State of Address resonated with public

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Last December Congressional Republicans publicly stated that the President should not be invited to deliver the State of the Union address.  Speaker John Boehner, asked at his weekly press conference if he would extend the invitation, replied he would indeed, then joked, “Listen, the more the President talks about his ideas, the more unpopular he becomes.” Now, days after the State of the Union address, seems the laugh is on Boehner.

According to the January 26, 2015 Gallup poll, the President’s approval rating is now at 50%, up four percentage points.   Half of Americans approve of President Obama’s job performance for the first time in 19 months.

The facts are undeniable: the nation experienced 63 straight months of economic expansion; unemployment dropped from 10.1% in October of 2009 to 5.9%, and is projected to reach 5.4% by summer of 2015; Dow Jones averages reached an all-time high of 17,098 in August, 2014; the Federal deficit shrank by two-thirds since 2009; the 2014 deficit is projected to be $500 billion, smallest since 2007, and 1/3 of 2009 totals; Federal spending increased only 1.4% annually,  less than President Reagan (8.7%) or George W. Bush (8.1%). In fact, Obama has increased spending less than any President since Eisenhower. For 95% of American taxpayers, income taxes are lower than any time in the previous 50 years.  The only people who saw income tax increases during Obama’s presidency were those making $400,000+ annually. That’s less than 2% of the population.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 321,000 jobs in November, in all sectors.  Dependence on foreign oil decreased because of record domestic oil production and improved fuel efficiency standards.  Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act, over 7 million more Americans  have health insurance, as we are experiencing the slowest increase in healthcare costs since 1960.  The ACA also requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of your premiums on health care, resulting in millions of Americans receiving refunds from their health insurance companies.

The President made these accomplishments despite unprecedented obstructionism from a Republican-controlled House and now Senate, who have worked to sabotage any economic improvement, so they could revel in America failing. That same Republican-controlled Congress is steeped in contributions from Koch Industries or its dark money which is funneled into independent political action groups (PAC’s.)

Only 36.4% of registered American voters actually voted in midterm elections, the lowest turnout since 1942. When political power is abdicated through apathy, disgust, misinformation, voter suppression and gerrymandering, corporate/billionaire power  (spending $1.92 billion on Republican campaigns) is emboldened by a post Citizens United  world to purchase  more Republican candidates to do their bidding.

Since 1979, American workers’ productivity has gone up 80%. The income of the top 1 percent has increased 240%. And the average American wage, adjusted for inflation, has gone up less than 8%. The Kochs are spending $889 million for the next election to keep this in place. The President’s State of the Union address did more than to make the Republicans uncomfortable. It resonated with the American people.

By Deborah Craig.