Scenes from the State of the Union
President Barack Obama planned to take credit for the improving economy in his State of the Union address Monday, declaring “Tonight, we turn the page.” But Obama also warned that prosperity may only be available to “a few of us who do spectacularly well” if policies are not enacted to address the needs of the middle class.
“At this moment - with a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production - we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. It’s now up to us to choose who we want to be over the next fifteen years, and for decades to come,” Obama was to say, according to excerpts of the speech released by the White House Tuesday night.
Obama’s address, the sixth of his presidency and the first before a Congress controlled completely by Republicans, comes amid clear evidence that the economy is finally coming out of its long post-recession doldrums. Unemployment is at its lowest point since the 2008 crash, the Dow Jones industrial average has more than doubled, consumer confidence has doubled, the GDP has seen a complete turnaround, the deficit has been curbed, and low gas prices are expected to help grow consumer spending. More Americans are satisfied with the economy than at any point in the past 10 years, according to the latest NBC/WSJ poll.
The president’s job approval ratings have lifted along with the good economic news, giving him a bit more running room in challenging GOP lawmakers to follow his lead.