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Obama used his final State of the Union to destigmatize welfare and poverty.

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The view that welfare is a bad thing abused by “other people,” and that the extent of welfare is responsible for economic problems, is an article of faith on the right, and too often goes unchallenged by Democrats. But Obama took the opportunity at least three times in the first half of his final State of the Union.

1. “The Affordable Care Act is [about] filling the gaps in employer-based care so that when we lose a job, or go back to school, or start that new business, we’ll still have coverage. Nearly eighteen million have gained coverage so far. Health care inflation has slowed. And our businesses have created jobs every single month since it became law.”

2. “Food stamp recipients didn’t cause the financial crisis; recklessness on Wall Street did.”

3. “Immigrants aren’t the reason wages haven’t gone up enough; those decisions are made in the boardrooms that too often put quarterly earnings over long-term returns.

Refreshing. Especially against the backdrop of Republican presidential candidates calling to repeal the Affordable Care Act, eliminate food stamps, and deport immigrants at a dramatically stepped-up clip.