Tonight is the President’s State of The Union Address. In an election year, you can call this the election kickoff speech. There are some things that he should say that would be a very easy sell to the American people and the right thing.
Let’s start with taxes. This is going to be a huge issue in the election, and all polls show that Obama is on the right side of the issue. He has to sell it. Part of President Obama’s plan is to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire which would raise the top tax rate to 39% from 35%, where it was in the last economic boom of the 1990’s. He also wants to raise capital gains tax to 20% from their current place at 15%. Selling a tax increase is never an easy thing to do, as everyone wants lower taxes. Part of his plan would lower tax rates on the middle class for those earning under $250,000 a year. Mitt Romney releasing his taxes yesterday makes his job a lot easier to do. In a year where he did not work except for running for president, Romney made 20 million dollars and paid a total tax rate of 13% thanks to the Capital Gains tax. The right in our country likes to sell us the notion that if you lower taxes on the wealthy, the money will then trickle all the way down the ladder to the middle class and poor. This model has never and will never work. Why is that? Well just look at Mr. Romney’s returns. He made a lot of money last year and most if it goes right back into his savings. It is not trickling down anywhere. Now what Obama needs to say is that if you cut taxes on the lower and middle class in this country the money will work its way up. If someone making $40,000 a year gets an extra $1,500 a year in tax breaks, where do you think that money is going? It is going right back into the economy because that person needs the money to live. So this person goes to places like Staples and Sports Authority (both business that Mitt Romney and his company have invested in) and spends money. Their profits go up, and their investors make more money. It is a simple economic formula that has worked time and time again. If we continue to cut the capital gains tax we are going to become a country where the wealthy get richer without paying taxes, and the middle and lower class are forced to pay for everything. Mitt Romney last night said he wants to double production of Naval ships for example. Who is going to pay for this if people like Warren Buffett don’t pay the same percentage of tax as a middle class person? We need a tax plan that encourages and rewards work, not inheritance. If you take Gingrich’s tax plan of 0% estate tax and 0% capital gains tax, a person who is left 50 million dollars by his family can get that money and make make 10 to 12 million a year in interest and other dividends and never pay a dime of tax in their life. That is not how a democracy works, that is how you create a system of wealth and serfs.
Other things he should be talking about is the stimulus and car company bailouts. Most economists now agree that the stimulus saved millions of jobs, and stopped the United States from going into a deeper recession or depression. He needs to point out that he only got a percentage of the stimulus through because of the GOP filibuster in the senate. When he took office the United States was losing over 700,000 jobs a month which has now turned into 21 straight months of job growth. He needs to hammer this home and not be shy about it. The people remember the George W. Bush economy and they understand where we were. Obama needs to talk about how we now need to speed up the economic engine, and just come out and say that he is working with a GOP congress that has admitted on the record they would rather the economy tank then Obama get re-elected. He also needs to point out that GM was on the brink of bankruptcy and last month once again became the world’s best selling automobile brand. Again this in stark contrast to Mitt Romney and others in the GOP who have stated over and over again that they would have let GM die. He needs to talk about the United States spending 80% less of GDP then China on infrastructure. He has had a plan that congress won’t even look at. We can’t keep up with the rest of the world without fixing this problem. This would also help create thousands of jobs which has been center to his presidency over the last year.
Lastly he needs to point out how special interests and money are buying our political system. Two years ago he was bold to criticize the Supreme Court decision on Citizens United in his State of The Union. Tonight he needs to use the example of the keystone pipeline. The American Petroleum Institute has paid congressmen millions to pass a bill that forced Obama to give an answer on the pipeline within fifteen days. Why did they do this? Well they wanted it to be forced through before they actually showed where the pipeline would go. Everyone knew the application was a year away from being complete, and most people thought once done Obama’s State Department would approve the deal. However, the API wanted to get this approved so they can put the pipeline through parts of Nebraska that would not be approved by the government. They thought that Obama would not want to be embarrassed politically by denying this request. He stood up for what is right, and he needs to explain his side tonight.
There are other issues he should bring up tonight such as protecting a women’s right to choose against a right wing fringe, he needs to continue down the path away from fossil fuels, he needs to stand up for workers rights that are under attack in states across the country, and most of all he has to just act presidential. In every issue I mentioned polls show the people are with him. Now he just hammer home that he is on the same side. While the GOP is hell bent on beating Obama, one thing they worry about more is losing their own seats. If they see a public tide moving to defeat them, they will be forced to work with the President.