Thursday, February 21, 2013

The State of the State of the Union address

As declared in the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 3): “He [POTUS] shall from time to time give to Congress information of the State of the Union and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”

On the evening of February 12th, President Barack Obama gave his 4th State of the Union (SOTU) address. Typically, the State of the Union takes the shape of a to-do list and in this case, it was a glimpse of Mr. Obama’s plan for his second term. As expected by people closely following the speech was the time and energy given to talking about the American economy. Nearly 65% of the speech was focused solely on “reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth”. It’s not the first time the President has spoken about the economy during the SOTU. It wasn't surprising. However, there was something said that may have surprised many who are working to end global hunger and poverty…it came about 46 minutes into the speech:

“We also know that progress in the most impoverished parts of our world enriches us all. In many places, people live on little more than a dollar a day. So the United States will join with our allies to eradicate such extreme poverty in the next two decades: by connecting more people to the global economy and empowering women; by giving our young and brightest minds new opportunities to serve and helping communities to feed, power, and educate themselves; by saving the world's children from preventable deaths; and by realizing the promise of an AIDS-free generation.”

Wow! That’s a big promise – but we know we can accomplish it. We're a nation of big ideas. This isn't a Democrat or Republican issue. It's an issue of basic human integrity and it's not right that so many around the world should suffer. We know that aid works – projects like LRP can’t be allowed to expire. Programs like Feed the Future can’t be allowed to suffer as a result of the impending sequester. Oxfam has long advocated for policies and the development of institutions like LRP and Feed the Future that empower the impoverished to lift themselves to a better state. Let's get to that better state!

To watch the full State of the Union address, click here.

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