Prep Guide: State Of The Union
THE MIDDLE CLASS
POLL: About 85% of Americans agree America is still the "land of opportunity," but 75% of voters say getting ahead is now harder than in previous generations.
FACT TO KNOW: Ordinary Americans are working harder and harder but getting paid less and less -- while the rich get richer. We know this because over the past decade, people's incomes have stagnated while their productivity and the nation's economic growth have gone up.
FACT TO KNOW: In just the last generation, the richest 1% almost quadrupled their incomes. The average wealth of the 1% is 225 times bigger than the wealth of the typical household -- the highest it's ever been.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: Our middle class is the true engine of economic prosperity for all. We want a country where American ingenuity is the envy of the world, and investments in education, infrastructure, and new industries are the future we build together.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: In America, everyone should get a fair shot and everyone should pay their fair share. Working families should not have to pay more just so the wealthy pay less.
JOBS & THE BUDGET
POLL: Americans say that the most important priorities facing the country right now are jobs, unemployment, and the economy, while cutting the deficit for its own sake ranks low.
FACT TO KNOW: After forcing trillions in cuts that caused massive layoffs, threatening another default crisis, and blocking Obama's American Jobs Act, Republicans in Congress want even more cuts to the things that keep our country strong and competitive.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: The best way to deal with the deficit is to put Americans back to work. In a pattern that has held since WWII, the deficit shrinks when more people start earning a paycheck again, paying income taxes, and shopping in our businesses. When unemployment rises, the deficit goes back up.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: If Congress lets America go over the next cliff, or the "sequester," they will lay off more people who keep our country running, like 7,500 Americans in federal law enforcement. Because taking money out of regular people's pockets also takes customers out of our stores, Congress failing to avoid this next cliff could cost our economy a million jobs overall.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: We need to cut waste, not jobs. Cut the things we don't need like Big Oil subsidies and Pentagon pork so we can keep the things we do need, like education and jobs.
POLL: Nearly 90% of Americans say the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming, even if it has economic costs, and over 90% of Americans agree that developing sources of clean energy should be a priority for the President and Congress.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: The clean energy and green economy sector has already shown immense potential to put Americans back to work -- and in well-paying jobs. By 2020, clean energy will be one of the world’s biggest industries, worth as much as $2.3 trillion.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: If we want to protect our children and grandchildren, we have to deal with climate change before it gets out of control. America should be leading the world in securing our clean energy future, not getting left behind.
POLL: Nearly 90% of Americans -- including over 80% of Republicans and Independents -- support giving people a chance to earn citizenship instead of only temporary status.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Immigration reform including citizenship for aspiring Americans would expand nearly every sector of the U.S. economy, generate as much as $5 billion in additional tax revenue in the first three years, and help create up to nearly a million jobs.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: In America, we should not have second-class citizenship. Any reform proposal must create a roadmap to citizenship for immigrants who contribute to our economy, pledge allegiance to our country, and strive to add to America's greatness.
POLL: About 85% of voters say strengthening manufacturing in this country is one of the most important goals for Congress and the President. Three-fourths say we have already lost too many manufacturing jobs in this country and that too many jobs are being shipped overseas.
FACT TO KNOW: The manufacturing sector had been steeply declining since President Bush, with the negative streak ending only after President Obama's auto rescue and the Recovery Act took effect. U.S. factory jobs are now growing, with their best showing since the Clinton era.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: We want to see more things made in America again -- and the President has a plan to do just that by creating 1 million new manufacturing jobs by 2016.
POLL: Nearly 90% of NRA members agree that support for Second Amendment rights goes hand-in-hand with keeping guns away from criminals.
POLL: Over 70% of gun owners and 60% of NRA rank-and-file members favor renewing the federal ban on assault weapons.
ECONOMIC IMPACT: The costs that America paid for gun violence in 2010 was over $170 billion, and the financial impact of each gun homicide costs up to $10 million. Contrast that with an instant criminal background check for a gun sale: it takes less than two minutes and as little as $5 or nothing.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: When you factor in the priceless value of a child's life against the 2 minutes it take a buyer to wait for a criminal background check, it's unimaginable that some still argue against checks -- but that's exactly what NRA lobbyists are saying today.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: We need common-sense measures to prevent gun violence and keep dangerous weapons out of the hands of dangerous people -- like gunmen who massacre our children and police officers.
POLL: More than three-fourths of voters support rebuilding and modernizing America's infrastructure, like our roads and bridges.
FACT TO KNOW: Between now and 2020, investing in our crumbling infrastructure like roads, bridges, and airports would prevent a $3.1 trillion loss in GDP, a drop of more than $3,000 in household income, and $1.1 trillion loss in trade. All told, it would prevent 3.5 million Americans from losing their jobs.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: We can put Americans back to work right away rebuilding our crumbling roads, bridges, and schools -- the infrastructure that we all rely on and the foundation we need to keep our economy competitive.
POLL: Two-thirds of voters nationwide agree the richest 2% and large corporations should pay more in taxes. Three-fourths say making it happen should be an important budget priority for Congress.
FACT TO KNOW: More than two dozen big corporations paid no federal income taxes in recent years, including GE and Verizon.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: We can't fix our budget until the wealthiest Americans and corporations do their fair share. Those who've done well in America should do well by America.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: With two wars ending, it's time to cut the outdated Pentagon pork our military leaders don't want and don't need -- so we can reshape the budget to focus on current security needs and future threats. The world has changed, and so have the tools we need.
SOCIAL SECURITY, MEDICARE, MEDICAID
FACT TO KNOW: Our Social Security system doesn't add a single penny to the deficit and never has. Due to a sharp and consistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs, projecting spending on Medicare and Medicaid has already been cut by $200 billion.
FACT TO KNOW: The wealthy now enjoy a tax loophole that lets them pay into Social Security at lower rates than middle-class families. When the rich get richer because the nation's wealth is redistributed upward, instead of going back into regular people's paychecks, Social Security gets less money, too.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: Social Security and Medicare belong to all of us: we worked for them, paid into them, and earned them. Our parents and grandparents built these systems over generations -- and it's our turn to maintain and protect them.
POLL: Nearly 90% agree that our society should do what is necessary to make sure that everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed and nearly 90% of Americans think helping the working poor should be a top or important priority for our government.
FACT TO KNOW: It's hard work being poor in America. One out of four working families in the U.S. is low-income, and virtually all of those families, or 96%, work at least half-time and over 70% work full-time or more.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: What kind of a country we want to live in: an America where "we're all in it together," with Americans lifting up and taking responsibility for one another and for themselves -- or "I've got mine, you're on your own"?
FREEDOM TO MARRY
ECONOMIC IMPACT: Business groups and leaders agree that marriage equality improves the local business climate and enhances employers' ability to compete for top talent -- including gay Americans who want to live where their skills and hard work matters more than who they love.
POLL: Poll after poll shows that the majority of Americans support allowing same-sex couples the freedom to marry and commit to each other.
THAT'S WHY WE SAY: All committed couples should be able to make a public pledge to take care of each other for a lifetime. It's not who we are as Americans to keep loving families apart.
We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.
Posted in - Energy - Budget - Taxes - Economy - Crime - LGBT - Immigration - Poverty - Jobs