On February 7, 2023, President Joe Biden delivered his State of the Union speech. The underlining message of the 73-minute speech was that the government had estranged far too many American families and communities and that there was a need to urgently change that.
Now in his third year as the President of America, Biden spoke used this address to highlight his administration’s achievements, but more importantly, he took this time to lay an outline for the future of the country, and how he plans to rebuild the economy. It was clear that there was a lot of work that needs to be done, however, Biden made an empowered call of, “Let’s Finish the Job”.
Recently, an article was posted by the Copper Courier, a Courier Newsroom publication, that outlined the seven key takeaways from President Biden’s address.
1. Fighting the Good Fight for the Working- and Middle-Class Families
The first part of Biden’s speech focused on economic recovery. “My economic plan is about investing in places and people that have been forgotten. Amid the economic upheaval of the past four decades, too many people have been left behind or treated like they’re invisible,” Biden said.
He mentioned the creation of 12 million jobs, the Inflation Reduction Act, CHIPS and Science Act, and Bipartisan Infrastructure Law as some of the economic achievements of his administration, reported the Courier Newsroom publication.
He also urged Congress to pass the PRO Act, expressing his frustration towards law-breaking corporations.
2. Securing a Commitment from Republicans Guaranteeing No Social Security or Medicare Cuts
For the longest time, there was a looming fear that Republicans will introduce heavy cuts to Social Security and Medicare. Some Republican candidates had even forthrightly claimed that they would use the debt ceiling as leverage to introduce these cuts. Not raising the debt ceiling, which has historically been a routine congressional task, may result in the US defaulting on its debts, which can cause a global financial crisis.
When Biden raised concern over this issue during his address, all the Republicans present erupted in anger. Biden rather remarkably, however, secured a commitment, on national television, from the Republicans that they won’t cut down on social security spending.
3. Taxing Billionaires and Corporations
“I think a lot of you at home agree with me that our present tax system is simply unfair,” Biden said. “The idea that in 2020, 55 of the largest corporations in America made $40 billion in profits and paid zero in federal taxes? That’s simply not fair.”
Today corporations pay only 21% in taxes, while individuals pay only 37%. The Courier Newsroom publication reported that in 1980, these numbers stood at 46% (for those earning over $100,000 annually) and 70%, respectively.
Consequently, he urged Congress to pass his proposal for a minimum tax on billionaires.
4. Ending Junk Fees
One of the Biden Administration’s most understated, yet biggest achievements is the push toward ending junk fees. “Junk fees may not matter to the very wealthy, but they matter to most folks in homes like the one I grew up in. They add up to hundreds of dollars a month,” Biden said
The Junk Fee Prevention Act proposed by Biden will end junk fees such as excessive late payment fees on credit card payments, overdraft fees, and hidden airline fees, to name a few.
5. Let’s Finish the Job
Biden made it clear that there was a lot of work that still needed to be done. He urged Congress to pass laws that ensure universal preschool, increased funding for the elderly, restoration of the full child tax credit, and guaranteed family and medical leave.
He also made a call to limit the cost of insulin, which is relied upon by many seniors. “Let’s finish the job this time. Let’s cap the cost of insulin for everybody at $35,” he said.
6. Honoring Tyre Nichols and Future Reforms
Honoring the legacy of Tyre Nichols, Biden made a call for improved training for law enforcement, increased community intervention programs, allocation of resources for gun crime reduction, and higher investment in education, housing, and training.
“All this can help prevent violence in the first place,” Biden said. “And when police officers or police departments violate the public trust, they must be held accountable.”
7. Some Other Issues
Some of the other issues that Biden touched upon, include passing bipartisan immigration reform, the fentanyl outbreak, restoring abortion rights, preservation of democracy, and supporting Ukraine against Russia’s unjust war. He also proclaimed, “Ban assault weapons now!”