut costs for the government and expanded Pell grants that are crucial for millions of students. His student loan program allows students to pay a portion of their income toward their debt, making it easier for students to choose lower earning careers in public service. Gov. Romney’s plans for making higher education more accessible and affordable are less concrete. Though his campaign platform states he would “welcome private sector participation instead of pushing it away,” he has failed to provide a plan for implementing this change, including how he would pay for it. It is also unclear what would happen to Pell grants in a Romney-Ryan administration as the two of them have made conflicting statements about their plans for the program.
On health care and the economy, the President’s policies have also benefitted students. Allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ coverage until they are 26 provides students necessary time to settle into careers after graduating or to remain insured while attending graduate or professional school. The President’s plan of extended coverage has helped to correct a national disgrace — when health care is viewed as a privilege rather than a reality for millions. If elected, Romney has stated that he will repeal “Obamacare” and has not provided any concrete plans for a replacement.
On civil rights, Romney’s views are less than favorable. When it comes to access to contraceptives and health insurance coverage for women’s preventative care, Obama’s vision more closely aligns to that of students. Romney’s plan to repeal “Obamacare” would take away free and affordable care for women and his other policies toward contraceptives and women’s preventative care lack affordability and access. Though we respect his views on contraceptives and abortion, we do not think they best serve students’ needs. Obama has been proactive toward all of these issues, extending coverage for regular preventative screenings and access to contraception. As for LGBT rights, Romney opposed the end of the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy and continues to oppose marriage rights. Obama, while slow to speak out, has taken progressive steps we favor, such as ending “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.
As young Americans, this election is particularly important to us because our generation will be the most affected. America is at a crossroads. We have experienced many changes in the past decade and stand to experience even more in the next. In choosing our next president, we must be mindful of the type of leader we want leading us into this next phase of American history. Though both candidates certainly bring good ideas and intentions to the table, Obama brings a proven record of supporting issues important to young Americans. Obama’s vision for the United States is the only one that can lead us forward.
Editorials reflect the majority opinion of The Daily Princetonian’s student editorial board and not the opinions of either Princeton University or The Daily Princetonian Publishing Company, Inc.