President Obama used his State of the Nation address on Tuesday to make some far ranging comments on the United States, its economy and not least the need to try balance the interests of America’s ultra-rich and the rest of the public, trying to present an election-year choice between continued leadership and an economy “built to last” and what he called irresponsible policies of the past that caused an economic collapse saying "I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own set of rules". In one passage, delivered to a joint sitting of the Senate and the House of Congress, President Obama said the defining issue of the present time was how to keep alive the promise of America as a land of opportunity. "No challenge is more urgent. No debate is more important. We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, and everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules". In light of the revelations of the low tax rate paid by Mitt Romney, the mjulti-millionaire leading Republican presidential candidate, Obama cited the example of Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor who admitted last year that he paid lower tax rates than his secretary, Mr Obama called on Washington to “stop subsidising millionaires” and rescind a trillion dollars of tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 per cent.
But readers of the 1709 Blog might be interested to note that Mr. Obama also touched on the copyright industries saying "I will go anywhere in the World to open new markets for American products. And I will not stand by when our competitors don't play by the rules. We've brought trade cases against China at nearly twice the rate as the last administration - and it's made a difference. Over a thousand Americans are working today because we stopped a surge in Chinese tires. But we need to do more. It's not right when another country lets our movies, music, and software be pirated. It's not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours only because they're heavily subsidized". President Obama proposed a new trade enforcement unit that would add to the number of government investigators pursuing unfair trade practices and that would be responsible for filing lawsuits against foreign countries saying "Tonight, I'm announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing finance or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you - America will always win".
A couple of minor quibbles from across the pond...
It's called the State of the Union address, and the two parts of US Congress are the Senate and the House of Representatives.
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