Setting The Scene: Economy, Sequestration At Heart Of Obama's Address

His State Of The Union comments will likely highlight the different partisan views on how these automatic spending cuts, set to kick in March 1, could be minimized. Republicans continue to press for changes in entitlement programs, such as Medicare.

The Wall Street Journal: Obama Address To Focus On Economy, Social Issues
Mr. Obama will also address a series of automatic spending cuts set to kick in March 1—the so-called sequester—which could threaten economic growth, national—security preparation and the jobs of thousands of federal employees. Mr. Obama has called on Congress to pass a temporary measure of spending reductions and new taxes to replace the across-the-board cuts. Republicans have said they don't want to consider new taxes, and want Mr. Obama and Democrats instead to make significant changes to entitlement programs including Social Security and Medicare to reduce their mounting costs, something they are reluctant to do (Favole, 2/12).

MedPage Today: State Of The Union: Light On Health
Tuesday night's State of the Union Address likely will focus heavily on jobs and the economy with few direct mentions of healthcare, the White House and health policy insiders hinted Monday. Bob Doherty, senior vice president of government affairs at the American College of Physicians (ACP) here, told MedPage Today Monday that Obama may allude to health care objectives indirectly and generally at the most. But Doherty said he doesn't expect any direct mentions of health care. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters during Monday's briefing with members of the media that President Obama will outline a plan to create jobs (Pittman, 2/11).

Marketplace: Since Last State Of Union, Jobs Came From Health, Education
Perhaps every successful politician promises employment. But looking back at the president's first term, where have the jobs actually come from? Over the course of the last four years, the U.S. lost 4 million jobs, then created more than 5 million. Net gain: 1.2 million. The education and healthcare fields created many of those. Why? We're getting older and trying to get wiser. But it also may be hard to replace workers in those fields with technology (Tong, 2/11).

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