New York, NY--Today, Miles Rapoport, President of the national policy center Demos, issued the following statement in response to President Obama’s State of the Union Address:
"In last night’s speech, President Barack Obama underscored two great challenges of our times: ensuring that economic stability and growth in a global economy is shared among average Americans, not just large corporations, and modernizing and empowering our government to work on behalf of the people.
"The President also reiterated his commitment to investing in our nation's infrastructure, schools and the renewable energy sector, which is essential to rebuilding the economy. He has recently made the case for fair and effective government regulation, the 'good rules' that have helped improve all of our lives. He also assured our fellow Americans that he is committed to preserving, and shoring up, one of our most important national programs--Social Security. These were all net positives from the speech.
"However, the possibilities for fueling further economic recovery have changed with the incoming House leadership. And while acknowledging these restraints, the President has gone too far in his call for a five-year budget freeze for discretionary spending.
"The fact remains, that for the tens of millions of Americans out of work—and the millions more underemployed—this recession is far from over. His once ambitious agenda for getting people back to work, and adding the crucial investments he outlined in his address, are now at risk.
“Just this month, the Republican-led House voted to repeal the sweeping healthcare bill and leave 32 million Americans uninsured while adding $230 billion to the deficit over ten years. And on the day of the President’s address, the House voted to embrace austerity by rolling back discretionary spending to 2008 levels. Pell grants for low-income students—our nation’s future and the generation most deeply affected by the recession – would suffer their largest single drop in history.
“The President was successful in encouraging us to look to 'Winning The Future,' but we shouldn't neglect that the future depends on the present. What has made this country great, namely a strong and vibrant middle class, should be the President's foremost goal. And reaching that goal requires vigilance, a strong message, and support. We at Demos urge the President to come out strongly, and regularly, for a jobs and pro-middle class agenda, especially when so many vital programs, and regulations that improve all of our lives, are under attack.”
For more information, visit www.demos.org. To schedule an interview with Miles Rapoport, see contact information.