Political Headlines July 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Starts Economic Campaign, Accuses GOP of Obstruction

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Starts Economic Campaign, Accuses GOP of Obstruction

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Seeking to force the public debate back to the economy, President Obama slammed Republicans on Wednesday for standing in the way of his efforts to boost the middle class, as he launched a campaign to highlight his second-term priorities.

“With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball.  And I am here to say this needs to stop,” the president said in a speech at Knox College, the site of his first economic address on the national stage in 2005….READ MORE

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Political Headlines July 24, 2013: President Barack Obama Focuses on Economy, Vowing to Help Middle Class in Knox College Speech

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Focuses on Economy, Vowing to Help Middle Class

Source: NYT, 7-24-13

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama spoke about the economy On Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

President Obama tried to move past months of debate over guns, surveillance and scandal on Wednesday and reorient his administration behind a program to lift a middling economy and help middle-class Americans who are stuck with stagnant incomes and shrinking horizons….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency July 24, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Economic Policy & Agenda Speech at Knox College, Galesburg, Illinois – Transcript

POLITICAL TRANSCRIPTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

Obama’s Economics Speech at Knox College

Source: NYT, 7-24-13

Stephen Crowley/The New York Times

President Obama spoke about the economy On Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill.

Following is the prepared text of President Obama’s speech in Galesburg, Ill., as provided by the White House.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Eight years ago, I came here to deliver the commencement address for the class of 2005. Things were a little different back then. I didn’t have any gray hair, for example. Or a motorcade. I didn’t even have a teleprompter. It was my first big speech as your newest senator, and I spent my time talking about what a changing economy was doing to the middle class – and what we, as a country, needed to do to give every American a chance to get ahead in the 21st century.

You see, I’d just spent a year traveling this state and listening to your stories – of proud Maytag workers losing their jobs when their plant moved down to Mexico; of teachers whose salaries weren’t keeping up with the rising cost of groceries; of young people who had the drive but not the money to afford a college education.

They were the stories of families who worked hard and believed in the American Dream, but felt that the odds were increasingly stacked against them. And they were right.

In the period after World War II, a growing middle class was the engine of our prosperity. Whether you owned a company, swept its floors, or worked anywhere in between, this country offered you a basic bargain – a sense that your hard work would be rewarded with fair wages and benefits, the chance to buy a home, to save for retirement, and, above all, to hand down a better life for your kids.

But over time, that engine began to stall. That bargain began to fray. Technology made some jobs obsolete. Global competition sent others overseas. It became harder for unions to fight for the middle class. Washington doled out bigger tax cuts to the rich and smaller minimum wage increases for the working poor. The link between higher productivity and people’s wages and salaries was severed – the income of the top 1% nearly quadrupled from 1979 to 2007, while the typical family’s barely budged.

Towards the end of those three decades, a housing bubble, credit cards, and a churning financial sector kept the economy artificially juiced up. But by the time I took office in 2009, the bubble had burst, costing millions of Americans their jobs, their homes, and their savings. The decades-long erosion of middle-class security was laid bare for all to see and feel.

Today, five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back.

Together, we saved the auto industry, took on a broken health care system, and invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil and double wind and solar power.

Together, we put in place tough new rules on big banks, and protections that cracked down on the worst practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies. We changed a tax code too skewed in favor of the wealthiest at the expense of working families, locking in tax cuts for 98% of Americans, and asking those at the top to pay a little more.

Add it all up, and over the past 40 months, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs. This year, we are off to our strongest private-sector job growth since 1999. And because we bet on this country, foreign companies are, too. Right now, more of Honda’s cars are made in America than anywhere else. Airbus will build new planes in Alabama. Companies like Ford are replacing outsourcing with insourcing and bringing more jobs home. We sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before. We now produce more natural gas than any country on Earth. We’re about to produce more of our own oil than we buy from abroad for the first time in nearly 20 years. The cost of health care is growing at its slowest rate in 50 years. And our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.

Thanks to the grit and resilience of the American people, we’ve cleared away the rubble from the financial crisis and begun to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. In our personal lives, we tightened our belts, shed debt, and refocused on the things that really matter. As a country, we’ve recovered faster and gone further than most other advanced nations in the world. With new American revolutions in energy, technology, manufacturing, and health care, we are actually poised to reverse the forces that have battered the middle class for so long, and rebuild an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.

But I’m here today to tell you what you already know – we’re not there yet. Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past ten years have continued to flow to the top 1%. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40% since 2009, but the average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. And companies continue to hold back on hiring those who have been out of work for some time.

Today, more students are earning their degree, but soaring costs saddle them with unsustainable debt. Health care costs are slowing, but many working families haven’t seen the savings yet. And while the stock market rebound has helped families get back much of what they lost in their 401ks, millions of Americans still have no idea how they’ll ever be able to retire. In many ways, the trends that I spoke of here in 2005 – of a winner-take-all economy where a few do better and better, while everybody else just treads water – have been made worse by the recession.

This growing inequality isn’t just morally wrong; it’s bad economics. When middle-class families have less to spend, businesses have fewer customers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther apart, it undermines the very essence of this country.

That’s why reversing these trends must be Washington’s highest priority. It’s certainly my highest priority. Unfortunately, over the past couple of years in particular, Washington hasn’t just ignored the problem; too often, it’s made things worse.

We’ve seen a sizable group of Republican lawmakers suggest they wouldn’t vote to pay the very bills that Congress rang up – a fiasco that harmed a fragile recovery in 2011, and one we can’t afford to repeat. Then, rather than reduce our deficits with a scalpel – by cutting programs we don’t need, fixing ones we do, and making government more efficient – this same group has insisted on leaving in place a meat cleaver called the sequester that has cost jobs, harmed growth, hurt our military, and gutted investments in American education and scientific and medical research that we need to make this country a magnet for good jobs.

Over the last six months, this gridlock has gotten worse. A growing number of Republican Senators are trying to get things done, like an immigration bill that economists say will boost our economy by more than a trillion dollars. But a faction of Republicans in the House won’t even give that bill a vote, and gutted a farm bill that America’s farmers and most vulnerable children depend on.

If you ask some of these Republicans about their economic agenda, or how they’d strengthen the middle class, they’ll shift the topic to “out-of-control” government spending – despite the fact that we have cut the deficit by nearly half as a share of the economy since I took office. Or they’ll talk about government assistance for the poor, despite the fact that they’ve already cut early education for vulnerable kids and insurance for people who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Or they’ll bring up Obamacare, despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as they had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no Obamacare.

With an endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. And I am here to say this needs to stop. Short-term thinking and stale debates are not what this moment requires. Our focus must be on the basic economic issues that the matter most to you – the people we represent. And as Washington prepares to enter another budget debate, the stakes for our middle class could not be higher. The countries that are passive in the face of a global economy will lose the competition for good jobs and high living standards. That’s why America has to make the investments necessary to promote long-term growth and shared prosperity. Rebuilding our manufacturing base. Educating our workforce. Upgrading our transportation and information networks. That’s what we need to be talking about. That’s what Washington needs to be focused on.

And that’s why, over the next several weeks, in towns across this country, I will engage the American people in this debate. I will lay out my ideas for how we build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America, and what it takes to work your way into the middle class in America. Job security, with good wages and durable industries. A good education. A home to call your own. Affordable health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. Reducing poverty and inequality. Growing prosperity and opportunity.

Some of these ideas I’ve talked about before, and some will be new. Some will require Congress, and some I will pursue on my own. Some will benefit folks right away; some will take years to fully implement. But the key is to break through the tendency in Washington to careen from crisis to crisis. What we need isn’t a three-month plan, or even a three-year plan, but a long-term American strategy, based on steady, persistent effort, to reverse the forces that have conspired against the middle class for decades.

Of course, we’ll keep pressing on other key priorities, like reducing gun violence, rebalancing our fight against al Qaeda, combating climate change, and standing up for civil rights and women’s rights. But if we don’t have a growing, thriving middle class, we won’t have the resources or the resolve; the optimism or sense of unity that we need to solve these other issues.

In this effort, I will look to work with Republicans as well as Democrats wherever I can. I believe there are members of both parties who understand what’s at stake, and I will welcome ideas from anyone, from across the political spectrum. But I will not allow gridlock, inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way. Whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it. Where I can’t act on my own, I’ll pick up the phone and call CEOs, and philanthropists, and college presidents – anybody who can help – and enlist them in our efforts. Because the choices that we, the people, make now will determine whether or not every American will have a fighting chance in the 21st century.

Let me give you a quick preview of what I’ll be fighting for and why.

The first cornerstone of a strong and growing middle class has to be an economy that generates more good jobs in durable, growing industries. Over the past four years, for the first time since the 1990s, the number of American manufacturing jobs hasn’t gone down; they’ve gone up. But we can do more. So I’ll push new initiatives to help more manufacturers bring more jobs back to America. We’ll continue to focus on strategies to create good jobs in wind, solar, and natural gas that are lowering energy costs and dangerous carbon pollution. And I’ll push to open more manufacturing innovation institutes that turn regions left behind by global competition into global centers of cutting-edge jobs. Let’s tell the world that America is open for business – including an old site right here in Galesburg, over on Monmouth Boulevard.

Tomorrow, I’ll also visit the port of Jacksonville, Florida to offer new ideas for doing what America has always done best: building things. We’ve got ports that aren’t ready for the new supertankers that will begin passing through the new Panama Canal in two years’ time. We’ve got more than 100,000 bridges that are old enough to qualify for Medicare. Businesses depend on our transportation systems, our power grids, our communications networks – and rebuilding them creates good-paying jobs that can’t be outsourced. And yet, as a share of our economy, we invest less in our infrastructure than we did two decades ago. That’s inefficient at a time when it’s as cheap as it’s been since the 1950s. It’s inexcusable at a time when so many of the workers who do this for a living sit idle. The longer we put this off, the more expensive it will be, and the less competitive we will be. The businesses of tomorrow won’t locate near old roads and outdated ports; they’ll relocate to places with high-speed internet; high-tech schools; systems that move air and auto traffic faster, not to mention get parents home to their kids faster. We can watch that happen in other countries, or we can choose to make it happen right here, in America.

In an age when jobs know no borders, companies will also seek out the country that boasts the most talented citizens, and reward them with good pay. The days when the wages for a worker with a high-school degree could keep pace with the earnings of someone who got some higher education are over. Technology and global competition aren’t going away. So we can either throw up our hands and resign ourselves to diminished living standards, or we can do what America has always done: adapt, pull together, fight back and win.

Which brings me to the second cornerstone of a strong middle class: an education that prepares our children and our workers for the global competition they’ll face.

If you think education is expensive, wait until you see how much ignorance costs in the 21st century. If we don’t make this investment, we’ll put our kids, our workers, and our country at a competitive disadvantage for decades. So we must begin in the earliest years. That’s why I’ll keep pushing to make high-quality preschool available to every four year-old in America – not just because we know it works for our kids, but because it provides a vital support system for working parents. I’ll also take action to spur innovation in our schools that don’t require Congress. Today, for example, federal agencies are moving on my plan to connect 99% of America’s students to high-speed internet over the next five years. And we’ve begun meeting with business leaders, tech entrepreneurs, and innovative educators to identify the best ideas for redesigning our high schools so that they teach the skills required for a high-tech economy.

We’ll also keep pushing new efforts to train workers for changing jobs. Here in Galesburg, many of the workers laid off at Maytag chose to enroll in retraining programs like the ones at Carl Sandburg College. And while it didn’t pay off for everyone, many who retrained found jobs that suited them even better and paid even more. That’s why I asked Congress to start a Community College to Career initiative, so that workers can earn the skills that high-tech jobs demand without leaving their hometown. And I’m challenging CEOs from some of America’s best companies to hire more Americans who’ve got what it takes to fill that job opening, but have been laid off so long no one will give their resume an honest look.

I’m also going to use the power of my office over the next few months to highlight a topic that’s straining the budgets of just about every American family – the soaring cost of higher education.

Three years ago, I worked with Democrats to reform the student loan system so that taxpayer dollars stopped padding the pockets of big banks, and instead helped more kids afford college. I capped loan repayments at 10% of monthly income for responsible borrowers. And this week, we’re working with both parties to reverse the doubling of student loan rates that occurred a few weeks ago because of Congressional inaction.

It’s all a good start – but it isn’t enough. Families and taxpayers can’t just keep paying more and more into an undisciplined system; we’ve got to get more out of what we pay for. Some colleges are testing new approaches to shorten the path to a degree, or blending teaching with online learning to help students master material and earn credits in less time. Some states are testing new ways to fund college based not just on how many students enroll, but how well they do. This afternoon, I’ll visit the University of Central Missouri to highlight their efforts to deliver more bang for the buck. And in the coming months, I will lay out an aggressive strategy to shake up the system, tackle rising costs, and improve value for middle-class students and their families.

Now, if a good job and a good education have always been key stepping stones into the middle class, a home of your own has been the clearest expression of middle-class security. That changed during the crisis, when millions of middle-class families saw their home values plummet. Over the past four years, we’ve helped more responsible homeowners stay in their homes, and today, sales are up, prices are up, and fewer Americans see their homes underwater.

But we’re not done yet. The key now is to encourage homeownership that isn’t based on bubbles, but is instead based on a solid foundation, where buyers and lenders play by the same set of rules, rules that are clear, transparent, and fair. Already, I’ve asked Congress to pass a good, bipartisan idea – one that was championed by Mitt Romney’s economic advisor – to give every homeowner the chance to refinance their mortgage and save thousands of dollars a year. I’m also acting on my own to cut red tape for responsible families who want to get a mortgage, but the bank says no. And we’ll work with both parties to turn the page on Fannie and Freddie, and build a housing finance system that’s rock-solid for future generations.

Along with homeownership, the fourth cornerstone of what it means to be middle class in this country is a secure retirement. Unfortunately, over the past decade, too many families watched their retirement recede from their grasp. Today, a rising stock market has millions of retirement balances rising. But we still live with an upside-down system where those at the top get generous tax incentives to save, while tens of millions of hardworking Americans get none at all. As we work to reform our tax code, we should find new ways to make it easier for workers to put money away, and free middle-class families from the fear that they’ll never be able to retire. And if Congress is looking for a bipartisan place to get started, they don’t have to look far: economists show that immigration reform that makes undocumented workers pay their full share of taxes would actually shore up Social Security for years.

Fifth, I will keep focusing on health care, because middle-class families and small business owners deserve the security of knowing that neither illness nor accident should threaten the dreams you’ve worked a lifetime to build.

As we speak, we are well on our way to fully implementing the Affordable Care Act. If you’re one of the 85% of Americans who already have health insurance, you’ve got new benefits and better protections you didn’t have before, like free checkups and mammograms and discounted medicine on Medicare. If you don’t have health insurance, starting October 1st, private plans will actually compete for your business. You can comparison shop in an online marketplace, just like you would for TVs or plane tickets, and buy the one that fits your budget and is right for you. And if you’re in the up to half of all Americans who’ve been sick or have a preexisting condition, this law means that that beginning January 1st, insurance companies finally have to cover you, and at the same rates they charge everybody else.

Now, I know there are folks out there who are actively working to make this law fail. But despite a politically-motivated misinformation campaign, the states that have committed themselves to making this law work are finding that competition and choice are actually pushing costs down. Just last week, New York announced that premiums for consumers who buy their insurance in these online marketplaces will be at least 50% less than what they pay today. That’s right – folks’ premiums in the individual market will drop by 50%. For them, and for the millions of Americans who have been able to cover their sick kids for the first time, or have been able to cover their employees more cheaply, or who will be getting tax breaks to afford insurance for the first time – you will have the security of knowing that everything you’ve worked hard for is no longer one illness away from being wiped out.

Finally, as we work to strengthen these cornerstones of middle-class security, I’m going to make the case for why we need to rebuild ladders of opportunity for all those Americans still trapped in poverty. Here in America, we’ve never guaranteed success. More than some other countries, we expect people to be self-reliant, and we’ve tolerated a little more inequality for the sake of a more dynamic, more adaptable economy. But that’s always been combined with a commitment to upward mobility – the idea that no matter how poor you started, you can make it with hard work and discipline.

Unfortunately, opportunities for upward mobility in America have gotten harder to find over the past 30 years. That’s a betrayal of the American idea. And that’s why we have to do a lot more to give every American the chance to work their way into the middle class.

The best defense against all of these forces – global competition and economic polarization – is the strength of community. We need a new push to rebuild run-down neighborhoods. We need new partnerships with some of the hardest-hit towns in America to get them back on their feet. And because no one who works full-time in America should have to live in poverty, I will keep making the case that we need to raise a minimum wage that in real terms is lower than it was when Ronald Reagan took office. We are not a people who allow chance of birth to decide life’s big winners and losers; and after years in which we’ve seen how easy it can be for any of us to fall on hard times, we cannot turn our backs when bad breaks hit any of our fellow citizens.

Good jobs. A better bargain for the middle class and folks working to join it. An economy that grows from the middle-out. This is where I will focus my energies – not just over the next few months, but for the remainder of my presidency. These are the plans that I will lay out across this country. But I won’t be able to do it alone, and I’ll be calling on all of us to take up this cause.

We’ll need our businesses, the best in the world, to pressure Congress to invest in our future, and set an example by providing decent wages and salaries to their own employees. And I’ll highlight the ones that do just that – companies like Costco, which pays good wages and offers good benefits; or the Container Store, which prides itself on training its workers and on employee satisfaction – because these companies prove that this isn’t just good for their business, it’s good for America.

We’ll need Democrats to question old assumptions, be willing to redesign or get rid of programs that no longer work, and embrace changes to cherished priorities so that they work better in this new age. For if we believe that government can give the middle class a fair shot in this new century, we have an obligation to prove it.

And we’ll need Republicans in Congress to set aside short-term politics and work with me to find common ground. The fact is, there are Republicans in Congress right now who privately agree with me on many of the ideas I’ll be proposing, but worry they’ll face swift political retaliation for saying so. Others will dismiss every idea I put forward either because they’re playing to their most strident supporters, or because they have a fundamentally different vision for America – one that says inequality is both inevitable and just; one that says an unfettered free market without any restraints inevitably produces the best outcomes, regardless of the pain and uncertainty imposed on ordinary families.

In either case, I say to these members of Congress: I am laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot. Now it’s time for you to lay out yours. If you’re willing to work with me to strengthen American manufacturing and rebuild this country’s infrastructure, let’s go. If you have better ideas to bring down the cost of college for working families, let’s hear them. If you think you have a better plan for making sure every American has the security of quality, affordable health care, stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country. If you are serious about a balanced, long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, I’m ready to work – but know that I will not accept deals that do not meet the test of strengthening the prospects of hard-working families.

We’ve come a long way since I first took office. As a country, we’re older and we’re wiser. And as long as Congress doesn’t manufacture another crisis – as long as we don’t shut down the government just as the economy is getting traction, or risk a U.S. default over paying bills we’ve already racked up – we can probably muddle along without taking bold action. Our economy will grow, though slower than it should; new businesses will form, and unemployment will keep ticking down. Just by virtue of our size and our natural resources and the talent of our people, America will remain a world power, and the majority of us will figure out how to get by.

But if that’s our choice – if we just stand by and do nothing in the face of immense change – understand that an essential part of our character will be lost. Our founding precept about wide-open opportunity and each generation doing better than the last will be a myth, not reality. The position of the middle class will erode further. Inequality will continue to increase, and money’s power will distort our politics even more. Social tensions will rise, as various groups fight to hold on to what they have, and the fundamental optimism that has always propelled us forward will give way to cynicism or nostalgia.

That’s not the vision I have for this country. That’s not the vision you have for this country. That is not the America we know. That’s not a vision we should settle for, or pass on to our children. I have now run my last campaign. I do not intend to wait until the next one before tackling the issues that matter. I care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s how to use every minute of the 1,276 days remaining in my term to make this country work for working Americans again. Because I believe this is where America needs to go. I believe this is where the American people want to go. It may seem hard today, but if we are willing to take a few bold steps – if Washington will just shake off its complacency and set aside the kind of slash-and-burn partisanship we’ve seen these past few years – our economy will be stronger a year from now. And five years from now. And ten years from now. More Americans will know the pride of that first paycheck; the satisfaction of flipping the sign to “Open” on their own business; the joy of etching a child’s height into the door of their brand new home.

After all, what makes us special has never been our ability to generate incredible wealth for the few, but our ability to give everyone a chance to pursue their own true measure of happiness. We haven’t just wanted success for ourselves – we’ve wanted it for our neighbors, too. That’s why we don’t call it John’s dream or Susie’s dream or Barack’s dream – we call it the American Dream. That’s what makes this country special – the idea that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you come from or who you love – you can make it if you try.

One of America’s greatest writers, Carl Sandburg, was born right here in Galesburg over a century ago. He saw the railroad bring the world to the prairie, and the prairie send its bounty to the world. He saw the advent of bustling new industries and technologies; he watched populations shift; he saw fortunes made and lost. He saw how change could be painful – how a new age could unsettle long-settled customs and ways of life. But possessed with a frontier optimism, he saw something more on the horizon. “I speak of new cities and new people,” he wrote. “…The past is a bucket of ashes…yesterday is a wind gone down, a sun dropped in the west…there is…only an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrows.”

America, we have made it through the worst of yesterday’s winds. And if we find the courage to keep moving forward; if we set our eyes on the horizon, we too will find an ocean of tomorrows, a sky of tomorrows – for America’s people, and for this great country that we love.

Thank you, God bless you, and God bless the United States of America.

Political Headlines July 24, 2013: President Obama Pivots to Economy… Again

POLITICAL HEADLINES

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

THE HEADLINES….

Obama Pivots to Economy… Again

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages

President Obama will once again try to refocus the public’s attention and the political debate on the economy this week, delivering what’s being billed as a major economic address in his home state of Illinois.

The White House is trying to drum up support for the speech, but it’s a tough sell, given how often the president has launched similar campaigns in recent years….READ MORE

Political Musings July 24, 2013: President Barack Obama to press economic agenda reset button in Knox College speech

POLITICAL MUSINGS

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OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 113TH CONGRESS:

OP-EDS & ARTICLES

Obama to press economic agenda reset button in Knox College speech (Video)

By Bonnie K. Goodman

United States President Barack Obama will begin a renewed focus on the economy and the middle class in what the White House is billing as a major policy address on Wednesday, July 24, 2013 at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois…

Full Text Campaign Buzz October 14, 2011: GOP Presidential Candidate Gov. Rick Perry’s Speech on “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Gov. Perry’s “Energizing American Jobs and Security” Plan Will Spark 1.2 Million Jobs, Reduce Dependence on Hostile Foreign Oil

Source: RickPerry.org, 10-14-11

As President Obama kills domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, Perry plan adds 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home

Gov. Rick Perry today unveiled his Energizing American Jobs and Security plan to spark 1.2 million American jobs, while reducing our nation’s dependence on energy from nations hostile to the U.S. Most of the plan can be implemented through executive branch action, without Congressional action and free of Washington gridlock. Gov. Perry announced his plan at the United States Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant.

Gov. Perry’s full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

“This American jobs plan is based on a simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world,” said Gov. Perry. “We are standing atop the next American economic boom – energy – and the quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.”

Gov. Perry’s Energizing American Jobs and Security plan is the first part of a broader package of economic reforms that he will present to the American people in the coming days. It will create jobs in every sector, reduce our nation’s dependence on hostile foreign oil, revitalize manufacturing and help contain the cost of electricity and fuel.

First, Gov. Perry will open several American energy fields for exploration that are currently limited, including those in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, the Mountain West region and the Northeast Marcellus Shale. These actions will generate billions of dollars in royalty payments that will help pay down our nation’s skyrocketing deficit. Perry also supports the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will transport Canadian oil to U.S. coastal refineries.

The governor also noted the importance of having the states more involved in energy exploration, including decisions to not pursue development in certain valuable areas such as the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park. However, such instances should represent the exception, not the rule.

Second, the governor’s plan will eliminate activist regulations that are on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration, which are estimated to destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. President Rick Perry will call for immediate review of such rules and implementation of cost-benefit analyses to determine their impact on American employers and the environment.

“If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980,” Gov. Perry said. “And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.”

The governor will also specifically remove the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) authority to regulate greenhouse gases, which was provided under a controversial ruling by a federal court without the approval of Congress.

Third, Gov. Perry pledged to work with Congress to dismantle the EPA in its current state and rebuild a scaled down agency focused on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. He said, “I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.”

Lastly, Gov. Perry will level the playing field among all energy producers, working with Congress to phase out direct subsidies and tax credits that distort the energy marketplace. He will however preserve tax incentives for research and development. Gov. Perry will also put an end to the Obama Administration’s agenda-driven hostility toward coal and natural gas, which provide roughly two-thirds of American electricity, noting that technologies in place today and currently under development can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

“I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment,” the governor said. “It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

“The choice in this election is between two very different visions for our country. When it comes to energy, the president would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home. President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential. The president’s energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, while my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.”

Gov. Perry concluded, “It’s time to end the over-regulation, excess litigation, and bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.”

Gov. Perry has a proven record of upholding responsible energy production while protecting both jobs and the environment. Rick Perry’s Texas is the nation’s number one job creator and number one energy producer, while successfully cleaning the air. Texas has reduced NOX emissions by 58 percent and ozone by 27 percent since 2000, more than any other state.

A summary of Gov. Perry’s “Energizing America: Jobs and Security” plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-and-security-summary and the full plan can be viewed at http://www.rickperry.org/energizing-american-jobs-html.

To view the governor’s remarks, please visit http://www.rickperry.org/news/pittsburg-gov-rick-perrys-full-remarks-on-energizing-american-jobs/.

 

Pittsburgh: Gov. Rick Perry’s Full Remarks on Energizing American Jobs

October 14, 2011 – U.S. Steel Mon Valley Irvin Plant, Pittsburgh

Thank you for joining me today. I want to say a special thanks to Jim Garraux and the men and women of US Steel for having us here today. It is great to be on the outskirts of Pittsburgh, a city built on the work, hopes and dreams of blue-collar American workers.

The central issue facing Americans is a lack of jobs.

Fourteen million Americans are without work. One in six Americans cannot find a full-time job.  Forty-five million Americans are on food stamps. And 48 percent of American households have at least one resident receiving government benefits.

Though our president has labeled Americans as soft, I believe our people have toughed it out the best they can. But they are looking for leadership and optimism, which are all too rare in Washington today.

What I am proposing today is the first part of an economic growth package that will rebuild the engine of American prosperity.

The plan I present this morning, Energizing American Jobs and Security, will kick-start economic growth and create 1.2 million jobs.

It can be implemented quicker and free of Washington gridlock because it doesn’t require congressional action. Through a series of executive orders, and other executive actions, we will begin the process of creating jobs soon after the inauguration of a new president.

There is, of course, an important role for Congress to play. And in a matter of days I will offer to the American people a broader package of economic reforms that I will take to Congress when I am elected President. My complete economic growth package will tackle tax reform, entitlement reform and real spending reductions in order to address our growing debt crisis.

But today I offer a plan that will create more than a million good, American jobs across every sector of the economy and enhance our national security, and the best news is it can be set in motion in my first 100 days.

My plan is based on this simple premise: Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

We are standing atop the next American economic boom…energy.

The quickest way to give our economy a shot in the arm is to deploy American ingenuity to tap American energy. But we can only do that if environmental bureaucrats are told to stand down.

My plan will break the grip of dependence we have today on foreign oil from hostile nations like Venezuela and unstable nations in the Middle East to grow jobs and our economy at home.

America has proven but untapped supplies of natural gas, oil and coal. America is the Saudi Arabia of coal with 25 percent of the world’s supply. Our country contains up to 134 billion barrels of oil and nearly 1.2 quadrillion cubic feet of natural gas.

We have the resources we need to fuel our cars, our homes and our power plants. They can be found in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, New Mexico, Alabama, Kentucky throughout the American West and, of course, Alaska.

But President Obama and his over-reaching Environmental Protection Agency won’t allow American businesses and American labor to draw on even a fraction of this domestic energy from reserves on government-owned lands.

On one hand, the Obama Administration opposes fossil fuel development at home, and then on the other hand encourages countries like Brazil to drill offshore and sell it to American consumers, creating foreign jobs and foreign profits

That’s wrong. That’s hypocritical. That’s unfair. America should not be, and when I am president will not be, held hostage by foreign oil and federal bureaucrats.

The American economy should not be beaten into the ground when greater energy independence and lower energy costs lie right under American soil.

My plan will create jobs in every sector, revitalize manufacturing, and contain the cost of electricity and fuel through four concrete actions.

First, we will open several American oil and gas fields for exploration that are currently off limits because of political considerations. The current administration has restricted exploration in the Gulf of Mexico, Alaska, and the mid-Atlantic.

In the Gulf of Mexico, the median time for review of permits for combined deepwater exploration and development has increased 400 percent, while deepwater exploration and development plan approvals have dropped by nearly 80 percent.

The Department of Interior has stopped off-shore exploration off the coast of Virginia over the objections of the Virginia congressional delegation, which has passed a bill in the House to achieve the will of their people. That bill is also supported by their Democratic senators, Webb and Warner.

With a series of executive orders and other executive actions, I will authorize the following:

I will work to open up Alaska’s abundant resources to oil and gas exploration, including the ANWR Coastal Plain and the National Petroleum Reserve of Alaska. In this one instance, we will need congressional authorization. But it is worth it when you consider we will create 120,000 jobs.

We will initiate off-shore exploration in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas off the northern and western coasts of Alaska. This will create 55,000 jobs.

We will resume pre-Obama levels of exploration in the Gulf of Mexico and create another 230,000 jobs.

I will support the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline to take Canadian Crude to coastal refineries, which would create 20,000 direct jobs for American workers.

We will begin tapping the energy potential of the American West, opening up federal and private lands for exploration in states like Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Colorado and Utah. Collectively, our western states have the potential to produce 1.3 million barrels of oil per day by 2020 and contain 87 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.

They can produce more energy than what we import from Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Venezuela and Russia combined!

And right here in Pennsylvania, and across the state line in West Virginia and Ohio, we will tap the full potential of the Marcellus Shale and create another 250, 000 jobs by getting the EPA out of the way.  While Marcellus shale is today’s opportunity, the deeper Utica shale formations offer equally vast potential with more jobs over the horizon for Pennsylvania and its neighbors.

The benefits of the boom in American natural gas production are also demonstrated in manufacturing and production. We see that right here at U.S. Steel’s Mon Valley Works Plant that employs more than three thousand workers, many of whom make the steel products other companies use to develop the Marcellus Shale today.

The face of manufacturing in industrial states has changed rapidly. Natural gas exploration is a game-changer that can bring new opportunities to replace the ones that have been lost. Development of natural gas will create jobs in the supply chain and lead to lower energy costs for manufacturers.

Western Pennsylvania is known for producing great quarterbacks I want Western Pennsylvania to Quarterback a new energy revolution that creates jobs all across America.

Not only will we create jobs by expanding energy exploration, we will use the revenues generated to pay down the deficit.

At the same time, where America has ecological treasures, like the Everglades or Yellowstone National Park, we will not explore for energy.

As we roll back federal control, we seek greater cooperation with the states. And if states oppose energy exploration, we will respect that decision. But these instances represent the exception, not the rule.

It is equally important that we take a second step: eliminate activist regulations already on the books and under consideration by the Obama Administration.

While President Obama has been very public about his newest jobs proposal, behind the scenes the permanent bureaucracy is working to grind the economy to a halt in pursuit of activist regulations. A raft of new rules and foot-dragging by the EPA and Interior Department are killing job creation.

Examples include the Utility Maximum Available Control Technology rule, the Boiler MACT rule, the Cross State Air Pollution Rule, the proposed Coal Combustion Residuals regulation and Section 316 (b) of the Clean Water Act.

These new rules alone could destroy up to 2.4 million American jobs by 2020 and add $127 billion in costs to electric providers and consumers. Under my plan, each of these rules would be subject to an immediate review with a cost-benefit analysis to determine the impact on American employers and the environment.

If we face the facts, we know that none of these rules were needed to reduce emissions of the six principal pollutants by 50 percent since 1980. And they are not needed now, especially as our economy hangs in a fragile balance between recovery and recession.

I will take another step important to economic growth: I will stop the EPA’s draconian measures related to the regulation of greenhouse gases.

When you consider that any carbon reduction will be offset by the increase of carbon emissions by developing nations like China and India, the EPA would tie our economy in knots and advantage our global competitors while realizing no global environmental benefits in the process.

The third part of my plan is to reform the bureaucracy, in particular the EPA, so that it focuses on regional and cross-state issues, providing scientific research, as well as environmental analysis and cost-comparison studies to support state environmental organizations. We will return greater regulatory authority to the states to manage air and water quality rather than imposing one-size-fits-all federal rules.

I reject the notion that Washington is more committed to environmental stewardship than state and local officials who must live with the consequences of their own environmental policies.

The fourth component of my plan is to level the competitive playing field among all energy producers.

As the governor of the nation’s leading producer of wind energy, I clearly believe there is an important role for green sources of energy as a part of our generation mix. The fact is, every energy producer receives incentives and subsidies that cost taxpayers and distort the marketplace.

My plan will stop the practice of Washington writing subsidy checks to any and all sectors of the energy industry. It will also stop industry-specific tax credits, phasing out both over a period of time, allowing the market time to adjust.

We will, however, preserve tax incentives for research and development.

We believe the best way to invest in emerging technology is to allow private industry the freedom to develop it. The shocking reality concerning Obama energy policy is high energy prices are not an accident, but intentional.

From an energy secretary who said he wanted European prices for fuel, to a president who said it was necessary to raise the price of electricity, this Administration has intentionally sought to make conventional generation from coal and natural gas more costly, taking more out of the pockets of American families.

And the reason why is they want to drive consumers to green energy. But we don’t produce enough green energy to fill the void, so the result is greater reliance on foreign sources of energy.

Increasing the use of green energy is a laudable goal. We have done it successfully in my state. But we have used renewable sources to expand the energy supply not replace conventional generation.

Natural gas and coal are responsible for roughly two-thirds of the electricity generated in this country. How can we have stable and affordable electricity when federal agencies target America’s top two fuel generation sources for electricity?

Hostility to coal is not confined to this Administration, it has wrongly been targeted by some members of my own party. I take a different view: I welcome the continued development of coal as an important part of job creation in America. Allowing industry to invest in research and development is the best way to pursue clean coal technology.

I do not accept the false choice that we must pick between energy and the environment. It is time for a balanced, pro-American, pro-jobs energy policy.

Technologies in place today, and under development, can ensure cleaner development of conventional sources.

The EPA’s war on American fossil fuel production comes despite the fact they can’t point to a single incident of unsafe hydraulic fracturing of natural gas. If they have their way in shutting down gas and coal production, the Obama legacy will be more than 2.4 million energy jobs lost in oil, gas and coal.

The choice this election is between two very different visions for our country.

When it comes to energy, the President would kill domestic jobs through aggressive regulations, while I would create 1.2 million American jobs through safe and aggressive energy exploration at home.

President Obama would keep us more dependent on hostile sources of foreign energy, while my plan would make us more secure by tapping America’s true energy potential.

His energy policies are driven by the concerns of activists in his party, my policies are driven by the concerns of American workers without jobs.

We must get America working again. A big part of the solution is under our feet and off our coast.

It can be done without being mired in Washington gridlock, because a president has all the authority he needs to rollback intrusive regulations, create energy jobs, and make our nation more secure.

Creating jobs in America is as simple as changing presidents. That is the choice facing Americans.

America needs jobs. America needs energy. America needs a “made in America” energy revolution.

I have the long-time experience and track record of success in this critical area for American jobs and economic growth to create a new wave of American independence – energy independence.

End the over-regulation. End the excess litigation. End the bureaucratic intimidation. Let’s get back to what works to get America working again.

Make what Americans buy, buy what Americans make, and sell it to the world.

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