Barack Obama is turning into a fiery populist! He is a regular Huey Long out there, promising to give the masses whatever they want. As long as what they want is "automatic opt-out contributions to retirement plans."
This major policy shift was announced by resident White House populist Smilin' Joe Biden, who delivered remarks at a meeting of the president's Middle Class Task Force. They began thusly:
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Hey, folks.
And here are his revolutionary progressive ideas for helping the middle class: tax credits! Also "the middle class" means "people with children and/or elderly parents." Which is... well, that is a lot of them.
The major proposals that will totally save basically completely screwed American middle class are an expansion of the child tax credit for families making less than $115,000, more federal funding for child care, more funding for elder care, an income-based cap on student loan repayments, and a proposal to have employers automatically enroll workers in IRAs (along with minor government incentives to save money).
Here is a nice paragraph from Joe Biden that is very Biden-esque and that also neatly illustrates that the problems facing the middle class and those who wish to join the rapidly-shrinking middle class are well beyond the scope of these small fixes:
Today the average debt of a graduating senior from college — now, listen — the average debt — people of my generation — the average debt is $23,000. That is literally $2,000 more than my first house cost. But in any standard, it's a lot of money — average debt. Some are graduating with a great deal more debt than that.
So, this is what the State of the Union will be like, pretty much: small potatoes kitchen table stuff. Expect to be introduced to a family struggling with caring for young children, old parents, and student loan debt. Oh, and expect to hear from Volcker! Volcker is basically Barack Obama's new best friend.
Make sure to spend that tax credit wisely, parents! Or save it, whatever. (No, wait, please spend it: spending beyond your means is what has kept this country great over the last twenty years!)