State of the Union Address: President Obama’s Plan for a Strong Middle Class & a Strong America

February 12, 2013

A thriving middle class has always been our nation’s engine of economic growth – and reigniting that engine is the defining challenge of our time.

President Obama’s plan builds on the progress achieved during his first term and strengthens the middle class by making America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing, providing every American with the skills they need to do those jobs, and making sure that those who work hard can earn a decent living. These investments in manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure, and education will grow our economy from the middle class out and not the top down.  Furthermore, when put together with the President’s balanced deficit reduction plan, none of these proposals will add a penny to our deficit.

President Obama’s plan strengthens the middle class and grows our economy, and it does so by:

  • ·         Making our nation a magnet for jobs and manufacturing;
  • ·         Providing every American with the skills needed to do those jobs;
  • ·         Making sure hard work leads to a decent living; and
  • ·         Reducing the deficit in a balanced fashion.

Together, and thanks to the hard work of the American people, businesses have added over 6 million jobs over the last thirty five months, housing is on the road to recovery, and our stock market is up.  Though we aren’t going to solve every challenge we face, there are some immediate steps we can take to create jobs, and where common ground exists, the American people expect Congress to take action and get the job done.

Making Our Nation a Magnet for Jobs

President Obama’s plan starts with attracting more jobs to America’s shores and making sure our country makes things the rest of the world buys.  These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners grow and create new jobs:

  • ·         Eliminate tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas and reward companies that hire workers here at home.
  • ·         Team up with businesses and communities to train American workers for high-tech manufacturing jobs.
  • ·         Make investments in homegrown clean energy that help protect American families and businesses from painful jumps in gas prices.
  • ·         Substantially reduce our reliance on foreign oil, create jobs and cut energy costs by doubling renewable energy production again.
  • ·         Create American jobs and help businesses by first fixing the roads, bridges and other infrastructure most in need of repair.
  • ·         Work to cut red tape to create jobs rebuilding our housing sector and aid responsible homeowners in saving $3,000 per year by refinancing at today’s low rates.

Providing Americans with the Skills they Need

We know that education and job training are vital to making the middle class stronger and ensuring our kids are ready to compete in the global economy.  In order to grow the middle class, our citizens must be able to access the education and training that the jobs of today require.

  • ·         Offer high-quality preschool to every child so they are prepared and on the path to opportunity beginning at an early age.
  • ·         Restructure high schools to teach our kids the real world skills necessary to find a job.
  • ·         Rein in college costs for families by rewarding quality schools that improve the affordability of higher education.
  • ·         Fix America’s broken immigration system so that everyone plays by the same rules and we are attracting the best and brightest workers.

 Making Sure Hard Work Leads to a Decent Living

The economy is strongest when we are expanding opportunity and rewarding the hard work of every American.  That is exactly why we must build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for every individual willing to climb them.

  • ·         Reward work by raising the minimum wage to $9.00 an hour for 15 million Americans so we are paying more for an honest day’s work.
  • ·         Match businesses with communities hit hard by the recession to aid them in rebuilding and provide job training that puts Americans back to work.
  • ·         Ensure we strengthen our families by securing equal pay for equal work and encouraging fatherhood.

Reducing the Deficit in a Balanced Fashion

On top of making investments that are paid for responsibly to grow the middle class, President Obama believes we need to reduce the deficit in a balanced fashion so we aren’t passing on crushing debt to future generations.

  • ·         Bring down spending and ask the wealthiest Americans to do their fair share in order to finish the job of $4 trillion in balanced deficit reduction.
  • ·         Ensure our tax code is more simple, fair and competitive by getting rid of tax loopholes for the wealthiest Americans and big corporations.
  • ·         Make entitlements stronger by cutting subsidies to prescription drug companies and asking more of wealthy seniors.

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