Full Text Obama Presidency June 7, 2012: President Barack Obama Criticizes Congress for Not Extending Student Loan Rates in Speech at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas





Obama Slams Congress for Failing to Act on Student Loans:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12
Touting his efforts to make college more affordable, President Obama Thursday blasted lawmakers for failing to extend low-rate student loans.
“This is a no-brainer,” the president told students at a campaign-style rally at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. “I’ve just said to Congress: Get this done. Get it done…this is not complicated.”
Thursday’s event was the latest in the president’s push to boost support among young voters and contrast his education policies with those of congressional Republicans and presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney…. READ MORE

  • Obama Criticizes Republicans Over Student Loan Rates: Before an audience of students, President Obama urged passage of legislation that would keep student loan interest rates low…. – NYT, 6-7-12

President Obama Talks Income Based Repayment at UNLV

Source: WH, 6-7-12

President Barack Obama delivers remarks on college affordability at UNLV (June 7, 2012)
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on college affordability at Cox Pavilion at the University of Las Vegas (UNLV) in Las Vegas, Nevada, June 7, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

Speaking today at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, President Obama talked about students loans — a subject he’s personally had quite a bit of experience navigating.

Through the course of their educations — including a graduate degree for each — both the President and the First Lady took on debt to pay for school.

“When we got married, we got poorer together,” he said. “We sort of added our liabilities together.”

In fact, President Obama was serving in the U.S. Senate before they paid off the last of their student loans.

That’s not the future he wants for today’s college students. And in Las Vegas, he talked about one big step he’s taking to help make it easier for everyone to afford a great education:

This is a program that more people need to know about. And we’re going to start doing more advertising about this because this is really important. For those of you who are still in school, you’re about to graduate, as long as you make your monthly payments on time — all right, so pay your bills on time — we will cap the payments you have to make on your student loans at 10 percent of your discretionary income once you graduate 10 percent.

It’s called the Income Based Repayment program. Have questions? Here’s everything you need to know. As part of today’s event, the President issued a memorandum to streamline the IBR process and improve information available to responsible borrowers about student loan repayment options.

Remarks by the President on College Affordability


Cox Pavilion
University of Las Vegas
Las Vegas, Nevada

12:53 P.M. PDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Las Vegas!  (Applause.)  Well, how’s it going, Rebels?  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE MEMBERS:  Four more years!  Four more years!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  If you’ve got a chair, go ahead and sit down.  You can make yourself comfortable.  (Laughter.)  If you don’t, you’re out of luck, just stay there. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You look great!

THE PRESIDENT:  It is great to be back in Nevada.  I want everybody to give George a big round of applause for that introduction.  (Applause.)  I want to thank all the students for coming out here — (applause) — on a nice summer afternoon, some of you might be at Capriotti’s or some place — (laughter) — but instead you’re here with us. 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  You look great!

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  I’ll tell Michelle you said so.  (Applause.) 

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love her too!

THE PRESIDENT:  And I love you back.  Thank you.  (Applause.)  So I’m here today at UNLV — (applause) — home of the Runnin’ Rebels, to talk about what a lot of you folks are thinking about every day.  Now, keep in mind we’re in Vegas.  So in Vegas, you can bet on just about anything.  (Laughter.)  But what the students here have bet on is themselves.  (Applause.)  They’ve bet on themselves.  By earning your degree, you’ve decided to make the best possible investment in your future and in the future of America.  And I’m proud of all of you for making that investment, because it’s never been more important. 

In today’s economy, the single best predictor of success, by far, is a good education.  (Applause.)  And the statistics prove it.  The unemployment rate for Americans with a college degree or more is about half the national average.  Their incomes are twice as high as those with only a high school diploma.  A higher education is the clearest path to the middle class.

And rebuilding the middle class is what we’ve been all about.  (Applause.)  I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada that we’re recovering from a crisis that cost millions of middle-class jobs.  When that housing bubble burst, it hit people really hard. 
But we’re also fighting back from a long-term trend that has cost working families all across the country that sense of security.  So our job is not just to get people back to work.  Our job is to build an economy where hard work pays off.  (Applause.)

So I want more people to be able to make the investment you’re making.  I want to make it easier for more students like you to earn a degree without shouldering a mountain of debt — (applause) — because even though education, a college education is still a great investment, the burden of debt is serious and it’s hard on folks just as they’re starting off in life.  I don’t want to be a country where a shrinking number of people are doing really, really well and then, a growing number are barely able to get by. 

I want everybody in America to get a fair shot.  (Applause.)  I want everybody to do their fair share.  (Applause.)  I want everyone to play by the same rules.  (Applause.)  That’s the America I know.  That’s the America I believe in.  That’s the America we’re trying to build for you, for my children, for future generations.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you, President Obama!

THE PRESIDENT:  You’re welcome.  (Applause.)  Now, look, the fact is, again, I don’t have to tell folks in Nevada we’re still going through this process of recovery from that crisis.  And we’ve taken some tough steps together.  And the good news is our economy is growing again, but we need it to grow faster.  Businesses have created almost 4.3 million new jobs over the last 27 months.  (Applause.)  But to recover all the jobs that were lost in that recession, we’ve got to have them come back faster.  
The truth is the recovery has seen stronger job growth than what happened during the last recession a decade ago.  But the problem is the hole we have to fill is a lot deeper.  The global aftershocks are much greater.  We’re already seeing it.  Just like last year around this time, our economy has been facing some serious headwinds.  You’ve got the lingering effects of the spring spike in gas prices.  You remember that.  It’s still tough on a lot of folks’ wallets.  You’ve got the situation in Europe.

But from the moment we first took action when I came into office to make sure that we did not go into a freefall depression, we knew that all — recovering all the jobs that were lost during the recession was going to take some time.  And we knew there would be ups and downs along the way.  What we also knew though was if we acted wisely and we acted together, if we didn’t quit, we’d come back stronger.  We would do more than just get back to where we were, we would build an economy that would last for the long term.

And, Las Vegas, I still believe that.  I believe we will come back stronger.  We have better days ahead, and it’s because of people like you, because of folks like you.  (Applause.)  I’m inspired when I hear folks like George putting in long hours working and taking summer classes.  Some older students who are retaining — there you go.  I don’t know, you don’t look that old to me.  (Laughter.)  But folks deciding to go back to school — retrain yourself for a new job, the jobs of the future. 

  So you’re working hard.  You’re playing by the rules.  You deserve to have leaders who are going to do the same, leaders who will take action — (applause) — leaders who will do whatever it requires to fight for the middle-class and grow the economy faster.  We may not fully control everything that happens in other parts of the world, but there are plenty of things we can do right here in the United States to strengthen the economy further.  There are plenty of steps we can take right now to help create jobs and grow this economy faster. 

So let me just give you some examples.  Last September, I sent to Congress a jobs bill full of the kinds of ideas that, historically, Republicans and Democrats have supported.  If they had taken all the steps I was pushing for back in September, we could have put even more Americans back to work.  We could have sliced through these headwinds more easily. 

Now, since then, in fairness, Congress has passed a few parts of that jobs bill.  They passed a payroll tax cut that’s put more money in every working person’s paycheck right now.  That’s good news.  We thank them for it.  (Applause.)  But they haven’t acted fast enough on the other ideas that economists, independent economists — not me, but folks who study this stuff for a living — say could have put over a million more people to work.  Now, there’s no excuse for that.  When so many people are still out there pounding the pavement and sending out resumes, so many families are doing whatever it takes to pay the bills — Congress can’t just sit on their hands.  (Applause.)   

So my message to Congress is let’s get to work.  Let’s get to work.  (Applause.)  I know this is an election year.  That’s not lost on me.  (Laughter.)  But at this make-or-break moment for America’s middle class, we can’t afford to have Congress take five months off.  You’ve got to keep working.  You’re not suddenly just sitting around not doing anything.  You should expect the same thing from your representatives in Washington, right.  (Applause.) 

So there are a bunch of things that Congress can do right now.  Let me tick a few off.  At a time when our businesses have created more than 4 million new jobs, unfortunately, state and local governments have lost 450,000 jobs.  That’s been one of the biggest problems in our economy is all the layoffs happening at the state and local level — cops, teachers, firefighters all being laid off. 

Now, those folks provide vital services.  They protect us.  They’re teaching our kids.  Congress should pass a bill — (applause) — Congress should pass a bill like I’ve asked them to do to help states like Nevada put Americans — those Americans who are doing outstanding service on behalf of our communities, put those folks back on the job right now.  That’s something we can do.  (Applause.)

Number two, we know that the housing bubble burst.  Here in Nevada, the construction industry got killed, right?  So I told Congress months ago, let’s pass a bill to put hundreds of thousands of construction workers and contractors back to work rebuilding America — rebuilding roads and bridges and new schools for rising populations and — (applause) — that’s good for the economy now; it’s good for the economy later.  There’s no excuse for Congress to just shrug its shoulders.  Let’s get it done.  (Applause.)

The housing bubble that burst and helped cause this whole mess is still a major drag on the economy.  Right now, Congress should pass the changes necessary to give every responsible homeowner the opportunity to save an average of $3,000 a year by refinancing their mortgage at today’s historically low interest rates.  (Applause.)

I mean, think about it.  If you’re a homeowner and you live here in this state, your house very well may be underwater and so it’s hard for you to refinance.  We did, through an executive order, a plan that allows those of you whose mortgages are guaranteed by FHA to refinance, but we’ve got to have Congress to take additional steps to reach everybody, to reach even more homeowners. 

These are folks who are paying their mortgage every month, but can’t refinance because your home is underwater.  And let me tell you, I was up in Reno last month, met a family.  They had refinanced through the program that we set up and they’re getting an extra $250,000 [sic] a month.  And that makes a difference.  How many people here could use an extra $250 a month?  (Applause.)  And that’s good for everybody — that’s good for everybody’s economy, because if you’ve got that extra money in your pocket, you might help — that might help rebuild some equity in your home or you might go spend it on textbooks or a new computer, and the entire economy gets stronger.  So let’s give every responsible family that chance.  (Applause.)  

Instead of — all right, here’s another thing.  Instead of just talking about job creators, Congress should put their money where their mouth is.  Give small business owners a tax break for hiring more workers and for paying higher wages.  (Applause.)

And then, with all the veterans that are coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan, let’s make some special efforts there.  We should create what we’re calling a Veterans Job Corps — because no one who fights for this country should ever have to fight for a job when they come home.  (Applause.)

Right now, Congress needs to extend the tax credits for clean energy manufacturers.  Those tax credits are set to expire at the end of the year.  Nearly 40,000 good jobs are at stake — making solar panels and wind turbines and lowering our dependence on foreign oil.  So instead of giving tax breaks — billions of tax breaks — to oil companies that are making a whole lot of money and don’t need help, let’s double down on a clean energy industry that’s rarely been more promising.  And you’re seeing it right here in Nevada.  There’s a lot of sunshine out here.  (Laughter.)  We can turn that into electricity and put people back to work in the process.  Let’s make that happen.  (Applause.)

And while we’re at it, it’s past time for Congress to stop giving tax breaks that ship jobs overseas.  Give tax breaks to companies that are bringing jobs back to the United States of America, that are investing right here.  (Applause.)

All right, so these are all things we’re pushing Congress to do before they go on vacation — (laughter) — but the number one thing Congress should do for you, UNLV, right now, is to stop interest rates on student loans from doubling at the end of the month.  (Applause.)

The clock is running out.  You know, in today’s economy, higher education can’t be a luxury.  It’s an economic necessity.  Everybody should be able to afford it.  But over the last 20 years, the cost of college has more than doubled.  It’s gone up faster than everything else — even faster than health care costs.  We’re at a point where the average student who borrows to pay for college graduates with $26,000 in student loan debt. And let’s face it, some folks graduate with more than that — (laughter) — $50 [thousand], $75 [thousand], even $100 [thousand].  Together, Americans owe more on their student loans than they do on their credit cards. 

And all that debt, that means folks making really tough choices.  It may mean waiting longer to buy a house or starting a family or taking that job that you really want, because it doesn’t pay enough.  And by the way, Michelle and I know something about this.  We did not come from wealthy families.  We graduated from college and law school, and we had a whole lot of debt.  And when we got married, we got poorer together.  (Laughter.)  We sort of added our liabilities together.  (Laughter.) 

Of course — you know, look, we were lucky enough to land good jobs.  But even with those great jobs that we had, we only finished paying off our student loans about eight years ago.  Now, think about that.  I’m the President of the United States — (laughter) — it was only about eight years ago that I finished paying off my student loans.  (Applause.)  So I know what a lot of you are going through.  I’ve been there.  I have done that.  When the girls were first born and we were starting to save up for their college education, we were still paying for our own college educations.  (Laughter.)

And we can do better than that.  I don’t want that future for young people.  So that’s why my administration has already taken a bunch of steps.  We fixed a broken student loan system that was giving tens of billions of dollars to big banks, and said, let’s give that money directly to students — use that money to afford college.  (Applause.)  That’s why we strengthened aid, like Pell grants for low-income students.  (Applause.)  That’s why we set up a new consumer watchdog agency called the Consumer Finance Protection bureau, and it’s now working with the Department of Education to give students and their parents access to a simple factsheet on student loans and financial aid — because everybody has got to be well informed.  We call it “Know Before You Owe” — know before you owe.  (Laughter.)  Don’t be surprised — two weeks from graduation you look up, and whap! You just got hit upside the head.  Know before you owe. 

On Tuesday, college presidents from across the country came together.  They agreed to provide clear information about costs, financial aid, and loan repayments to all incoming students starting next year.  So that’s good news all right.  (Applause.)

But we’ve got more to do.  So today, I’ve directed my Education Secretary and my Treasury Secretary to make it easier for millions of students with federal loans to afford their loan payments.  And that includes some of you.  (Applause.)  This is a program that more people need to know about.  And we’re going to start doing more advertising about this because this is really important.  For those of you who are still in school, you’re about to graduate, as long as you make your monthly payments on time — all right, so pay your bills on time — we will cap the payments you have to make on your student loans at 10 percent of your discretionary income once you graduate 10 percent.  (Applause.) 

And this is a big deal, because no matter what career you choose — if you decide you’re going to be a teacher or you’re going to be a social worker or you’re going to go into public service or the nonprofit sector — you’ll still be able to stay current on your loans.  (Applause.) 

So these are all the things we’ve already done.  But understand this isn’t going to make much of a difference if the costs, underlying costs of college keep going up faster than everything else.  So everybody has got to do their part.  Colleges and universities, they need to do their part.  I’ve told Congress, let’s steer federal aid to schools that are doing a good job keeping tuition affordable and provide good value and serve their students well.  If you’re getting federal student loans — colleges and universities — you shouldn’t just be loading up a whole bunch of debt on your students.  You’ve got to figure out how are you working to make sure that they can afford their education. 

States have a role to play.  I see some of my buddies from the state legislature here.  Right now, the amount of money that state and local governments invest in their college students is at a 25-year low — spending a lot of money on prisons, spending a lot of money on other stuff, but we’re not spending enough to make sure that tuition stays affordable.  That’s one of the reasons that tuition has gone up so fast.  (Applause.)

If states can find smart new ways to keep costs down and make it easier for more students to graduate, then we’re going to help them do it.  So everybody has got to do their part — colleges, universities, the states, my administration and, yes, Congress.  Congress has got to do their part. 

I warned over a month ago — I even went on Jimmy Fallon to say this — if Congress doesn’t act by the end of this month, by July 1st, interest rates on federal student loans will double overnight.  That means the average student with those loans — including 8,000 students right here at UNLV — will rack up an additional $1,000 in debt.  That’s like a $1,000 tax hike for more than 7 million students.  How many people can afford to pay an extra $1,000 if you’re a student just because Congress can’t get its act together?  That makes no sense.  This is a no-brainer. 

So I just said to Congress, get this done.  Get it done.  Get it done.  This is not complicated.  Last month, Democrats in the Senate put forward a plan that would have kept these low rates in place, wouldn’t have added a dime to the deficit.  The Senate Republicans got together, they blocked it.  They said, no.  House Republicans voted to keep your rates down only if we agreed to cut things like preventive health care for women.  So that’s not a smart thing to do.  

There are folks on the other side who are coming up with all sorts of reasons why we should just go ahead and let these rates double.  One of them compared these student loans to a “stage three cancer of socialism.”  I don’t know what that means exactly.  (Laughter.)  My grandfather went to school on the G.I. Bill.  There’s a long tradition of us helping people get a good education, because they know — we know that it makes everybody richer.  It makes our entire country more competitive and stronger. 

Some of these folks in Congress, they were saying we’re just talking about student loans to distract from the economy.  I guess they don’t get this is the economy.  (Applause.)  Helping you get the skills that businesses are looking for, that’s one of the best things we can do for the economy.  (Applause.)  Making college affordable, that’s one of the best things we can do for the economy.  (Applause.)  Putting opportunity within the reach of everybody, no matter what you look like or where you come from, that’s what America is about.  But these guys say that students like you should pay more, so we can bring down the deficit they say. 

Now, keep in mind they ran up this deficit for over a decade.  Now, they want to cut loans to students while giving tax breaks to oil companies and folks like me who don’t need tax breaks.  They voted to let millionaires and billionaires keep paying lower taxes than middle-class workers.  They voted to give an average tax cut of at least $150,000 to every millionaire in America, but they want you to pay an extra $1,000 a year for college.  It doesn’t make any sense.  It’s wrong.  It’s wrong. 

Look, here in America, we admire success.  That’s why a lot of you are going to school.  We work and study for it.  And if folks aren’t willing to help themselves, we can’t help them.  But America is about more than just protecting folks who have already done well, it’s about giving everybody a chance to do well.  It’s about hard work and responsibility being rewarded.  (Applause.)  It’s about everybody having the chance to get ahead and then, reach back and help somebody behind you so that everybody has a chance.  That’s what makes us strong.  (Applause.)  That’s what makes us strong.

So if you agree with me, I need your help.  Some of these folks in Congress are a little stubborn.  So, I need your help.  You’ve got to tell Congress, don’t double my rate.  Call them up, email them, post on their Facebook wall, tweet them.  (Laughter.)  We’ve got a hashtag — #dontdoublemyrate.  (Applause.)  

Never forget that your voice matters.  I know sometimes it seems like Washington isn’t listening.  And, frankly, Congress sometimes isn’t.  But we’re talking about issues that have a real impact on your lives, real impact on your futures.  Making education more affordable, that’s real.  Making homes more affordable, making it a little easier for you to make your mortgage payments — that’s real.  Building an economy that works for everybody — that’s real. 

So I need you all to stand up.  I need you to be heard.  Tell Congress now is not the time to double the interest rates on your student loans.  Now is the time to double down on the middle class.  Now is the time to build an America that lasts.  Now is the time to work together, to put people back to work and strengthen our housing market and help our veterans.  Let’s get this done.  (Applause.) 

Let’s remind the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on earth.  Thank you, Las Vegas.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

1:21 P.M. PDT

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Mitt Romney Outraises Barack Obama for 1st Time in May — Romney Campaign Raises 16.8 Million More than the Obama Campaign, $76.8 Million to $60 Million





Romney Campaign Outraises Obama by $16.8 Million in May:
Source: ABC News Radio, 6-7-12

For the first time this year, Mitt Romney’s campaign has bested President Obama’s re-election effort in a one-month fundraising period.
The Romney campaign, along with the Republican National Committee and a joint fundraising committee set up between the two entities called Romney Victory, raised $76.8 million last month, the campaign announced on Thursday. The campaign and the RNC also reported ending the month with $107 million cash on hand.
That massive haul tops what the Obama campaign and the Democratic National Committee raised in May by more than $16 million, according to their figures announced Thursday morning.
“It is clear that people aren’t willing to buy into ‘hope & change’ again,” Romney’s national finance chairman, Spencer Zwick, said in a statement. “Voters are making an investment because they believe that it will benefit the country.”… – READ MORE

  • Romney Raised More Than Obama in May: Mitt Romney raised nearly $17 million more than President Obama as the Republican challenger’s campaign was able to link up with the party’s fund-raising operation…. – NYT, 6-7-12
  • Obama campaign, Democrats raise $60m in May: President Barack Obama and his party together raised $60 million last month, his campaign reported Thursday. Obama was mixing more fundraising with official business Thursday as he wrapped up a two-day West Coast trip, beginning his day…. – BusinessWeek, 6-7-12
  • Romney tops Obama’s May fundraising: Mitt Romney outraised President Barack Obama in May, the first time the Republican presidential challenger has jumped ahead of Obama and his prodigious fundraising apparatus. The numbers illustrate how Romney and the Republican…. – AP, Herald Times Reporter. 6-7-12
  • Romney, RNC raise more cash than Democrats in May: Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised a combined $76.8 million last month, outpacing President Obama and his Democratic allies. The presumptive GOP presidential nominee and the RNC said they have $107…. – USA Today, 6-7-12
  • Romney raises $76 million to Obama’s $60 million: This is the first time the Republican candidate has beaten his opponent in fundraising…. – CS Monitor, 6-7-12

Political Headlines June 7, 2012: House Passes Homeland Security Budget Bill 234-182 Under President Obama’s Veto Threat




House passes homeland security budget bill

The bill passed on partisan lines, unusual for homeland security questions.

Source: CS Monitor, 6-7-12

The GOP-controlled House passed a $46 billion measure Thursday funding the Homeland Security Department, including more than $5 billion in disaster relief spending that complies with a budget agreement last summer opposed by tea party conservatives.

The 234-182 vote was unusually partisan. Homeland security programs traditionally have enjoyed widespread support, but the Obama administration issued a veto threat against the bill in a protest over unrelated budget cuts proposed by Republicans in excess of last summer’s budget and debt deal….READ MORE

Full Text Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Mitt Romney’s Speech on the Economy in St Louis, Missouri — Says Fixing the Economy is Moral Imperative & Obama Failed





Romney: Fixing US economy a moral imperative: Accusing his rival of a failure of “tragic proportion,” Republican Mitt Romney charged Thursday that the nation under President Barack Obama has failed to keep its “moral commitment to help every American help himself.”
Casting the need to fix the U.S. economy as a moral imperative — but without offering any new proposals — Romney said free enterprise ideas and less government intrusion would help spur a rebound…. – AP, 6-7-12

Mitt Romney Delivers Remarks In Missouri: “A Champion For Free Enterprise”

Source: Mitt Romney Press, 6-7-12
Mitt Romney today delivered remarks on free enterprise in St. Louis, Missouri. The following remarks were prepared for delivery:

Thank you. It is great to be here.

We launched this campaign a little over a year ago.  It’s been a remarkable journey. I’ve traveled across this great country and had the privilege to visit with Americans from every walk of life. As those of the traveling press corps can attest, we’ve brought our campaign to every kind of business imaginable, from factory floors to lumber yards to warehouses of every shape and size.

But whatever the business, everywhere I go, I hear frustration and disappointment in the lack of economic progress of the past three and a half years.  Americans are tired of being tired. They’re tired of working harder for less and now for the first time, more Americans are starting to think our future might not be as bright as our past. That lack of faith in the future is a bridge to despair that we cannot cross.

An America that does not believe that tomorrow and tomorrow’s tomorrow will be better is not the America we know and love.

I’ve spoken often of the President’s failures of policy. From the stimulus bill that gave us Solyndra but left us with record unemployment, to the job-crushing over-regulation of the EPA, to the smothering economic effects of Obamacare, this President’s misguided policies have been muddled, confused and simply ineffective. When you look around at America’s economy, three and half years into this presidency, it’s painfully obvious that this inexperienced President was simply not up to the task of solving a great economic crisis.

But today I want to speak to the road ahead and why I believe the disappointments of the past years have been a breach of faith with the American people.

America is rightly heralded as the greatest experiment in self-governance in world history. We are all here today because of a startling conviction that free individuals could join together to decide their fate and that more freedom made us all stronger.

Our example – and commitment – to freedom has changed the world. But along with the genius of our Declaration of Independence, our Constitution, and our Bill of Rights, is the equal genius of our economic system. Our Founding Fathers endeavored to create a moral and just society like no other in history, and out of that grew a moral and just economic system the likes of which the world had never seen. Our freedom, what it means to be an American, has been defined and sustained by the liberating power of the free enterprise system.

That same system has helped lift more people out of poverty across the globe than any government program or competing economic system. The success of America’s free enterprise system has been a bright beacon of freedom for the world. It has signaled to oppressed people to rise up against their oppressors, and given hope to the once hopeless.

It is called the Free Enterprise System because we are both free to engage in enterprises and through those enterprises we ensure our freedom.

But sadly, it has become clear that this President simply doesn’t understand or appreciate these fundamental truths of our system. Over the last three and a half years, record numbers of Americans have lost their jobs or simply disappeared from the work force. Record numbers of Americans are living in poverty today – over 46 million of our fellow Americans are living below the poverty line.

This is not just a failure of policy; it is a moral failure of tragic proportions. Our government has an absolute moral commitment to help every American help themselves and today, that fundamental commitment has been broken.

I do not believe this has been done with evil intent or ill will. But for a family watching their house being sold at foreclosure, or the family that is forced to spend their kid’s college savings just to make ends meet, the results are just as devastating.

These are not statistics, these are our fellow Americans. As your President, starting on Day One, I will do everything in my power to end these days of drift and disappointment.  There is something fundamentally wrong when there are over 23 million Americans who are unemployed, underemployed, or have stopped looking for work, and yet the President tells us he’s doing a great job.

I will not be that President of deception and doubt. I will lead us to a better place.

For three and a half years, President Obama has expanded government instead of empowering the American people. He’s put us deeper into debt. He’s slowed the recovery and harmed our economy. And he has attacked the cornerstone of American prosperity: our economic freedom.

Today, government at all levels consumes 37 percent of the total economy or G.D.P. If Obamacare is allowed to stand, government will reach half of the American economy. And through the increasing controls government has imposed on industries like energy, financial services and automobiles, it will soon effectively control the majority of our economic activity.

One must ask whether we will still be a free enterprise nation and whether we will still have economic freedom. America is on the cusp of having a government-run economy. President Obama is transforming America into something very different than the land of the free and the land of opportunity.

We know where that transformation leads. There are other nations that have chosen that path. It leads to chronic high unemployment, crushing debt, and stagnant wages.

I don’t want to transform America; I want to restore the values of economic freedom.

So for every government-spending proposal, I will ask the following question: “Is this program so important that it is worth borrowing more money from China to pay for it?”  With our nation facing 16 trillion dollars in debt, most times the answer will be an easy and unqualified “no.”  We’ve seen how fast our debt can grow.  It’s time to see how fast our economy can grow, and the first step is spending discipline.

Instead of throwing more borrowed money at bad ideas, I will lower tax rates, simplify the tax code, and get the American economy running at full strength.

Under President Obama, a single, massive law has spread so much uncertainty across the economy, especially to the small companies that employ about half of America’s workers and create most of our new jobs. They have no idea how many more taxes and regulations are coming.  And they sense from Washington an outright hostility toward what they do and what they hope to achieve.

So, as president, I will begin with an equally big dose of certainty across our economy: By granting waivers to all fifty states, I will start the process of repealing Obamacare on Day One.

In a free-enterprise system, we don’t measure our success in equal outcomes, but instead in how well we preserve and promote the equality of opportunity.  And this system has resulted in unrivaled prosperity and made America the greatest nation in history.

President Obama’s vision is very different – and deeply flawed.  There is nothing fair about a government that favors political connections over honest competition and takes away your right to earn your own success. And there is nothing morally right about trying to turn government dependence into a substitute for the dignity of work.

Where my vision believes in the ingenuity of the American people, his vision trusts the wisdom of political appointees and boards, commissions and czars. It’s one in which ordinary Americans must get permission from people in Washington before they can buy, build, invest or hire.

It’s a world of federal mandates and waivers, tax credits and subsidies, federal grants and loan guarantees.  It’s an economy where a company’s lobbyists will be more important than its engineers, and federal compliance lawyers will outnumber patent lawyers.

Business models based on building a better mousetrap will give way to those that seek the right mix of government subsidies, waivers and loan guarantees. And Chief Government Officers will join the ranks of Chief Financial Officers and Chief Operating Officers in corporate America’s executive ranks.

President Obama trusts in the wisdom of government. I put my trust in the ingenuity and creativity and commitment to hard work of the American people.

Looking at the sorry economic record of this administration, it’s easy to lose heart, and even to give up – as so many have in their search for a job.  The President and his team would like us to believe that somehow it’s the fault of the free market that things haven’t gone right.  That’s just another way of saying that it’s your fault, and not theirs, that the real recovery hasn’t yet arrived.

We have waited, and waited, and waited for recovery.  And enough time has passed to pronounce judgment on the economic policies of this administration.  They have not worked.  And you, the entrepreneurs and workers of America, have not failed these past three and a half years – your government has failed you.

Never before has federal policy run so contrary to the needs, ideals, and aspirations of the American entrepreneur.  And with all that we’ve been through these past few years, the challenges can seem awfully big.  Some might wonder if we have lost our confidence.  But confidence is not what is missing – all that’s lacking is direction and leadership.

This President believes in an America of limits, where it is more important to focus on allocating the rewards of success than helping everyone succeed. That is an America of diminished opportunity and increased disappointment, of long unemployment lines and small dreams.

I believe in a very different America. If we embrace the future with leadership that does everything possible to unlock the potential of our economic might, we can enter a new era of prosperity the likes of which we have never seen. We cannot shy away from greatness for fear that some might succeed more than others. Just as every American who can’t find work makes our light shine a little less bright, success breeds success. It’s not just our economy that is hurting — it is our American spirit.

It doesn’t have to be this way. These have been years of disappointment and decline, and soon we can put them behind us. We can prosper again, with the powerful recovery we have all been waiting for, the good jobs that so many still need, and, above all, the opportunities we owe to our children and grandchildren.

All of this can be more than our hope – it can be our future.  It can begin this year, in the choice you make, so I ask for your help, your support, and your vote on the sixth of November.

Thank you all, and God bless America.

Campaign Buzz June 7, 2012: Bill Clinton Differs with Obama on Bush-Era Tax Cuts Extension then After Backlash Backtracks Position & Apologizes





MARIA BARTIROMO: So what about this upcoming fiscal cliff? Because a lot of people are worried and the markets certainly have been reacting to the– to the idea that these Bush tax cuts will expire at year end along with the spending programs that will expire. Should those programs and those tax cuts be extended?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: What I think they should do is find a way to keep the expansion going. And I think the– as weak as it is here, you know, unemployment in the euro zone I think is 11%. And– Germany’s doing well but the– and a lot of the smaller countries are doing extremely well, many of which are not in the euro.
But they’re trying to figure out a way to promote growth. And what I think we need to do is to– find some way to avoid the fiscal cliff, to avoid doing anything that would contract the economy now, and then deal with what’s necessary in the long-term debt reduction plan as soon as they can, which presumably will be after the election.

MARIA BARTIROMO: So does that mean extending the tax cuts?

PRES. BILL CLINTON: Well, I think what it means is they will have extend– they will probably have to put everything off until early next year. That’s probably the best thing to do right now. But the Republicans don’t want to do that unless he agrees to extend the tax cuts permanently, including for upper income people.
And I don’t think the president should do that. That’s going to– that’s what they’re fighting about. I don’t have any problem with extending all of it now, including the current spending level. They’re still pretty low, the government spending levels. But I think they look high because there’s a recession. So the taxes look lower than they really would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth. And the spending is higher than it would be if we had two and a half, 3% growth because there are so many people getting food stamps, so many people getting unemployment, so many people are Medicaid.
But– the real issue is not whether they should be extended for another few months. The real issue is whether the price the Republican House will put on that extension is the permanent extension of the tax cuts, which I think is an error.

  • In Clinton, a Surrogate From the World of Romneys: Bill Clinton is trying to help President Obama, by raising money for his reelection and giving interviews about him — even if those interviews sometimes contradict Obama’s message…. – ABC News, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton ‘very sorry’ about tax remarks, agrees with Obama: Bill Clinton said Thursday that he’s “very sorry” for comments he made days earlier that appeared to undermine President Obama’s position on extending certain tax rates, chalking it up to a misunderstanding over when lawmakers needed to…. – LAT, 6-7-12
  • Democrats’ Comments Spark Tax Cut Debate: Congressional Republicans pounced Wednesday on disputed comments from Bill Clinton and a former senior Obama economic adviser as support for the push to extend Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Summers Comment Adds to Confusion on Tax Cuts: Confusing economic comments – first by Bill Clinton, then by Lawrence Summers – have emboldened Republicans to say they have bipartisan backing for the extension of Bush-era tax cuts…. – NYT, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • GOP once tried to bury Clinton, now it praises him: Republicans who tried to strip Bill Clinton of his presidency have eagerly embraced the Democrat, taking his words on taxes and decisions on Bosnia and using them to pound another Democratic president, Barack Obama…. – Boston.com, 6-7-12
  • Bill Clinton becomes Romney’s favorite surrogate for Obama: One of the top unanswered questions of the 2008 presidential campaign has come roaring back: What’s Bill Clinton thinking? The former president has increased his profile in recent days, speaking out on behalf of…. – Reuters, 6-7-12
  • Barack Obama needs Bill Clinton, even if he can’t control him: The current president is learning that there is both an upside and a downside to having a former one — particularly one with whom he has tangled in the past — as the most prominent surrogate for his reelection bid. On the one hand, Bill Clinton brings…. – WaPo, 6-6-12
  • Clinton Remarks Test Uneasy AllianceWSJ, 6-6-12
  • Obama still opposes extending Bush-era tax cuts for rich: President Barack Obama continues to oppose extending Bush-era tax cuts for wealthier Americans, the White House said on Wednesday, shrugging off calls for a temporary extension to allow more time for a deal on….. – Reuters, 6-6-12
  • Ex-White House aide Lawrence Summers: Tax breaks should stay for now: On the heels of President Clinton’s suggestion that tax breaks for the wealthy should continue into next year, former White House economic advisor Lawrence Summers joined the debate — essentially agreeing that Congress…. – LAT, 6-6-12
  • Obama and Bill Clinton: On same team but not always reading same playbook: How things change. In 2008, after a bruising primary battle with Hillary Clinton, then-Sen. Barack Obama was on the outs with former President Bill Clinton. This election cycle, Clinton is one of Obama’s most visible surrogates…. – CNN, 6-4-12
  • Clinton’s Tax-Cut Position Undercuts Obama Stance: Former Democratic President Bill Clinton suggested Tuesday that Congress temporarily extend all the Bush-era tax cuts, undercutting President Barack Obama’s position that the rates on upper-income Americans should rise at year’s end…. – WSJ, 6-5-12
  • US Is Already in ‘Recession,’ Extend Tax Cuts: Bill Clinton: Former President Bill Clinton told CNBC Tuesday that the US economy already is in a recession and urged Congress to extend all the tax cuts due to expire at the end of the year. In a taped interview aired on “Closing Bell”… CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • CNBC TRANSCRIPT: CNBC’S MARIA BARTIROMO SITS DOWN WITH FORMER PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON: WHEN: TODAY, TUESDAY, JUNE 5TH AT 4PM ET WHERE: CNBC’S “CLOSING BELL WITH MARIA BARTIROMO” Following is the unofficial transcript of a CNBC interview with former President Bill Clinton today on CNBC’s “Closing Bell with Maria Bartiromo.”… – CNBC.com, 6-5-12
  • Bill Clinton says renew all expiring tax cuts temporarily, long-term cuts: Former President Bill Clinton says broad tax cuts that expire in January should be temporarily extended, including for the wealthiest Americans, to give lawmakers time to reach a deal on long-term tax reductions that he says should exclude…. – WaPo, 6-5-12
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