What Does the State of the Union Address Mean For Smbs?

BY: ON SUNDAY, JANUARY 29, 2012

The annual State of the Union address represents an opportune chance for the President of the United States to establish a platform, set the record straight and begin to build on what we as a nation have learned since the prior address. It may come as no surprise that the most-used word in President Obama's 2012 State of the Union address was “jobs,” appearing 27 times in total.

The economy has been shaky. People are worried. What did the President manage to deliver us in what may be his final State of the Union address as the 2012 Election looms. Did Obama pack a punch?

“We can do this,” the President said, opening his segment of the speech concerning the economy. “I know we can, because we've done it before.” Obama cited the post-WWII generation coming together and creating an immense economy after it had been at its lowest, believing that our current generation can rise to do the same.

“No debate is more important,” he said. “We can either settle for a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by. Or we can restore an economy where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules. What's at stake are not Democratic values or Republican values, but American values. We have to reclaim them.”

Throughout the speech, Obama was clearly playing a more centrist role. Whether it be due to his own nature or because of the upcoming election, it's difficult to say. Regardless, he wanted to keep political affiliation a non-issue. What mattered during the speech was jobs.

Jobs. The word uttered 27 times. Following “jobs” as the most common term used by the President during the speech were “energy,” “business,” “tax,” “workers,” and “oil.”

Obama pointed out a recent shining light in regards to the American economy, with the nation creating the most jobs since 2005. Manufacturing is one the rise. The deficit is to be cut by $2 trillion. And those on Wall Street who put the country into so much financial ruin will be held under further scrutiny. He cited further success with the now-thriving auto industry, recently adding more than 160,000 jobs

“We bet on American workers. We bet on American ingenuity.”

This point was further driven home with sharp criticism placed on those who outsource jobs, stating that they shouldn't receive tax reductions. Furthermore, those companies that are able to increase jobs on our soil should receive a break. In his own words, “It's time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.”

Natural gas and clean energy initiatives proved to be a huge talking point, representing the next big step in the United States economy. One of the few moments in which both Democrats and Republicans alike gave the President a standing ovation was when he stated that “this country needs an all-out, all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.”

Conversely, Obama only spoke about the deficit for roughly five minutes, about half the amount of time he spent talking about such issues in 2011. In regards to taxes, the two most important soundbites came soon after one another. “If you make more than $1 million a year, you should not pay less than 30% in taxes,” the President said. “On the other had, if you make under $250,000 a year, like 98% of American families, your taxes shouldn't go up. . .You're the ones who need relief.” These numbers will inevitably be talking points of the small business community and politicians leading up to the 2012 Election.

The State of the Union address may very well represent one of the last times we hear Obama before he's in full-on campaign mode. What do you think his speech said to the small business community? How do you think it will impact the 2012 Election? These questions will be answered soon enough, yet of course we always hope that things indeed turn around in favor of small businesses.

About the Author

Brent Barnhart
Brent Barnhart is a regular contributor to ChamberofCommerce.com. He covers a wide variety of topics through the written word, including content marketing, Internet marketing and small business trends. ChamberofCommerce.com is dedicated to helping small businesses grow their presence on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.
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