Monday, February 03, 2014

The State of Union – Quick Hits Edition

The President’s State of the Union speech was 13 pages long, not a Clinton-esque verbal marathon but still substantial.  And I know it's sometimes hard to pull yourself away from those Criminal Minds and NCIS - Cleveland reruns so I have done you a favor.  I have summarized the speech, in fact, I summarized it twice. 

The first version is for everyone who has the attention span of an ADD squirrel on Red Bull  - otherwise known as everyone under the age of 25.

The second is for those folks who eat standing up and don’t have time to digest an entire sit down meal.

A couple of notes, the section dividers are mine.  They just seemed to make sense.  Second, I had to cut stuff, mostly hyperbole, and paraphrase other things.  If you want the full political Monty, quit being lazy and watch the damn speech.



The Over Caffeinated ADD Squirrel Version:

Congress sucks and everything good that has happened is in spite these contrary, obstructionist do-nothings. They are really just a bunch douche bags who want to screw the poor, raise more money from their rich friends and get reelected. So, blame this room full of fucktards if you are pissed and know that I’m going to try to accomplish stuff anyway - with or without them.


The Standing Diners Edition:


People in America are doing great things – working hard for both their families and to make America stronger.

Economy - General

The economy is stronger, more job creation, stronger markets (housing, manufacturing), a majority of oil used is from America. We are battling back from the Great Recession.

We may argue over the size of government, but failing to address our nation’s problems with government shut downs and threatening our credit rating is “not doing right” by the American people.

The recent budget compromise restored some vital programs, but it isn’t enough. With economic growth, high stock prices, and high corporate profits, the rich are doing great, but the average American is still hurting, working harder than before for not enough to get by.

The Economy Part 2 - If Congress Won’t – I will

We have to help the middle class and help the poor.  I will try to work with Congress to do that but if they won’t work with me, I’ll go it alone.

Without Congress, we have worked to reduce childhood obesity (Let’s Move!), get veterans jobs (Joining Forces Alliance), and make college education more accessible (College Opportunity Summit). We are partnering with state and local elected officials on other issues (homelessness and marriage inequality)

Americans are tired of the stale political arguments; they believe success should be an opportunity for all, not just the rich. More than half of American big manufacturers are considering bringing jobs back from overseas. Government has to make that easier through tax reform that encourages hiring Americans.

Economy Part 3 – Infrastructure and Research

We need to Congress to spend money on building America’s infrastructure to create jobs.  But even if they don’t, I will act on my own to reduce the barriers (reduce bureaucracy) to keep infrastructure projects moving forward.

We are launching more high tech manufacturing hubs (two exist now) but Congress has to authorize them. We have to be able to compete in international markets while protecting our environment and our workers. This includes more government funded research, bipartisan trade promotion authority and patent reform.

Economy Part 3 - Energy

A big factor in creating jobs is American energy and we are closer to energy independence than we’ve been in decades thanks to natural gas.  I will cut red tape to help states move more factories and transportation to natural gas while strengthening environmental protections.

We are becoming a global leader in solar energy and that creates jobs in America. We need to stop giving 4 billion a year to fossil fuel companies and invest more in fuels of the future that create jobs in America.

Climate change is a fact and I am working with states and industries to set new, tougher standards for carbon emissions.

Economy Part 4 – Immigration

We need to get immigration reform done this year. Economists say reform can grow the economy and shrink the deficit by nearly a trillion dollars over the next two decades.

Economy Part 5 – Jobs and the Unemployed

We know how hook up employers with job seekers and to train workers for jobs (American Job Centers).  I have asked VP Biden to lead an across the board reform of America’s training programs to train American’s in the skills that employers need and then to match them with jobs.

We also have to restore unemployment insurance that Congress just allowed to expire for 1.6 million people. They are hard working people who want to work. Congress – give these people a chance to get back on their feet.

I’ve been talking with CEOs to give more long-term unemployed a job.


We need to give every child access to a world-class education. Race to the Top has helped states raise performance. But we have to start educating kids sooner research shows one of the best investments we can make is high quality early education. And as Congress decides what it wants to do, I am pulling together a coalition of elected officials, business leaders and philanthropists to get kids more access to pre-K education.

Toward meeting my pledge last year of connecting 99 percent of students to high speed Internet, we have started connecting more than 15,000 schools and 20 million students over the next two years.

We are also offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments at 10 percent of their income.

Women, the Economy, and the Minimum Wage

It is embarrassing that women make up half the workforce but only make 77% of what men make. More women work in low wage jobs. I asked Congress last year to raise the minimum wage. Five states of done it on their own and I ask others to do so.

I am issuing an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay federally-funded employees $10.10 an hour. Raising the minimum wage will give business customers more money to spend and it doesn’t require any new programs. Give workers a raise.

Support the Earned Income Tax Credit.

Savings and Income Disparity (sort of)

Help people save for retirement. Tomorrow I will direct the Treasury to create a new way to save for retirement called MyRA, a new savings bond that gives a decent return with no risk. Congress needs to help as well by fixing an upside down tax code that gives big breaks that help the wealthy save but no help to the middle class and offer every American access to an automatic IRA on the job so they can save just like Congressmen and Senators do.

Send me legislation to protect homeowners from having to foot the bill in a housing crisis.

Health Care

The Affordable Care Act is working. Nine million people now have insurance and no one can be denied insurance because of a pre-existing condition.

ACA is the law of the land; we don’t need another 40 votes to repeal it. If the Republicans have ideas on how to make it better, I’m happy to listen.

Common Citizenship

Citizenship means standing up for everyone’s right to vote. I appointed a bipartisan commission and they have offered reforms so no one has to wait more than a half hour to vote.

Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us every day. With or without Congress I will work to stop more tragedies like Sandy Hook.

International Part 1 - Afghanistan

By the end of the year, our troops will be out of Afghanistan and we will support a unified Afghanistan. If the Afghans sign a security agreement, a small number of Americans with NATO allies will remain to fight terrorism and train Afghan security forces.

International Part 2 – Terrorists/Intelligence and Privacy

The danger from terrorism remains. We will continue to fight these networks. Combat new threats like cyber attacks and in the reformed defense budget make sure our soldiers have what they need.

The military alone cannot protect America. I won’t send troops unless truly necessary. We won’t fight the fights the terrorists want – large scale deployments that drain our strength and feed extremism.  We must move off of a permanent war footing.

I will work with Congress to reform surveillance to provide our intelligence while protecting the privacy of ordinary people because the example of our constitutional ideals helps set an example for other countries. Congress needs to lift the restrictions on detainee transfers and we need to close the prison at Guantanamo Cuba.

International Part 3 – The Importance of Diplomacy

Through diplomacy we have prevented nuclear materials from falling in the wrong hands and Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated. We are supporting difficult talks between the Palestinians and Israel. And we have halted progress in Iran’s nuclear program.

Negotiations have been difficult and sanctions helped us get to this point, but now we must let diplomacy work. I will not sign a bill authorizing more sanctions unless Iran’s leaders don’t seize this opportunity. And then all options will be back on the table. 

The Value of Values

American leadership isn’t defined by our defense against threats but by our ability to do good and promote understanding around the globe.

In the Ukraine we stand with the right of the people to speak, in Africa we are working with business and government to double access to electricity and fight poverty. In the Philippines we rushed to the aid of the typhoon victim to the cheers of “God Bless America.”

The world turns to us because of the principles we stand for and the burdens we bear to advance them.

The America we want isn’t easy, but if we work together I know it is within our reach.

God Bless You and the United States of America.

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