President Obama laid out a list of goals for his second term, some of which represented new policy ideas and some which were repackaged goals his administration had announced previously.
Here’s a look at Obama’s second-term goals, as outlined in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention:
Create 1 million new manufacturing jobs by the end of 2016.
While this particular number is new, President Obama’s plans have previously included ideas about creating a more favorable environment for companies to create manufacturing jobs in the U.S. In his “Blueprint for an America Built to Last,” Obama included proposals to lower tax rates for “companies that manufacture and create jobs in the United States” and create a new tax credit that would support companies seeking to finance factories, equipment, or production in communities “that have been hardest hit by a company choosing to relocate or a military base shutting down.” The Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected about 357,000 new manufacturing jobs over the next decade. Meanwhile, the Boston Consulting Group has forecast that 2 to 3 million new manufacturing jobs will be created by 2020.
Double exports by the end of 2014.
In his National Export Initiative launched in 2010, Obama vowed to double U.S. export growth by 2015. “Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support 2 million jobs in America. To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security,” Obama said in his first State of the Union address in 2010.
Cut net oil imports in half by 2020.
In his "Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future" released in March 2011, Obama set a goal of reducing oil imports by one-third by 2025, pushing an “all-of-the-above” energy plan in order to reach that goal by tapping domestic oil and gas resources, increasing energy efficiency, and developing biofuels and other alternative fuels. Obama’s goal is more ambitious here, as he cuts the timeline by five years and moves from cutting oil imports by one-third to cutting them in half. The goal might be more ambitious, but it is also getting more within reach, as domestic oil and gas production is at an all-time high and in 2011, the U.S. became a net-oil exporter for the first time since 1949, according to the Energy Department.
Support 600,000 natural gas jobs by the end of the decade.
This 600,000 natural-gas jobs figure was already included in Obama’s State of the Union address this year. It capitalizes on the boom in the United States that has driven natural-gas prices to all-time lows and was sparked by recently-discovered formations of shale gas all over the country and the private sector’s investments in new technologies to tap it. The boom means that the natural-gas industry will continue to grow regardless of what the Obama administration does. Natural gas and unconventional gas production is expected to support nearly 1.5 million jobs by 2015, according to a June report from energy research group IHS CERA. And according to that same report, the goal of 600,000 jobs has already been reached and surpassed: The survey shows that in 2010, unconventional gas activity supported 1 million jobs.
Cut the growth of college tuition in half over the next 10 years.
Over the past year, Obama has made college education a focal point of his education agenda. This spring, this push came to a head when he fought to keep the need-based student-loan interest rate at 3.4 percent. It was a home run -- Congress passed legislation in June to keep the low rate for another year. Now, Obama is trying to channel the public's frustration about the cost of college into votes with his pledge to cut tuition in half. And Obama doesn't need help from Congress for that or anything else he purports to do in higher education. Instead, he can bully college presidents and state boards of education. College tuitions are set either by the state, if they are public, or the university itself. Obama has proposed giving federal benefits to the colleges that try to keep their tuitions low and withholding them from those that don't. And he can do that unilaterally. It's still an uphill battle, however. Higher education is its own strange world that has its own pitfalls. But none of them are named John Boehner or Mitch McConnell.