Taking Stock of President Obama's 2010 State of the Union Address


"We're on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year… But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight. "

In last year's speech, Obama said because of the Recovery Act, signed into law on Feb. 17, 2009 the nation was on track to add 1.5 million jobs by the end of 2010.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1.1 million jobs were added in 2010. The jobs market saw ups and downs last year, as a result of the government's temporary hiring of Census workers, but there was one bright spot: Last year was the first year the nation added jobs since 2007.

Financial Reform: Yes

"We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy."

President Obama signed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act on July 21. The bill, a response to the 2008 financial meltdown, increased oversight of Wall Street in hope of averting a future crisis.

"These reforms represent the strongest consumer financial protections in history -- in history," he said at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington.

Energy Policy: No

"It means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America."

State of the Union: Taking Stock

Last summer, Senate Democrats put on hold a push for comprehensive energy and climate change reform when it was clear they could not gain enough Republican support to get it passed, instead opting to move forward with a scaled-back bill that did not include any cap-and-trade measures to reduce the output of greenhouse gases.

For months Democrats had been trying to move forward with a sweeping bill that would have capped carbon emissions and imposed alternative energy mandates for power companies, but ultimately they failed to secure the backing of any GOP lawmakers.

With a 59-vote majority in the Senate, Democrats only had to find one GOP lawmaker to back the effort in order to overcome any eventual filibuster, but even that proved too tall an order.

The House passed a comprehensive energy bill in 2009 and a dozen vulnerable Democrats who voted for the legislation lost in the 2010 midterms after taking a beating from their opponents on this issue.

Tax Cuts: Yes and No

"To help working families, we'll extend our middle-class tax cuts. But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it."

After months of fierce negotiations and contentious compromises, the House of Representatives passed a temporary extension of all of the Bush tax cuts on Dec. 16, following passage by the Senate the week before.

The legislation passed with bipartisan support -- but it did not follow through on Obama's State of the Union pledge to eliminate tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

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