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Smart Suggestions for Obama's State of the Union Speech

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We're all stakeholders in President Obama's vision for our future, and we get our best perspective on that vision with each State of the Union address. So, in our latest "Group Think", we asked a diverse group of writers, activists and academics to write their own hoped-for parts of President Obama's speech; their suggestions provide an educated and enlightened look at major challenges and possible solutions the president, Congress and our nation will be debating in the coming weeks and months.

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Jonathan Haidt
Social Psychologist
Fix Our Divided, Dysfunctional Congress

"We are not making the best laws we can, and our children are going to pay the price in higher taxes and reduced benefits. Should we just throw up our hands in despair? Or should we roll up our sleeves and do something about it?" Read More


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Andrew Bacevich
Professor, Boston University
Fostering Greater Middle East Stability

"As a result of U.S. military efforts over the past three decades, has the Greater Middle East become more stable or less? Have our exertions there improved our reputation in the eyes of Egyptians, Iraqis, Iranians, Afghans, Pakistanis and others? Or have we actually fueled anti-Americanism?" Read More


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Barbara Ehrenreich, Author
Prioritizing Poverty

"Many of you have wondered about why I said nothing about poverty during my re-election campaign. The reason is that I've been saving it up for now." Read More


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Diane Ravitch, Professor, New York University
We Must Out-Educate and Out-Innovate Other Nations

"The key to our future success is to make sure that the education we provide our young people is the best in the world... [W]e must out-educate and out-innovate other nations." Read More


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Bill McKibben, Author and Activist
Overdue Action on Climate Change

"[T]his is something new and different, a challenge so large it threatens to render meaningless everything else we do." Read More


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Stephen Lerner, Labor and Community Organizer
Guaranteeing the Right to Organize

"It is time to rebalance the economy of our country by guaranteeing that workers can once again freely organize unions and negotiate fair wages and benefits." Read More


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Nicole Austin-Hillery, Director and Counsel, Brennan Center for Justice
Empowering Americans Through the Ballot Box

"Our democracy is strongest when its citizens are empowered to have a voice in what kind of country they live in and how it is governed. That empowerment starts with the vote." Read More


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Robert Pollin, Economist
Austerity is Not the Solution

"The latest figures showing both GDP growth and unemployment stuck in the mud makes clear that the federal government must continue to aggressively fight mass unemployment." Read More


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Jacob S. Hacker, Author,
Let's Put Americans Back to Work

"I am calling on Congress to spur job creation through large-scale investment in our nation's productive capacity. This is not just about helping those who are struggling; it is about our future, our children's future, our planet's future." Read More


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Simon Johnson, Economist
We Need to Get Our Economic Facts Straight

"Without understanding how we reached our present economic and financial situation, it is hard for people to think sensibly about what needs to be done now." Read More


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Shannon Watts, Founder of One Million Moms for Gun Control
On Guns, Mothers Have Had Enough

"For too long, the conversation about gun violence in America has been controlled by those who stand to profit from easy access to guns. In the meantime, American families continue to be destroyed by gun violence. Mothers have had enough..." Read More


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Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and President of PolicyLink
Equity is the Antidote to Inequality

"The President should embrace our changing demographics and tell America that diversity can be our greatest asset, our competitive edge in a world without boundaries." Read More


Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television.