The New York Times editorial board on Tuesday published a “wish list” of issues it hopes the president will mention during his much-publicized State of the Union address.
Unsurprisingly, many of the entries on the list lean to the left.
“I sometimes wish the president would just send a written report up to Congress, which is all that is required by the Constitution, instead of giving a speech that is too politically massaged, filled with too much ritualistic applause, goes on too long and is watched by a dwindling number of Americans,” writes the Times’ Andrew Rosenthal.
Knowing full well this is how Tuesday night will most likely play out, the members of The New York Times editorial board “shared what they would like the president to mention in tonight’s address,” Rosenthal adds.
Here are four “wishes” from the Times’ editorial board that lean pretty far to the left:
4. Juliet Lapidos, Culture: Shame the climate deniers!
The climate is changing. I’d like to hear the president call out deniers and call for immediate action on the environment, including a remediation plan for the damage already done. It’s popular in certain circles to criticize liberal policies for supposedly saddling future generations with debt. Better debt than rising sea levels and sinking land.
3. Dorothy Samuels, Law and Civil Rights: An executive order banning discrimination!
A strong measure banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity is a civil rights priority. It would be great if President Obama announced that he is going to set an example by issuing an executive order outlawing such discrimination by federal contractors – something he has refused to do up until now, for reasons that remain elusive.
2. David Firestone, National Politics: Universal pre-K programs!
In last year’s State of the Union, President Obama made universal pre-school for four-year-olds one of his most prominent goals. Not much has happened since then. A bill to make that proposal a reality wasn’t introduced in the House until November, and Republicans have no intention of bringing it to the floor. A few demonstration programs have begun, and Congressional negotiators agreed to spend $250 million as an incentive for a few districts to begin pre-K programs. But that’s a very long way from the $75 billion that will be needed. In this year’s speech, the president needs to demand consideration of the bill, and put Republicans on the spot for resisting it. He also needs to explain more clearly how he will ensure that a nation-wide program will be of high quality, since several of the existing state efforts haven’t made much of a difference for pre-schoolers.
1. Teresa Tritch, Economic Issues: Raise the minimum wage!
In his first campaign for president in 2007, Mr. Obama called for a new federal minimum wage of $9.50 an hour by 2011. In last year’s State of the Union, he proposed a new wage of $9.00. Since then, he has supported a congressional Democratic plan for $10.10 an hour by 2016. That’s all too little too late. He should up the ante again — to, say, $11.
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This post has been updated.