Full Text February 18, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Describes Steps to Strengthen American Manufacturing and Job Creation

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama describes a series of steps to strengthen American manufacturing and job creation here in the United States.

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address

President Barack Obama tapes the weekly address, White House Photo, Lawrence Jackson, 2/17/12

Weekly Address: Continuing to Strengthen American Manufacturing

Source: WH, 2-18-12

President Obama describes a series of steps to strengthen American manufacturing and job creation here in the United States.

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Continuing to Strengthen American Manufacturing

In this week’s address, President Obama spoke to the American people from the Boeing Plant in Everett, Washington about our efforts to strengthen American manufacturing and job creation here in the United States.  He described how we can support businesses like Boeing, which is hiring thousands of Americans across the country, through steps like removing tax breaks for companies that send jobs overseas and giving them to companies that create jobs at home.  The President is committed to continue assisting businesses in selling their products around the world, and the United States is on track to meet President Obama’s goal of doubling exports within five years.  The President believes that by boosting American manufacturing and supporting our job creators, we can create an economy that’s built to last.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Everett, Washington
Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hello, everybody.

I’m speaking to you this week from the Boeing Plant in Everett, Washington. Boeing has been in this community for half a century.  But it’s what they’re doing here today that has folks really excited; because at this plant they’re building the plane of the future – the Dreamliner.  It’s an impressive sight.  And, to be honest, part of why I came was to see it up close.  But I also came because this is a great example of how we can bring jobs and manufacturing back to America.

You see, the last few decades haven’t been easy for manufacturing in this country.  New technology has made businesses more efficient and productive – and that’s good – but it’s also made a lot of jobs obsolete.  The result has been painful for a lot of families and communities.  Factories where people thought they’d retire have left town.  Jobs that provided a decent living have been shipped overseas.  And the hard truth is that a lot of those jobs aren’t coming back.

But that doesn’t mean we have to settle for a lesser future.  I don’t accept that idea.  In America, there’s always something we can do to create new jobs and new manufacturing and new security for the middle-class.  In America, we don’t give up, we get up.

Right now, that’s exactly what we’re doing.  Over the past 23 months, businesses have created 3.7 million new jobs.  And manufacturers are hiring for the first time since the 1990s.  It’s now getting more expensive to do business in places like China.  Meanwhile, America is more productive than ever.  And companies like Boeing are realizing that even when we can’t make things cheaper than China, we can make things better.  That’s how we’re going to compete globally.

For Boeing, business right now is booming.  Last year, orders for commercial aircraft rose by more than 50 percent.  To meet that rising demand, they’ve put thousands of folks to work all over the country.  We want to see more of this.  We need to make it as easy as we can for our companies to create more jobs in America, not overseas.  And that starts with our tax code.

No company should get a tax break for outsourcing jobs.  Instead, tax breaks should go to manufacturers who set up shop here at home.  Bigger tax breaks should go to high-tech manufacturers who create the jobs of the future.  And if you relocate your company to a struggling community, you should get help financing that new plant, that new equipment, or training for new workers.  It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding businesses that create jobs here in America.  And Congress should send me that kind of tax reform right away.

Another thing we’re doing is to make it easier for companies like Boeing to sell their products all over the world, because more exports mean more jobs. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  And we’re on track to meet that goal – ahead of schedule.

We have a big opportunity right now to build not only an economy that will help us succeed today, but an economy that will help our kids and their kids succeed tomorrow. We know what we need to do.  We need to strengthen American manufacturing. We need to invest in American-made energy and new skills for American workers.  And above all, we need to renew the values that have always made this country great:  Hard work.  Fair play.  Shared responsibility.

We can do this.  Ask the folks in Everett.  Right here, a few years ago, the first Dreamliner took off on its maiden trip. Thousands of employees came to watch.  One was an executive office administrator named Sharon O’Hara.  As Sharon saw that first plane take flight – a result of so much hard work – she got goose bumps.  In her words, she said, “We said we would do it and we did.”  That’s the story of America.  We said we would do it, and we did.  That’s the can-do spirit that makes us who we are.  We’ve seen challenging times before.  But we always emerge from them stronger.  And that’s what we’re going to do again today.  Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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Full Text February 17, 2011: President Barack Obama’s Speech on American Manufacturing at Boeing in Everett, Washington

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

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.

END
12:13 P.M. PST

Full Text February 15, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Insourcing American Jobs at Master Lock

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

President Obama Discusses Insourcing at Master Lock

Source: WH, 2-15-12

President Barack Obama tours Master Lock Company (February 15, 2012)

President Barack Obama tours Master Lock Company with Bob Rice, Senior Vice President for Global Supply Chain/Product Development of Master Lock, in Milwaukee, Wis., Feb. 15, 2012. The President highlighted Master Lock in his State of the Union address as an example of a company moving jobs back to the U.S. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In the State of the Union, President Obama took time to highlight Master Lock — a company that has discovered that it can actually save money by keeping production facilities in the United States and bringing jobs back to America.

Today, he traveled to Wisconsin to visit with Master Lock workers and talk about his plans to boost American manufacturing.

Master Lock’s decision to keep jobs in America is part of a growing trend. The President calls it insourcing.

And in Milwaukee, he talked about three ideas to reform corporate taxes, aimed at boosting that trend and rewarding companies that don’t move overseas.

First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you have that right, but you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it. That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home. Give them the tax break.

Second of all, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. So we’ve said, from now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay and hire here in the United States of America. Give them a bigger tax break.

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut. If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, creating new products, new services, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here in America. If you want to relocate in a community like this one that’s been hard hit when factories left town, you should get help financing a new plant, financing new equipment, training new workers.

Those proposals are just part of a Blueprint for an America Built to Last. Learn more.

Or watch President Obama speak at Master Lock.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President on American Manufacturing

Master Lock
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

12:50 P.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, Milwaukee!  (Applause.)  It is good to be back in the great state of Wisconsin.  (Applause.)  This is the closest I’ve been to home in a while.  I was thinking about getting on the 90-94 and just driving down to my house.  (Laughter.)

Thank you, DiAndre, for that outstanding introduction — (applause) — and for sharing your story.  I can tell, though, DiAndre is a little shy.  He doesn’t necessarily like to get out in front of people.  (Laughter.)

Before I begin, I want to thank some additional special guests who are here.  Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett is in the house.  (Applause.)  Your Congresswoman, Gwen Moore, is here.  (Applause.)  You heard from your local UAW representative, John Drew — (applause) — and I got a great tour from the President of UAW Local 469, Mike Bink.  (Applause.)  And, finally, I want to thank Master Lock CEO John Hepner for inviting us here today. (Applause.)

It is wonderful to be at Master Lock.  I have to say, though, it brought back some memories.  I was thinking about my gym locker in high school.  (Laughter.)  And if you go into the boys locker room in high school, sometimes it’s a little powerful — the odor in there.  (Laughter.)  So I was thinking about the fact that we weren’t washing our stuff enough.  (Laughter.)  And then I was thinking about, as I got older and I kept on using Master Locks, I became an even better customer because I couldn’t always remember my combination.  (Laughter.)  So I’d end up having to have the lock sawed off and buy a new one.  So I was giving you guys a lot of business.  (Applause.)

And now, as I was looking at some of the really industrial-size locks, I was thinking about the fact that I am a father of two girls who are soon going to be in high school, and that it might come in handy to have these super locks.  (Laughter.)  For now, I’m just counting on the fact that when they go to school there are men with guns with them.  (Laughter.)

But I’m actually here today because this company has been making the most of a huge opportunity that exists right now to bring jobs and manufacturing back to the United States of America.  (Applause.)

I talked about this during the State of the Union.  Over the last few decades, revolutions in technology have made a lot of businesses more efficient and more productive.  And that’s a great thing.  It means you generally have a better choice of products, you get better prices.  But, as some of you know, technology has also made a lot of jobs obsolete.  And it’s allowed companies to set up shop and hire workers almost anywhere in the world where there’s an Internet connection — you can produce things that previously you could only produce here in the United States.

So the result has been a pretty painful process for a lot of families and for a lot of communities, especially here in the Midwest.  Too many factories where people thought they’d retire suddenly left town.  Too many jobs that provided a decent living got shipped overseas.  And now the hard truth is, a lot of those jobs are not going to come back.  In a global economy, some companies are always going to find it more profitable to pick up and do business in some other part of the world.  That’s just a fact.

But that doesn’t mean we have to just sit by and settle for a lesser future.  That doesn’t mean there’s nothing we can do to create new jobs and restore middle-class security here in America.  There is always something we can do.  (Applause.)

For starters, I’m glad to see that Congress seems to be on the way of making progress on extending the payroll tax cut so taxes don’t go up on all of you and 160 million working Americans.  (Applause.)  This tax cut means that the typical American family will see an extra $40 in every paycheck this year.  And that’s going to help speed up this recovery.  It will make a real difference in the lives of millions of people.  And as soon as Congress sends me that extension of tax cuts and unemployment insurance to my desk, I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)  You’re going to get that signed.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Love you, Mr. President!

THE PRESIDENT:  I love you back.  (Laughter.)

But that’s only a start.  There’s a lot more we can do — a lot more we have to do — to help create jobs and bring back manufacturing middle-class security to Milwaukee and Wisconsin and the United States of America.

And we’ve got examples of success.  When I took office — a lot of UAW workers here, you guys remember this — when I took office, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse. And there were some folks who said we should let it die.  With a million jobs at stake, I refused to let that happen.  (Applause.) I refused to let that happen.

We said, in exchange for help, we’re going to demand responsibility.  We got workers and automakers to settle their differences.  We got the industry to restructure and retool, come up with better designs.  Today, the American auto industry is back.  And General Motors is once again the number-one automaker in the world.  (Applause.)  Chrysler has grown faster in the U.S. than any major car company.  Ford is investing billions in U.S. plants and equipment and factories.  And all together, over the past two years, the entire industry has added nearly 160,000 jobs.  Well-paying jobs.  (Applause.)

What’s happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. What happens in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh and Milwaukee, that’s what we’ve got to be shooting for, is to create opportunities for hardworking Americans to get in there and start making stuff again and sending it all over the world — products stamped with three proud words:  Made in America.  (Applause.)

And that’s what’s happening right here at Master Lock — because of you.  Over the last few years, it’s become more expensive to do business in countries like China.  Meanwhile, American workers, we’ve become even more productive.  So when John Heppner was at the White House in January, he told me how it makes more business sense for Master Lock to bring jobs back home here to Milwaukee.  (Applause.)  And today, for the first time in 15 years, this plant is running at full capacity.  (Applause.)  And that’s an example of what happens when unions and employers work together to create good jobs.  (Applause.)  Today, you’re selling products directly to customers in China stamped with those words:  Made In America.  (Applause.)

And the good news is this is starting to happen around the country.  For the first time since 1990, American manufacturers are creating new jobs.  That’s good for the companies, but it’s also good up and down the supply chain, because if you’re making this stuff here, that means that there are producers and suppliers in and around the area who have a better chance of selling stuff here.  It means the restaurant close by suddenly has more customers.  Everybody benefits when manufacturing is going strong.

So you all have heard enough about outsourcing.  More and more companies like Master Lock are now insourcing — (applause) — deciding that if the cost of doing business here isn’t too much different than the cost of doing business in places like China, then why wouldn’t you rather do it right here in the United States of America?  (Applause.)  Why not?  Why not put some Americans to work?  (Applause.)

Companies would rather bet on the country with the best colleges and universities to train workers with new skills and produce cutting-edge research.  They’d rather place their bet on the nation with the greatest array of talent and ingenuity; the country with the greatest capacity for innovation that the world has ever known.

During the State of the Union, I issued a challenge to America’s business leaders — folks like John.  I said ask yourself what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed.  (Applause.)  And since then, a number of companies — large and small, domestic, but also even some foreign companies — have said they now plan to open new facilities and create new jobs right here in America — which is still the largest market on Earth.

These include Wisconsin companies like Diamond Precision, which is a machine manufacturer that is going to be adding dozens of jobs here in Milwaukee — a company that’s growing because its customers are choosing to buy American-made products instead of supplies from China.  (Applause.)  There’s a company called Collaborative Consulting, an information technology company that wants to open a new call center here in Wausau.  And across the nation, there are well-known companies like Caterpillar that are planning to bring jobs back home.

So last month, we decided to hold a summit — that’s where John was at — a summit at the White House so we could hear from companies like these who’ve decided to insource jobs.  We wanted to learn how can we accelerate this trend.  And this last [sic] fall, for the first time, we’ll be bringing companies from around the world together with governors and mayors and other leaders to discuss the benefits of investing and creating more jobs here in the United States.

So our job as a nation is to do everything we can to make the decision to insource more attractive for more companies.  (Applause.)  That’s our top priority.  That’s our top priority.  (Applause.)  We’ve got to seize this moment of opportunity.  We can’t let it slip away.  We’ve got an opportunity to create new American jobs and American manufacturing, put that back where it needs to be.

Now, one place to start is with our tax code.  I talked about this a little bit at the State of the Union.  Right now, companies get tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  They’re taking deductions for the expenses of moving out of the United States.  Meanwhile, companies that are doing the right thing and choosing to stay here, they get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  That doesn’t make sense.  Everybody knows it doesn’t make sense.  Politicians of both parties have been talking about changing it for years.   So my message to Congress is:  Don’t wait.  Get it done.  Do it now.  (Applause.)  Let’s get it done.

As Congress thinks about tax reform principles, there are some basic things they can do.  First, if you’re a business that wants to outsource jobs, you have that right, but you shouldn’t get a tax deduction for doing it.  That money should be used to cover moving expenses for companies like Master Lock that decide to bring jobs home.  (Applause.)  Give them the tax break.  (Applause.)

Second of all, no American company should be able to avoid paying its fair share of taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas.  (Applause.)  So we’ve said, from now on, every multinational company should have to pay a basic minimum tax.  And every penny should go towards lowering taxes for companies that choose to stay and hire here in the United States of America.  Give them a bigger tax break.  (Applause.)

Third, if you’re an American manufacturer, you should get a bigger tax cut.  (Applause.)  If you’re a high-tech manufacturer, creating new products, new services, we should double the tax deduction you get for making products here in America.  If you want to relocate in a community like this one that’s been hard hit when factories left town, you should get help financing a new plant, financing new equipment, training new workers.  (Applause.)

It is time to stop rewarding companies that ship jobs overseas, and start rewarding companies that are creating jobs right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  And this Congress should send me these tax reforms right now.  I will sign them right away.  (Applause.)

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Right now!

THE PRESIDENT:  Right now.

AUDIENCE:  Right now!  Right now!  Right now!

THE PRESIDENT:  Right now.  Right now.  (Laughter.)

Now, another thing we’re doing to support American jobs is to make it easier for businesses like Master Lock to sell their products all over the world.  Everybody knows Master Lock makes the best lock.  (Applause.)  So two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports over five years.  With the bipartisan trade agreements I signed into law, we’re on track to meeting that goal ahead of schedule.  Pretty soon, there are going to be millions of new customers for American goods in places like Panama and Colombia and South Korea.  I want new cars on the streets of Seoul, South Korea imported from Detroit and Toledo and Milwaukee.  (Applause.)

There’s nothing wrong with them being able to sell cars here.  I just want to be able to sell cars there.

AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Even playing field!

THE PRESIDENT:  Even playing field is what we want.  I’m going anywhere in the world to open up new markets for American products.  And I’m not going to stand by when our competitors don’t play by the same rules.  It’s not fair when foreign manufacturers have a leg up on ours just because they’re getting heavy subsidies from their government.

So I directed my administration to create a Trade Enforcement Unit, and it’s only got one job:  investigating unfair trade practices in countries like China, making sure we’ve got an even playing field — because when we’ve got an even playing field, I promise you, nobody is going to out-compete America.  (Applause.)  We’ve got the most productive workers on Earth.  We’ve got the most creative entrepreneurs on Earth.  Give us a level playing field — we will not lose.  (Applause.)

Now, part of creating that level playing field is also making sure that American workers have the skills that today’s jobs require.  And DiAndre talked about how even though he’s working, he’s still going back to school.  I know that Master Lock’s decision to create even more jobs here in Milwaukee in part is going to depend on something that John raised when we were at our meeting — it’s going to depend on finding enough workers with the right training.

I had a chance to meet one of your coworkers, Eric — where is — is Eric here?  There he is right there.  So Eric and I were talking — been a die maker for a long time.  He’s older than he looks.  (Laughter.)  Although we were comparing the gray in his beard to the gray on my head.  (Laughter.)  But he was pointing out that he’s actually been able to help make the machinery that he works on more efficient, which is making the company able to do more because it’s not lying idle when certain orders aren’t coming in.  But that’s an accumulation of experience that he’s had over a couple of decades.

Now, not everybody is going to have all that experience, but the question is, can we make sure if they haven’t already been working in this job, can they get that kind of training even before they’re hired here at Master Lock so that they can provide that same value-added across the board?  That’s what’s going to separate the companies that succeed from the companies that don’t, is how skilled and talented the workers are, and whether management is listening to the workers.  Because that’s important.  Part of what allowed Eric to be successful was somebody — his supervisor said, hey, this guy has got pretty good ideas.

So that’s why it’s so important for the company’s investing in training programs, and partnering with nearby community colleges to help design courses and curriculum, so that when workers show up they’re already ready to hit the ground running. That’s why I’ve asked Congress to join me in a national commitment to train 2 million American workers with skills that will lead directly to a job.  (Applause.)  We need to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers — places that teach people the skills that businesses like Master Lock are looking for right now.  (Applause.)  Right now.

There are jobs from data management to high-tech manufacturing that right now are open.  And we’ve got a lot of folks out of work, but we’ve got to match up the folks who are out of work with the jobs.  And sometimes the businesses may not be able to afford to train that person on the job, so let’s have the community college help get the training.

At a time when so many Americans are out of work, there should not be any job openings, because every single job opening that comes up, somebody should be able to say, I want that job and I’m prepared and skilled to get it.

We’re still recovering from one of the worst economic crises in three generations.  And I’m not going to lie to you guys.  You know it — we’ve still got a long way to go before everyone who wants a good job can find it.  I’m sure that if we traveled all around here, there are a lot of folks who want work and can’t find it.  And when you’re out of work, that wears on you.  It’s not just the income.  It has to do with your sense of place and your sense of dignity, and your ability to support your family, and the pride that you take in making a good product.  That’s part of what America has always been about — is what our work means to us, the values we put behind our work.  We don’t just do it for a paycheck.

And so this has been hard on folks.  It’s been hard on our country.  And it’s going to take some time before middle-class Americans regain the sense of security that’s been slipping away way before this recession hit.  A lot of these factories were moving out before this recession hit.  There was a lot of outsourcing going on over the last 20 years.  So we’ve got a long way to go.

But here’s what I want everybody to remember.  Over the last 23 months, businesses have added nearly 3.7 million new jobs.  (Applause.)  Manufacturing is coming back.  Companies are starting to bring jobs back.  The economy is getting stronger.  The recovery is speeding up.  (Applause.)  We’re moving in the right direction.  And now we have to do everything in our power to keep our foot on the gas.  (Applause.)  And the last thing we can afford to do is go back to the same policies that got us into this mess.

Milwaukee, we are not going back to an economy that’s weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony financial profits. We need an economy that is built to last, that is built on American manufacturing, and American know-how, and American-made energy, and skills for American workers, and the renewal of American values of hard work and fair play and shared responsibility.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re about.  (Applause.)  That’s what we’re about.

And let me say — let me say this.  These are not Democratic values or Republican values.  These are American values.  (Applause.)  They have seen us through the most difficult challenges — through war and depressions and civil strife.  But we’ve always come out on the other side stronger than we were before.  We don’t give up.  This country does not give up.

And we make sure that everybody is brought along.  We don’t leave people behind.  We look out for one another.  (Applause.) We reach out to one another.  We are going for new opportunities, but we pull each other up.  That’s who we are.  (Applause.)

If we work together with common purpose, if we pull together with common effort, I’ve got no doubt we will rebuild this economy so it lasts.  We’re going to create more success stories like Master Lock — and we will remind the world just why it is the United States is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
1:18 P.M. CST

Full Text January 25, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on the Blueprint for Manufacturing at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

Everything You Need to Know About the President’s Blueprint for Manufacturing

Source: WH, 1-25-12

President Barack Obama looks at an agricultural auger in Cedar<br /><br /><br /><br />
Rapids

President Barack Obama looks at an agricultural auger while touring Conveyer Engineering and Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Jan. 25, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In Cedar Rapids today, the President offered more details about his plan to reform taxes. The package he’s presenting is fully paid for—the tax credits he’s proposing would be offset by closing loopholes on companies that encourage the shielding of profits overseas. And the objective isn’t to raise taxes on business. In fact, one of the overarching goals would be to simplify the tax code so businesses can focus on investing and creating jobs, instead of filling out tax forms.

Specifically, President Obama is proposing a 20 percent income tax credit for companies that bring jobs back to the United States. He’s asking Congress to create a new credit to provide $2 billion per year in incentives for three years for businesses that invest in communities that affected by job loss. He’s pushing to extend tax credits to drive nearly $20 billion of investment in domestic clean energy manufacturing and a provision that allows companies to expense the full cost of their investments in equipment. The President plans to pay for those proposals with the $23 billion the government would raise from closing the loophole that allows corporations to expense outsourcing.

Get more details here.

An America that lasts

Taken together, these ideas represent one part of President Obama’s blueprint for the future. To see more details from that plan, go here.

To look at the data and charts that helped to inform the thinking that went into the State of the Union, go here.

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Remarks by the President at Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Conveyor Engineering and Manufacturing
Cedar Rapids, Iowa

11:47 A.M. CST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you!  Hello, Iowa!  Hello, Cedar Rapids!  (Applause.)  All right.  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.  Please have a seat.

It is great to be back in Iowa, although it is a little colder here — (laughter) — than it was in Washington.  I want to thank Jeff for the introduction.  It’s good to see your governor, Governor Branstad, and Mayor Corbett.  Outstanding members of the congressional delegation.  All kinds of good friends.  In fact, this whole row here, if I start introducing them, it will make my speech twice as long, but I love these guys.  And it is wonderful to be back here in Iowa.

I know there’s been a lot of excitement here over the past couple of months.  It kind of made me nostalgic.  (Laughter.)  I used to have a lot of fun here in Iowa.  I remember a great backyard barbecue out in Marion way back in 2007.  Good burgers.  I did not have as much gray hair back then.  (Laughter.)

But when I think about all the days I spent in Iowa, so much of my presidency, so much about what I care about, so much what I think about every day, has to do with the conversations that I had with you.  People’s backyards, VFW halls.  Those conversations I carry with me.

All across this state, in all 99 counties — and I was in I think just about every county — we talked about how for years the middle class was having a tougher time.  Hard work had stopped paying off for too many people.  Good jobs and manufacturing were leaving our shores.

Folks at the very, very top saw their incomes rise like never before, but most Americans, most folks in Iowa, were just trying to stay afloat.  And that was before the financial crisis hit in 2008.

The crisis struck right at the end of a long campaign, but we didn’t even understand at that point how bad that crisis was going to be.  And millions of our neighbors were put out of work.

But we did know then what we know today — that when we come together as a country, there’s no reason why we can’t restore that basic American promise, that if you work hard, you can do well.

America is not about handouts.  America is about earning everything you’ve got.  But if you’re willing to put in the work, the idea is that you should be able to raise a family and own a home; not go bankrupt because you got sick, because you’ve got some health insurance that helps you deal with those difficult times; that you can send your kids to college; that you can put some money away for retirement.  That’s all most people want.

Folks don’t have unrealistic ambitions; they do believe that if they work hard they should be able to achieve that small measure of an American Dream.  That’s what this country is about.  That’s what you deserve.  That’s what we talked about during the campaign.

Now, today, three years after the worst economic storm in three generations, we are making progress.  Our businesses have created more than 3 million jobs over the last 22 months.  If you look at a job chart, if you look at a chart of what’s happened in terms of jobs in America, we lost 4 million jobs before I took office, another 4 million in the few months right after I took office, before our economic policies had a chance to take effect, and we’ve been growing and increasing jobs ever since — 3 million over the last 22 months.  Last year, we created the most jobs since 2005.  And today, American manufacturers like this one are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the 1990s.  And that’s good news.

Our economy is getting stronger.  We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s getting stronger.  And we’ve come way too far to turn back now.  After everything that’s happened, there are people in Washington who seem to have collective amnesia.  They seem to have forgotten how we got into this mess.  They want to go back to the very same policies that got us into it — the same policies that have stacked the deck against middle-class Americans for years.

And their philosophy, what there is of it, seems to be pretty simple:  We’re better off when everybody is left to fend for themselves, and everybody can play by their own rules.  And I’m here to say they’re wrong.  (Applause.)  We’re not going to go back to an economy weakened by outsourcing and bad debt and phony financial profits.  That’s not how America was built.  We’re not going to go back to that.

So last night, in the State of the Union, I laid out my vision for how we move forward.  I laid out a blueprint for an economy that is built to last.  (Applause.)

It’s an economy built on American manufacturing, with more good jobs and more products made right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)  It’s an economy built on American energy, fueled by homegrown and alternative energy sources that make us more secure and less dependent on foreign oil.  (Applause.)  And by the way, there’s a connection between those two things.  This company right here, some of its key customers are folks who are active in alternative energy.  There are jobs to be had — and Iowa knows all about it — when we are pursuing aggressively clean energy and alternative energy.

It’s an economy built on the skills of American workers — getting people the education and the training they need so they’re prepared for the jobs of today, and they’re ready to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.

And most importantly, it’s an economy that’s built on a renewal of American values, heartland values.  (Applause.)  Values that Iowa knows something about — hard work, responsibility, and the same set of rules for everybody, from Wall Street to Main Street.  (Applause.)

That has to be our future.  That’s how we restore that basic American promise.  And it starts with manufacturing.

Look what happened in our auto industry.  On the day I took office, it was on the verge of collapse.  And some even said we should let it die.  I’ve got the clips in case — (laughter) — because I remember.  They were beating the heck out of me.  “Why are you doing this?  Why are you intervening?”

But we stood to lose a million jobs — not just in the auto industry, but all the suppliers, all the related businesses.  So I refused to let that happen.

In exchange for help — see, keep in mind, that the administration before us, they had been writing some checks to the auto industry with asking nothing in return.  It was just a bailout, straight — straightforward.  We said we’re going to do it differently.

In exchange for help, we also demanded responsibility from the auto industry.  We got the industry to retool and to restructure.  We got workers and management to get together, figure out how to make yourselves more efficient.

And over the past two years, that entire industry has added nearly 160,000 jobs.  GM is number one in the world again.  Ford is investing billions in new American plants.  Chrysler is growing faster.  (Applause.)  So today, the American auto industry is back.

And I want what’s happening in Detroit to happen in other industries.  I want it to happen in Cleveland and Pittsburgh and Raleigh.  And I want it to happen right here in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  (Applause.)

Now, it’s already happening at places like Conveyor.  These folks make some big stuff.  I just got a tour — a quick tour from Graig and Jeff, met some of the workers here, and they told me the story of how Conveyor started.  Like so many other wonderful American companies, it started in a garage.  Couldn’t make that up.  Today, they employ 65 people -– from engineers and welders to assembly line workers and salespeople.  They specialize in making augers — giant screws -– and they’re used to mix and move everything from cement to chocolate.  They don’t use the same ones for — (laughter) — just in case you were wondering.

So Conveyor has doubled in size twice over the last 16 years, and over the next several years, they’re hoping to double again.

See, right now, we have a huge opportunity to help companies like this hire more workers because what’s — here’s what’s happening globally.  Obviously, the economy had shifted all around the world.  And we were getting more competition from other countries like China that were catching up and have very low wage rates.  We had technology that was displacing a lot of workers.  But here’s what’s going on:  It’s getting more expensive to do business in China now.  Their wages are going up.  Transportation costs to ship a big auger over here, it starts becoming cost prohibitive.

Meanwhile, America is getting more productive.   We’ve become more efficient.  We are as competitive as we’ve ever been.  So for a lot of companies, it’s starting to make a lot more sense to bring jobs back home.

But we’ve got to seize that opportunity.  We’ve got to help these companies succeed.  And it starts with changing our tax code.  It starts with changing our tax code.  (Applause.)

Now, right now, companies get all kinds of tax breaks when they move jobs and profits overseas.  Think about that.  A company that chooses to stay in America gets hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world.  That’s wrong.  It doesn’t make sense.  We’ve got to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas, reward companies like Conveyor that are doing business right here in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

Now, before the other side gets all excited, let me be clear:  If you’re a company that wants to outsource jobs or do business around the world, that’s your right.  It’s a free market.  But you shouldn’t get a tax break for it.  Companies that are bringing jobs back from overseas should get tax breaks.  High-tech manufacturers should get tax breaks.  Manufacturers like Conveyor that stamp products with three proud words:  Made in America.  Those are the folks who should be rewarded through our tax code.  (Applause.)

Jeff and Graig told me that if we pass tax reforms like these, they’d be able to buy more equipment for their facility.  So let’s do it.  Today, my administration is laying out several concrete actions we could take right now to discourage outsourcing and encourage investing in America.  You need to tell Congress to send me this tax reform plan.  I will sign it right away.

We need to make it easier for American businesses to do business here in America, and we also need to make it easier for American businesses to sell our products other places in the world.  I don’t want to export our jobs; I want to export our goods and our services.

So two years ago, I set a goal of doubling U.S. exports within five years.  And by the way, Iowa, you should be interested that obviously a big chunk of those exports are also agricultural, which is doing wonders for this state’s economy.   The agricultural sector is doing very well.  But I also want us to export manufacturing.

And we’re on track to meet our goal of doubling exports; actually we’re ahead of schedule.  Exports has been one of the strengths of this recovery.  And soon, thanks to new trade agreements I’ve signed, not only are we going to be sending more soy beans into South Korea, but we’re also going to start seeing new cars on the streets of Seoul, South Korea, imported from Detroit and Toledo and Chicago.  (Applause.)

I don’t mind Kias being sold here, I just want to make sure that they’re also buying some Chevys and some Fords.  So we’re going to keep boosting American manufacturing.  We’re going to keep training workers with the skills they need to find these jobs.  We’re going to keep creating new jobs in American energy, including alternative energy that’s been a source of strength for a lot of rural communities in Iowa.  And an economy built to last also means making sure that there’s a sense of fair play and shared responsibility.

Now, most immediately — I was talking about taxes on business — the most immediate thing we need to do with our tax code is make sure that we stop a tax hike on 160 million working Americans at the end of next month.  (Applause.)  People can’t afford losing $40 out of each paycheck.  Not right now.  Your voices convinced Congress to extend this middle-class tax cut before.  You remember there was a little resistance there at the end of last year?  But you guys sent a message:  Renew that payroll tax cut, strengthen the economy.  But they only extended it for two months.  We now have to extend it for the entire year.  So I need your help to make sure they do it again.  Tell Congress to pass this tax cut without drama, without delay.  (Applause.)  No soap operas.  Just get it done.

In the longer run, if we’re going to invest in our future, we’ve also got to get our fiscal house in order.  You hear a lot of talk about deficits and debt.  And those are legitimate concerns, although the most important thing we can do to actually reduce the debt is to grow the economy.  So we can’t abandon our investments in things like manufacturing and education investment because if we’re growing faster, the debt and deficits start coming down, the numbers get easier to manage.  You can’t just cut your way out of it.  It’s just like a family.  If you are struggling to get out of debt, but you decide, well, I’ll just — I won’t repair the roof or the boiler, and I’ll stop sending my kid to college, that’s not the way you’re going to solve your long-term problems.

Now, we’re going to have to make some tough choices, though.  And right now, we are scheduled to spend nearly $1 trillion more on what was intended to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  A quarter of all millionaires pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.  Warren Buffett pays a lower tax rate than his secretary.  Warren Buffett’s secretary was at the State of the Union last night — just to confirm — (laughter) — that fact.

Now, does that make any sense to you?  Do we want to keep these tax cuts for folks like me who don’t need them?  I’m doing okay.  (Laughter.)  I really am.  And look, nobody likes paying taxes.  I understand that.  So if we didn’t need it, if the country was in a surplus like it was back in 2000, I’d understand us saying, well, let’s try to let millionaires keep every last dime.  I get that.  But that’s not the situation we’re in.  And so we’ve got to make choices.

Do we want to keep investing in everything that’s important to our long-term growth — education, medical research, our military, caring for our veterans — all of which are expensive? Or do we keep these tax cuts for folks who don’t need them and weren’t even asking for them?  Because we can’t do both.  I want to be very clear about this.  We cannot do both.  (Applause.)  You’ve got to choose.

So I believe we should follow what we call the Buffett Rule:  If you make more than a million dollars a year — I don’t mean that you’ve got a million dollars’ worth of assets.  I don’t mean a family that’s been saving all their lives and doing well and is comfortable, and finally they’ve got a little nest egg.  If you make more than a million dollars a year, you should pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent.  (Applause.)  If, on the other hand, you make less than $250,000 a year, which includes 98 percent of you, your taxes shouldn’t go up.  (Applause.)

And by the way, if we do that and we make some smart cuts in other areas, we can get this deficit and debt under control and still be making the investments we need to grow the economy.  (Applause.)

A lot of — I hear folks running around calling this class warfare.  This is not class warfare.  Let me tell you something, asking a billionaire to pay at least as much as his secretary, that’s just common sense.  (Applause.)  That’s common sense.  I mean, we’re talking about going back to tax rates that we had under Bill Clinton — when, by the way, the economy grew faster and jobs increased much faster.  And in the meantime, Warren Buffett will do fine.  (Laughter.)  I will do fine.  We don’t need tax breaks.  You do.  You’re the ones who’ve seen your wages stall, the cost of everything from groceries to college tuition going up.  So I want to give you a break.  I don’t need a break.

Look, we don’t begrudge success in America.  This family business right here, I want them to thrive.  I want these guys to keep growing and growing and growing.  (Applause.)  And hire and hire and hire.  When we talk — when Americans talk about folks like me paying my fair share in taxes, it’s not because Americans envy the rich.  Most of them want to get rich.  Most of them will work hard to try to do well financially.  It’s because if I get a tax break I don’t need and the country can’t afford, then either it’s going to add to our deficit — and that’s what happened between 2000 and 2008, basically.  All these tax cuts just added to the deficit because they weren’t paid for, so it takes money out of the treasury.

Or, alternatively, if we’re going to close that deficit, somebody else is going to have to pick up the tab.  It might be a senior who now suddenly has to pay more for their Medicare.  It’s got to be a student who’s suddenly having to pay more for their student loan.  It might be a family that’s just trying to get by and suddenly their tax rates go up.  That’s not right.  That’s not who we are.

One of the biggest disagreements I have with some folks in Washington is the nature of America’s success.  Each of us is only here because somebody somewhere felt a responsibility to each other and felt a responsibility to our country’s future.  And that starts within our own families.  It starts with us making sure our kids are responsible and we’re instilling in them the values of hard work and doing your homework and treating other people with respect.  But then it expands from there, to our neighborhoods and our communities.  And we recognize that if everybody is getting a fair shot, everybody has a chance to do better.

That’s what built this country.  Now it’s our turn to be responsible.  Now it’s our turn to leave an America that’s built to last.  And I think we can do it.  (Applause.)  I’m confident we can do it.  I believe it because of what I see in places like Cedar Rapids, what I hear when I meet the folks who are gathered here today.

I mean, think about what you’ve accomplished coming back from those floods.  (Applause.)  Now, that wasn’t a matter of just each person being on their own.  It was a matter of everybody pulling together — (applause) — to rebuild a city and make it stronger than it was before.  That’s how we work.  And that FEMA assistance wasn’t — it didn’t come out of nowhere.  It came around because, as a country, as a United States of America, we decide, you know what, when any part of the country gets in trouble, we’re going to step in and help out.  That’s what we do.  (Applause.)

This country only exists because generations of Americans worked together, and looked out for each other, and believed that we’re stronger when we rise together.  And those values are not Democratic values or Republican values.  Those are American values.  Those are the values we have to return to.  (Applause.)

So we’re going to keep on moving on American energy.  We’re going to keep on moving on American manufacturing.  We are going to push hard to make sure that American workers have the skills they need to compete.  And we’re going to make sure that everything we do abides by those core American values that are so important.

And I know that if we work together and in common purpose, we can build an economy that gives everybody a fair shot.  We can meet this challenge.  And we’ll remind everybody just why it is the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  (Applause.)

END
12:15 P.M. CST

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