Reality Check: Reviewing Obama's 2012 address a year later

President to deliver State of the Union address

MADISON, Wis. - President Barack Obama will give his State of the Union address Tuesday with a planned focus on the economy.

Last year's speech promised "an America built to last." The president rolled out an election-year agenda with hopes of making big changes, starting with the tax code.

"Right now, companies get breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world," Obama said last year. "It makes no sense and everyone knows it, so let's change it."

There's been no effort in Congress to alter this part of the tax code, and this wasn't the first time Obama proposed it. On personal income taxes, there were some changes.

"Right now, our most immediate priority is stopping a tax hike on 160 million working Americans while the recovery is still fragile," Obama said. "People cannot afford losing $40 out of each paycheck this year."

Congress passed an extension of the payroll tax cut quickly in 2012, less than a month after the president's address. But people may have noticed that their paychecks are smaller this year because the extension wasn't included in the fiscal cliff deal.

Obama also made the case for taxes to go up on millionaires and for tax cuts to hold steady for those making less than $250,000. The fiscal cliff deal kept taxes down for the lower tax bracket and increased them for those making more than $450,000.


Obama promised a plan to help the unemployed and pointed out the story of a single mom from North Carolina who was part of a job-placement program.

"Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job," Obama said in 2012.

Obama's effort to create a national job-training program has largely fallen flat. He proposed an $8 billion Community College to Career Fund, but that program so far has not been implemented.

"At a time when Americans owe more in tuition debt than credit card debt, this Congress needs to stop the interest rates on student loans from doubling in July," Obama said.

This was extended for a year, just days before the deadline, and Congress also extended the tuition tax credit that the president called for in his speech for another five years.

"We should be working on comprehensive immigration reform right now," Obama said in 2012. "But if election-year politics keeps Congress from acting on a comprehensive plan, let's at least agree to stop expelling responsible young people who want to staff our labs, start new businesses and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them a chance to earn their citizenship, and I will sign it right away."

The election year kept immigration largely off the table last year, but already there has been major movement this year with deals from both Congress and the president on the table.

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