State of the Union 2015 Address Update in Boise, Idaho: President Obama Promotes 'Middle-Class Economics' Agenda During Post-SOTU Address
As stated during the State of the Union on Tuesday, President Barack Obama began to travel across the U.S. to promote his "middle-class economics" plan. His first stop was Boise, Idaho.
Obama's visit to Boise was also an attempt to court traditional Republican states, as he stated, "I know it can seem like our politics are more divided than ever, and in places like Idaho, the only 'blue' turf is on your field."
After acknowledging the economic growth rate, declining deficit and the less than 4 percent unemployment rate in Idaho, Obama said middle-class economics works, in addition to expanding opportunities. Obama explained middle-class economics is the idea that the U.S. excels when people receive a fair opportunity, providing their own share, while following the same set of rules.
"These policies will keep on working, as long as politics in Washington doesn't get in the way of our progress," said Obama. "We can't suddenly put the security of families back at risk by taking away their health insurance. We can't risk another meltdown on Wall Street by unraveling the new rules on Wall Street. I'm going to stand between working families and any attempt to roll back that progress."
As part of middle-class economics, Obama said working families have to feel secure about the ever-changing economy. He said working families might need support to afford childcare, college, healthcare, paid work at home and retirement. Reiterating his speech during the State of the Union, he once again called for Congress to help families with the aforementioned issues and will submit a plan on how to address it. The plan includes lowering taxes for working families that could put "thousands of dollars" in their pockets, per year.
Obama said middle-class economics also includes people continue earning higher wages as a result of providing Americans the opportunity to improve their skills. Obama said he wants to work with Congress to ease students' burdens from loans by refinancing their monthly payments.
He also mentioned the free community college plan, officially known as America's College Plan.
"The idea is, in the new economy, we need to make two years of college as free and as universal in America as high school is today, because that was part of our huge advantage back in the 20th century," said Obama, noting the U.S. was among the first to establish public high schools, which led to a better educated workforce than other countries.
"The thing is, other countries caught up. They figured it out. They looked at America and said, why is America being so successful? Their workers are better educated. We were on the cutting-edge then, now we've got to be pushing the boundaries for the 21st century," Obama added.
The president acknowledged the lack of applause from Republican politicians from the State of the Union address. He said Republicans were "kind of quiet" while he spoke about his agenda, but added they agree on his issues, such as infrastructure and research, but won't admit it on camera.
"Educating our young people, creating good jobs, being competitive, those things shouldn't be controversial. But where too often we run onto the rocks, where the debate starts getting difficult, is how do we pay for these investments, because it requires dollars," said Obama.
Obama commented on his tax reform plans, including the closure of loopholes that allow the top 1 percent of Americans to avoid payment of certain taxes. He said a reformed tax code could help Americans pay for college and childcare. He is aware of Republican opposition but challenged opponents to provide alternative proposals.
"I want to hear specifically from them how they intend to help kids pay for college," said Obama. "It is perfectly fair for them to say, we've got a better way of meeting these national priorities. But if they do, then they've got to show us what those ideas are. And what you can't do is just pretend that things like child care or student debt or infrastructure or basic research are not important. And you can't pretend there's nothing we can do to help middle-class families get ahead. There's a lot we can do."
Obama's next tour stop is Lawrence, Kansas.
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