Open Phones: React to SOTU

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hear excerpts from President Obama's SOTU speech last night and call in with your reactions. Plus Dan Gross, columnist and economics editor at Yahoo! Finance reports on reactions to the President's Multinational Corporation tax proposals, and Occupy Wall Street organizer Justin Wedes reacts on the themes of inequality in the President's speech. 


Dan Gross and Justin Wedes

Comments [81]

Calls'em from The Indian Ocean

Worst speech ever by the worst President ever. He will be easily beaten by Mitt, Newt or even Rick. He did little with his super majority except pass that still unread disaster waiting to happen called 0bamaCare. All he does is blame others, play golf and squander our money. No more years for this bum!

Jan. 25 2012 10:24 PM
Calls'em from The Indian Ocean

Worst speech ever by the worst President ever. He will be easily beaten by Mitt, Newt or even Rick. He did little with his super majority except pass that still unread disaster waiting to happen called 0bamaCare. All he does is blame others, play golf and squander our money. No more years for this bum!

Jan. 25 2012 08:32 PM

It is unfortunate that this morning's caller, most comments and Brian himself have little understanding of capital gains taxation. Firstly they only have a reduced 15% rate if they are "long" term which means held for more than a year. Short term gains, held under a year, are taxed at full rate. Secondly all sorts of investments such as gold, paintings, antiques real estate etc. can yield capital gains if sold for a profit. So selling a Van Gogh for a million dollar profit yields capital gains but no benefit to the economy and least of all the maker. Most people think of capital gains as stock investments. If I buy ATT stock today it probably had been issue decades ago. Only if the company is looking to raise capital by selling more shares or bonds etc. is the share price of major concern. Many companies today are actually buying back shares. There is no double taxation involved. The only legitimate claim for a "long" term reduced rate is if I held something for many years and received a large lump sum which might put one into a higher tax bracket. So maybe then one should get an average over the years tax rate. To call assets held for one year "long" term is a joke. I have been investing for 50+ years I benefit greatly but see it is not a fair rate.

Jan. 25 2012 08:13 PM
Mari from Westfield

The first caller, Danny, made a factual error that needs to be corrected. When arguing that capital gains taxes should be kept low because otherwise people would not want to risk losing their money, he neglected to point out that capital losses can be deducted from our taxes. In fact, here's how it works right now: when you risk your money in an investment and lose, you get part of your investment back in a tax deduction. So we don't actually need these absurdly low capital gains taxes in order to assuage people's fears of investing.

Jan. 25 2012 02:34 PM
Eugenia Renskoff from Brooklyn, NY

Hi, the President’s speechc was fine as far as it goes. He is a good speaker. What I want/would appreciate would be a way to get the money (all the money, not just a tiny part of it) that I lost when my home foreclosed in GA because of mortgage fraud/predatory lending. Nothing can erase the emotional and psychological pain of the past few years, but the money would certainly help me live for a few years. Eugenia Renskoff

Jan. 25 2012 01:46 PM
Political PoP from America


Jan. 25 2012 01:44 PM
Giuseppe from Manhattan

I believe one of the early callers, perhaps Danny from Long
Island, presented a false dichotomy: along with Mitt Romney,
repealing the 15\% long-term capital gain tax rate would damage
taxpayers such as his father, who had been saving all life long
and whose retirement nest egg crucially depended on the
favorable tax treatment of those savings.

There is absolutely no reason why all taxpayers should be
subject to the same rate for for long-term capital gains.
Having one rate is analogous to the much touted idea of a flat
income tax rate and as regressive. One could have lower rates
for, say, gains up to 100K and then increasing rates that
finally converge to the regular income rate. Alternately, one
could exempt gains up to a certain threshold or make them
deductible. The goal should be to encourage small investors to
save for the long-run while not giving the same favorable
treatment to major investors, who not only don't need such
encouragement, but enjoy many more investment advantages thanks
to the sheer size of their portfolio.

Flat tax rates are attractive to the public because of their
simplicity. Simplicity, however, should not trounce fairness.

Jan. 25 2012 12:08 PM

There seemed to be a lot of discussion about capital gains taxes. I would propose a progressive capital gains tax, maybe something like 15% for people whose holdings are under a certain threshold ($100,000? $250,000?). Then the rate would increase proportionally so that insanely rich people like Romney would pay 30% on theirs. There is a far cry from his $23 million in capital gains from the hundreds or maybe thousands that a more ordinary person might earn.

Jan. 25 2012 11:49 AM
Susan from Manhattan from Manhattan

On the subject of double taxation, no one except two writers for TIME magazine, Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, has written or commented on this in the past 9 years: "The REALLY Unfair Tax", Time, February 3, 2003. Numerous emails to the White House on down, Brian Lehrer, economists, NYC Congressional representatives, etc., will discuss, let alone deal with, this unfair tax. It is a tax on income one never sees. As Barlett and Steele put it: " amounts to a tax upon a tax." When the worker becomes a retiree and collects Social Security, that benefit is taxed again at 85% of the retiree's Social Security income if the retiree's total income exceeds a fixed level, a level that is not indexed for inflation, and is considered middle class. Imagine a SS benefit of approximately $20,000/yr. from which $4700 has been removed. I can't shed any tears for the so-called double taxation on capital gains.

Jan. 25 2012 11:47 AM
jen from manhattan

@Ben from Westchester--you are so right on about the carried interest, it is amazing and shocking. I don't understand why they haven't been able to fix that. It flies under the radar with the general public most of them time because it's too complicated and boring for most people, who would rather talk about Warren Buffet's secretary.

My Warren Buffet Secretary prediction: She will eventually release her returns and it will show she makes a very nice salary (well above $100K) and other earnings that put her solidly above $200K. Secretaries who make $50K will feel bitter and trash her, while Obama opponents will attack him for misleading the American middle class. Everyone else will turn off their radios.

Jan. 25 2012 11:44 AM

wow heidi's pretty tough, i sense tiger mom syndrome.

Jan. 25 2012 11:36 AM
heidi oshima from SOTU

I am a fan of the Brian Lehrer Show, but I was surprised to hear Brian say this morning on the SOTU show 'between he and ....' Of course, it should be object of the preposition - between him and ....
Also reading his bio, he has two Masters degrees.

Jan. 25 2012 11:21 AM
gary from queens

Weekly Standard: Follow The Military's Example?

by William Kristol

Jan. 25 2012 11:11 AM
Sarah from NYC

Don't understand it when folks call in claiming to be Democrats and moments later start babbling GOP talking points. Brian is often lax when faced with such blatant inconsistencies. The older woman who called at the end of this segment was no more a Kennedy/Johnson Democrat than I'm a Romney Republican. Most WNYC listeners like me think it's vital to have contrasting views, so no need to deceive.

Jan. 25 2012 11:01 AM
mm from Astoria

disheartening, thought I had mistakenly turned into a Jerky Boys skit.
how did these Faux minions commandeer Brian's show, or should I say how did he allow himself to indulge a couple of breathless RW half-wits?
just illustrates to me how much work we still have to do in reaching people with the Occupy message. This more-of the-same bigotry, defending the rich, blaming "big" government but not being able to squarely identify the culprit as being the collusion of Wall St and Congress is the issue. To paraphrase what Thomas Frank said in What's The Matter With Kansas?, vote pro-life, get deregulation of business instead.
I've been saying for months to fellow Occupiers in my neighborhood in Astoria that we have to have a screening of Inside Job with some free coffee and donuts to get the many senior citizens, middle-aged underemployed folks to see the real story they're never going to get on the network and cable news channels and local papers.

Jan. 25 2012 10:59 AM
Christine from West Orange, NJ

President Obama's speech was perfectly on point about where America is & where America needs to be. My fear is that the political system is too broken to be fixed. The government is too beholden to the wealthy businesses who have paid off politicians to serve in the interests of corporations instead of the constituents who elected them. In addition to the broken political system, the out of control government spending, the banks allowed to go without punishment after wrecking our economy, there is the issue of personal responsibility, which no one in power or influence wants to emphasize. Americans spend too much money on things they really don't need. And often, it's money they don't even have, they just put it on a credit card. Americans don't realize that HOW and WHERE they spend their money matters. One cannot complain that all the jobs have moved to China while shopping at WalMart, where everything is made in China. Too many Americans have become spoiled, thoughtless, overly materialistic, lazy, and apathetic. The government needs to do its part to fix the mess our economy is in, but so do We, the People.

Jan. 25 2012 10:58 AM
The Truth from Becky

Thumbs up Jeanette

Jan. 25 2012 10:57 AM
Mike Turner from New Hampshire

The legislative and executive branches of government are bought, the media is bought"Facism should more appropriately be called corporatism because it is the corporate control of state power." Benito Mussolini Make no Mistake folks, Bush, Obama, Boehner, Gingrich,Pelosi, Reed, these politicians are compromised as is the media, follow the money!

Jan. 25 2012 10:53 AM

All this talk about the wealthy giving to foundations and the ability to invest privately does not take into account the reality of most Americans.

I work in theater, and I understand the importance of foundations and donors. But foundations are limited in the scope that they can provide. Children need to eat and the sick need medicine. To deny that based on the few that take advantage of the system is heartless. I would rather have the fraud exist if it means that less children go hungry.

On investing, I have a masters degree and a full time job in the public sector. Yet, I just barely make enough to pay my bills, let alone invest. To say "I was smart enough to invest" only shows that that one does not understand what it is like for many of us who make choices on what we buy every day because that means the difference of paying your rent that month. I have nothing left for savings. I have some investments, but not enough to support me in retirement and I have not been able to contribute to investments in years.

I agree the government does not use our tax money wisely. But the answer is holding our elected officials to task and actually having some compassion for those who are less fortunate. Stop listening to those who have never been without food criticize the choices that a poor person makes who has never had the opportunities that you have had.

Jan. 25 2012 10:52 AM

A tax rate increase on those earning over a threshold like $500,000 or $1 million needs to include a capital gains tax rate increase. The increase should come at least on those amounts of gains over a similarly high threshold level (say $500,000) so that it applies to obviously very high earnings.

Note that most middle class earners earn much of their capital gains within their IRA's and when they withdraw those gains from their IRA they pay at the ordinary income rate and not at the lower capital gains rate. As a result, the middle class pays a higher rate even on a larger proportion of their capital gains in comparison to the wealthy.

Jan. 25 2012 10:48 AM

nope, bush is still the worst

Jan. 25 2012 10:47 AM
Calls'em from The Indian 0cean

And BTW - don't forget that the Golfer-in-Chief had a Dem super majority for two years and still couldn't do much because his plans and his policies are destructive of the American way of life. Unfortunately he got 0bamaCare through - a law that if not repealed will destroy the American economy and way of life.

Jan. 25 2012 10:46 AM

A caller suggested that higher capital gains taxes would tend to harm retirees. That is a common perception and a major political impediment to raising capital gains tax, but is it correct? Pension funds and retirement plans are complicated and so are the rules about how they are taxed. Howzabout a segment on how higher captial gains taxes might affect retirees with some guests who know the subject matter thoroughly?

Jan. 25 2012 10:46 AM
The Truth from Becky

Excellent speech whoever says it was not doesn't know what they are talking about! President Obama will be re-elected by a landslide. You people need to get out from under the Mitt"I am too rich for you people"Romney glamour! and Newt is a big a joke as his name.

Jan. 25 2012 10:44 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Amen Hal - people just don't get that. It's called capital gains, because you are being taxed of the gains of you capital. The corporate tax is too high but no (major) corporation, through loopholes, pay anything close to that. The shareholders of GE (who paid 0 in taxes)are not being double taxed.

Jan. 25 2012 10:43 AM

I'm not against having rich people. I'm just against rich people having all the money. Government on all levels is broke. I don't want a handful of weird rich people deciding who or what cause is worthy - we should all have a say in how extra money is spent.

Jan. 25 2012 10:43 AM
Laura from Brooklyn, NY

Why are there crazies being aired? It's frustrating to listen to all these antiquated ideals of how things *should* be and how we "NEED" rich people to not pay high taxes, because they donate "so much" money to "people who deserve it". Really?

Jan. 25 2012 10:43 AM

The thing that the last caller doesn't understand is that in order to invest your money wisely and provided for your future you have to have money to start with! You have to have the opportunity to earn that money to start with! The government isn't trying to take away your money to give it to other rich people, it's trying to help out those who are far less fortunate than you, that never had the chance to make those smart investments. Congratulations for promoting the perpetuation of the underclasses in this country.

Jan. 25 2012 10:43 AM
meesh from queens

the republican voter is THE reason the world looks at the US and laughs/cries.

Jan. 25 2012 10:43 AM
Mark from Qns.

A Kennedy democrat? I find that hard to believe. I believe she said "Mitch" Romney.

Jan. 25 2012 10:42 AM
StephenHugh from Haverstraw

The discussion on the difference in tax rates must take into account the fact that investors need to be compensated for the risk they take when they invest. If Warren Buffet's investments all went bust, he would have only his $100,000 salary to rely on. One way of looking at it is to focus on the certainty of income: if you receive a salary you will get it regularly (Little to no risk); interest income on savings or bond instruments has priority of payment (in bankruptcy; slightly more risk) and then investments (stock ownership, for example) receive dividends not just because companies make a profit but when the board declares a dividend (higher degree of uncertainty) and is taxed at a lower rate. Anyone (about 45% of US households) who invests in a mutual fund will probably pay capital gains.

Jan. 25 2012 10:42 AM
C.E. Connelly from Manhattan

For all these callers who say money is being spent in the "wrong" way, why not challenge them. First, how do they know that money is spent in the wrong way? Secondly, if they do claim to really know, they should explain themselves. Who is it being spent on that it shouldn't be. Sounds like code to me (for spent on people not like me). Also, the contention that only rich people should decide who is deserving, is, uh, ridiculous. We should live in the world of Dickens novels?

Jan. 25 2012 10:41 AM
Telegram Sam from Staten Island

"Mitch Romney." Put a sock in it, you hateful old bat. I'm not convinced I wasn't listening to vintage Jerky Boys.

Jan. 25 2012 10:41 AM
Calls'em from The Indian Ocean

~~~ Worst President ever, making the worst most phony baloney speech ever. You libs are whistling past the graveyard when you talk about this fraud getting reelected. He is going to lose in a landslide. He has spent 3 years making a bad economy worse (tripling the debt), selling out our allies, promulgating regulations that criminalize simple daily endeavors and padding the coffers of his supporters with taxpayer dollars. He is playing all against all and will lose big because of such.

Jan. 25 2012 10:40 AM
The Truth from Becky

Exactly! Caller Terry would vote for Chris Christie..LOL but she will take Mitt Romney instead....priceless

Jan. 25 2012 10:40 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

Wow! Once Terry gets wound up she's kinda hard to stop, eh? She's creating a new category - entitlement envy.

Christie, omigod! She's in orbit!

Jan. 25 2012 10:39 AM
gene from NYC

This "Kennedy Democrat?"

JFK is spinning in his grave!

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM

What is left to tax? The air we breathe? Make us wear a device that measures the amount ait we inhale and exhale and pay a fee AND a tax!

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM
Hal from Crown Heights

Tax on capital gains is not, I repeat NOT double taxation. You are paying taxes on the GAINS, not on the principal investment.
The problem is not about republican vs. democrat. The problem is about crony capitalism.
Obama is a big disappointment. At this point the democrats are just the lesser evil.

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM
jgarbuz from Queens

There is no Commandment that says, "Thou shalt not be greedy," and that goes for both bankers and for poor people who think they can get homes with no down payment. Or think they can walk away from debt whenever times are rough. All the blah blah blah aside, the US standard of living will fall until it reaches natural equilibrium in the face of the new global economy that includes the rise of Asia, Latin America, Africa, etc. 5% of the world's population cannot command 20% of its resources forever.

As for corporate and other taxes, they will have to align taxes in Japan, Germany, China, etc. Japan has factories in the US and has "exported Japanese jobs" to America as well. Many foreign companies employ American workers. IF we unilaterally change tax laws that give us advantages, others will do the same. The devil is always in the details when you examine all these issues under the microscope.

Until we have a properly-educated and an appropriately sized work force, our ability to compete will continue to erode. Maybe the next generation will be better educated for work, and more motivated coming out of years of recession. Just like the generation that came out of the Depression and WWII.

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM
The Truth from Becky

Caller Terry, we are glad you are not a "democrat" anymore, but this Country's problem did NOT start with Clinton.

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM
Upstate Dan

A lot of people in this country just don't get President Obama. I think he tried to work with Congress and has discovered that it isn't going to work. His recess appointment gives me hope that he has turned a corner and that he will become the kind of leader we will all be grateful for in 4 years. When will people get him? Maybe when they figure out the real GOP agenda!

Jan. 25 2012 10:38 AM
Tony from Downtown Brooklyn.

What Danny(?) the man with the retired parents down in Florida seemed to miss in his argument is that his parents probably make a little bit less than Bishop Romney. Under the current tax code a married couple making up to $69,000 in NET capital gains income would still pay 15% if capital gains was to be taxed at the same rate as earned income.
So he's not advocating that he doesn't want his parents tax rate to go up, because it likely wouldn't. What he's advocating is that Bishop Romney's tax rate in the millions should be the same as his parents in the tens of thousands. What's the inevitable result of this view? Danny's parents have less access to medicaid and social security in their old age because there isn't enough tax revenue. Danny's parents drive over less safe roads and bridges when they come north to visit their grandchildren. Danny's parents fly on less safe planes because of deregulation and lower air traffic control pay.
I couldn't help wondering why Danny likes Bishop Romney so much more than his own parents.

Jan. 25 2012 10:36 AM
Edward from NJ

Regarding the capital gains "double taxation" argument, what would it look like if we zeroed-out the corporate income tax and taxed capital gains and dividends as regular income? Could that be tied in to an increase in the minimum wage to make sure the money wound up in people's pockets?

Jan. 25 2012 10:36 AM
Mike from Inwood

When the caller and his retired NYC-cop father in Florida rail about the need to cut government spending, I hope they're willing to start with the father's overly generous pension and medical benefits.

Jan. 25 2012 10:36 AM

A couinterpoint to a caller's suggestion that high US taxes are the main reason that US firms move overseas:

Jan. 25 2012 10:36 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

Exactly, working people pay taxes on gas, clothes, vehicles with money that has already been taxed, unlike corporations - they can't write that off. But yes - the corporate tax is too high.

Jan. 25 2012 10:35 AM
Colin Young from Brooklyn

Obama's energy policy sounds like it was copped from Sarah Palin: He is vastly expanding off shore drilling, and using GOP talking points about Fracking and natural gas. This will lead to more oil spills, and poisonous drinking water in much of the country.

Jan. 25 2012 10:34 AM
Avy from Manhattan

I heard Obama say anyone "earning" over one million dollars. I didn't think he was talking about Capitol Gains

Jan. 25 2012 10:33 AM
fuva from Harlemworld

Yes that gain is taxed at corporate and gains tax.
But the middle class is still paying as large a percentage of tax as the rich on SUBSISTENCE money.
Here is the problem, the injustice and the driver of unsutainable income inequality.

Jan. 25 2012 10:33 AM
Patrick from NYC

In response to the police officer. My wife and I have worked hard as freelancers and have responsibly saved for our present retirement years. We chose to only invest in bank cd's for a number of reasons, risk aversion being most important. Not only do we now get meager interest returns, because rates are set to benefit corporation and stock investors, but we pay taxes on our interest at the full tax rate. Why should that officer and the likes of Mitt Romney be taxed at the 15% capital gains rate for their method of investing. It is not fair. He is misguided, I and many other people have parents that only save in banks.

Jan. 25 2012 10:33 AM
Brian from Hoboken

I second the comment re: the AMT. what I can't figure out is why the typical middle class Republican voters defend the capital gains tax rates even though they will never personally be able to take advantage of it. Why? Because the Republicans use the culture war to get its supporters in a tizzy about those issues so that they will vote against their own financial interests.

Jan. 25 2012 10:30 AM
Ben from Westchester

Brian, that cop who just called in should stick to policing and avoid investing. Mutual funds are the right decision for him, because he clearly doesn't understand tax law.

1) The cop said capital gains need a lower tax rate because you could have capital losses too, so the gains somehow need some extra incentive.

In fact, capital losses are deducted from capital gains prior to tax calculations. Losses can even be carried forward year to year, so capital gains can be taxed just like income.

2) The cop also said "this is money that's already been taxed," but that is also untrue.

If you make a million dollars, you pay taxes on that income. If you then have $600,000 left over and buy some Picasso sketch, and sell it in ten years for a $5 million profit, then you are taxed only on the *gains* -- the $5 million profit -- not the $600,000 "basis."

That $5 million *increase* is called a capital gain and it IS NOT money that was already taxed. It is money that you made without doing any manual work, you made it from making a smart investment.

Hooray for your wisdom! Now pay your taxes. And pay them at the standard rates.

Jan. 25 2012 10:28 AM

Re: Tax on capital gains. These gains are not earned in a vacuum. There are costs behind profits--human, societal, e.g., transportation, environmental, and on and on. Supplying the cash without lifting a finger warrants payback to the community where it has been earned.

Jan. 25 2012 10:27 AM
Robert from NYC

Well he did talk about it 4 years ago but he did nothing about it!! As I said, he talks the talk and that's where it ends.

Jan. 25 2012 10:27 AM
Robert from NYC

As Ralph Nader pointed out on Democracy Now, he didn't even mention OWS nor does he ever talk about the "poor", he doesn't use the word and probably has not ever used it, he always refers to the middle class who are fast becoming "poor".

Jan. 25 2012 10:26 AM
Athenis Trakis from Greenwood Lake, NY

Every three months, 250,000 new families enter into foreclosure.
– Mortgage Bankers Association

So Mr. President, according to your address, ONLY families in could stead with their banks can modify their loans. But hundreds of thousands of people like myself, who've lost their jobs and have fallen behind on their payments ARE NOT eligible. The pundits call this his populace speech. To which populace? Certainly not to me.

Jan. 25 2012 10:24 AM

the SOTU was the annual pep rally rah rah we can do it speech...very little meat. Why don't we shrink the size of government.

Jan. 25 2012 10:24 AM
sps from Brooklyn.

Your recent caller, Danny, clearly thinks his experience and the experience of his family is the only experience in this country. Danny, wake up call: you aren't the yardstick by which everyone is or should be measured! The over-simplification of these issues makes me apoplectic. Brian, it would be nice if you'd mention to your callers who think their lives define "normal" that just maybe there are people out there who don't share all the advantages of him and his family, EVEN when they work.

Also, the idea that working 3 full jobs ones whole life to manage to get by while people like Mitt Romney barely have to work one for a few years and are set for life is at the core of the problem. How is that not ridiculously obvious???

Jan. 25 2012 10:24 AM
judy from NYC

Why can't the capital gains tax be progressive so someone taking in millions pays at a higher rate than a retired person making only thousands?

Jan. 25 2012 10:24 AM
Len from Jackson Heights

Caller Danny the police officer wants less money to go to government and more into American's 401K accounts by reducing taxes on corporations. Danny, less money for government means less money for police, too. I guess neither you nor the public need your job?

Jan. 25 2012 10:23 AM
CL from NYC

Regarding the self-styled conservative policeman's rant about the capital gains rate, I would point out to him that the controversy surrounding the rate paid by Romney has to do largely with the "carried interest" benefit Romney enjoys. The caller's likening of the tax his father pays on his mutual fund profits to the tax Romney pays on private equity profits is ill-informed.

Jan. 25 2012 10:23 AM
Sheldon from Brooklyn

People invest because of the potential rate of return NOT because of low taxes potential profits.

Jan. 25 2012 10:20 AM
bob from si

Brian You can alway avoid taxes by investing in triple tax free municipal bonds and pay 0%. Ross Perot did that. You must give a benefit for investing or it is not worth the risk.

Jan. 25 2012 10:20 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

No corporation pays 36%. About as many Americans pay the 43% maximum rate.

Why capital gains at a low rate and interest on savings account as regular income?

The concept of capital gains is to lessen the burden of double taxation is hopelessly farblonjet.

Jan. 25 2012 10:20 AM
Sabrina French

I believe Obama is saying to raise dividend taxes on people making over $250,000. Not Danny the cop.

Jan. 25 2012 10:19 AM
dee mudzingwa from Brooklyn NY

I think the president's lapse into campaign mode in terms if eloquence, demeanor, and proposing a "weak vague vision" only reminds voters of 2008 and I don't think people want to go down that same emerald brick road. There were a lot of bail out oriented ideas which have also proven to be failed which will also turn off voters.
While I appreciate attempting to prosecute the mortgage fraud, its just a better glaring example of how the middle class was not a priority to the administration and likely won't be.

Jan. 25 2012 10:15 AM
Debbie from Brooklyn

I can't get inspired, and I couldn't feel anything while listening to his SotU speech last night -- even though I happily voted for Obama and will do so again as a life-long Democrat. I'm so disappointed in the "traffic jam" Congress and radically divided party politics. I don't believe anything will be different in his second term, only that it will be worse if we have a Republican in office -- as we learned in the 8 years pre-Obama. I wish Clinton had received the nomination (even though I voted for Obama in the primary).

Jan. 25 2012 10:15 AM
Tony from Montclair, NJ

All the talk of taxes and millionaires got me fuming again about the alternative minimum tax. Isn't that what the ATM was supposed to do--make sure everybody paid a decent minimum? If my wife and I get hit with the ATM every year, and together we make less than $150,000, why doesn't it force Warren Buffet to pay his fair share? Can't Congress simply fix this so that the ATM does what it was supposed to do, and not hurt those it was never intended to cover?

Jan. 25 2012 10:14 AM
Ben from Westchester

I'm guessing there are ten thousand private equity guys who would like to tear Mitt Romney limb from limb this week.

The private equity people thought they had skated through this past year of tax debates without their 15% loophole coming to light, or at least drawing action. No longer.

Jan. 25 2012 10:11 AM
gary from queens

Brian, you got it wrong yesterday. Republicans do not say we should pay more taxes, because that grows government and the federal government is too large today.

Rather, they invite rich liberals, who lament that their tax obligation is too little, to go ahead and pay more.

The point is that rich people shouldn't suggest that OTHER people should pay more in taxes.

Jan. 25 2012 10:08 AM
bob from si

That the President could not start off the speech "I am glad to be here and report that the state of our Union is good" is all you need to know for his reelection bid.

Jan. 25 2012 10:05 AM
Robert from NYC

Didn't watch it. Not interested at ALL. But can't avoid it because it's all over the news today. It's as though I did watch it. I am unimpressed by what I heard reported. Typical Obama, talks the good talk and that's where it ends. Listen to Ralph Nader on today's Democracy Now, he got it all right about this Obama administration. I couldn't have put it better myself, really I couldn't I'm not that verbally articulate so he said it for me.

Jan. 25 2012 10:03 AM
Prometheus from NJ

M Daniels, Bush's budget man, ran the debt up under Bush and now he wants to "reform" i.e.,cut entitlements! Once you hear a Republican call entitlements "noble" look out.

Jan. 25 2012 10:03 AM
jen from manhattan from manhattan

I was disappointed there wasn't a stronger initiative to get US companies to keep good jobs here, or repatriate some of the good ones that have been outsourced overseas. Off the top of my head I can think of 10 ways to reward or punish companies on this issue (although after further analysis many of them might turn out to be a bad idea). Just seems the US goverment could be doing more besides focusing on moving expenses.

Jan. 25 2012 10:01 AM
gary from Queens

The president demanded that we have the same rules for everyone, up and down the line.

Really? When Republicans introduced an amendment requiring members of Congress to be subject to the same EXACT terms and conditions of Obamacare as ordinary citizens, Obama and his Democrat minions killed that provision.

Democrats are the elitists. They represent the super rich. they ARE the super rich, like Sen John Kerry. The obama team has already written off the middle class vote, and small business people.

Jan. 25 2012 09:58 AM

Ed -- more people equal more food needs, pollution and traffic, that's for sure -- as an existing human I tend to be against that unholy trinity.

In conclusion -- squirting out more humans is not exactly an insurance policy for health and wealth. On the bright side, you get one gold star for creativity!

Jan. 25 2012 09:54 AM
John A.

list some of the people you know in the 18-30 age group. Sounds like that number is Zero. You have to reach the predominant audience.

Jan. 25 2012 09:51 AM
Steve from Rockville Centre, NY

My one disappontment was that though the President spoke of the problems of money and political campaigns he didn't call for a constituional amendment which would reverse the Citizens United decision.

Jan. 25 2012 09:47 AM
Ed from Larchmont

Also, President Obama said that the billionaire paid less tax than his secretary - no, he was taxes at a lower percentage. Mitt Romney was taxed at 15%, but he paid 3 million dollars in taxes. Beside that, we know that if we taxed the wealthy at 100%, it wouldn't balance the budget, it's not the answer.

Jan. 25 2012 06:07 AM
Ed from Larchmont

President Obama said that economic equality is the issue of our time - no, the issue of our time is abortion. The absence of those killed in abortion is precisely why we lack the people in their 30s and 40s who would be starting businesses and generating jobs - and why we have such economic inequality. And President Obama is on the wrong side of that issue, big time.

Jan. 25 2012 06:05 AM

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