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State of the Union: Words Not There, but Speech Hit Right Topics

February 2014

For those of you keeping track (perhaps you played State of the Union Bingo), here are the numbers.

Mentions of the following words in President Obama’s Jan. 28, 2014, State of the Union (SOTU) address:

Poverty: 3
Hunger: 0

The lack of these words in his speech, however, did not detract from that fact that it was consistent with Bread for the World Institute’s 2014 Hunger Report: Ending Hunger in America and Bread’s overall advocacy work.

President Obama reiterated his focus for the next three years on creating sustainable jobs, strengthening the economic safety net, providing access to education and equal employment opportunities, and developing strategic community partnerships both domestically and abroad.

“President Obama said it best when he said, ‘The best measure of opportunity is access to a good job,’ said Rev. David Beckmann, Bread for the World president. “We are encouraged by his charge to Congress to approve legislation that creates jobs. This is point one of our 2014 Hunger Report.”

With 10.4 million unemployed people in America, this SOTU was particularly timely. President Obama took a firm stance on emergency unemployment insurance, access to quality education, equal opportunity, immigration reform, and raising the minimum wage. He also affirmed that few programs are more effective than the earned income tax credit in helping families make ends meet. Cuts to vital anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs will only increase hardship at a time when millions of Americans are still struggling.

“We also celebrate the president’s emphasis on ending extreme poverty overseas and building local partnerships as a pathway to increase U.S. security,” said Beckmann. “Bread for the World has long touted these as essential factors to securing us from terrorism and other national security threats.”

Ending hunger is possible, but it will require strong political will to do so. President Obama affirmed this during his speech as he vowed to work with Congress on issues of national and global importance.

Photo: Nate, an Ohio resident who struggled to find work for three years, now works in housekeeping at a local university. (Joseph Molieri/Bread for the World)

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