Barack Obama enters the final two years of his presidency with a blemish on his legacy that looks impossible to erase: the decline of the middle class he has promised to rescue.
The revival of middle-class jobs has been one of Obama’s mantras since he took office in 2009 fighting the worst economic crisis in generations. It was a major theme of his last State of the Union address and is expected to feature in the one scheduled for Tuesday.
Administration officials said on Saturday the president would propose higher capital gains taxes, new fees on large financial firms, and other measures to raise $320 billion for programs and tax breaks aimed at the middle class.
Obama’s administration can take credit for stabilizing the U.S. economy, which is growing again and last year added jobs at the fastest clip since 1999.