Obama tables agenda against inequality

President Barack Obama

President Barrack Obama Tuesday took off the electoral blocks in high propane performance with a powerful State of the Union speech heavily emphasizing income inequality, tax reforms to require millionaires to pay at least 30% of their income in taxes, eliminate deductions for companies money if they move jobs overseas, and lower corporate rates, for businesses that manufacture and create jobs in the U.S.

“The same rules should work for all, the poor and the wealthy” Obama remarked on the very day that Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney said he pays about 15% in taxes on millions in income. Obama proceeded to lay a new agenda that would make millionaires pay at least 30% as he proposed a new tax code on the “Buffett Principle” which demanded the same tax burden from high earners like the billionaire Warren Buffet billionaire as regular middle class workers. Debbie Bosanek, Mr. Buffett’s secretary, who Mr. Buffett says pays a higher income tax rate than him was in the hall as a guest of the White House.

“You can call this class warfare all you want,” Obama said. “But asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary in taxes? Most Americans would call that common sense.” A study by the Tax Policy Center shows that the average tax payment for middle class Americans is about 20%.

President Obama’s speech re-injected numerous ideas that Congress had rejected, like plans to fix roads, bridges and other infrastructure. Analysts in Washington yesterday said the opposition from Congress would be part of his campaign message as the president takes on a road show from today retailing his programme for an “America Built to Last.”  

Spurring a job growth strategy based on a philosophy of in-sourcing (as against out-sourcing) Mr. Obama argued that this is what would help America make it through the tough times and build a stable economy.

“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” he told the joint session of Congress adding that “What’s at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.”

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President Obama also wrapped himself around his robust foreign policy successes. His exiting from two major wars, success in the fight against al Qaeda, and the killing of Osama bin Laden. He also touted his improvement in veteran’s allowances, his expansion of human rights to gays, the regulation of Wall Street after the economic meltdown, the successful bail out of the auto industry, his ecumenical governance style, and the reforms of the bureaucracy.

Republicans showed little sign of warming to Mr. Obama’s version of the path to stability. Governor Mitch Daniel of Indiana who responded on behalf of the Republicans was strict but gracious in tone departing from previous Republicans who played the role. He congratulated the president for his foreign and domestic successes but accused him of painting an overly generous state of the nation’s health.

“On these evenings, presidents naturally seek to find the sunny side of our national condition…But when President Obama claims that the state of our union is anything but grave, he must know in his heart that this is not true,” Mr. Daniel said. He also slammed the Obama administration of fomenting a class warfare against the rich classes.

“No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others,” he said.

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