Obama focuses on relief for working families

By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America News Bureau

Posted at Jan 21 2015 11:38 AM | Updated as of Jan 21 2015 07:38 PM

REDWOOD CITY, California - President Barack Obama has declared a full-on economic resurgence in this State of the Union (SOTU) address, with his approval rating rising for the first time in years and with more Americans showing more optimism for the economy.

A New Washington Post/ABC News poll showed that half of Americans said they approve of the job Obama is doing as president, his best rating since the spring of 2013. The poll also showed 41 percent of people think the economy is headed to the right direction, compared with 27 percent in October.

Besides highlighting the need to improve cybersecurity and to invest in infrastructure, the centerpiece of President Obama’s SOTU is middle-class economics, with a tax plan that addresses income inequality.

The plan provides extra money to low and middle-income families in the form of tax credits for children and working couples. It also increases taxes on upper-income taxpayers, particularly the one percent, through cutbacks and higher restrictions on savings. It is expected to raise $320 billion in revenue from wealthy Americans, while cutting middle class taxes by $175 billion.

He also pushes for lower mortgage insurance premiums that seek to help about two million borrowers save an average of $900 a year if they purchase or refinance their homes.

Another way Obama plans to help the middle-class is to provide free community college tuition, a 10-year plan costing $60 billion, which hopes to aid up to nine million students save an average of $3,800 a year.

The president also called on Congress to pass a bill that would require all U.S. companies to give employees seven days of paid sick leave a year.

President Obama, as expected, has already gotten some strong opposition from Republicans who control the House and Senate. In the past, the GOP leadership has been against increasing taxes and fees for the rich to reduce taxes for the middle class. For now, it remains to be seen if the president can manage to pull some strings as he strives to make a lasting impact in his last two years in office.

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