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Obama speech was about strengthening the middle class

Barack ObamaPersonal IncomeState of the Union AddressU.S. Congress

I'm not a shill for the Obama administration, but I must disagree with reporter David Lauter's analysis of the president's State of the Union Address ("In singular speech, a split approach to power," Feb.13).

Mr. Lauter writes that early in his first term, President Barack Obama "appeared to believe that he could sway the country, including members of the opposition, by delivering a carefully crafted speech.'' My public policy and advocacy work promoting economic security for low-income communities, families and individuals leads me to a different conclusion.

For the past five years, President Obama has introduced specific legislation and evidence-based strategies to help our nation recover from the Great Recession that exploded in the previous administration. His solutions have worked far more often than not.

America's economy, our banking system and the auto industry did not crash. Unemployment and mortgage interest rates are declining.

It hasn't happened by luck. Rather, day-to-day life and economic well-being are improving for tens of millions of Americans because of the very specific, reality-based policies of the Obama administration.

In this year's State of the Union Address, the president tackled the challenges of child and family poverty, the need for broadening career and educational opportunities to offset growing income inequality, and the threat of climate change.

He's not relying on speeches or empty platitudes. President Obama and his team are putting forward detailed proposals to rejuvenate struggling communities, strengthen families and improve the lives and futures of the 46 million low-income Americans who want to enter the middle class.

These ideas deserve serious consideration by Congress. We know that trickle-down economics concentrates wealth in the hands of the few and decreases opportunities for the many. Let's examine the details of the president's plans and help make them work for all of us.

Don Mathis, Havre de Grace

The writer is president and CEO of the Community Action Partnership, a Washington-based advocacy group.

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