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The Social Contract

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February 3, 2011

The Social Contract

A social contract is defined as a voluntary agreement in which the community as a whole benefits; from individuals to employers, and even governments (Webster's 2003). This agreement occurs when individuals surrender some of their natural freedom (State of Nature) for the security of a society that can provide order (State of Society). The social contract allows individuals certain rights to natural freedom, while surrendering other rights to a leader or political body. In addition, the social contract transfers our individual free will to a collective (or public) will as a society (Kohn 1990). In our society, a political body enforces the restrictions of certain rights of freedom (Roland 2004). However, today's social contract between individuals, employers, and the government is breaking down because the era where lifelong employment with a single firm and employer-provided benefits is being replaced with idled wages, health care costs and consumer debt. Many individuals are becoming vulnerable and looking for the security and tools to navigate a dynamic economy. These examples justify the need for a new social contract based on the growth of both families and the economy. It must be a citizen-based contract that is supported by the public or collective will to benefit our community as a whole (Boshara & Cramer).

State of the Union Speech

President Obama's State of the Union speech was the topic of conversation for many political and individual debates on methods to fix and improve the American economy. Obama proposed many plans to improve the economy, yet maintain benefits for individuals and the community as a whole.

Domestic Spending Freeze Proposal

During his State of the Union Speech, President Obama proposed the start of an annual domestic spending freeze, which would last for five years. Domestic spending can be define as the money Federal government spends on the nation it governs. Obama claims this will reduce our country's deficit by $400 billion in the next decade, and it would be the lowest share of the American economy's discretionary spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Obama states, "this spending freeze will require many painful cuts". Obama stated that the government has already begun by freezing the salaries of hardworking federal employees, but in addition, important community and individual programs are being cut, such as community action programs and Medicare and Medicaid. Although this proposal may better the government deficit, the freeze does not benefit our community as a whole. This spending freeze creates budget cuts that directly affect the citizens of the United States, when annual domestic spending is only a little over 12 percent of our total budget (State of Union Speech, 2011).

Educational Programs and Assistance

Another issue covered by President Obama covered during his State of the Union speech was educational assistance and programs to help our children to succeed in school which will affect the future of the American economy. Instead of cutting educational costs or pouring money into a system that does not work, Obama has replaced



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