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State of my economy

Americans respond to President Obama's State of the Union address.

'I'm not angry at Obama'

real people sotu paul reinstein
  • Name: Paul Reinstein, 59
  • Place: Los Angeles, Calif.

I liked President Obama's speech, but I don't think that any of his proposals are going to affect me in particular.

I just can't catch a break. I was an electrical engineer in the defense industry, and I got my 25-year plaque and my pink slip on the same day.

That was two years ago, and I have since decided to re-invent myself as a general contractor. Renovating houses isn't a new thing for me. During the run-up in the real estate market, my wife and I had been flipping houses, so I had some pretty good experience under my belt.

I also had four years experience as a journeymen and several old technical degrees.

But it's taking me a while to hit my stride. I'm now a licensed general contractor with no work.

At the end of 2012, I decided to buy a house and flip it. I cashed out my entire retirement savings to make it happen. (Paid heaps of taxes on that one!) It was a really bad idea. I ended up losing $25,000.

I feel like I've worked hard and gotten screwed. But I'm not angry at Obama. In the '70s, peace was my thing, and it still is.

I feel optimistic. Last week I got a call from my old company. Maybe they will rehire me. Whether or not it actually happens, it felt pretty damn good just to be called.

- Last updated January 28 2014 11:39 PM ET

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