In the State of the Union and the GOP response, President Obama and Senator Rubio offer starkly different visions of how government can help (or hurt) the middle class – and those aspiring to join it.
The battle for the middle class has been joined.
As promised, in the first State of the Union address of his second term, President Obama made a full-on pitch for measures aimed at promoting the nation’s vast economic middle – and those aspiring to get there.
The president called for a substantial hike in the federal minimum wage, from $7.25 to $9.00 an hour, over the next three years. He called for investments in early education, worker training, and domestic manufacturing. He repeated his call, without detail, for “modest reforms” to social programs – foremost, Medicare – as rising health-care costs drive up long-term debt. And, as the March 1 deadline looms for deep, across-the-board spending cuts, he repeated his insistence that “the well-off and well-connected” pay more in taxes.
“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs, that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” Mr. Obama said.
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