US President Obama claimed that though "a lot of Americans feel anxious", the current state of the American economy is not in decline.
America has the "strongest" and most durable economy in the world, President Barack Obama said, rejecting as "fiction" the assessment by many on economic decline.
"The talk of America's economic decline is political hot air. Well, so is all the rhetoric you hear about our enemies getting stronger and America getting weaker. The United States of America is the most powerful nation on Earth," Obama said in his eighth and final State of the Union Address to the Congress.
Obama claimed that though "a lot of Americans feel anxious", the current state of the American economy is not in decline.
"We spend more on our military than the next eight nations combined. Our troops are the finest fighting force in the history of the world. No nation dares to attack us or our allies because they know that's the path to ruin," he said.
"Surveys show our standing around the world is higher than when I was elected to this office, and when it comes to every important international issue, people of the world do not look to Beijing or Moscow to lead – they call us," Obama said.
Referring to the record number of new jobs created under his administration, Obama said the US right now has the strongest, most durable economy in the world.
"We're in the middle of the longest streak of private- sector job creation in history," he said.
"Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction. What is true – and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious – is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven't let up," Obama said.
For the past seven years, he said the goal of his administration has been a growing economy that works better for everybody.
"We've made progress. But we need to make more. And despite all the political arguments we've had these past few years, there are some areas where Americans broadly agree," he argued.
In his speech, Obama tried to reignite the great American spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship to meet the challenges being faced by the country – from climate change to terrorism and economy.
"How do we reignite that spirit of innovation to meet our biggest challenges?" Obama said.
"Sixty years ago, when the Russians beat us into space, we didn’t deny Sputnik was up there. We didn't argue about the science, or shrink our research and development budget. We built a space programme almost overnight, and twelve years later, we were walking on the moon," Obama reminded his
countrymen and members of the Congress. "That spirit of discovery is in our DNA. We’re Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers and George Washington Carver.
We’re Grace Hopper and Katherine Johnson and Sally Ride. We’re every immigrant and entrepreneur from Boston to Austin to Silicon Valley racing to shape a better world. And over the past seven years, we've nurtured that spirit," Obama said amidst big applause from the Congressmen.
"We've protected an open Internet, and taken bold new steps to get more students and low-income Americans online. We've launched next-generation manufacturing hubs, and online tools that give an entrepreneur everything he or she needs to start a business in a single day," he said.
Making a strong case for climate change, Obama called for getting rid of dirty energy.
"Now we've got to accelerate the transition away from dirty energy. Rather than subsidise the past, we should invest in the future – especially in communities that rely on fossil fuels," he said.
"That's why I'm going to push to change the way we manage our oil and coal resources, so that they better reflect the costs they impose on taxpayers and our planet. That way, we put money back into those communities and put tens of thousands of Americans to work building a 21st century transportation system," said the US President.
"None of this will happen overnight, and yes, there are plenty of entrenched interests who want to protect the status quo. But the jobs we'll create, the money we'll save, and the planet we'll preserve – that's the kind of future our kids and grandkids deserve," he said.
Obama called high-level of commitment when it comes to developing clean energy sources.
"Look, if anybody still wants to dispute the science around climate change, have at it. You'll be pretty lonely, because you'll be debating our military, most of America's business leaders, the majority of the American people, almost the entire scientific community, and 200 nations around the world who agree it's a problem and intend to solve it," he said.
"But even if the planet wasn't at stake; even if 2014 wasn't the warmest year on record – until 2015 turned out even hotter – why would we want to pass up the chance for American businesses to produce and sell the energy of the future?" he asked.
Seven years ago, Obama said his Administration made the single biggest investment in clean energy in history.
The results are very positive. In fields from Iowa to Texas, wind power is now cheaper than dirtier, conventional power, he said.