Full Text Campaign Buzz November 2, 2012: Barack Obama in Wall Street Journal Op-ed: Real Progress, But We’re Not Done




Real Progress, But We’re Not Done

Americans shouldn’t surrender to the same philosophy that hurt middle-class families for so long.


Source: WSJ, 11-2-12

For the past few days, we’ve all been properly focused on one of the worst storms of our lifetimes. We mourn those who were lost. And we pledge to stand with those whose lives have been turned upside down for as long as it takes to recover and rebuild—better than before.

Because when hardship hits, America is at its best. The petty differences that consume us in normal times fade away. There are no Democrats or Republicans during a storm—only fellow Americans. That is how we get through the most trying times: together.

In 2008, we were mired in two wars and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. Together, we’ve battled our way back. Our businesses have created over five million new jobs in the past two and a half years. Home values are on the rise. Manufacturing is growing at the fastest pace in 15 years. The American auto industry is back. Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. And Osama bin Laden is dead.


Ken Fallin

We’ve made real progress. But we’re not done yet. On Tuesday, you get to choose between two fundamentally different visions of America—one where we return to the top-down policies that crashed our economy four years ago, and one built on a strong, growing middle class.

Our free market is the engine of America’s progress, driven by risk-takers, innovators and dreamers. Our people succeed when they have the chance to get a good education and learn new skills—and so do the businesses that hire them, or the companies they start. We believe that when we support research into scientific and medical breakthroughs, new industries will start here and stay here. We grow faster when our tax code rewards hard work and companies that create jobs in America, and when quality health care and a dignified retirement aren’t just achievable goals but a measure of our values as a nation.

For eight years, we had a president who shared these beliefs. Bill Clinton asked the wealthiest to pay a little more so we could reduce the deficit and still make these investments. By the end of his second term, America had created 23 million new jobs. Incomes were up. Poverty was down. Deficits became surpluses. And Wall Street did very well.

In the eight years after, we followed a different path. Bigger tax cuts for the wealthy we couldn’t afford. Encouraging companies to ship jobs and profits overseas. Fewer rules for big banks and insurers. The result of this top-down economics? Falling incomes, record deficits, the slowest job growth in half a century, and an economic crisis we’ve been cleaning up for the past four years.

Gov. Mitt Romney has offered—under the guise of “real change”—these very same policies that failed our country so badly. But we know better.

We shouldn’t end college tax credits to pay for millionaires’ tax cuts; we should make college more affordable for everyone who’s willing to work for it. We should recruit 100,000 math and science teachers so that high-tech, high-wage jobs aren’t created in China but in America. And we should equip another two million Americans at community colleges with skills that businesses are looking for right now.

Change is an America that is home to the next generation of manufacturing and innovation. I’m proud I bet on the American auto industry. I refuse to cede the future of manufacturing to other countries. We need a tax code that stops rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas and starts rewarding companies that create jobs here; one that stops subsidizing oil-company profits and keeps supporting new energy jobs and new technology that will cut our oil imports in half.

Change is an America that turns the page on a decade of war to do some nation-building here at home. So long as I’m commander in chief, we’ll pursue our enemies with the strongest military in the world. But it is time to use the savings from ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to pay down our debt and rebuild American roads, bridges, schools and broadband.

Change is an America where we reduce our deficit by cutting where we can and asking the wealthiest to go back to the income-tax rates they paid under President Clinton. I’ve worked with Republicans to cut a trillion dollars of spending, and I’ll do more. I’ll work with anyone of any party to move this country forward. But I won’t eliminate health insurance for millions of poor, elderly or disabled on Medicaid, and I won’t turn Medicare into a voucher to pay for another millionaire’s tax cut. That is surrender to the same philosophy that hurt middle-class families for too long.

I’m fighting for the Americans whose letters I read at night, whom I meet on the trail every day. The laid-off furniture worker who’s retraining at age 55 for a career in biotechnology. The owner of a small restaurant who needs a loan to expand after the bank turned him down. The autoworker who’s back on the job filled with the pride of building a great car.

When these Americans do well, America does well. That is the change we need right now. Now’s the time to keep pushing forward to make sure that no matter who you are, where you come from or how you started out, you can work to achieve your American dream.

That is the America within our reach. That is why I’m asking for your vote this Tuesday.

Mr. Obama, a Democrat, is seeking re-election as president of the United States.

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