Politics, rants, raves, creative writing and other cool stuff
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
President's Chattanooga job speech
So, President Barack Obama was in Chattanooga today, talking about jobs or something. Anyhoo, I just got the entire transcript if you're interested. If not move along. I don't care. I think the hatred the Republicans have for Obama is just as childish, gutless and immature as the hatred the Democrats expressed for Bush.
Let's face, neither of them is worth a flip.
So, here ya go:
THE PRESIDENT: Hello,
Chattanooga! (Applause.) It is good to be back in Tennessee.
(Applause.) It’s great to be here at Amazon. (Applause.)
I want to thank Lydia for the
introduction and sharing her story. Give Lydia a big round of
applause. (Applause.) So this is something here. I just
finished getting a tour of just one little corner of this massive facility --
size of 28 football fields. Last year, during the busiest day of the
Christmas rush, customers around the world ordered more than 300 items from
Amazon every second, and a lot of those traveled through this building.
So this is kind of like the North Pole of the south right here.
(Applause.) Got a bunch of good-looking elves here.
Before we start, I want to
recognize your general manager, Mike Thomas. (Applause.) My tour
guide and your vice president, Dave Clark. (Applause.) You've got
the Mayor of Chattanooga, Andy Berke. (Applause.) And you've got
one of the finest gentlemen I know, your Congressman, Jim Cooper.
(Applause.) So thank you all for being here.
So I’ve come here today to talk a
little more about something I was discussing last week, and that’s what we need
to do as a country to secure a better bargain for the middle class -– a
national strategy to make sure that every single person who's willing to work
hard in this country has a chance to succeed in the 21st century economy.
Now, you heard from Lydia, so you
know -- because many of you went through it -- over the past four and a half
years, we’ve been fighting our way back from the worst recession since the
Great Depression, and it cost millions of Americans their jobs and their homes
and their savings. And part of what it did is it laid bare the long-term
erosion that’s been happening when it comes to middle-class security.
But because the American people are
resilient, we bounced back. Together, we've righted the ship. We
took on a broken health care system. We invested in new American
technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil. Changed a tax code
that had become tilted too much in favor of the wealthy at the expense of
working families. Saved the auto industry, and thanks to GM and the UAW
working together, we're bringing jobs back here to America, including 1,800
autoworkers in Spring Hill. (Applause.) 1,800 workers in Spring
Hill are on the job today where a plant was once closed.
Today, our businesses have created
7.2 million new jobs over the last 40 months. This year, we’re off to our
best private-sector jobs growth since 1999. We now sell more products
made in America to the rest of the world than ever before.
(Applause.) We produce more renewable energy than ever. We produce
more natural gas than anybody else in the world. (Applause.) Health
care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years. Our deficits are
falling at the fastest rate in 60 years. (Applause.)
So thanks to hardworking folks like
you, thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve been able
to clear away some of the rubble from the financial crisis. We've started
to lay a new foundation for a stronger, more durable America -- the kind of
economic growth that’s broad-based, the foundation required to make this
century another American century.
But as I said last week, and as any
middle-class family will tell you, we’re not there yet. Even before the
financial crisis hit, we were going through a decade where a few at the top
were doing better and better, but most families were working harder and harder
just to get by. And reversing that trend should be Washington’s highest
priority. (Applause.) It’s my highest priority.
But so far, for most of this year,
we’ve seen an endless parade of distractions and political posturing and phony
scandals. And we keep on shifting our way -- shifting our attention away
from what we should be focused on, which is how do we strengthen the middle
class and grow the economy for everybody. (Applause.) And as
Washington heads towards yet another budget debate, the stakes couldn’t be
And that’s why I’m visiting cities
and towns like this -– to lay out my ideas for how we can build on the
cornerstone of what it means to be middle class in America. A good job
with good wages. A good education. (Applause.) A home to call
your own. (Applause.) Affordable health care that’s there for you
when you get sick. (Applause.) A secure retirement even if you’re
not rich. (Applause.) More chances for folks to earn their way into
the middle class as long as they’re willing to work for it. And, most
importantly, the chance to pass on a better future for our kids.
So I’m doing a series of speeches
over the next several weeks, but I came to Chattanooga today to talk about the
first and most important cornerstone of middle-class security, and that's a
good job in a durable, growing industry. (Applause.)
It’s hard to get the other stuff
going if you don't have a good job. And the truth is everything I’m going
to be talking about over the next several weeks really is about jobs.
Because preparing our children and our workers for the global competition
they’ll face, that’s about jobs. A housing finance system that makes it
easier and safer to buy and build new homes, that’s about jobs in the
construction industry. Health care that frees you from the fear of losing
everything after you’ve worked so hard, and then having the freedom to maybe
start your own business because you know you’ll be able to get health care,
that’s about jobs. And, obviously, retirement benefits speak to the
quality of our jobs.
And let me say this, it’s something
everybody here understands: Jobs are about more than just paying the
bills. Jobs are about more than just statistics. We’ve never just
defined having a job as having a paycheck here in America. A job is a
source of pride, is a source of dignity. It’s the way you look after your
family. (Applause.) It’s proof that you’re doing the right things
and meeting your responsibilities and contributing to the fabric of your
community and helping to build the country. That's what a job is all
about. It’s not just about a paycheck. It’s not just about paying
the bills. It’s also about knowing that what you’re doing is important,
that it counts.
So we should be doing everything we
can as a country to create more good jobs that pay good wages.
Now, here’s the thing, Chattanooga,
the problem is not that we don't have ideas about how we could create
even more jobs. We’ve got a lot of ideas out there. There are
plenty of independent economists, plenty of business owners, people from both
parties agree on some of the ingredients that we need for creating good
jobs. And you’ve heard them debated again and again over these past few
years. I proposed a lot of these ideas myself. Just two years ago,
I announced the American Jobs Act -- full of ideas that every independent
economist said would create more jobs. Some were passed by
Congress. But I got to admit, most of them weren’t. Sometimes there
were ideas that historically had Republican support and for some reason
suddenly Republicans didn’t want to support them anymore.
Putting people back to work
rebuilding America’s infrastructure. Equipping our kids and our workers
with the best skills. Leading the world in scientific research that helps
to pave the way for new jobs in new industries. Accelerating our clean
energy and natural gas revolutions. Fixing a broken immigration system so
that American workers aren’t undercut, undermined because some businesses are
unscrupulous and hiring folks and not paying them decent wages.
Independent economists say
immigration reform would boost our economy by more than a trillion
dollars. So we’ve got ideas out there we know can work. And if we
don’t make these investments, if we don’t make these reforms, then we might as
well be waving the white flag to the rest of the world, because they’re moving
forward. They’re not slowing down. China, Germany, India -- they’re
going. And we can’t just sit by and do nothing. Doing nothing
doesn’t help the middle class. (Applause.)
So today, I came here to offer a
framework that might help break through some of the political logjam in
Washington and try to get Congress to start moving on some of these proven
ideas. But let me briefly outline some of the areas I think we need to
focus on if we want to create good jobs, with good wages, in durable industries
-– areas that will fuel our future growth.
Number one -- jobs in American
manufacturing. (Applause.) Over the past four years, for the first
time since the 1990s, the number of manufacturing jobs in America hasn’t gone
down, it’s actually gone up. (Applause.) So the trend lines are
good; now we’ve got to build on that progress. I want to offer new
incentives for manufacturers not to ship jobs overseas, but to bring them back
here to America. (Applause.) I want new tax credits so communities
hit hardest by plant closures can attract new investment.
In my State of the Union address, I
asked Congress to build on a successful pilot program we’ve set up. We
want to create not just 15 manufacturing innovation institutes that connect
businesses and universities and federal agencies to help communities left
behind by global competition to become centers of high-tech jobs. Today,
I’m asking Congress to build on this bipartisan support and triple that number
from 15 to 45 -- these hubs -- where we’re getting businesses, universities,
communities all to work together to develop centers of high-tech industries all
throughout the United States that allow us to be at the forefront of the next
revolution of manufacturing. I want it made here in the United States of
America. I don't want that happening overseas. (Applause.)
Number two -- I talked about this
last week -- jobs rebuilding our infrastructure. I look at this amazing
facility and you guys, you don't miss a beat. I mean, you've got these
packages coming out. You've got dog food and Kindles and beard trimmers.
(Laughter.) I mean, there's all kinds of stuff around here. But
once it's packed up, it's got to get to the customer. And how quickly and
how dependably it gets to the customer depends on do we have good roads, do we
have good bridges, do we have state-of-the-art airports.
We've got about $2 trillion of
deferred maintenance here in this country. So let’s put more construction
workers back on the job doing the work America needs done.
(Applause.) These are vital projects that Amazon needs, businesses all across
the country need, like widening Route 27 here in Chattanooga -- (applause) --
deepening the Jacksonville Port that I visited last week. These are
projects vital to our national pride.
We're going to be breaking ground
this week at the St. Louis Arch. Congress should pass what I've called my
“Fix-It-First” plan to put people to work immediately on our most urgent
repairs, like the 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for
Medicare. That will create good middle-class jobs right now.
(Applause.) And we should partner with the private sector to upgrade what
businesses like Amazon need most. We should have a modern air traffic
control system to keep planes running on time. We should have modern
power grids and pipelines to survive a storm. We should have modern
schools to prepare our kids for the jobs of tomorrow. (Applause.)
Number three, we need to keep
creating good jobs in energy -- in wind and solar and natural gas. Those
new energy sources are reducing energy costs. They're reducing dangerous
carbon pollution. They're reducing our dependence on foreign oil.
So now is not the time to gut investments in American technology. Now is
the time to double down on renewable energy and biofuels and electric vehicles,
and to put money into the research that will shift our cars and trucks off oil
for good. (Applause.)
And let me tell you, cheaper costs
of natural gas is a huge boost to our businesses here in America, so we should
develop it even more. We've got to do it in a way that protects our air
and our water for our children and future generations. But we can do
that. We've got the technology to do it.
Number four, we've got to export
more. We want to send American goods all around the world.
(Applause.) A year ago, I signed a new trade agreement with Korea,
because they were selling a lot of Hyundais here, but we weren't selling a lot
of GM cars over there. Since we signed that deal, our Big Three
automakers are selling 18 percent more cars in Korea than they were. (Applause.)
So now we've got to help more of
our businesses do the same thing. I’m asking Congress for the authority
to negotiate the best trade deals possible for our workers, and combine it with
robust training and assistance measures to make sure our workers have the
support and the skills they need for this new global competition. And
we're going to have to sharpen our competitive edge in the global job
Two years ago, we created something
called SelectUSA. This is a coordinated effort to attract foreign
companies looking to invest and create jobs here in the United States.
And today I’m directing my Cabinet to expand these efforts. And this
October, I’m going to bring business leaders from around the world, and I'm
going to connect them to state leaders and local leaders like your mayor who
are ready to prove there’s no better place to do business than right here in
the United States of America. (Applause.)
Number five -- let's do more to
help the more than 4 million long-term unemployed Americans that are out
there. (Applause.) One of the problems is a lot of folks, they lose
their jobs during this really bad recession through no fault of their
own. They've got what it takes to fill that job opening, but because they’ve
been out of work so long employers won’t even give their application a fair
So I’m challenging CEOs to do more
to get these Americans back on their feet. And I'm going to bring
together the CEOs and companies that are putting in place some of the best
practices for recruiting and training and hiring workers who have been out of
work for a long time, but want the chance to show that they're ready to go back
to work. (Applause.)
And at the same time, I'm calling
on our businesses to do more for their workers. (Applause.) Amazon
is a great example of what's possible. What you're doing here at Amazon
with your Career Choice Program pays 95 percent of the tuition for employees
who want to earn skills in fields with high demand -- not just, by the way,
jobs here at Amazon, but jobs anywhere -- computer-aided design or
nursing. I talked to Jeff Bezos yesterday, and he was so proud of the
fact that he wants to see every employee at Amazon continually upgrade their
skills and improve. And if they've got a dream they want to pursue,
Amazon wants to help them pursue it. (Applause.)
That’s the kind of approach that we
need from America's businesses. Offering training programs, health care,
retirement plans, paying better wages -- that’s not just the right thing to do,
it’s actually good for your bottom line. A recent study shows that when a
company makes the list of the “100 Best Companies to Work for in America,” its
share price outperforms its competitors, because the stock market and
investors, they know if a company has employees that are motivated and happy,
that business is more likely to succeed. (Applause.) That business
is more likely to succeed.
And because nobody who works
full-time in America should have to live in poverty, I'm going to keep on
making the case and fighting for the fact that we need to raise our minimum
wage, because right now it's in lower terms than it was when Ronald Reagan took
office. (Applause.) When folks have more money in their pockets,
that’s good for Amazon; it means your customers have a little more money.
They can order a little more of that protein powder. (Laughter.) I
noticed a lot of folks were ordering protein power. Everybody is trying
to get bulked up. (Laughter.)
So here's -- those are some of the
ideas that we're out there, we're promoting. We're not lacking for ideas,
we're just lacking action, especially out of Washington. (Applause.)
For most of the past two years, Washington
has just taken its eye off the ball when it comes to the middle class.
And I'll tell you -- look, there are a growing number of -- the good news is
there are a growing number of Republican senators who are trying to work with
Democrats to get some stuff done. (Applause.) That’s good
The bad news is that rather than
keep our focus on what should be our priority -- which is growing our economy
and creating good middle-class jobs -- we’ve seen a certain faction of
Republicans in Congress hurt a fragile recovery by saying that they wouldn’t
pay the very bills that Congress racked up in the first place, threatening to
shut down the people’s government if they can’t get rid of Obamacare.
Instead of reducing our deficits with a scalpel to get rid of programs we don’t
need, but keep vital investments that we do, this same group has kept in place
this meat cleaver called the sequester that is just slashing all kinds of
important investments in education and research and our military. All the
things that are needed to make this country a magnet for good middle-class
jobs, those things are being cut.
And these moves don’t just hurt our
economy in the long term; they hurt our middle class right now. The
independent Congressional Budget Office estimates that the cuts that are being
made right now in Washington will cost our economy 750,000 jobs this year;
900,000 fewer jobs next year. And a lot of the jobs at risk are at small
businesses that contract with our military or our federal agencies.
Over the past four years, another
700,000 workers at the federal, state, and local levels of government have lost
their jobs. These are cops and firefighters, and about half of them are
people who work in our schools. Those are real jobs. It doesn’t
help a company like Amazon when a teacher or a cop or a firefighter loses their
job. They don't have money to place an order. That's hundreds of
thousands of customers who have less money to spend.
If those layoffs had not happened,
if public sector employees grew like they did in the past two recessions, the
unemployment rate would be 6.5 percent instead of 7.5 percent. Our
economy would be much better off, and the deficit would still be going down
because we’d be getting more tax revenue.
So the point is, if Washington
spent as much time and energy these past two years figuring out how to grow our
economy and grow our middle class as it’s spent manufacturing crises in pursuit
of a cut-at-all-costs approach to deficits, we’d be much better off. We’d
be much better off. (Applause.)
And it’s not like we don't have to
cut our deficits. As a share of the economy, we’ve cut our deficits by
nearly half since I took office. Half. And they're projected to go
down even further, but there’s a right way to do it and a wrong way to do
it. And we should do it in a way that actually helps middle-class
families instead of hurts them. (Applause.)
I’ve told Republicans that if
they’re serious about a balanced, long-term fiscal plan that replaces harmful
budget cuts that would get serious about a long-term plan that prevents those
900,000 jobs from being lost, that helps grow the economy, that helps the
middle class, I am ready to go. But we can't lose sight of our North
Star. We can’t allow an impasse over long-term fiscal challenges to
distract us from what the middle class needs right now.
So here’s the bottom line: If
folks in Washington really want a grand bargain, how about a grand bargain for
middle-class jobs? (Applause.) How about a grand bargain for middle-class
I don't want to go through
the same old arguments where I propose an idea and the Republicans just say,
no, because it’s my idea. (Applause.) So I’m going to try offering
something that serious people in both parties should be able to support:
a deal that simplifies the tax code for our businesses and creates good jobs
with good wages for middle-class folks who work at those businesses.
Right now, everybody knows this --
our tax code is so riddled with loopholes and special interest tax breaks that
a lot of companies who are doing the right thing and investing in America pay
35 percent in their taxes; corporations who have got fancy accountants and
stash their money overseas, they pay little or nothing in taxes. That’s
not fair, and it's not good for the economy here.
So I'm willing to simplify our tax
code -- closes those loopholes, ends incentives to ship jobs overseas, lowers
the rate for businesses that are creating jobs right here in America, provides
tax incentives for manufacturers that bring jobs home to the United
States. Let's simplify taxes for small business owners, give them
incentives to invest so they can spend less time filling out complicated forms,
more time expanding and hiring.
I'm willing to do all that that
should help businesses and help them grow. But if we’re going to give
businesses a better deal, then we're also going to have to give workers a
better deal, too. (Applause.) I want to use some of the money that
we save by closing these loopholes to create more good construction jobs with
infrastructure initiatives that I already talked about. We can build a
broader network of high-tech manufacturing hubs that leaders from both parties
can support. We can help our community colleges arm our workers with the
skills that a global economy demands. All these things would benefit the
middle class right now and benefit our economy in the years to come.
So, again, here’s the bottom
line: I’m willing to work with Republicans on reforming our corporate tax
code, as long as we use the money from transitioning to a simpler tax system
for a significant investment in creating middle-class jobs. That’s the
And I'm just going to keep on
throwing ideas out there to see if something takes. (Laughter.) I'm
going to lay out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot. But now
it's time for Republicans to lay out their ideas.
If they’ve got a better plan to
bring back more manufacturing jobs here to Tennessee and around the country,
then let them know -- let me know. I want to hear them. If they've
got a better plan to create jobs rebuilding our infrastructure or to help
workers earn the high-tech skills that they need, then they should offer up
But I've got to tell you, just
gutting our environmental protection, that’s not a jobs plan. Gutting
investments in education, that’s not a jobs plan. They keep on talking
about this -- an oil pipeline coming down from Canada that’s estimated to
create about 50 permanent jobs -- that’s not a jobs plan. Wasting the
country’s time by taking something like 40 meaningless votes to repeal
Obamacare is not a jobs plan. That’s not a jobs plan.
So let's get serious. Look, I
want to tell everybody here the truth. And you know, look, I know that
the politics for Obama aren't always great in Tennessee. I understand
that. But I want everybody to just hear the honest truth. I've run
my last campaign, so I don't need to spin. (Applause.)
And here's the truth -- there are
no gimmicks that create jobs. There are no simple tricks to grow the
economy. Growing the economy, making sure that the middle class is strong
is like getting in shape. You can't just go on the muffin and doughnut
diet and the latest fad and lose weight. You've got to work out and
you've got to eat better. Well, the same is true for our economy.
The same is true for helping the middle class.
We've got to have a serious,
steady, long-term American strategy to reverse the long-term erosion of
middle-class security and give everybody a fair shot. (Applause.)
And we know what we have to do. It involves education. It involves
infrastructure. It involves research. It involves good energy
policy. And we just have to stay at it -- more good jobs that pay decent
wages, a better bargain for the middle class, an economy that grows from the
middle out. That's got to be our focus.
We can't be getting into a whole
bunch of fads and pretend like you roll back Obamacare and suddenly all these
jobs are going to be created, because the middle class was struggling before I
came into office. (Applause.) The middle class was losing ground
before I came into office. (Applause.) Jobs were getting shipped
overseas before Obamacare was in place. So we've got to be honest.
We've got to be honest about the challenges we face, but also the opportunities
that are out there.
And that's what I'm going to be
focused on not just for the next few months. I'm going to be focused for
every one of the 1,270 days I've got left in my presidency on how to make sure
that we've got more opportunity and more security for everybody who is willing
to work hard in this country. That's where I believe America needs to
go. (Applause.) And we can do it if we work together,
Chattanooga. Let's get to work.
Thank you very much,
everybody. God bless you. God bless the United States of America.