Economic highlights of the State of the Union address

The President delivers his State of the Union address this evening, beginning just after 9 PM. We typically release “fact sheets” along with the address.

Since the big document is 36 pages long, we also have versions of the different component fact sheets on whitehouse.gov. Here are the economic ones:

We also have separate fact sheets outside the economic lane on National Security, Iraq, the Global War on Terror, Veterans, No Child Left Behind, Education, Stem cell research, Faith-based initiatives, Immigration, and Compassion.

While many inside the Beltway focus on the specific phrasing of key sentences to look for nuances, it’s probably even more important to pay attention to what subjects the President discusses. Those are important signals about his priorities for the upcoming year. This year, roughly the first third of the speech will be dedicated to economic issues. Over the next week or two I’ll drill down and explain the details of what he said on particular topics. Tonight I’ll just point out the broad brush strokes.

Here are a few things you should listen for in tonight’s address:

  1. The President will push Congress to quickly enact the bipartisan agreement on growth that we announced last Friday. The House plans to vote on it tomorrow, and we’re hoping for a big bipartisan vote. He will ask both the House and Senate to resist the temptation to load up the bill with other provisions. We need speed, and additions could delay or derail it.
  2. While the bipartisan growth agreement is the most urgent economic need, the most important is making the enacted tax cuts permanent, and preventing taxes from increasing beginning in 2011. He will emphasize that tonight.
  3. He will talk about the importance of free trade: Free Trade Agreements with Colombia, Panama, and South Korea, and the Doha Round of global trade talks.
  4. He’ll announce new policy on earmarks – telling Congress that he will veto appropriations bills if they do not cut the number and $ amount of earmarks at least in half. He will also announce that tomorrow he will sign an executive order that directs agencies to ignore future earmarks that are in “report language” which is never voted on by the Congress.
  5. He’ll talk about health care, and reaffirm his commitment to reform the tax treatment of health insurance. The President’s proposed standard deduction for health insurance would make it more affordable for millions of Americans, and would mean that Americans not fortunate enough to get health insurance through their job would now get the same tax advantage as those who do. More broadly, he’ll emphasize the importance of an approach to health care policy that centers decision-making in individuals and families, rather than in Washington.
  6. He’ll talk about energy and climate change. In December the Congress passed the President’s energy proposal from last year’s State of the Union to reduce our consumption of oil. This year, he’ll focus more on the power sector, and stress the importance of technology to the three goals of economic growth, energy security, and addressing climate change.
  7. Hell talk about entitlement reform: Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Many in Congress have expressed their views on the President’s proposed reforms, especially of Social Security, but they have not proposed solutions of their own. He will call on them to put forward their own ideas so we can actually debate how best to make these programs sustainable.

I hope you enjoy the speech. It should be about 45 minutes long.

By | 2017-05-23T18:37:27+00:00 Monday, 28 January 2008|