Obama: Fielding a Full Team

The president’s State of the Union address. Bloomberg Photo / Joshua Roberts

“We are stronger when America fields a full team,” President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address, calling for an extension of the unemployment insurance that more than 1 million Americans have lost and appealing to CEOs to give the long-term unemployed “a fair shot.”

“Of course, it’s not enough to train today’s workforce,” he said. “We also have to prepare tomorrow’s workforce, by guaranteeing every child access to a world-class education.”

“The problem is we’re still not reaching enough kids, and we’re not reaching them in time.  That has to change.”

“Last year,” he said. “I also pledged to connect 99 percent of our students to high-speed broadband over the next four years.  Tonight, I can announce that with the support of the FCC and companies like Apple, Microsoft, Sprint, and Verizon, we’ve got a down payment to start connecting more than 15,000 schools and twenty million students over the next two years, without adding a dime to the deficit.  ”

“We’re shaking up our system of higher education to give parents more information, and colleges more incentives to offer better value, so that no middle-class kid is priced out of a college education,” he said. “We’re offering millions the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to ten percent of their income, and I want to work with Congress to see how we can help even more Americans who feel trapped by student loan debt.  And I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.”

“ The bottom line is, Michelle and I want every child to have the same chance this country gave us,,” the president said. “But we know our opportunity agenda won’t be complete – and too many young people entering the workforce today will see the American Dream as an empty promise – unless we do more to make sure our economy honors the dignity of work, and hard work pays off for every single American. ”

“ Today, women make up about half our workforce,” he said. “But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns.  That is wrong, and in 2014, it’s an embarrassment. Women deserve equal pay for equal work.”

“It’s time to do away with workplace policies that belong in a “Mad Men” episode,” he said, drawing some of the most energetic applause more than a half-hour into the speech. “This year, let’s all come together – Congress, the White House, and businesses from Wall Street to Main Street – to give every woman the opportunity she deserves.  Because I firmly believe when women succeed, America succeeds.”

The president, who will take his State of the Union messages on the road tomorrow for two days, will start at an area Costco.

“Profitable corporations like Costco see higher wages as the smart way to boost productivity and reduce turnover,” he said. “We should too.”

This was the jumping off point for announcing his executive order to raise the minimum wage for federal contract workers to $10.10 per hour. “Because if you cook our troops’ meals or wash their dishes,” he said. “you shouldn’t have to live in poverty.”

It’s easy to remember, he said in an off-script  monent: 10-10.

Shades of Herman Cain’s tax plan? 9-9-9.

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