President Barack Obama delivered his State of the Union address Tuesday night, emphasizing his plans for an economic revival and attacking income inequality.
While Obama opened the speech with foreign policy issues like the death of Osama bin Laden and ending the Iraq War, the majority of the speech focused on his economic agenda, consisting of education, energy and manufacturing.
“Think about the America within our reach,” Obama said. “A country that leads the world in educating its people. An America that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing and high-paying jobs. A future where we’re in control of our own energy, and our security and prosperity aren’t so tied to unstable parts of the world. An economy built to last, where hard work pays off, and responsibility is rewarded.”
Obama also spoke about the financial crisis’ relationship with Wall Street and announced plans to establish a financial crimes unit of highly-trained investigators to crack down on large-scale fraud.
He also asked the attorney general to create a special unit of federal prosecutors and leading state attorneys general to expand investigations into the abusive lending and packaging of risky mortgages that led to the housing crisis.
A large portion of Obama’s speech addressed income inequality and called for the rich to pay more in taxes.
“If you’re earning a million dollars a year, you shouldn’t get special tax subsidies or deductions,” Obama said. “On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98 percent of American families, your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with rising costs and stagnant wages. You’re the ones who need relief.”
Republican Party of Wisconsin spokesperson Ben Sparks released a statement regarding the president’s speech that said Obama would have to stand in front of the American people and defend countless failed promises throughout his presidency.
“Having already said that our country is not better off now than it was four years ago, with 49 million Americans living below the poverty line, 13 million out of work and a debt that is spiraling out of control, Obama needs to come straight with the American people that his liberal polices have failed,” Sparks said in the statement.
Sparks also said while Obama praised solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra as proof of his economic policies success in his last address, the now-bankrupt company was actually a $535 million waste in taxpayer funds and cost 1,000 jobs.