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Video transcript

what we're going to do in this video is talk about what is often referred to as the bully pulpit of the United States president and it's making reference to the idea that the president has a platform from which they can convince people that they could convey their own message there are explicit powers in the United States Constitution about what the president can and cannot do but just as being that singular executive at the top of the executive branch people are going to pay attention to what they say and this term bully pulpit probably isn't exactly what you imagine it to mean it actually comes to us from Theodore Roosevelt it's a picture of Theodore Roosevelt giving a speech he was president from 1901 to 1909 he is actually the youngest person to hold the office of president he took office when President McKinley was assassinated and this is a quote from 1909 from Lyman Abbott who wrote for the outlook half a dozen of us were with the President Theodore Roosevelt in his library he was sitting at his desk reading to us his forthcoming message he had just finished reading a paragraph of a distinctly ethical character when he suddenly stopped swung around in his swivel chair and said I suppose my critics will call that preaching but I have got such a bully pulpit and Theodore Roosevelt was famous for using the term bully a lot and it doesn't mean to pick on people in the Theodore Roosevelt's context he used it as great wonderful bully for you good for you so when he said a bully pulpit he's saying I have such a great platform from what wish to speak he's not saying I have a platform from which to pick on people and this was before mass media became a significant influence in politics at this time recorded audio was just starting to become a thing television was not an influence in politics but you could imagine once you have mass media especially radio television and now social media becoming a major factor this bully pulpit has only gotten more and more and more significant one of the strongest examples of presidents using their bully pulpit is the State of the Union address State of the Union the Constitution does call for the president to make reports Congress on the State of the Union but early presidents like Thomas Jefferson just sent a written report but eventually over time the president started giving live reports to the joint houses of Congress in the form of a speech and then in 1947 you have Truman State of the Union is televised Truman televised and so today the state of a union is given every January this is a major event all of the major networks show it the nation pays attention and so what Theodore Roosevelt was talking about becomes even more powerful for modern presidents that have mass media at their disposal and to get a good tangible sense of this power that a president has I'm going to show you a video from 1981 this actually will not be a State of the Union address this is an address that President Reagan gives to the nation on federal tax reduction just so that you have context on what the world was like or what the United States was like in 1981 they had stagflation a stagnant economy with a lot of inflation and high interest rates I remember at the time my mom had I think it was a 17% interest rate on her mortgage which is incredibly incredibly high and so what you wanna see is President Reagan making a direct plea to the American people to convince their representatives to support his tax plan and think about what President Reagan was able to do that Thomas Jefferson or even Theodore Roosevelt could have only dreamed of the best way to have a strong foreign policy abroad is to have a strong economy at home now the day after tomorrow Wednesday the House of Representatives will begin debate on two tax bills and once again they need to hear from you I know that doesn't give you much time but a great deal is at stake let me add those representatives honestly and sincerely want to know your feelings they get plenty of input from the special interest groups they'd like to hear from their home folks now let me explain what the situation is and what's at issue with our budget cuts we presented a complete program of reduction in trace again our purpose was to provide incentive for the individual incentives for business to encourage production and hiring of the unemployed and to free up money for investment our bill calls for a five percent reduction in the income tax rates by October first a 10% reduction beginning July 1st 1982 and another 10% cut a year later a 25% total reduction over three years but then to ensure the tax cut is permanent we call for indexing the tax rates in 1985 which means adjusting them for inflation as it is now if you get a cost-of-living raise that's intended to keep you even with inflation you find that the increase in the number of dollars you get may very likely move you into a higher tax bracket and you wind up poorer than you were this is called bracket creep bracket creep is insidious tax let me give an example if you earned ten thousand dollars a year in 1972 by 1980 you had to earn 19 thousand seven hundred dollars just to stay even with inflation but that's before taxes come April 15th you find your tax rates have increased 30% have you been wondering why you don't seem as well-off as you were a few years back it's because government makes a profit on inflation