Showing posts with label Obam State Of The Union. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obam State Of The Union. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

President Obama: Everybody Must Play By The Same Rules

Barack Obama, US President
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama used Tuesday's State of the Union address to lay out a vision of America in which everybody gets a fair shot at economic success and everybody -- including "the wealthy" -- plays by the same rules as the average citizen.

Obama's address, which comes in the midst of a rapidly escalating presidential campaign season, delivered a strong message about the need for social and economic equality and put forward a handful of new policy ideas targeting tax reform, college affordability and clean energy. But by and large, Obama's third State of the Union was focused on proposals for boosting the economy and ensuring protections for the middle class.

"Millions of Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that do the same," Obama said. "It's time to apply the same rules from top to bottom. No bailouts, no handouts, and no copouts. An America built to last insists on responsibility from everybody."

Obama laid out some notable new policy proposals, including the creation of a new international minimum tax on U.S. companies making profits overseas; the launching of a new trade enforcement unit that would target unfair trade practices in countries around the world, including China; and a plan to shift federal aid away from colleges that don't keep down tuition costs. He also announced that the Defense Department will make history's largest renewable energy purchase -- totaling 1 gigawatt. The president can use his executive power to make the last item happen.

Ahead of the address, senior administration officials who spoke only on background and wouldn't be quoted, said the underlying message of the speech is that Obama's economic policies have been working and should be continued. The country had already lost 4 million jobs to the recession before Obama came into office and lost another 4 million before his policies took effect, they said. By contrast, Obama's policies have created more than 3 million private sector jobs in the past two years.

The officials also highlighted a new initiative to place 2 million people in jobs through new partnerships with businesses and community colleges. Steve Jobs, the recently deceased CEO of Apple, had pressed Obama for proposals like this in a past meeting, said the officials.

During his remarks, Obama reiterated his support for instituting the "Buffett rule," a concept that he and congressional Democrats have been pushing for months as a way to pay for their legislative priorities. Named after billionaire Warren Buffett, the rule would require people making more than $1 million to pay a minimum effective rate of at least 30 percent.

Warren Buffett's secretary Debbie Bosanek was a guest of the First Lady at the State of the Union. Buffett has made the case that millionaires and billionaires should be taxed at higher rates by pointing out that Bosanek pays a lower effective rate than he does.

"We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," Obama said. "Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them."

Other notable attendees at the event included Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who made the trip to Washington, D.C.,two days before she plans to step down to focus on her recovery after being shot in the head in Tucson in Jan. 2011. Giffords' husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, also attended as a guest of the First Lady.

The president isn't wasting any time when it comes to selling his economic vision to the country. On Wednesday, he'll kick off a three-day tour of five states, Iowa, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado and Michigan, which are key battlegrounds in the upcoming presidential race. The move is a convenient way for Obama to connect his governing activities to his campaigning, which has already gotten off the ground but is not yet operating at full force.

Obama is also slated to sit down with ABC's Diane Sawyer on Thursday for his first post-State of the Union interview. Sawyer is soliciting questions from the public to ask the president.

In the meantime, White House officials will spend the week managing a social media blitz. On Tuesday night, administration officials planned to take questions from the public about the address submitted via Twitter, Facebook and Google+ in front of a live audience -- and to respond to questions in real time via Twitter, using the hashtag #WHChat and #SOTU.

From Wednesday through Friday, senior administration officials will host a marathon of online question and answer sessions via Twitter. Wednesday's panel will focus on general questions about the address. Community-focused discussions with policy advisers will take place Thursday and Friday's Q&A will be directed toward specific policy issues, including health, education and jobs. People who want to participate can ask questions on Twitter with the hashtag #WHChat, and administration officials will respond in real time.

News by Huffingtonpost

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