21st Century, Afghanistan, “ahead of the curve”, “trickle down economics”, Barack Obama, child care, China, climate change, crisis, Curt Clawson, deficit, diplomacy, divisiveness, emission containment, equality, financial crisis, foreign oil, foreign trade, free community college, graduating, gridlock, infrastructure, insured, Iraq, job market, Joni Ernst, Mars, middle class, national security, negotiations, new technology, opportunity, presidency, President Obama, Rand Paul, Republican Congress, Republican response, risks, sick leave, State of the Union, Tea Party, transcript, troops, U.S., unemployment, united, veto, video, wars, Washington D.C.
On the top of his list of future improvements for the country was to help middle class families stay with their heads above water and grow. He wants to see help in the area of child care for working families and he wants to see paid sick leave so families don’t have to choose between their jobs and a sick child.
The area of improvement for the lower and middle classes that drew the most attention was his proposal that the country make two-year community colleges free. This he said would help create the job force for the 21st Century and beyond and put America “ahead of the curve.” He also asked Congress to help reduce the debt load on students now burdened down with student loans.
The President pulled out his report card and ticked off his achievements: The country is now out of two wars, Iraq and Afghanistan, with only 15,000 troops still remaining in Afghanistan. The country’s deficit has been reduced by two thirds, the job market is reviving — there are more jobs being created than since 1999, unemployment is at a lower rate than before the financial crisis, more kids are graduating, more people are insured than ever before, and we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.
He did warn the Republican Congress that if they sent him bills to undo this progress he would veto them.
Looking to the future, the President asked if we would accept an economy where only a few “do spectacularly well or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”
The President hit on a myriad of topics, our propensity to go to war at the drop of a hat — which he said our enemies want us to do — Or to rely on diplomacy and negotiations, which is the smarter way to handle threats or volatile situations. He did, however, ask for authority to use force against ISIS.
He discussed foreign trade and having the U.S. set the rules instead of China, new technology, making fuel from the sun, going to Mars, and sending a man into space for a year. He said the U.S. has to improve its infrastructure to remain competitive. He mentioned climate change, validated its reality and said the Pentagon said climate change poses immediate risks to our national security. He said he would not let this Congress turn back the clock on steps made on this issue and said the U.S. and China are working on emission containment and hoped this would inspire other nations to take steps to “protect the one planet we’ve got.”
Then he talked about the gridlock and divisiveness that has gripped our country since his Presidency. He said he did not believe it was a true picture of America. We are not a collection of red and blue states; we are the United States of America., he told us.
This vision of a united America determined and free, still holding out equality and opportunity for all, is his mantra for his second to the last year of his two-term presidency.
To read the official White House transcript of the address, click HERE. To Listen to and view a video of the address, along with related graphics, click HERE.
To watch and listen to a video of the official Republican response from U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst, click HERE. To read a transcript of those remarks, click HERE.
To view and listen to a video of U.S. Rep Curt Clawson’s Tea Party response, click HERE.
To view and listen to a video of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s response, click HERE.
— Caroll Lucas and H.E.