Reaction to Obama's State of the Union

President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address airs on a television.

Kai Ryssdal: Among those listening to the State of the Union last night -- and paying close attention to the bits about jobs and the economy and inequality in America today -- was Jai Damian. We had her on yesterday touching base about what she wanted to hear from the president. She was part of a roundtable we did back in September, after a big jobs speech from the White House. Welcome back.

Jai Damian: Thank you.

Ryssdal: So as you just heard, presidents over time tend to say a lot of the same things. Did Barack Obama say anything last night that gives you hope?

Damian: Well, he did say several things. I liked what he was talking about the job creation programs by partnering with community colleges. I liked what he said about expanding trade. He also talked about giving tax credits, reforming the whole tax system for keeping businesses in the U.S. instead of them outsourcing. So he did bring up some good ideas. But the question is: When is this going to happen?

Ryssdal: Yeah, obviously not soon enough for people who are looking for work like yourself. But I have to say, you are far more positive today than I figured you would be.

Damian: Well, what I really liked was in my opinion I thought he was really challenging Congress. To say, hey, you guys have got to come together.

Ryssdal: On the politics of it, yeah?

Damian: On the politics of it and put your differences aside because it's not about the politics, it's about the people right now.

Ryssdal: What if he had given this speech back in September, when we had you and the roundtable in after his big jobs speech?

Damian: I think that you would have had a totally different opinion from the panel that day. This is something that he should have said back in September. And I question the fact of if these were some of his thoughts, why did it take so long to come back and bring these all to the people?

Ryssdal: He talked a lot last night about equality and fairness and the wealth gap, how do you think we're doing on that right now?

Damian: Well it doesn't make any sense that Warren Buffett's secretary pays more taxes than he does. I mean, come on! But I don't really necessarily believe that the rich should pay more taxes. I believe everybody should pay the same thing.

Ryssdal: You've talked a lot about when's it going to happen. How long are you going to give him? How long does he have?

Damian: I think he has until the election. I mean, he's got to be able to pass something before the election comes.

Ryssdal: Boom. That's it?

Damian: That's it, because otherwise it's just all talk.

Ryssdal: Jai, thanks a lot.

Damian: Thank you.

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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