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Ralph Nader > Special Features > Letter to President Obama Re: The State of the Union Address

January 20, 2012

Dear President Obama:

As you prepare your State of the Union address, please be advised that those who support you are very cognizant of what you do not mention in such annual presentations to the Nation. For example, last year, environmentalists were shocked that global warming-climate change received no attention. Nor did raising the minimum wage, as you promised in 2008 to $9.50 by 2011.

Enclosed is my recent column titled “Congress Needs to Get to Work” that reminds and recommends what you and the Congressional Democrats should be advancing this year. They are not only needed legislative actions, but they are both significant and popular.

Try to avoid being drawn into corrosive conflicts with the Congressional Republicans on matters you could have avoided by learning how to bargain for more when you give up much. An example is your concessions on the Bush tax cuts in late 2010 for which you should have demanded concurrence for raising the debt limit. Think of the time that struggle absorbed in 2011,

To call a reduction of the employee side of the payroll tax a “tax cut” for 160 million Americans is beyond disingenuous. You know who pays for this maneuver once this can is kicked down the road.

The many organizations in this country striving to stem the rising poverty in this country have wondered why you never mention “the poor” in your speeches. They are aware of the Clintonesque code that only referred to “the middle class,” and never to “the poor” or “to low income people” who now number nearly 100 million Americans. They did not expect that Barack Obama also would have employed this language of avoidance.

You do not want them to feel they are being taken for granted.

Sincerely yours,

Ralph Nader