2012 State of the Union Address: “An America Built to Last”

On January 24th President Obama gave the 2012 State of the Union address. He highlighted moments of the past year including withdrawing from Iraq, the death of Osama bin Laden, job increases, and a recent increase in “insourcing”- bringing jobs back to America.

“…the CEO of Master Lock told me that it now makes more sense for him to bring jobs back home. Today, for the first time in fifteen years, Master Lock’s unionized plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.”

Looking ahead, President Obama focused on manufacturing in America, tax code reform, access to and paying for higher education, and reforming big business. The title of the speech emphasized the importance of American endurance in the future: “An America Built to Last.”

Read the full speech here.

In the President’s remarks on higher education he stressed that “Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” He also urged K-12 schools and teachers “to teach with creativity and passion,” and “stop teaching to the test.”

In regards to the uneven and complex tax code, Obama said “let’s change it.” He spoke at length about reforming the code to give incentives to American companies to keep their manufacturing in the United States and stop rewarding businesses that send jobs overseas. On personal taxes, the President said “if you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30 percent in taxes.” He cited Warren Buffett, whose tax rate is lower than that of his secretary, which, according to President Obama doesn’t make sense.

The theme of the evening was “shared responsibility” and doing your “fair share” to make America strong, enduring, and prosperous. The President ended the speech with a reminder that we have a common future and if we “maintain our common resolve…the state of our Union will always be strong.”

See Wilson Center’s Director, President, and CEO Jane Harman’s reaction to the State of the Union.


Posted by: Devon Thorsell

Sources: C-SPAN, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

Photo Credit: WWICS/David Hawxhurst


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