State of the Union – 18/01/15

The Hippo Collective presents its second weekly US political news bulletin, the ‘State of the Union.’  We hope that last week’s edition was insightful and informative.  This week’s report especially highlights the upcoming State of the Union address which will be held on Tuesday January 20, 2015 at 21:00 Eastern Time.  In light of this fact, the Hippo Collective would like to announce a special edition to be published on Wednesday 21, January to recount in detail the results of President Obama’s national address.  We hope that you enjoy this week’s bulletin.


The State of the Union:

There are few annual events in US politics that are more important, anticipated and discussed than the President’s State of the Union address in late January.  The speech, after which this column is named, is a pivotal moment for the upcoming year as the President generally sets the national political agenda and proposes new policies and measures.  As the event approaches this coming week, Obama released a short video previewing the topics that he will discuss.  He stated that he will seek to ‘build on our momentum with rising wages, growing incomes [to create] a stronger middle class.’

Many analysts have been discussing Obama’s expected recommendation of tax hikes.  Bloomberg reports that these particular tax reforms would target the upper class by increasing ‘the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends to 28 percent from 23.8 percent.’  This would almost ‘double’ the initial rate of 15 percent which was in place in 2009 at the beginning of Obama’s presidency.  President Obama’s speech will undoubtedly address a variety of topics from tax reforms to national security issues and how he plans to govern with a Republican held Congress.  The State of the Union is one of the most exciting political events of the year which we eagerly await.  The State of the Union will be held Tuesday January 20, 2015 at 21:00 Eastern Time.  (Information from Reuters and Bloomberg)


Civil Rights Equality:

The US Supreme Court has announced its decision to try several cases related to the civil rights issue of marriage equality.  This follows previous steps and rulings undertaken by the Court to remove federal bans in order to recognize same sex marriages.  Currently, 36 states recognize same sex marriages.  This new ruling would decide ‘whether the U.S. Constitution guarantees all Americans the right to enter into same-sex marriages’ and ‘whether states are obliged to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.’  This would be a momentous occasion for the civil rights movement in the United States as it would signify yet another step towards the equality of all citizens under constitutional law.

Attorney General Eric Holder spoke on the issue ‘announcing that the administration will urge the court to make same-sex marriage rights the law of the land.’  While the verdict remains uncertain, analysts have written that based on the Court’s previous decisions and public opinion in favor of marriage equality, there is a strong chance that they will release a ‘ruling that makes same-sex marriage available nationwide.’  These events mark important civil rights landmarks US history.  (Information from Politico and the Human Rights Campaign)

Give it Another Go:

This week saw another familiar name announce a possible intention to run for the Republican bid.  On January 9, 2015 at a New York GOP event, Mitt Romney announced that ‘he still wanted to be president and was seriously considering running in 2016.’  Romney has subsequently expanded on his intention to run by releasing a general campaign platform in San Diego, CA.  He has founded his new vision on three issues: ‘security and safety in the face of foreign terrorist threats, opportunity for all Americans regardless of upbringing and a focus on finding ways to lift people out of poverty.’

These are all powerful talking points which highly appeal to conservative voters and GOP politicians.  That said, Romney’s actions have been characterized as ‘hasty’ and ‘haphazard’, generating ‘backlash in various corners of the [Republican] party.’  In relation to his platform, Romney contested Barack Obama’s decisions and attacked his potential Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton.  This was evident in his statement that: “The results of the Hillary Clinton-Barack Obama foreign policy have been devastating… Terrorism is not on the run.”  Regarding the President’s economic record, Romney criticized the current Administration stating that ‘the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty than ever before.’  Romney obviously appealed strongly to the American electorate.  It will be interesting to see in the future whether he can reconquer public opinion in order to finally win the White House.  (Information from the Chicago Tribune)



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