Washington, Jan 21: Declaring victory over vicious recession, US President Barack Obama today said the shadow of crisis has passed and the world's largest economy has turned the page on years of costly wars as he pledged economic policies to help the middle class and target the wealthy.
"Tonight, after a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis," Obama said in his prime-time State of the Union Address. "But tonight, we turn the page," he said.
"With a growing economy, shrinking deficits, bustling industry, and booming energy production we have risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth. "More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we've been in almost 30 years," he said.
"The shadow of crisis has passed, and the State of the Union is strong," he said, adding its now up to Americans to choose what they we want to be over the next fifteen years. "We are fifteen years into this new century. Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting two long and costly wars; that saw a vicious recession spread across our nation and the world," he said.
Obama argued that new policy proposals, which include an ambitious plan to raise taxes on wealthy Americans and financial institutions to pay for progressive priorities favour the middle class, and that "middle-class economics works."
"And these policies will continue to work, as long as politics don't get in the way," he said and threatened to veto any legislation that would challenge his key decisions. "We can't slow down businesses or put our economy at risk with government shutdowns or fiscal showdowns. We cant put the security of families at risk by taking away their health insurance, or unravelling the new rules on Wall Street, or re-fighting past battles on immigration when weve got a system to fix. And if a bill comes to my desk that tries to do any of these things, it will earn my veto," he warned.
The president called for tax reform that eliminates corporate-friendly loopholes, highlighted his earlier proposal for free community college. "As Americans, we don't mind paying our fair share of taxes, as long as everybody else does, too. But for far too long, lobbyists have rigged the tax code with loopholes that let some corporations pay nothing while others pay full freight.
"This year, we have an opportunity to change that. Let's close loopholes so we stop rewarding companies that keep profits abroad, and reward those that invest in America. Let's use those savings to rebuild our infrastructure and make it more attractive for companies to bring jobs home," Obama said. "We need a tax code that truly helps working Americans trying to get a leg up in the new economy, and we can achieve that together," said the US President.