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"Give America a Raise": State of The Union outlines Obama's "year of action"

"Give America a raise," President Obama says in 2014 State of the Union address
"Give America a raise," President Obama says in 2014 State of the Union address
Photo by Pool/Getty Images

President Barack Obama's State of The Union Address was met with resounding applause on Tuesday, January 28, 2014. He tackled several timely topics including immigration reform, deployed troops, healthcare, employment and women's issues. Social media lit up when he stated "Give America a raise," during his focus on employment.

“In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together," said the President. "Let’s make this a year of action. That’s what most Americans want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead. Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows."

He said that even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on. Today, he pointed out, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. Average wages, he noted, have barely budged.

"Inequality has deepened," Obama said. "Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. Our job is to reverse these tides. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, practical proposals to speed up growth, strengthen the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you."

"America does not stand still – and neither will I," said Obama. "So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.” … “Opportunity is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to restore that promise.”