President Obama's State of the Union speech was covered by the New York Times' Mark Landler: "Obama Vows Push To Lift Economy For Middle Class." Landler, a master spinner for the president, marked the Supreme Court upholding Obama-care in embarrassingly syrupy prose in a June 2012 story: "While Mr. Obama will be remembered for bailing out the auto industry, winding down two wars and dispatching Osama bin Laden, health care was his play for history."
On Wednesday, Landler oddly claimed that Obama had signaled "the era of single-minded deficit-cutting should end" (as if it ever began), while chiding the Republican Party's "hard line stance on immigration" and pushing a higher minimum wage as an unmitigated boon for workers, though it may serve to make it even harder for the unemployed to get a job in the first place.
President Obama, seeking to put the prosperity and promise of the middle class at the heart of his second-term agenda, called on Congress on Tuesday night to raise the federal minimum wage to $9 an hour, saying that would lift millions out of poverty and energize the economy.
In an assertive State of the Union address that fleshed out the populist themes of his inauguration speech, Mr. Obama declared it was “our generation’s task” to “reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth -- a rising, thriving middle class.”
Raising the minimum wage holds particular political appeal for younger Americans, struggling workers and labor groups, all of which were important to Mr. Obama’s re-election. His proposal drew one of the loudest ovations of the evening from Democrats in the House chamber.
Republicans quickly rejected Mr. Obama’s activist approach, saying it would inevitably translate into higher taxes and an overweening government role, strangling economic growth and deepening the nation’s fiscal hole.
Still, in selecting Senator Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American from Florida, to deliver their party’s official rebuttal, Republicans implicitly acknowledged the damage they had suffered at the polls from their hard line stance on immigration. Mr. Rubio, one of the party’s rising stars, favors overhauling immigration laws.
Mr. Obama pledged to work with states to provide high-quality preschool to every child in America. And he recycled a proposal to help homeowners refinance their mortgages.
None of these proposals, Mr. Obama said, would add to the deficit, since they were consistent with the budget deal of 18 months ago. “It’s not a bigger government we need,” he said, “but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”
Mr. Obama also signaled, however, that the era of single-minded deficit-cutting should end. He noted that the recent agreements on taxes and spending reduced the deficit by $2.5 trillion, more than halfway toward the $4 trillion in reductions that economists say would put the nation’s finances on a sustainable course.
But Obama's deficit reduction triumph is not quite that simple, as the liberal-leaning FactCheck.org pointed out:
The president claimed that “both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion.” But that’s only an estimate of deficit reduction through fiscal year 2022, and it would be lower if the White House used a different starting point.