In his 65-minute long State of the Union Address last night, President Barack Obama offered an election-year plan to stimulate the economy, saying that the country’s most affluent citizens should pay more in taxes out of fairness so that the deficit can be brought under control without over burdening the people who are having trouble just trying to make ends meet.
Pushing for Buffet Tax Plan
Obama spoke to Congress in an attempt to persuade them to adopt billionaire Warren Buffet’s tax plan which would force all those making $1 million or above annually to pay at a minimum 30% of their income in taxes. Due to the customary gridlock in congress, made worse by the up and coming 2012 elections, analysts say that there is small chance that such a plan will pass.
“You can call this class warfare all you want,” Obama said in a nationally televised speech before a joint session of Congress. “But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.”
Many see last night’s speech, an event which is required of the president once a year in January, as a foreshadowing of the issues which will be repeated during campaign Obama will be running for re-election this coming year. The themes evoked were highly populist in nature; tax fairness, help for homeowners, unfair trade practices in China, and more effort put in to eliminating US financial crimes. Obama also discussed investigating the business and corporate behaviors that led to the housing crisis.
Populist Themes Throughout
Obama mentioned the selfless spirit and teamwork within the US armed forces; he urged congress to come to an agreement on tax reform, especially for individuals and corporations; he spoke positively about developing alternative energy development; and Obama talked about better job training programs and educational opportunities.
The president both opened and closed his remarks with mentioning what many consider to be the golden moment of Obama’s presidency.
“For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country,” he said within the first two minutes of the address, prompting a standing ovation.
Then, as the president was coming to his concluding remarks, he mentioned the day when all his top officials, including Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were all sitting together in the White House Situation Room during the time that the Navy SEAL team was on their raid which ended in the demise of bin Laden.
“All that mattered that day was the mission,” Obama said. “No one thought about politics.”