Full Text Obama Presidency May 19, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech at the Closing of G8 Summit Discusses Agreed Upon Economic Solutions to the Eurozone Crisis




Statement by President Obama at Closing of G8 Summit

Aspen Cabin
Camp David, Maryland

6:04 P.M. EDT

Good afternoon, everybody.  It has been a great pleasure to host the leaders of some of the world’s largest economies here at Camp David.  I think the surroundings gave us an opportunity to hold some intimate discussions and make some genuine progress.

For the past three years, our nations have worked together and with others first to rescue a global economy from freefall, then to wrestle it back to a path of recovery and growth.  Our progress has been tested at times by shocks like the disaster in Japan, for example.  Today it’s threatened once again by the serious situation in the eurozone.

As all the leaders here today agreed, growth and jobs must be our top priority.  A stable, growing European economy is in everybody’s best interests — including America’s.  Europe is our largest economic partner.  Put simply, if a company is forced to cut back in Paris or Madrid, that might mean less business for manufacturers in Pittsburgh or Milwaukee.  And that might mean a tougher time for families and communities that depend on that business.

And that’s why, even as we’ve confronted our own economic challenges over the past few years, we’ve collaborated closely with our European allies and partners as they’ve confronted theirs.  And today, we discussed ways they can promote growth and job creation right now, while still carrying out reforms necessary to stabilize and strengthen their economies for the future.

We know it is possible — in part, based on our own experience here.  In my earliest days in office, we took decisive steps to confront our own financial crisis — from making banks submit to stress tests to rebuilding their capital — and we put in place some of the strongest financial reforms since the Great Depression.

At the same time, we worked to get our own fiscal house in order in a responsible way.  And through it all, even as we worked to stabilize the financial sector and bring down our deficits and debt over the longer term, we stayed focused on growing the economy and creating jobs in the immediate term.

Of course, we still have a lot of work to do.  Too many of our people are still looking for jobs that pay the bills.  Our deficits are still too high.  But after shrinking by nearly 9 percent the quarter before I took office, America’s economy has now grown for almost three consecutive years.  After losing hundreds of thousands of jobs a month, our businesses have created more than 4 million jobs over the past 26 months.  Exports have surged and manufacturers are investing in America again.

And this economic growth then gives us more room to take a balanced approach to reducing our deficit and debt, while preserving our investments in the drivers of growth and job creation over the long term — education, innovation, and infrastructure for the 21st century.

Europe’s situation, of course, is more complicated.  They’ve got a political and economic crisis facing Greece, slow growth and very high unemployment in several countries.  And what’s more, when they want to decide on a way to move forward, there are 17 countries in the eurozone that need to come to an agreement.  We recognize that and we respect that.

But the direction the debate has taken recently should give us confidence.  Europe has taken significant steps to manage the crisis.  Individual countries and the European Union as a whole have engaged in significant reforms that will increase the prospects of long-term growth.  And there’s now an emerging consensus that more must be done to promote growth and job creation right now in the context of these fiscal and structural reforms.  That consensus for progress was strengthened here at Camp David.

Today we agreed that we must take steps to boost confidence and to promote growth and demand while getting our fiscal houses in order.  We agreed upon the importance of a strong and cohesive eurozone, and affirmed our interest in Greece staying in the eurozone while respecting its commitments.  Of course, we also recognized the painful sacrifices that the Greek people are making at this difficult time, and I know that my European colleagues will carry forward these discussions as they prepare for meetings next week.

The leaders here understand the stakes.  They know the magnitude of the choices they have to make and the enormous political, economic, and social costs if they don’t.  In addition to our G8 meeting, it was — I was able to talk to them individually over the last two days and I reaffirmed that Europe has the capacity to meet its challenges, and America is not only confident in their ability to meet their challenges, but we are supportive of their efforts.

This morning, I updated you on the progress we made last night in our discussion of security issues.  And today, following our discussion of the economy, we also made progress on a range of other important challenges.  We discussed the importance of pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy for energy security in a safe and sustainable way.  Leaders agreed to join a new U.S.-led coalition to address climate change, in part by reducing short-lived pollutants.  And in the face of increasing disruptions in the supply of oil, we agreed that we must closely monitor global energy markets.  Together, we stand ready to call upon the International Energy Agency to take action to ensure that the market remains fully and timely supplied.

We also announced a new alliance on food security with African leaders and the private sector as part of an effort to lift 50 million people out of poverty over the next decade.  We discussed our support for a sustainable Afghan economy as we wind down the war, and we reaffirmed our support for the democratic transitions underway in the Middle East and North Africa.

So I’m very pleased that we were able to make some important progress here at Camp David.  And we’re going to keep at it.  Tomorrow we begin our NATO summit in my hometown of Chicago where we’ll discuss our plans to responsibly end the war in Afghanistan.  Next week, European leaders will gather to discuss their next steps on the eurozone.  Next month, we’ll all have the chance to continue this collaboration at the G20 in Mexico.  And I look forward to building on this progress in promoting economic recovery in the weeks and months to come.

Thank you very much, everybody.  I hope you’ve enjoyed the great views and the great weather.

Political Headlines May 19, 2012: GOP Weekly Address Sen. Ron Johnson, Republicans Dispappointed by President Obama’s Economic Policies




GOP Address: Sen. Johnson, Republicans Dispappointed by Obama’s Economic Policies

Source: ABC News Radio, 5-19-12

Sen. Ron Johnson of Wisconsin delivers this week’s Republican address, marking this week’s Senate vote of 99-0 against a budget amendment represented as President Obama’s budget request….

Sen. Johnson lays in to Senate Democrats placing blame on the lawmakers for the Senate’s failure to pass a budget in three years….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency May 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Urges Congress to Move Forward on Wall Street Reform



President Obama discusses the reforms to Wall Street that he put in place to protect consumers and make Wall Street play by the same set of rules — and calls on lawmakers to finish implementing these reforms.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson), 5/16/12

Weekly Address: Congress Must Move Forward, Not Back On Wall Street Reform

Source: WH, 5-19-12

President Obama discusses the reforms to Wall Street that he put in place to protect consumers and make Wall Street play by the same set of rules — and calls on lawmakers to finish implementing these reforms so that we can prevent excessive risk-taking and help create an economy that is built to last.

Transcript| Download mp4 | Download mp3


WEEKLY ADDRESS: Congress Must Move Forward, Not Back On Wall Street Reform

In this week’s address, President Obama discussed Wall Street reform that he put in place to protect consumers, make Wall Street play by the same set of rules, and ensure that taxpayers are never again on the hook for the type of irresponsible behavior on Wall Street that nearly destroyed our financial system and cost the economy millions of jobs.  While Republicans in Congress are still trying to delay and dismantle these critical Wall Street reforms, President Obama continues to urgeCongress to finish implementing these reformsso that we can prevent excessive risk-taking and help create an economy that is built to last.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
May 19, 2012

For the past three and a half years, we’ve been fighting our way back from an historic economic crisis – one caused by breathtaking irresponsibility on the part of some on Wall Street who treated our financial system like a casino.  Not only did that behavior nearly destroy the financial system – it cost our economy millions of jobs, hurt middle-class families, and left taxpayers holding the bag.

Since then, we’ve recovered taxpayer dollars that were used to stabilize troubled banks.  And we’ve put in place Wall Street reform with smarter, tougher, commonsense rules that serve one primary purpose:  to prevent a crisis like that from ever happening again.  And yet, for the past two years, too many Republicans in Congress and an army of financial industry lobbyists have actually been waging an all-out battle to delay, defund, and dismantle Wall Street reform.

Recently, we’ve seen why we can’t let that happen.  We found out that a big mistake at one of our biggest banks resulted in a two billion dollar loss.  While that bank can handle a loss of that size, other banks may not have been able to.  And without Wall Street reform, we could have found ourselves with the taxpayers once again on the hook for Wall Street’s mistakes.

That’s why it’s so important that Members of Congress stand on the side of reform, not against it; because we can’t afford to go back to an era of weak regulation and little oversight; where excessive risk-taking on Wall Street and a lack of basic oversight in Washington nearly destroyed our economy.  We can’t afford to go back to that brand of ‘you’re-on-your-own’ economics.  Not after the American people have worked so hard to come back from this crisis.

We’ve got to keep moving forward.

We’ve got to finish the job of implementing this reform and putting these rules in place.

These new rules say that, if you’rea big bank or financial institution, you now have to hold more cash on hand so that if you make a bad decision you pay for it, not the taxpayers.

You have to write out a “living will” that details how you’ll be wound down if you do fail.

The new law takes away big bonuses and paydays from failed CEOs, while giving shareholders a say on executive salaries.

And for the first time in our nation’s history, we have in place a consumer watchdog whose sole job is to look out for working families by protecting them from deceptive and unfair practices.

So unless you run a financial institution whose business model is built on cheating consumers, or making risky bets that could damage the whole economy, you have nothing to fear from Wall Street reform.  Yes, it discourages big banks and financial institutions from making risky bets with taxpayer-insured money.  And it encourages them to do things that actually help the economy – like extending loans toentrepreneurs with good ideas, to middle-class families who want to buy a home, to students who want to pursue higher education.

That’s what Wall Street reform is all about – making this economy stronger for you.  And we’re going to keep working – to recover every job lost to the recession; to build an economy where hard work and responsibility are once again rewarded; to restore an America where everyone has a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules.

I believe the free market is one of the greatest forces for progress in human history; that businesses are the engine of growth; that risk-takers and innovators should be celebrated.  But I also believe that at its best, the free market has never been a license to take whatever you want, however you can get it.  Alongside our entrepreneurial spirit and rugged individualism, America only prospers when we meet our obligations to one another; and to future generations.

If you agree with me, let your Member of Congress know.  Tell them to spend less time working to undermine rules that are there to protect the economy, and spend more time actually working to strengthen the economy.  Thanks and have a great weekend.

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