The problems facing our country are monumental. Tragically, Congress is dysfunctional, and more and more Americans are giving up on the political process. The people are hurting. They look to Washington for help. Nothing is happening.
On Tuesday, the president will give one of the most important State of the Union addresses in modern history. It is absolutely imperative that, in a powerful way, he addresses the crisis facing our nation and rallies the American people to resolve these issues. In a democratic society, government must work to protect the interests of all Americans, not just big campaign contributors and the very wealthy.
Let me briefly touch on some of the issues that President Obama must address.
WEALTH AND INCOME INEQUALITY
A nation will not survive morally or economically, when so few have so much while so many have so little. It is simply not acceptable that the top 1 percent owns 38 percent of the financial wealth of the nation, while the bottom 60 percent owns all of 2.3 percent. We need to establish a progressive tax system that asks the wealthy to start paying their fair share of taxes and ends the outrageous loopholes that enable 1 of 4 corporations to pay nothing in federal income taxes. We need to use that new revenue to rebuild the disappearing middle class and protect the most vulnerable members of our society.
We need to make significant investments in our crumbling infrastructure, energy efficiency and sustainable energy, early childhood education and affordable housing. When we do that, we not only improve the quality of life in our country and combat global warming, we also create millions of decent-paying new jobs. I hope that the president will also inform us that he is going to slow down the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade bill so that we can eventually pass legislation that creates decent-paying jobs in our country, rather than continuing to see our trade policies send our jobs to low-wage countries.