Outlines progressive “middle class economics” proposals.
In his State of The Union Address last night, President Barack Obama touted “a breakthrough year for America” that saw the fastest job growth since 1999.
Business Insider outlined the points President Obama made in his address that most pertained to business owners.
Obama focused on a slew of progressive proposals that he called “middle class economics.”
“Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well?” he asked. “Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and chances for everyone who makes the effort?”
“That’s what middle-class economics is — the idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules,” Obama said. “We don’t just want everyone to share in America’s success —we want everyone to contribute to our success.”
While the Republican-led Congress will most likely block many of the economic proposals Obama outlined in the speech, Business Insider pointed out, it was an opportunity for the president to brand himself and the Democratic party ahead of the 2016 election.
One policy Obama called for in his speech was to provide a $3,000 tax cut to provide childcare for middle-class and lower-income families. “It’s not a nice-to-have,” Obama said of childcare. “It’s a must-have.”
The president also said he wanted Congress to vote on paid sick leave. “Today, we’re the only advanced country on Earth that doesn’t guarantee paid sick leave or paid maternity leave to our workers,” Obama said.
Additionally Obama said he wanted laws passed to ensure equal pay for women and an increased minimum wage. He noted these laws wouldn’t be a solution to all hardship but could make a “meaningful difference.”
“To give working families a fair shot, we’ll still need more employers to see beyond next quarter’s earnings and recognize that investing in their workforce is in their company’s long-term interest. We still need laws that strengthen rather than weaken unions, and give American workers a voice. But things like childcare and sick leave and equal pay; things like lower mortgage premiums and a higher minimum wage—these ideas will make a meaningful difference in the lives of millions of families. That is a fact. And that’s what all of us—Republicans and Democrats alike—were sent here to do,” the president said.
Another plan Obama described in the speech would provide qualifying students with two free years of community college. “I am sending this Congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of community college —to zero. Forty percent of our college students choose community college. Some are young and starting out. Some are older and looking for a better job. Some are veterans and single parents trying to transition back into the job market,” Obama said. “Whoever you are, this plan is your chance to graduate ready for the new economy, without a load of debt. Understand, you’ve got to earn it—you’ve got to keep your grades up and graduate on time.”
Some Republicans have already expressed opposition to that proposal because of its estimated $6 billion annual cost, Business Insider noted.
Obama also outlined a series of tax reforms designed to subsidize credits for middle-class workers with a series of taxes on the wealthy and the financial industry. These will include an increase in the top capital gains tax.
“Let’s close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America,” Obama said. “Let’s use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home. Let’s simplify the system and let a small-business owner file based on her actual bank statement, instead of the number of accountants she can afford. And let’s close the loopholes that lead to inequality by allowing the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on their accumulated wealth.”
The Republican-led Congress is extremely unlikely to allow these tax reforms to become law.