In order to win support from the American middle class, it is absolutely imperative that the president provide a strong agenda that speaks to their needs, and that makes clear he will fight to win those proposals against the right-wing extremists who now control the Republican Party. Here is some of what the president should advocate:
1) The president must make it clear to the American people that he will not cut Social Security. Social Security has not added one penny to the deficit because it is funded by the payroll tax. Social Security has a $2.7 trillion surplus and can pay out every benefit owed to every eligible American for the next 21 years.
2) Obama must tell the American people that he is not going to balance the budget on the backs of the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor. The deficit was largely caused by Bush's two unpaid-for wars, tax breaks for the rich and the Wall Street-caused recession. The president must reduce the deficit by asking the wealthiest people in this country to start paying their fair share of taxes, by ending enormous corporate tax loopholes and by taking a hard look at wasteful military spending.
3) Given that real unemployment is 15%, the president must propose a major jobs program to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure (roads, bridges, water systems, waste water plants, airports and railroads) and, in the process, create millions of good paying jobs.
4) The president must accelerate his efforts to transform our energy system away from fossil fuel and into energy efficiency and such sustainable energy sources as wind, solar, geothermal and biomass. This would not only address the planetary crisis of global warming but also create jobs.
5) The president must call for real Wall Street reform that ends the largest unregulated gambling casino in the history of the world, and that demands Wall Street invest in the productive economy.
6) The president must support a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United, the disastrous U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows corporations and billionaires to buy politicians.