President Obama once again offered a progressive, moral vision for America during last night's State of the Union Address - a choice between an America where we're all in this together or where some people put their personal self interests ahead of the common good, a return to the policies of the past.
“….The defining issue of our time is how to keep that promise alive. No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. 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. 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.”
President Obama inherited the most broken economy since the Great Depression. And some want to return to the policies that brought us to that point? President Obama is correct to call for increased investments in education and our public infrastructure. We need to continue creating jobs.
Last night, in the GOP response, Gov. Mitch Daniels made the claim that President Obama is "pro-poverty." That's absurd - particularly coming from George W. Bush's budget director whose policies created the poverty crisis we face in the United States today. President Obama's stimulus program, opposed by every GOP member of Congress, kept 30 million additional Americans from falling into poverty (or deeper into poverty) during the worst part of the recession. No president in recent memory has done more on this issue.
My hope is that sometime soon President Obama will take the opportunity to speak directly to those living in poverty in America - the numbers are too high - and offer hope directly to those who struggle each day to find food and shelter, many while working. We cannot afford cuts in anti-poverty programs in the new budget. But make no mistake: President Obama's economic agenda will help reduce poverty if the GOP gets out of the way and stops playing politics with the economy.
I'm deeply proud of our president for again articulating a moral vision for the United States.
Photo Credit: Whitehouse.gov