As expected, President Obama’s State of the Union speech hit on the themes of deficit reduction, taxes, and government spending that have characterized politics at the national, state and local level for the past years. The NYT editorial board’s take:
A year ago, after the last State of the Union address, we applauded President Obama for challenging the Republicans’ blame-government, slash-and-burn rhetoric. He explained why Washington must do more to help put millions of struggling people back to work and why any credible plan to wrestle down the deficit must include the wealthy paying a fairer share of taxes.
Over the last year, Americans have become more aware of the deep inequities in the economy and of the government’s responsibility to act. Mr. Obama deserves some of the credit for that, but it has a lot more to do with the unrelenting tough times and the efforts of Occupy Wall Street and other protests. What Americans want now is strong political leadership.
The politics of the day is still a tug-of-war about what government can and should do in the face of economic recession. To be sure, the dynamics of that war have been shifting steadily in favor of additional government action. But the conflating of several complex questions – wealth inequality, the role of government in the economy, and the roots of the federal deficit – continues to produced simplified political discourse.
Editorial January 25, 2012: The State of the Union in 2012 – NYTimes.com.