Obama calls for spending programs that won’t add to deficit

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In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Obama will call on Congress to approve job-creation proposals to boost the fortunes of the middle class and “reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth.”

“A growing economy that creates good, middle-class jobs — that must be the North Star that guides our efforts,” Mr. Obama will say, according to excerpts of his speech that were released by the White House. The nationally televised address begins at 9 p.m.

Mr. Obama is expected to call on lawmakers to approve new spending on infrastructure, renewable energy projects and education. He will say that all his proposals are to be paid for, and they wouldn’t add to the annual deficit that has been running at more than $1 trillion per year.

“Nothing I’m proposing tonight should increase our deficit by a single dime,” Mr. Obama will say. “It’s not a bigger government we need, but a smarter government that sets priorities and invests in broad-based growth.”

The president will focus on jobs and the economy, reasserting themes from his campaign and his second inaugural speech. He is advocating higher taxes on wealthier households, such as the tax increase on families earning more than $450,000 that he secured on Jan. 1. As he delivers his agenda, he’s facing a March 1 deadline with Congress to avoid automatic spending cuts aimed at reducing the deficit.

“It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, what you look like, or who you love,” the president will say. “It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation of ours.”

Mr. Obama will argue that his economic proposals are “fully consistent with the budget framework both parties agreed to just 18 months ago.”

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