Last night was Obama’s 5th State of the Union address. The 63 minute long speech talked about things like climate change and income inequality, and gave Obama the opportunity to once again let us know he’ll be taking executive action.
While he didn’t necessarily blame republicans as often as I would have imagined, the speech did take on a rather partisan tone with the topics he discussed and the manner in which he used the American people, children, and the environment as leverage to argue that he’s going to use his executive authority and bypass congress as often as he can.
He said that we need to move forward and that we should make 2014 a “year of action”, then going on to outline what he saw as growth over the last 5 years;
“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all.”
He then stated that their job is to reverse trends, arguing how it takes time and won’t happen overnight and reminding us in a way that if given enough time his policies will work even though they haven’t yet. From there he told us of “concrete, practical proposals” that he’s crafted in order to help lift the poor out of poverty and shrink the income gap to help ‘fix’ the manufactured crisis of income inequality, saying that some things will require congressional action and others he’ll do on his own, which was a common theme throughout the speech.
“America does not stand still – and neither will I,” he added, “So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.”
In all, he listed 12 executive orders that he intends to sign this year ranging from raising the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10/hr, to actions that will work with cities and towns to cut carbon pollution, and everything in between. He’s been working over the past couple of weeks with 100 different ‘experts’ in differing fields to draft these orders which he claims to be a “good start,” and will be working to draft even more as the year progresses.