State of the Union Address
President Obama came out swinging at the State of the Union Address. The information in his speech was anti-climactic because he laid out the specific policies he would talk about at the President's website.
The President spoke about his economic policy. He named it Middle Class Economics. "Middle class economics works," President Obama said. It was an obvious jab at Reagan's trickle-down economics which was and is responsible for the current income and wealth disparity in America.
The President was very assertive and confident in his delivery. He definitely was not the portrayal of a lame duck president. In fact, he was leading the policy debate. He detailed the success of the Obama administration right out of the gate.
Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years.
Tonight, for the first time since 9/11, our combat mission in Afghanistan is over. Six years ago, nearly 180,000 American troops served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, fewer than 15,000 remain. And we salute the courage and sacrifice of every man and woman in this 9/11 Generation who has served to keep us safe. We are humbled and grateful for your service.
America, for all that we've endured; for all the grit and hard work required to come back; for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this:
The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong.
At this moment -- with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production -- we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It's now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come.
The president provided real world middle-class stories of Americans sitting with the First Lady to provide the rationale for his middle-class economic policy. He framed the rebound in what Republicans decidedly opposed.
We believed we could reverse the tide of outsourcing, and draw new jobs to our shores. And over the past five years, our businesses have created more than 11 million new jobs.
We believed we could reduce our dependence on foreign oil and protect our planet. And today, America is number one in oil and gas. America is number one in wind power. Every three weeks, we bring online as much solar power as we did in all of 2008. And thanks to lower gas prices and higher fuel standards, the typical family this year should save $750 at the pump.
We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record. Our high school graduation rate has hit an all-time high. And more Americans finish college than ever before.
We believed that sensible regulations could prevent another crisis, shield families from ruin, and encourage fair competition. Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts, and a new consumer watchdog to protect us from predatory lending and abusive credit card practices. And in the past year alone, about ten million uninsured Americans finally gained the security of health coverage.
At every step, we were told our goals were misguided or too ambitious; that we would crush jobs and explode deficits. Instead, we've seen the fastest economic growth in over a decade, our deficits cut by two-thirds, a stock market that has doubled, and health care inflation at its lowest rate in fifty years.
So the verdict is clear. Middle-class economics works. Expanding opportunity works. And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way. We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We can't put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unraveling the new rules on Wall Street, or refighting past battles on immigration when we've got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto.
The President then detailed the laundry list of middle-class centric policies like free junior college, increased tax credits for childcare, and increased minimum wage.
The President chided Republicans several times throughout the speech. He reminded them that they were touting Vladimir Putin's prowess. Russia's economy is in shambles and he is now isolated. The President used the example to show himself as the grown up in the room, steady and persistent leadership.
At the end, the President pleaded for bipartisanship. He stressed that we are all one family. He attempted to implore Republicans to step up to the table.