In his 2013 State of the Union speech, President Obama proposes ambitious plans to raise minimum wage, provide preschool to low income families, improve infrastructure, address climate change and asked that Congress vote on gun control legislation.
Obama reiterated his earlier intentions to lower the deficit using a combination tax increases and spending cuts. He offered a concession in terms of reforming Medicare, but insists on contributions from the wealthy as well. He also set a goal of cutting the numbers of troops in Afghanistan by half over the next year.
During the speech, Obama placed particular emphasis on the economy, with a number of points aimed at assisting low and moderate income families. He proposed making quality preschool available to four year olds from low and moderate income families. He also urged Congress to increase minimum wage by $1.75 per hour, from $7.25 to $9.00.
Revisiting a debate lost in his first term, Obama wants to spend billions of dollars to improve deteriorating bridges and roads. He also wants to establish comprehensive trade agreements with the European Union. He believes achieving both of these goals would support job growth.
Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla) responded in a formal response for the Republican Party, saying that the president should rely less on government and more on free market forces to help the lower and middle class.
Realizing he faces potential obstacles from the Republican Party, Obama vowed to use executive power to achieve some of these goals, particularly in addressing climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency is working toward regulating emissions by new power plants, and environmentalists believe Obama will pursue similar regulations for existing plants.
Obama was sympathetic to the families of victims of recent gun violence. He promised to push for a vote by Congress on gun laws.
Read more at Wall Street Journal.