Last night, President Obama delivered his State of The Union address, and what we didn't hear is almost as important as what he said. The President said he wants 2014 to be a year of action to fight income inequality, but he never mentioned raising taxes on the rich, or helping labor groups fight the war on unions. We heard the President talk about working with CEOs to help the long-term unemployed, but he never suggested a new public works program to make our government the employer of last resort.
He talked about climate change and the importance of green energy, but he never explained how nuclear, fracking, and so-called clean coal are going to help us address global warming. And, President Obama talked about “opening new markets,” but never addressed the fact that free trade ships our jobs overseas and puts downward pressure on American wages. The President did address equal pay for equal work, he announced an executive order giving federal contractors a raise, and he talked about rewarding companies that bring American jobs back from overseas. But, this speech could have been so much more.
President Obama could have come out strongly against the Keystone Pipeline, the TPP, and the Republican obstructionism that's left Congress at a standstill. He could have embraced policies that have worked in our nation – like FDR's “New Deal” or President Harry Truman's Public Works Administration. Those are the policies we need to repair our nation, and revive the American Dream. Those are the ideas that could usher in a new era of shared prosperity, and the actions that Americans would support.