The State Of The Union And The State Of The Commonwealth

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Tuesday night, President Obama laid out an ambitious agenda in his State of the Union Address. Despite Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, he called for big spending on the middle class, including free community college, paid sick leave for workers and more assistance for education, child care and retirement savings — paid for in large part by higher taxes on the wealthy.

The president also took credit for a much-improved economy, including strong job growth, low unemployment and a rising stock market.

"America, for all that we have endured, for all the grit and hard work required to come back, for all the tasks that lie ahead, know this," said the president. "The shadow of crisis has passed, and the state of the union is strong."

That's the view of the nation from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Here in Massachusetts, which weathered the recession much better than most states, there's suddenly grim economic news in the form of a yawning state budget shortfall. Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker pegged it at $765 million — raising the likelihood of painful program cuts to come.


Noah Berger, president of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center. He tweets @massbudget.

Jim Stergios, executive director of the Pioneer Institute. He tweets @JimStergios.


WBUR: State Of The Union Primer: What President Obama Proposed

  • "Facing a Republican-controlled Congress in his sixth State of the Union speech, President Obama took credit Tuesday for an improving economy and focused on proposals aimed at advancing the middle class."

This article was originally published on January 21, 2015.

This segment aired on January 21, 2015.


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