For President Barack Obama, winning his second term may have been the easy part.
Now, he might face an even greater challenge in dealing with the country’s issues.
Obama’s win over Republican candidate Mitt Romney now questions the president’s plans for the country’s pressing issues such as the economy and whether people are ready for another four years under his administration.
“The whole idea that we can bring the budget under control simply by cuts is ridiculous. There has to be more money,” said Dennis Johnson, a retired SIU professor of algebra and political science. “But on the other hand, you can’t just say, ‘Well, let’s just tax everybody more’ … so we have some serious spending cuts to look at.”
Johnson said there is a congressional stalemate because the president is asking for more money from the rich, and Republican House speaker John Boehner refuses tax increases. Johnson said he thinks the issue will have to work itself out because people are tired of inaction.
“I think things are going to change now, and people are going to start to see who’s obstructing the whole process,” he said.
The country’s financial state also has some economists worried.
“The government side of the economy is in trouble,” said Scott Gilbert, director of undergraduate studies in SIU’s economics department. “There’s been a lot of spending and not enough to pay for it, so (Obama’s) biggest challenge right now is to get enough money raised by taxes and borrowing from the public … to pay for the spending.”
Gilbert said one of the economy’s larger issues is the metaphorical “fiscal cliff,” which is reached by spending too much money and not making enough back through taxes and other means of revenue. He said the economy runs the risk of falling off the cliff if the country continues to spend more than it makes, which could lead to another recession.
“The cliff is the same as if you bought something with a check,” Gilbert said. “If you write a bad check, no one comes storming out in a crowd demanding their money.”
Gilbert said once the government’s is side of the economy is stabilized, businesses will have a better chance to thrive. He said this would also help tackle another of the president’s concerns, which is lowering the unemployment rate.
A key factor of the country’s economic crisis involves yet another challenge for the president: working with the Republicans and the party’s supporters.
Obama won 50.53 percent of the election’s popular vote. Romney was not far behind with 47.85 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
Johnson said people from both parties will have to make some tough economic choices, and both will have compromise.
“They’re going to have to come to some kind of solution,” he said. “They are talking about another temporary fix, but how long are we going to do this? Are we going to keep having temporary fixes, or should we sit down and figure out what it takes to solve the problem?”
Johnson said Democrats have some gains after winning the presidency and Senate majority, which could help in making compromises and agreements.
Students on campus expressed varied opinions on Obama’s re-election and policy continuation.
Yvonne Daniels, a graduate student in social work from Morris, said she voted for Romney Tuesday because she did not like how Obama approached some of his ideas.
“I like (Obama’s) idea of universal health care, (but) I don’t think he is going about it the right way,” she said. “I think using the capitalistic viewpoint … (isn’t) the approach to take because you’re still going to leave people without healthcare. You’re still going to leave people falling through those cracks.”
Daniels said she thinks Romney didn’t have a much better plan, but her views cause her to lean more Republican. She said she expects Obama’s second term to be similar to his first.
“I know people call him a socialist, and I don’t know if I’m going to go to that extreme, but he does have very socialist point(s) of view, which is good and which is bad depending how you look at it,” she said. “I think more government is not necessarily a good thing.”
James Phoenix, an undeclared graduate student from Belvidere, said he voted for Obama because he thinks the president has a better plan for the country.
“I think he did a good enough job (in his first term),” he said. “Clearly, there are some things he could have done better.”
Phoenix said Obama and the Democratic leaders should stand up more to the Republicans and not back down on their positions.
Babajide Lawal, a senior from South Holland studying healthcare management, said he did not vote in the election but supports Obama because he looks out for college students and young adults.
“(Romney) said something about how students should ask their parents for money,” he said. “What he doesn’t understand is a lot of young adults don’t have parents they can go to for money … How would they be able to go to college without the help of any grants or any type of financial aid?”
Lawal said Obama did a great job in office considering the financial crisis he received heading into the position. He said he thinks Obama is going to improve on his first term successes and do a better job during his second.