President Obama's Fat Tuesday 2013 State of the Union Address Coverage
About 2013 Obama State of the Union Address:
President Obama will give his annual State of the Union address (SOTU) on February 12, 2013. Which happens to fall on President Lincoln's Birthday and Fat Tuesday. This speech is important because it outlines the President's key priorities for the fiscal year. For that reason, it also previews the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Federal budget. The SOTU will continue Obama's economic policies since becoming President. The President will give the speech at the House Chamber to a joint session of the 113th Congress.
Obama's 2013 Priorities:
Obama previewed his priorities in the Inaugural Address given January 21, 2013. He presented a vision repeating the Declaration of Independence phrase, "We, the People." He outlined seven areas which will probably be fleshed out in the SOTU. Some say he has a "Liberal Agenda". We the People means a "People Agenda".
First, Obama will continue to insist on infrastructure repair, which also is a good tool for job creation.
Although he only mentioned it briefly in the Inaugural Address, his second priority will be immigration law reform. Obama said he will present legislation in 2013. This will probably be easier to pass politically than in the past because the 2012 presidential election showed the growing strength in Hispanic voters.
Obama also mentioned the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary School. Third priority is his proposal on gun control. This includes background checks for all gun sales, reinstating the 1994 ban on assault weapons, limiting ammunition magazines to 10 rounds, and banning the possession of armor-piercing bullets by anyone other than the military and law enforcement. The proposal also includes more help for the mentally ill, training for school preparedness and more coordination between Federal agencies. Obama is willing to take on the National Rifle Association, which advocates increased police presence at public schools as the solution. (Source: NYT, Obama Gun Control Proposal, January 16, 2013)
Fourth, Obama mentioned reducing the U.S. deficit and debt, a burden to future generations. However, he made it clear he would not do it at the expense of Social Security and Medicare, which protects the "generation who built this country." He also argued that programs like unemployment benefits and Medicaid do not encourage sloth, but provide temporary protection for those who are temporarily down on their luck. This suggests he won't do much on entitlement reform, a key sticking point among Tea Party-Republicans. In the past, however, he has supported changes in how the cost-of-living adjustments are made in Social Security and raising the eligible age for Medicare from 65 to 67.
Fifth, Obama talked about taking a leadership position on climate change. He would balance increased U.S. production of new sources of energy with environmental protection. He has been a big advocate of clean energy from day one.
Sixth,Obama talked about protecting the middle class. This includes revamping the tax code, reforming schools and reducing the cost of health care. The SOTU will probably also mention how the 2013 fiscal cliff bill has already protected middle income families from the tax hikes that would have occurred if the Bush tax cuts hadn't been restored. He may introduce other measures to further protect them, one of his key priorities.
Seventh, the President spoke on how ending "a decade of war" will allow the U.S. to focus on alliances with both traditional friends and former enemies. This will probably include more free trade agreements.
These priorities are high and will take a lot of muscle to get this done. Can the Senate and House of Representatives work work with Obama to get these challenges met as they are still hashing it out over the spending cuts which could cause a sequester in March? Stay tuned.
After the address, GOP Senator Marco Rubio will give the GOP rebuttal to the president's State of the Union address.
The head Barack Obama's campaign formally welcomed Republican Mitt Romney to the White House duel Tuesday, with a caustic warning: the much more Americans watch of her, the less they prefer him.
Romney effectively clinched the Republican presidential nomination when his endure continuing to be rival Rick Santorum bowed out, establishing a stinking, battle with Obama, that will certainly ask voters for a second four-year phrase in November.
Obama April 10th Video
The president and also the prior Massachusetts governor have indeed literally been squaring off for a number of months, yet Obama's group could well not rebuff one more possibility to try to badly define Romney in the eyes of voters.
"The even more the American individuals watch of Mitt Romney, the reduced they prefer him and also the reduced they count on him," Obama campaign business manager Jim Messina stated in a statement released soon after Santorum suspended his campaign.
Messina indicted Romney of pushing away vital voting blocs consisting of ladies, the middle class, and also Hispanics and framed the election as a fight for an honorable economic climate, a theme Obama devoted the day reaching in swing state Florida.
The head publicized his millionaires tax in Florida, a battleground state which could bet a decisive job in the November 6 election.
The initiative, calling for a minimum tax of 30 percent on those earning more than $ 1 million a yr has no chance of promptly coming to be law, however it anchors Obama's vow to create an economic climate where each person has "an honest shot."
"Exactly what drags our whole economic climate down is when the advantages of financial growth as well as productiveness go simply to the few," Obama said.
"The space in between those at the very, very top and everybody else maintains growing wider and also greater and also larger and wider," Obama said.
The head argued that government-led financial investments in the future economy were not a "socialist desire" as a few of his conventional rivals will have it, but were essential to foreseeable future prosperity.
"Let me you ask you: just what's the more desirable way to make our economy greater? Do we give yet another $ 150,000 tax break to every millionaire as well as billionaire in the nation?" the president said.
"Or should we make investments in education and learning and investigation and healthcare and also our veterans?"
Obama calls his deal the Buffett guideline, after billionaire financier Warren Buffett who whined that his gigantic financial investment earnings was taxed at a lesser cost than the taxes his receptionist pays on her paychecks.
Our elected representatives was anticipated to vote on the millionaires tax following week and the plan has virtually no chance of passing.
However Democrats prefer to require Republicans to cast a vote to resist the tax, which Obama and celebration allies may then use to castigate their foes on the campaign trail ahead of November's election.
Republicans argue that Obama's tax plans would definitely curb project creation and growth by forcing countless tiny small business owner to pay additional funds to the authorities-- cash which could be made use of to increase their businesses.
They also state the Buffett guideline is a bid to deflect recognition from Obama's failure to fire up a sturdy rebound and might do nothing to correct problems plaguing the rehabilitation, featuring the bloated deficit and also greater gas costs.
"The Buffett Guideline is bit greater than an election year civic stunt to raise taxes on entrepreneurs that aid create projects," stated Florida Senator Marco Rubio, a possible vice presidential preference for Romney.
"This has nothing to do with placing thousands of unemployed Americans back to work and also every little thing to do with the president keeping his task.
"It has nothing to do with safe financial policy and also every little thing to do by having class rivalry politics."
Romney on the other hand hit back at Obama with an internet movie hammering the president over Florida's economy, matching his own campaign motif that Obama has actually slowed the financial recovery.
The site highlighted the 9.4 percent unemployment price in Florida, which has indeed even been reached by the real estate situation, and also claimed "Head Obama has indeed failed Florida employees."
Obama did certainly not touch on Romney especially by name in his conversation just before a fired-up group of pupils at Florida Atlantic College however he is visiting the millionaires tax to skewer the Republican over his economic plans.
Romney, a previous venture capitalist, paid a tax rate of just 13.9 percent in 2010, a far reduced price than the regular American paid, as his resources is mainly based upon financial investment as well as not salaried profit.
President Obama Speaks On Promoting American Manufacturing and Exports
President Obama introduces new steps that will help more American businesses sell their products around the world, create jobs right here at home, and help us build an economy that lasts.
Remarks by the President on American Manufacturing
Boeing Production Facility Everett, Washington - 11:47 A.M. PST
THE PRESIDENT: Hello, Everett! (Applause.) It is great to be in Washington -- not Washington, D.C., in Washington State. (Applause.) And it is great to be here at Boeing. (Applause.)
I want to begin by first of all thanking Kathleen for that wonderful introduction. We were up there talking a little bit, and she’s a pretty good representative of Boeing workers. Kathleen told me, I have a motto: Every day, nobody will outwork me. And that’s a pretty good motto for Boeing, but it’s also a pretty good motto for America. So give Kathleen a big round of applause. (Applause.)
I’ve been told we’re standing in the biggest building in the world, so big you could fit Disneyland inside. Your heating bills must be crazy. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Jim McNerney and Jim Albaugh for hosting us here today. Give them a big round of applause. (Applause.) Your Machinist’s leadership, Tom Buffenbarger, Rich Michalski, Tom Wroblewski and SPEEA President Tom McCarty are here. (Applause.) One of the finest governors in the country, Chris Gregoire is in the house. (Applause.) And I want to thank the mayor of Everett, Ray Stephanson for having us here today. (Applause.)
Now, I want to thank all of you for also giving me a pretty smooth ride. (Laughter.) As some of you may know, Air Force One was built right here in Everett 25 years ago. In fact, I met -- one of my guys that I met during the tour worked on the plane. (Applause.) So I told him he did a pretty good job. (Laughter.) It’s flying smooth. I get to see your handiwork in action every single day. But as wonderful as it is to fly Air Force One -- and it is wonderful -- it’s hard not to be amazed by the Dreamliner. (Applause.) I notice this one is going to United -- one of our outstanding carriers. And I have to mention that just because I’m from Chicago, so I’ve got to -- (laughter) -- give a few extra props there.
But this is the first commercial airplane to be made with 50 percent composite materials. It’s lighter, it’s faster, it’s more fuel-efficient than any airplane in its class. And it looks cool. (Laughter and applause.)
The Dreamliner is the plane of the future. And by building it here, Boeing is taking advantage of a huge opportunity that exists right now to bring more jobs and manufacturing back to the United States of America. (Applause.)
We know that the last few decades haven’t been easy for manufacturing. New technology has made businesses more efficient and more productive, and that’s a good thing. That’s what raises our standards of living. It means we can get better products for less. But that also means that companies need fewer workers to make the same amount of product as they used to. And technology makes it easier for companies to set up shop and hire workers anywhere where there’s an internet connection. And so the result has been this -- this transition process that’s been incredibly painful for a lot of families and a lot of communities. A lot of communities that used to rely on a lot of factory jobs, they saw those shrink. They saw those get shipped off overseas. Too many factories, where people thought they’d retire, left home. Too many jobs that provided a steady, stable life, a middle-class life for people, got shipped overseas.
And look, the hard truth is, a lot of those jobs aren’t going to come back because of these increased efficiencies. And in a global economy, some companies are always going to find it more profitable to pick up and do business in other parts of the world. That’s just the nature of a global economy. But that does not mean that we’ve got to just sit there and settle for a lesser future. I don’t accept that idea. You don’t accept that idea. America is a place where we can always do something to create new jobs, and new opportunities, and new manufacturing, and new security for the middle class, and that’s why I’m here today. That’s our job. (Applause.) That’s what we’re going to do together. (Applause.)
Now just today, we actually took an important short-term step to strengthen our economy. Just before we got here, Congress did the right thing and voted to make sure that taxes would not go up on middle-class families at the end of this month. (Applause.) Congress also agreed to extend unemployment insurance for millions of Americans -- maybe some of your family members -- who are still out there looking for a job. So I’m going to sign this bill right away when I get back home. (Applause.)
You guys may remember, this middle-class tax cut is something I proposed in my jobs bill back in September. And because you kept the pressure on Congress, because you reminded people what it means to have 40 bucks taken out of your paycheck every week, it got done. This is a big deal. And I want to thank members of Congress for listening to the voices of the American people. It is amazing what happens when Congress focuses on doing the right thing instead of just playing politics. This was a good example, and Congress should take pride in it. (Applause.)
But the payroll tax cut is just a start. If we want middle-class families to get ahead, we've got to deal with a set of economic challenges that existed even before this recession hit.
And we've got a choice right now: We can either settle for a country where a few people do really well, and everybody else is struggling, or we can restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules, from Washington to Wall Street to Main Street. Everybody is doing their part. (Applause.)
We’re still recovering from one of the worst economic crises in three generations -- the worst in our lifetimes, for most of us. And we've still got a long way to go to make sure everybody who can -- everybody who wants a job can find one, and every family can regain that sense of security that was slipping away even before this recession hit.
But the tide is turning. The tide is beginning to turn our way. Over the last 23 months, businesses have created 3.7 million new jobs, and American manufacturers are hiring for the first time since 1990, and the American auto industry is back, and our economy is getting stronger. And that’s why we can look towards a promising future. (Applause.) And Boeing is an example of that. (Applause.) But to keep it going, the last thing we can afford to do is to go back to the very same policies that got us into this mess in the first place. (Applause.) We can't go backwards, we got to go forwards. We can't go back to an economy that was weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony financial profits.
I want us to make stuff. I want us to sell stuff. So, in the State of the Union, I outlined a blueprint for an economy that's built to last, that has a strong foundation -- an economy based on American manufacturing and American know-how, American-made energy, skills for American workers, and the values that made America great, the values that Kathleen talked about: hard work and fair play and shared responsibility. That's what America is about.
And that blueprint starts with American manufacturing. It starts with companies like this one. A lot of people say, well, there are going to be fewer manufacturing jobs than there were in the past. I already said we're more efficient now. What used to take a thousand people to make, you might only need a hundred now. We understand that. We understand that there are going to be more service jobs -- that's important. We want to make sure that we're promoting service industries as well. But manufacturing has a special place in America. When we make stuff, and we're selling stuff, that creates jobs beyond just this plant. It raises standards of living for everybody.
And here at Boeing, business is booming. Booming. Last year, orders for commercial aircraft rose by more than 50 percent. (Applause.) And to meet that demand, Boeing hired 13,000 workers all across America, including 5,000 right here in Everett. (Applause.) Now the biggest challenge is how to turn out planes fast enough. Jay, that’s a high-class problem to have.
So this company is a great example of what American manufacturing can do in a way that nobody else in the world can do it. And the impact of your success, as I said, goes beyond the walls of this plant. Every Dreamliner that rolls off the assembly line here in Everett supports thousands of jobs in different industries all across the country. Parts of the fuselage are manufactured in South Carolina and Kansas. Wing edges, they come from Oklahoma. Engines assembled in Ohio. The tail fin comes from right down the road in Frederickson. And the people in every one of these communities, some of whom -- who are here today, they are benefitting from the work that you do.
All those workers, they spend money at the local store. They go to restaurants. So the service economy does better because you’re doing well. And what’s happening here in Everett can happen in other industries. It can happen not just here but it can happen in Cleveland, in Pittsburgh, in Raleigh. We can’t bring every job back. Anybody who says we can, they’re not telling you the truth. But right now, it’s getting more expensive to do business in places like China. Meanwhile, American workers have never been more productive. And companies like Boeing are finding out that even when we can’t make things faster or cheaper than China, we can make them better. Our quality can be higher. And that’s what America is about. That’s how we’re going to compete. (Applause.)
Now, during the State of the Union, I issued a challenge to America’s business leaders. I said, ask yourselves what you can do to bring and create jobs here in this country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed. And I’m encouraged. We’re actually seeing a number of companies –- large and small, domestic, but even some foreign companies –- recognizing, you know what, we’re going to open new facilities and create new jobs here in America.
This is a good place to work. This is a good place to be. And our job as a nation is to make it easier for more of these companies to do the right thing.
That starts with our tax code. Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.
AUDIENCE: Booo --
THE PRESIDENT: Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. That doesn’t make any sense. So my message to Congress is, what are we waiting for? Let’s get this done right now. Let’s make some changes to the tax code. (Applause.)
And let’s follow some simple principles. First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, that’s your choice, but you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.
AUDIENCE: Nooo --
THE PRESIDENT: That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies that are deciding to bring jobs back home -- that’s who should be getting tax breaks. (Applause.)
Second, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. My attitude is every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. You should not have an advantage by building a plant over there, over somebody who’s investing here and hiring American workers. (Applause.) And every penny of that minimum tax should go towards lowering taxes for companies like Boeing that choose to stay and hire here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
Number three, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. And if you’re a high-tech manufacturer, we should double the tax deductions you get for making your products here.
And finally, if you want to relocate in a community that’s been hard hit by factories leaving town, then you should get help financing that new plant or financing that equipment or training for new workers.
Everett, it is time to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas. Reward companies that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America. Congress should send me these tax reforms. I’ll sign them right away. (Applause.)
Now, another thing we’re doing to support American jobs is making it easier for businesses like Boeing to sell their products all over the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports in five years. We’re on track to meet that goal. We’re actually ahead of schedule. So last November when I was in Indonesia, Boeing announced a deal with the help of the Export-Import Bank to sell more than 200 planes to one of the fastest-growing airlines in the world. Boeing is one of the largest exporters in America; this was one of the biggest deals Boeing had ever done. Over the years, it will help support thousands of American jobs, including jobs here in Everett. So I tease Jay every time I see him -- I said, I deserve a gold watch because I’m selling your stuff all the time. (Laughter.)
I will go anywhere in the world to open up new markets for American products. And by the way, I will not stand by when our competitors don’t play by the rules. (Applause.) That’s why I directed my administration to create a Trade Enforcement Unit that just has one job: investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China, or places like Europe.
That’s why it’s so important for Congress to reauthorize the Export-Import Bank. This Bank is led by -- (applause) -- this Bank is led by Fred Hochberg, who is right here. He's out there working with Jay all the time, selling on behalf of Boeing. And the Export-Import Bank helps companies like this one sell its products. It also helps thousands of small businesses.
And today, the Bank will be launching a new program to help small businesses get the financing they need to sell more products overseas. I’m also instructing the Bank to give American companies a fair shot by matching the unfair export financing that their competitors receive from other countries. (Applause.)
American workers -- you guys, folks like Kathleen -- you're the most productive on Earth. You can compete with anybody. You will out-work anybody, as long as the level -- as long as the playing field is level. You can compete with any worker, anywhere, any time -- in China, in Europe, it does not matter. If we have a level playing field, America will always win because we've got the best workers. (Applause.)
It's also because we've always believed in the power of innovation. Innovation requires basic research. Look at this plane. This plane was first designed virtually using the same technology that was developed by NASA. Government research helped to create this plane. We got -- I was in there fooling around with those windows, where you press them and they dim on their own. (Laughter.) I kept on pressing the button, and -- dimmed and got light -- one touch with a finger. And the display is in the cockpit. They're projected on the windshield so pilots don’t have to look down at their instruments; they can maintain their line of sight, even as they're getting all these readings.
Now, some of the work -- the most advanced work -- was done by engineers down in Huntsville, Alabama, who used to work on the International Space Station. Their expertise, a lot of those ideas, came out of government research. We've got to support this kind of cutting-edge research. (Applause.) We need to maintain our innovative edge, so that jobs and industries take root right here in the United States, not someplace else. (Applause.)
So, Everett, if we want to build an economy that lasts, that is strong, that has a strong foundation, that helps families get into the middle class and stay in the middle class, we've got to do everything we can to strengthen American manufacturing. We've got to make sure we're making it easier for companies like Boeing to create jobs here at home, and sell our products abroad. We've got to keep on investing in American-made energy, and we've got to keep training American workers. And, above all, we've got to renew the values that have always made this country great: hard work, fair play, and shared responsibility.
These are not Democratic values or Republican values. These are American values. (Applause.) They’ve seen us through some tough challenges, but we've always emerged stronger than before because of these values. And we’re going to come out stronger than before this time as well. And I know it because of the people who are here.
In December of 2009, the first Dreamliner took off on its maiden flight right here in Everett. Some of you were probably out there seeing it. It was a cold and windy day. That didn’t stop 13,000 employees all from coming out and seeing what they had built, seeing the product of all their hard work suddenly filling the skies.
And one of these people was Sharon O’Hara. Is Sharon here? Where is Sharon? There’s Sharon right there. (Applause.) Sharon works as an executive office administrator for the leaders of the Dreamliner team. Now, executive assistant means basically you’re doing all the work. (Laughter.) Now, some of you may know that Sharon has been undergoing some treatment for cancer recently, so she’s got her own battle. But her doctors recently told her she’s healthy enough to come back to work. That’s worth applauding. (Applause.) Sharon, there are a lot of people who are happy to see you back at work. (Applause.)
And I was hearing about this, and as Sharon tells the story about watching the first plane lift gently off the runway, just the way it was designed to do, she thought about everything that had gone into making this day possible -– all the challenges, all the setbacks; the thousands of hours of brainpower and manpower -- and womanpower. (Applause.) And what Sharon says is -- this is a quote -- “I had goose bumps and tears. We said we would do it and we did.” That’s a pretty good motto. (Applause.) You said you would do it, and you did.
That’s what we do as Americans. (Applause.) That’s the spirit we need right now. In this country, we don’t give up, even when times are tough. We look out for one another. We reach for new opportunities. We pull each other up. We stay focused on the horizon. That’s who we are. That’s who we’ve always been. And if we work together right now, with common purpose and common effort, I have no doubt we will build an economy that lasts, and we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest country on Earth. We said it, we will do it.
God bless you. God bless the United States. (Applause.) Thank you.
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ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT
TO A JOINT SESSION OF CONGRESS
7:09 P.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, and fellow Americans:
Tonight we meet at an urgent time for our country. We continue to face an economic crisis that has left millions of our neighbors jobless, and a political crisis that’s made things worse.
This past week, reporters have been asking, “What will this speech mean for the President? What will it mean for Congress? How will it affect their polls, and the next election?”
But the millions of Americans who are watching right now, they don’t care about politics. They have real-life concerns. Many have spent months looking for work. Others are doing their best just to scrape by — giving up nights out with the family to save on gas or make the mortgage; postponing retirement to send a kid to college.
These men and women grew up with faith in an America where hard work and responsibility paid off. They believed in a country where everyone gets a fair shake and does their fair share — where if you stepped up, did your job, and were loyal to your company, that loyalty would be rewarded with a decent salary and good benefits; maybe a raise once in a while. If you did the right thing, you could make it. Anybody could make it in America.
For decades now, Americans have watched that compact erode. They have seen the decks too often stacked against them. And they know that Washington has not always put their interests first.
The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy. (Applause.) The question is — the question is whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Those of us here tonight can’t solve all our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans — including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything. (Applause.)
The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for long-term unemployed. (Applause.) It will provide — it will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. (Applause.) It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and if they hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away. (Applause.)
Everyone here knows that small businesses are where most new jobs begin. And you know that while corporate profits have come roaring back, smaller companies haven’t. So for everyone who speaks so passionately about making life easier for “job creators,” this plan is for you. (Applause.)
Pass this jobs bill — pass this jobs bill, and starting tomorrow, small businesses will get a tax cut if they hire new workers or if they raise workers’ wages. Pass this jobs bill, and all small business owners will also see their payroll taxes cut in half next year. (Applause.) If you have 50 employees — if you have 50 employees making an average salary, that’s an $80,000 tax cut. And all businesses will be able to continue writing off the investments they make in 2012.
It’s not just Democrats who have supported this kind of proposal. Fifty House Republicans have proposed the same payroll tax cut that’s in this plan. You should pass it right away. (Applause.)
Pass this jobs bill, and we can put people to work rebuilding America. Everyone here knows we have badly decaying roads and bridges all over the country. Our highways are clogged with traffic. Our skies are the most congested in the world. It’s an outrage.
Building a world-class transportation system is part of what made us a economic superpower. And now we’re going to sit back and watch China build newer airports and faster railroads? At a time when millions of unemployed construction workers could build them right here in America? (Applause.)
There are private construction companies all across America just waiting to get to work. There’s a bridge that needs repair between Ohio and Kentucky that’s on one of the busiest trucking routes in North America. A public transit project in Houston that will help clear up one of the worst areas of traffic in the country. And there are schools throughout this country that desperately need renovating. How can we expect our kids to do their best in places that are literally falling apart? This is America. Every child deserves a great school — and we can give it to them, if we act now. (Applause.)
The American Jobs Act will repair and modernize at least 35,000 schools. It will put people to work right now fixing roofs and windows, installing science labs and high-speed Internet in classrooms all across this country. It will rehabilitate homes and businesses in communities hit hardest by foreclosures. It will jumpstart thousands of transportation projects all across the country. And to make sure the money is properly spent, we’re building on reforms we’ve already put in place. No more earmarks. No more boondoggles. No more bridges to nowhere. We’re cutting the red tape that prevents some of these projects from getting started as quickly as possible. And we’ll set up an independent fund to attract private dollars and issue loans based on two criteria: how badly a construction project is needed and how much good it will do for the economy. (Applause.)
This idea came from a bill written by a Texas Republican and a Massachusetts Democrat. The idea for a big boost in construction is supported by America’s largest business organization and America’s largest labor organization. It’s the kind of proposal that’s been supported in the past by Democrats and Republicans alike. You should pass it right away. (Applause.)
Pass this jobs bill, and thousands of teachers in every state will go back to work. These are the men and women charged with preparing our children for a world where the competition has never been tougher. But while they’re adding teachers in places like South Korea, we’re laying them off in droves. It’s unfair to our kids. It undermines their future and ours. And it has to stop. Pass this bill, and put our teachers back in the classroom where they belong. (Applause.)
Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get extra tax credits if they hire America’s veterans. We ask these men and women to leave their careers, leave their families, risk their lives to fight for our country. The last thing they should have to do is fight for a job when they come home. (Applause.)
Pass this bill, and hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged young people will have the hope and the dignity of a summer job next year. And their parents -- (applause) -- their parents, low-income Americans who desperately want to work, will have more ladders out of poverty.
Pass this jobs bill, and companies will get a $4,000 tax credit if they hire anyone who has spent more than six months looking for a job. (Applause.) We have to do more to help the long-term unemployed in their search for work. This jobs plan builds on a program in Georgia that several Republican leaders have highlighted, where people who collect unemployment insurance participate in temporary work as a way to build their skills while they look for a permanent job. The plan also extends unemployment insurance for another year. (Applause.) If the millions of unemployed Americans stopped getting this insurance, and stopped using that money for basic necessities, it would be a devastating blow to this economy. Democrats and Republicans in this chamber have supported unemployment insurance plenty of times in the past. And in this time of prolonged hardship, you should pass it again -- right away. (Applause.)
Pass this jobs bill, and the typical working family will get a $1,500 tax cut next year. Fifteen hundred dollars that would have been taken out of your pocket will go into your pocket. This expands on the tax cut that Democrats and Republicans already passed for this year. If we allow that tax cut to expire -- if we refuse to act -- middle-class families will get hit with a tax increase at the worst possible time. We can’t let that happen. I know that some of you have sworn oaths to never raise any taxes on anyone for as long as you live. Now is not the time to carve out an exception and raise middle-class taxes, which is why you should pass this bill right away. (Applause.)
This is the American Jobs Act. It will lead to new jobs for construction workers, for teachers, for veterans, for first responders, young people and the long-term unemployed. It will provide tax credits to companies that hire new workers, tax relief to small business owners, and tax cuts for the middle class. And here’s the other thing I want the American people to know: The American Jobs Act will not add to the deficit. It will be paid for. And here’s how. (Applause.)
The agreement we passed in July will cut government spending by about $1 trillion over the next 10 years. It also charges this Congress to come up with an additional $1.5 trillion in savings by Christmas. Tonight, I am asking you to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act. And a week from Monday, I’ll be releasing a more ambitious deficit plan -- a plan that will not only cover the cost of this jobs bill, but stabilize our debt in the long run. (Applause.)
This approach is basically the one I’ve been advocating for months. In addition to the trillion dollars of spending cuts I’ve already signed into law, it’s a balanced plan that would reduce the deficit by making additional spending cuts, by making modest adjustments to health care programs like Medicare and Medicaid, and by reforming our tax code in a way that asks the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share. (Applause.) What’s more, the spending cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on our economy, or prevent us from helping small businesses and middle-class families get back on their feet right away.
Now, I realize there are some in my party who don’t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid, and I understand their concerns. But here’s the truth: Millions of Americans rely on Medicare in their retirement. And millions more will do so in the future. They pay for this benefit during their working years. They earn it. But with an aging population and rising health care costs, we are spending too fast to sustain the program. And if we don’t gradually reform the system while protecting current beneficiaries, it won’t be there when future retirees need it. We have to reform Medicare to strengthen it. (Applause.)
I am also -- I’m also well aware that there are many Republicans who don’t believe we should raise taxes on those who are most fortunate and can best afford it. But here is what every American knows: While most people in this country struggle to make ends meet, a few of the most affluent citizens and most profitable corporations enjoy tax breaks and loopholes that nobody else gets. Right now, Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary -- an outrage he has asked us to fix. (Laughter.) We need a tax code where everyone gets a fair shake and where everybody pays their fair share. (Applause.) And by the way, I believe the vast majority of wealthy Americans and CEOs are willing to do just that if it helps the economy grow and gets our fiscal house in order.
I’ll also offer ideas to reform a corporate tax code that stands as a monument to special interest influence in Washington. By eliminating pages of loopholes and deductions, we can lower one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. (Applause.) Our tax code should not give an advantage to companies that can afford the best-connected lobbyists. It should give an advantage to companies that invest and create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
So we can reduce this deficit, pay down our debt, and pay for this jobs plan in the process. But in order to do this, we have to decide what our priorities are. We have to ask ourselves, “What’s the best way to grow the economy and create jobs?”
Should we keep tax loopholes for oil companies? Or should we use that money to give small business owners a tax credit when they hire new workers? Because we can’t afford to do both. Should we keep tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires? Or should we put teachers back to work so our kids can graduate ready for college and good jobs? (Applause.) Right now, we can’t afford to do both.
This isn’t political grandstanding. This isn’t class warfare. This is simple math. (Laughter.) This is simple math. These are real choices. These are real choices that we’ve got to make. And I’m pretty sure I know what most Americans would choose. It’s not even close. And it’s time for us to do what’s right for our future. (Applause.)
Now, the American Jobs Act answers the urgent need to create jobs right away. But we can’t stop there. As I’ve argued since I ran for this office, we have to look beyond the immediate crisis and start building an economy that lasts into the future -- an economy that creates good, middle-class jobs that pay well and offer security. We now live in a world where technology has made it possible for companies to take their business anywhere. If we want them to start here and stay here and hire here, we have to be able to out-build and out-educate and out-innovate every other country on Earth. (Applause.)
And this task of making America more competitive for the long haul, that’s a job for all of us. For government and for private companies. For states and for local communities -- and for every American citizen. All of us will have to up our game. All of us will have to change the way we do business.
My administration can and will take some steps to improve our competitiveness on our own. For example, if you’re a small business owner who has a contract with the federal government, we’re going to make sure you get paid a lot faster than you do right now. (Applause.) We’re also planning to cut away the red tape that prevents too many rapidly growing startup companies from raising capital and going public. And to help responsible homeowners, we’re going to work with federal housing agencies to help more people refinance their mortgages at interest rates that are now near 4 percent. That’s a step -- (applause) -- I know you guys must be for this, because that’s a step that can put more than $2,000 a year in a family’s pocket, and give a lift to an economy still burdened by the drop in housing prices.
So, some things we can do on our own. Other steps will require congressional action. Today you passed reform that will speed up the outdated patent process, so that entrepreneurs can turn a new idea into a new business as quickly as possible. That’s the kind of action we need. Now it’s time to clear the way for a series of trade agreements that would make it easier for American companies to sell their products in Panama and Colombia and South Korea -– while also helping the workers whose jobs have been affected by global competition. (Applause.) If Americans can buy Kias and Hyundais, I want to see folks in South Korea driving Fords and Chevys and Chryslers. (Applause.) I want to see more products sold around the world stamped with the three proud words: “Made in America.” That’s what we need to get done. (Applause.)
And on all of our efforts to strengthen competitiveness, we need to look for ways to work side by side with America’s businesses. That’s why I’ve brought together a Jobs Council of leaders from different industries who are developing a wide range of new ideas to help companies grow and create jobs.
Already, we’ve mobilized business leaders to train 10,000 American engineers a year, by providing company internships and training. Other businesses are covering tuition for workers who learn new skills at community colleges. And we’re going to make sure the next generation of manufacturing takes root not in China or Europe, but right here, in the United States of America. (Applause) If we provide the right incentives, the right support -- and if we make sure our trading partners play by the rules -- we can be the ones to build everything from fuel-efficient cars to advanced biofuels to semiconductors that we sell all around the world. That’s how America can be number one again. And that’s how America will be number one again. (Applause.)
Now, I realize that some of you have a different theory on how to grow the economy. Some of you sincerely believe that the only solution to our economic challenges is to simply cut most government spending and eliminate most government regulations. (Applause.)
Well, I agree that we can’t afford wasteful spending, and I’ll work with you, with Congress, to root it out. And I agree that there are some rules and regulations that do put an unnecessary burden on businesses at a time when they can least afford it. (Applause.) That’s why I ordered a review of all government regulations. So far, we’ve identified over 500 reforms, which will save billions of dollars over the next few years. (Applause.) We should have no more regulation than the health, safety and security of the American people require. Every rule should meet that common-sense test. (Applause.)
But what we can’t do -- what I will not do -- is let this economic crisis be used as an excuse to wipe out the basic protections that Americans have counted on for decades. (Applause.) I reject the idea that we need to ask people to choose between their jobs and their safety. I reject the argument that says for the economy to grow, we have to roll back protections that ban hidden fees by credit card companies, or rules that keep our kids from being exposed to mercury, or laws that prevent the health insurance industry from shortchanging patients. I reject the idea that we have to strip away collective bargaining rights to compete in a global economy. (Applause.) We shouldn’t be in a race to the bottom, where we try to offer the cheapest labor and the worst pollution standards. America should be in a race to the top. And I believe we can win that race. (Applause.)
In fact, this larger notion that the only thing we can do to restore prosperity is just dismantle government, refund everybody’s money, and let everyone write their own rules, and tell everyone they’re on their own -- that’s not who we are. That’s not the story of America.
Yes, we are rugged individualists. Yes, we are strong and self-reliant. And it has been the drive and initiative of our workers and entrepreneurs that has made this economy the engine and the envy of the world.
But there’s always been another thread running throughout our history -- a belief that we’re all connected, and that there are some things we can only do together, as a nation.
We all remember Abraham Lincoln as the leader who saved our Union. Founder of the Republican Party. But in the middle of a civil war, he was also a leader who looked to the future -- a Republican President who mobilized government to build the Transcontinental Railroad -- (applause) -- launch the National Academy of Sciences, set up the first land grant colleges. (Applause.) And leaders of both parties have followed the example he set.
Ask yourselves -- where would we be right now if the people who sat here before us decided not to build our highways, not to build our bridges, our dams, our airports? What would this country be like if we had chosen not to spend money on public high schools, or research universities, or community colleges? Millions of returning heroes, including my grandfather, had the opportunity to go to school because of the G.I. Bill. Where would we be if they hadn’t had that chance? (Applause.)
How many jobs would it have cost us if past Congresses decided not to support the basic research that led to the Internet and the computer chip? What kind of country would this be if this chamber had voted down Social Security or Medicare just because it violated some rigid idea about what government could or could not do? (Applause.) How many Americans would have suffered as a result?
No single individual built America on their own. We built it together. We have been, and always will be, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all; a nation with responsibilities to ourselves and with responsibilities to one another. And members of Congress, it is time for us to meet our responsibilities. (Applause.)
Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight is the kind that’s been supported by Democrats and Republicans in the past. Every proposal I’ve laid out tonight will be paid for. And every proposal is designed to meet the urgent needs of our people and our communities.
Now, I know there’s been a lot of skepticism about whether the politics of the moment will allow us to pass this jobs plan -- or any jobs plan. Already, we’re seeing the same old press releases and tweets flying back and forth. Already, the media has proclaimed that it’s impossible to bridge our differences. And maybe some of you have decided that those differences are so great that we can only resolve them at the ballot box.
But know this: The next election is 14 months away. And the people who sent us here -- the people who hired us to work for them -- they don’t have the luxury of waiting 14 months. (Applause.) Some of them are living week to week, paycheck to paycheck, even day to day. They need help, and they need it now.
I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it -- to be persistent -- to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.
Regardless of the arguments we’ve had in the past, regardless of the arguments we will have in the future, this plan is the right thing to do right now. You should pass it. (Applause.) And I intend to take that message to every corner of this country. (Applause.) And I ask -- I ask every American who agrees to lift your voice: Tell the people who are gathered here tonight that you want action now. Tell Washington that doing nothing is not an option. Remind us that if we act as one nation and one people, we have it within our power to meet this challenge.
President Kennedy once said, “Our problems are man-made –- therefore they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants.”
These are difficult years for our country. But we are Americans. We are tougher than the times we live in, and we are bigger than our politics have been. So let’s meet the moment. Let’s get to work, and let’s show the world once again why the United States of America remains the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
Thank you very much. God bless you, and God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
'Buy America' Laws: Feel-Good Politics, Little Real-World Impact - Businessweek 'Buy America' Laws: Feel-Good Politics, Little Real-World ImpactBusinessweekLast week Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley signed a so-called Buy America law, the first state this year to do so. At least 21 states and the federal government already have laws requiring that American-made goods and companies get first dibs when ...
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