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Obama to Offer Aid for Families in State of Union (NYT) - very modest aid, adds little to deficit

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:44 AM
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Obama to Offer Aid for Families in State of Union (NYT) - very modest aid, adds little to deficit

WASHINGTON President Obama will propose in his State of the Union address a package of modest initiatives intended to help middle-class families, including tax credits for child care, caps on some student loan payments and a requirement that companies let workers save automatically for retirement, senior administration officials said Sunday.

By focusing on what one White House official calls the sandwich generation struggling families squeezed between sending their children to college and caring for elderly parents Mr. Obama hopes to use his speech on Wednesday to demonstrate that he understands the economic pain of ordinary Americans. The proposals also include expanded tax credits for retirement savings and money for programs to help families care for elderly relatives.

The address is still being written, but one senior official, describing it on the condition of anonymity, said its main themes would include creating good jobs, addressing the deficit, helping the middle class and changing Washington.

With his poll numbers down and Democrats fearing disaster in this years midterm elections, Mr. Obama is at a particularly rocky point in his presidency and has been shifting his rhetoric lately to adopt a more populist tone. He heads into his first formal State of the Union speech in a radically reshaped political climate from even one week ago.


One advantage of the presidents proposals is that they might appeal to people who are struggling financially without looking like the kind of broad expansion of the federal government that is making many Americans uneasy. They also would add little to the federal deficit at a time when Mr. Obama is pledging to reduce it.


For example, the president is calling on Congress to nearly double the child care tax credit for families earning less than $85,000 a proposal that, if adopted, would lower by $900 the taxes such families owe to the government. But the credit would not be refundable, meaning that families would not get extra money back on a tax refund.

Another of the presidents proposals, a cap on federal loan payments for recent college graduates at 10 percent of income above a basic living allowance, would cost taxpayers roughly $1 billion. The expanded financing to help families care for elderly relatives would cost $102.5 million a pittance in a federal budget where programs are often measured in tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars. And the automatic paycheck deduction program would simply be a way to encourage workers to save, and would include tax credits to help companies with administrative costs.

Such programs are, notably, much less far-reaching than Mr. Obamas expansive first-year agenda of passing an economic recovery package, bailing out the auto industry, overhauling the health care system, passing energy legislation and imposing tough new restrictions on banks. That agenda has left him vulnerable to criticism that he is using the government to remake every aspect of American society.

Top advisers to the president insist that Mr. Obama is not in retreat and are resisting any comparisons to the kind of small-bore initiatives that the last Democratic president, Bill Clinton, used to try to get his presidency back on track.

In no way does this represent a trimming of the sails, one adviser said on Sunday, referring to the package.


How Mr. Obama will address health care in the State of the Union speech, though, remains an open question. Officials on Capitol Hill and at the White House said their talks on how to proceed with the legislation might not be resolved by Wednesday. This could put Mr. Obama in the awkward position of talking about a measure that is on shaky ground.

Another open question is what the president will say about his program for job creation.



The White House thinks they can turn things around with a SOTU about an increased child care tax credit, and tax credits to businesses to cover their costs for automatic payroll deductions to encourage employees to save? That's supposed to demonstrate that Obama understands "the economic pain of ordinary Americans"?

And they believe this sudden concern about offering only modest programs with minimal cost for ordinary Americans will make ordinary Americans think more highly of them after all they spent bailing out Wall Street and the banks?
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bluestateguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:46 AM
Response to Original message
1. I really wish they would cool it with the leaks
I don't know if these come from the White House or some mousey reporter, but it needs to stop.
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DJ13 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 01:57 AM
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2. Trillions for banks, pennies for the average person
These small programs wont do a thing to overcome the perception of the average person that they dont really matter compared to Wall street.

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highplainsdem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:05 AM
Response to Reply #2
4. I agree.
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OHdem10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 02:08 AM
Response to Original message
3. We are just going to have to face it. Elites run the Country and
the elites must be happy. With Conservadems running the
show we will get Moderate Republican Policy. Just watch
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lumberjack_jeff Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jan-25-10 10:08 AM
Response to Original message
5. I like this arrangement of deck chairs.
I get a really good view of the iceberg from here.
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