President Barack Obama will call for a "Year of Action" in his State of the Union Speech tonight, saying that although the U.S. has largely pulled out of the economic recession, the middle class is still suffering -- from three decades of economic blows.
"Even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on," Obama will say in the 9 p.m. speech from the U.S. Capitol, according to excerpts released by the White House. "Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. Our job is to reverse these tides."
Obama, who is expected to offer a mix of calls for congressional action with executive action, said his State of the Union address offers "concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class."
He is to tell members of both chambers that he's "eager to work with all of you."
But, he added, "America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” … “Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”