President Barack Obama’s third State of the Union address was disappointing, and not even a particularly good campaign speech. While he did provide the left with a nice list of small policy proposals, such as special tax rates for manufacturing, green energy and millionaires, he did not seize the moment to suggest any really big, new ideas.
One of the biggest differences between this year’s SOTU speech and last year’s was the rise in inequality as a major problem in this country. Sure, the Occupy Wall Street movement made headlines and provided great visuals, but more important, those protesters also gave oxygen to the idea that extreme inequalities of wealth are actually a problem for our democracy and for social mobility generally (a.k.a. the American Dream).
While Obama seemed as though he was going to use the speech to address inequality, he was vague at best and small at worst. The only thing he said about individual tax reform was a rehash of the millionaire’s tax idea: somehow ensuring an alternative minimum tax for people that make over $1 million annually and allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire for those households that make over $250,000. Read