In State of the Union, Obama puts government at the center of Americans’ lives

President Barack Obama’s 2013 State of the Union speech aggressively placed government at the center of Americans’ lives, starting with a litany of government economic plans, and ending by celebrating Americans as the subjects of government.

“As Americans, we all share the same proud title: We are citizens,” he said emphatically at the end of his speech.

“It’s a word that doesn’t just describe our nationality or legal status,” he said with great vehemence. “It captures the enduring idea that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.”

Merriam-Webster defines a citizen as “a legally recognized subject or national of a state or commonwealth, either native or naturalized.”

The hour-long speech offered a series of government measures to counter numerous economic problems, including the damage caused by the government-created housing bubble that burst in 2007, and shortcomings in government-managed education programs felt most keenly by low-income Americans.

The speech called for a $9 minimum wages, just after he called for a legal status for roughly 11 million low-skill illegal immigrants and to their relatives.

He called for Congress to help homeowners refinance their mortgages to reduce their monthly interest payments. The proposal is an effort to reduce the massive mortgage debt accepted by Americans during the 1990s and 2000s, when government policy encouraged poor and middle-class people to take out risky loans.

He called for a government program to demolish the many houses left over from the government-fueled housing bubble. “Let’s put people back to work rebuilding vacant homes in run-down neighborhoods,” he said.

He gave government credit for auto companies’ sale of more energy-efficient autos.

The government’s “initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure and housing will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs,” he claimed, before declaring that government was an essential element to economic growth.

“But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs,” he said, just before calling for Congress to create a hugely expensive program to fund preschool for the nation’s children.

“Every dollar we invest in high-quality early education can save more than seven dollars later on — by boosting graduation rates, reducing teen pregnancy, even reducing violent crime,” he claimed, with offering to help families stand on their own feet.

He called for a revival of railroads, despite Americans’ preference for car and air travel. “Ask any CEO where they’d rather locate and hire: a country with deteriorating roads and bridges, or one with high-speed rail and Internet,” he claimed.

He called on Congress to help him change how states manage their Election Day voting procedures. “I’m announcing a non-partisan commission to improve the voting experience in America … [and] I’m asking two long-time experts in the field, who’ve recently served as the top attorneys for my campaign and for Gov. Romney’s campaign, to lead it.”