Obama on State of the Union: ‘We can fix this’

Did you watch the president's address? If so, please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Wire
Feb 13, 2013

President Barack Obama returned to the unfinished business of a still struggling economy Tuesday night, outlining a second-term agenda with proposals designed to create jobs, expand the middle class and spur financial growth.
“We can fix this — and we will,” the president said repeatedly.

In his annual State of the Union address, Obama laid out plans in four main areas — manufacturing, education, clean energy and infrastructure — to try to help the nation recover from the worst recession in decades at what he said would be no additional cost.

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs — that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” Obama said. “Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions as a nation: How do we attract more jobs to our shores? How do we equip our people with the skills they need to get those jobs? And how do we make sure that hard work leads to a decent living?”

Obama described a nation that has made progress, ending long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq while clearing away “the rubble” of the Great Recession, but one that still needs additional help to prosper. He declared that the state of the union is stronger, but not strong.

“It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class,” he said.

“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love. It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours,” he said.

He proposed raising the minimum wage from $7.25 to $9 an hour. He recommended spending $65 billion on road, bridge and building repairs. He unveiled a plan to save eligible homeowners $3,000 annually by refinancing at lower interest rates.

Obama starts his second term with a stubbornly high unemployment rate — higher for women and blacks than when he first took office — falling consumer confidence and a mounting deficit as he faces often uncooperative lawmakers on Capitol Hill. He insisted that Democrats and Republicans put aside their differences and take action, mostly immediately to find an alternative to looming across-the-board budget cuts that could harm the economy in weeks.

“The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem,” he said. “They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.”

Tens of millions watched the hour-long address, delivered to a joint session of Congress. The applause mostly fell along partisan lines, with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, sitting behind Obama often with a solemn expression while Vice President Joe Biden beside him stood to applaud.

Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, a rising Republican star, offered his party’s response in English and Spanish. Rubio said the “free enterprise economy” will create jobs and, not as Obama has suggested, the collection and spending of new revenue.

“The idea that more taxes and more government spending is the best way to help hardworking middle-class taxpayers — that’s an old idea that’s failed every time it’s been tried,” he said. “More government isn’t going to help you get ahead. It’s going to hold you back. More government isn’t going to create more opportunities. It’s going to limit them.”

Obama spoke about other issues Tuesday — including rewriting the nation’s immigration laws and combating climate change — but mostly in the context of the economy.

There were a few exceptions: Obama pressed for the most aggressive gun-control plan in generations. In the most emotional moment of the speech, he delivered an impassioned call for a vote on gun control bills by listing the “communities ripped open by gun violence” — from Aurora, Colo., to Newtown, Conn. As he spoke, cameras cut to people in the visitors’ galleries, some crying, some holding up photos of people presumably slain in mass shootings.

“They deserve a simple vote,” he said. The room erupted in sustained applause.

Obama announced that he will form a nonpartisan commission to study changes in the voting system after Americans endured long lines and administrative problems at the polls by singling out 102-year-old Desiline Victor, a North Miami woman who waited six hours in line to vote in November.

He said that by this time next year more than half the U.S. troops in Afghanistan — 34,000 — will have returned home as the Afghans take responsibility for security. He condemned North Korea for conducting its third nuclear test hours earlier, warning that it undermines regional stability, violates North Korea’s United Nations obligations and increases the risk of proliferation. He called for a reduction in nuclear weapons worldwide.

Obama was to fly to Asheville, N.C., today to begin selling his plans to the nation. Later in the week, he will continue the campaign-style pitch with stops in Atlanta and Chicago.

“He’s going to take his press conference out to the country,” said Rep. Sander Levin of Michigan, the highest-ranking Democrat on the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee. “The president learned from his first term, you need to have a major dialogue.”

He pressed for cuts in projected deficits by eliminating tax loopholes and deductions benefiting certain industries or the wealthy as well as by cutting projected spending.

And he urged Congress to pass a package of modest cuts and tax changes as a way to delay drastic, across-the-board federal spending reductions that are scheduled to take effect March 1.

White House officials said the president will pay for his spending proposals by re-prioritizing items in the budget. His proposed budget will be released in mid-March.

“Tonight, I’ll lay out additional proposals that are fully paid for and fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago,” he said. “Let me repeat — nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime. It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”

Obama announced that he issued executive orders, which do not require congressional approval, to open three manufacturing institutes and to improve the security of the computer networks that direct the nation’s crucial infrastructure systems — such as electricity, finance and transportation. And he threatened to sign more if Congress does not pass changes to prepare for climate change.

———

By Anita Kumar and Lesley Clark - McClatchy Newspapers (MCT) (Kevin G. Hall and David Lightman of the Washington Bureau also contributed.)

©2013 McClatchy Washington Bureau

Visit the McClatchy Washington Bureau at www.mcclatchydc.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

TheGreatYoda

Obama STFU... WE DID NOT GET US IN THIS!! YOU DID!

goofus

I'm wondering about Obozo's health, he didn't blame Bush for anything!!!!!

shay1025

Nice speach,covered about all that "they " thought we the people wanted to hear. Just hot air spewing from "Oblowhard"

JIMBO2

Yada yada yada blah blah blah. Pay more taxes blah blah Take guns away Yada Yada Spend more of the taxpayers money. Blah yada....SSDD

Cliff Cannon

@JIMBO2: What a fine job of capturing the essence of what he said.

Kottage Kat

It is times like this I am grateful that I am unable to watch TV. Praise the Lord for small favors

Kottage Kat

It is times like this I am grateful that I am unable to watch TV. Praise the Lord for small favors

dontknowmuch

Obama starts his second term with a stubbornly high unemployment rate — higher for women and blacks than when he first took office — falling consumer confidence and a mounting deficit as he faces often uncooperative lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

The deficit mounts because Obama and Capital Hill have no stones to make cuts. They want to keep their blank check.

betrump

Blah, Blah, Blah...blame the black guy. Forget he was given a mess. Forget that Congress does nothing. Forget that in reality, 20 years ago he would have been considered a Reagan Clone.

ladydye_5

WOW....still blaming Bush for the "inherited problems". I think it is time to find a new scapegoat. Mr Obama should be well on the way to fixing it by now. How many years does he need? (Oh and I could care less what color he is, just another excuse for people to throw around.)

Brock Lee

dint obie say he fix it all in his first term now his second term sosdd

all fact or all...

I agree..a do nothing congress at it's best. And then even ask why he hasn't gotten anything done! Tell me it's not his color, when he talked about equal pay for equal work for women the republican women members of congress sat there like STEPFORD women, you would have thought they would have agreed with at least that, but NOT!

propman

All...
Obama was not paying equally in his on staff for equal positions.

Contango

Didn't watch it. Other than tax, borrow and spend, spend, spend what else was new to hear?

Thank Ben Bernanke and the Fed Reserve whose money printing, QEternity and zero interest rate policies are helping to keep this economy on life support.

Here's one for ya. Don't think that this economy is living on printed money? Take a look at a historical graph of the money supply (M2):

http://research.stlouisfed.org/f...

The U.S. has become the largest debtor country in the history of the world.
And the only "bright" idea, this guy has is to SPEND MORE!

44846GWP

Winnie the great American didn't watch it, yet still comments and complains. Figures.

Contango

@ 44846GWP aka Zippy:

Read the transcript. Easier to breeze through the nonsense.

So what EXACTLY has Pres. BHO done to improve the economy? He's been b*tchin' about the "Jobs bill" for yrs. I say it's more Bernanke's doin'.

The Fed has been buying around three-fourths of new Treas'y debt, plus $40B monthly in mortgage debt.

Have you been buyin' Treasuries to help out?

Better check the hopium content of those "ceegars" ya smoke.

Kottage Kat

Please do not make ME part of THE WE
I didn't break it and I ain't a gonna fix it

WASP71

I found out in a meeting today that Obamacare makes employers pay for insurance for any employee that works over 29 hours per week. I have been told to cut my employees down to 29 hours so our company doesn't have to pay for the insurance. So now these employees go from 36-39 hrs week to 29. Then have to pay for their own insurance. Tell me why these people aren't going to quit, go on welfare and send the economy into the worst we have ever seen. I want to know how it is right to f*ck all these people and how will they survive with 3 kids, mortgage, car payment, etc. He has done nothing but screw the average person. As a boss I will be screwed when everyone quits and I have to work 80 hrs week because I'm on salary. If someone can tell me how this is going to work out, please explain because right now I don't see it. If I don't work all the extra hours then I get terminated and then I lose my house, etc. He is nothing but a f idiot if he thinks it's going to work. If you can tell me how this is better for us, I want to know.

jas

If your company ordered you to cut employees work hours down to 29 just to avoid paying for health insurance, then your disgusting company is to blame. They already had people working less than 40 hours to avoid paying for insurance. What's next? Cutting hourly wages so we're all making just as much per hour as the Chinese?

Even Henry Ford understood the concept that you have to pay your workers enough to buy the products you make or you won't have a large enough market to sell your products. You can't survive by only selling to the wealthy. Your employees are your best consumers but that doesn't happen if you want to pay slave wages. Consumption drives our economy. The GOP's policies since Reagan have reduced the buying power of the middle class which reduces consumption. That's why we're in the current economic mess and the GOP wants more of the same policies that got us in this mess.

Contango

@ jas:

Ford also required his employees to be punctual and sober. He was not a fan of unions.

Since you're "obviously" an expert, when are you starting a business paying a "living wage" with top notch health and welfare benefits?

Buying power of the USD? It's been reduced by 33% since mid-2001. See: Fed Resv. money printing.

Nah! There ain't no inflation.

44846GWP

Has your company been paying for insurance up until now? If yes, then why change? If you have "been told" to cut emplyees down to 29 hours a week then blame your owner or President of your company. It showes you work for a rotten, greedy company who cares nothing for its workers. Blame the tool who runs your company, not Obama.

WASP71

I understand what your saying. But in a business point of view, it will cost my employer $8 million dollars. No they haven't been paying benefits for the average employee and in the end I think we will find out that not just my company, but a lot of companies will be doing this. It comes down to Obamacare and money.If Obamacare didn't get voted in, then this wouldn't be a problem. I don't care what company you work for. If you are going to lose $8 million you will cut. That's business. I also believe that ALL big business are rotten and greedy. You don't make that much money by being nice. Like I said in my post, I don't believe it is right to screw the workers because it is Obamacare that started this whole thing. As much as I dislike big business you have to work for someone and for them to lose $8million dollars, I can see their side of the story also. If people are going to be cut like this then I suggest that they make it 38 hrs or more the company pays. That way the employees can still afford to pay for the insurance(for the most part) if they are cut to 37 and big business doesn't pay. I just don't see how this is going to work. Big business CAN afford it but won't and employees can't afford it but have to take it. As for the company I work for (I won't say who because of the whole HR crap) is decent. 5 day work week, 1 wk pd vacation after 1yr and 2 wks after 3, 9 paid holidays, raise every year-even the last 4- benefits for upper personel, 401k, ect. So they do care somewhat for us (I think). It just comes down to busness and money. So yes, I do blame Obama on this one.

buckeye15

You just made the perfect argument FOR single payer health care.

Contango

@ buckeye15:

Single payer? LMAO

So there ain't enough waste, fraud and abuse in SS, Medicare, Medicaid, Fannie, Freddie, Amtrak, et al. and you wanna add another Ponzi scheme?

jas

Business has been cutting their pension costs for years by forcing their employees into Social Security instead of having their own private pension plans. There was a time when all major employers had their own pensions. Not any more. That's why Social Security has financial problems. Big business has forced most employess into Social Security when it was never intended to be that way. Social Security is a form of corporate welfare because it allows them to cut their pension costs by forcing their employees into Social Security. Let's make the government pay the pensions for our employees. That's how they cut costs. They'll do the same thing for health care.

Contango

@ jas:

Regardless of your wrongheaded conclusion regarding private defined benefit pensions; you made my point - SS is in trouble.

Waste, fraud and abuse will do the same to a single payer medical Ponzi scheme program.

So when are you starting a business and paying a "living wage" with top notch benefits?

Fromthe419

I love the picture of BHO above, it reminded me of telling my last fish story. I caught one that big also. If you noticed during his speech he wants to raise minimum wage to 9.00 per hour, putting anyone that gets 40 hours per week above the threshold for qualifying for medicare and subjecting them to penalties from the IRS for not buying health care. Further QE and minimum wage goes even higher and everyone will be subject to buying heath care whether they can afford it or not, what are your choices going to be when milk and gas are over $10/gallon...get to work or eat or buy health care? QE has consequences folks. My prediction is the Government will next go after 401k's and say to nationalize and put them all in treasury bonds delaying the ultimate downfall of our economy.

DickChaney

betrump I love your sense of humor a Reagan clone. He's more like a Bongo goes to washington clone !! Blame Bush,only goofball still try that.

truckin

Fromthe419...Right on with the 401's, i have been saying that for a few years now, just you forgot union pensions and such also. That way when everyone retires....???Equal for all, (if you get my drift) will be brought about. A'many will be ROBBED period. Mattress/mason jar is still the best savings, and even then the goal of a cashless society. also Then run all self employed/independents out into corp. work so there can be a 100% accountability of "actual" earnings. So there will then be NO avenue to sneak a buck, use a loop hole, gain an inch, have a hidin' stash for your siblings when you die, etc. etc. It's all about control the people so they have no way to retaliate. (Guns being a whole'nother factor) No way to feed, cloth, shelter, protect with a trace thru our great computerized world. Eyes of the corn????? Heck eyes of the KING/MASTER/RULER would be much worst...No one thinks history can repeat itself.. Well it can and much more deadly with the aid of cameras and computers, etc.. Which have all been happily placed for the sake of "safety" THINK PEOPLE

sorryhog

We can fix it----Get him out of office!

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