Full Text Campaign Buzz August 8, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speeches at Campaign Events in Stamford & Westport Connecticut Calls Mitt Romney Is ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’

CAMPAIGN 2012

CAMPAIGN BUZZ 2012

THE HEADLINES….

Obama: Romney Is ‘Robin Hood in Reverse’; Romney Says Obama Will Raise Your Taxes

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Unveiling a new zinger against his opponent, President Obama Monday night said Mitt Romney’s tax plan amounts to “Robin Hood in reverse” because it would take money from the poor to help the rich.

“It’s Romney Hood,” the president said to uproarious laughter and applause from supporters in Stamford, Conn.

The president pointed to a recent study by the Tax Policy Center that found Romney’s economic plan would raise taxes on the majority of Americans to give tax breaks to the super wealthy….READ MORE

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Westport, CT

Source: WH, 8-6-12
Private Residence
Westport, Connecticut

8:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Well, it is wonderful to be here.  And there are just a couple of people I want to acknowledge.  First of all, obviously Harvey and Georgina have just been great friends and have done so much for us — not just in this election, but in the previous one.  A couple of other people who I want to mention — your Governor, Dan Malloy, is here, who’s doing outstanding work here in Connecticut.  (Applause.)

I want to thank Anne Hathaway for taking the time to host us.  She’s spectacular.  (Laughter.)   And I did get a chance to see Batman.  (Laughter.)  And she was the best thing in it.  (Laughter.)  That’s just my personal opinion.  Aaron Sorkin, who writes the way every Democrat in Washington wished they spoke.  (Laughter and applause.)  Aaron, thank you.

And Joanne Woodward — what a treat this is.  Joanne and Paul were not only I think what was best about American film, but also just embodied the American spirit in so many ways.  And their love story and the way they took so many people under their wing and helped so many people I think made them something more important than just folks in film.  And for her to be here, what a great treat that is.  So thank you so much for taking the time.  (Applause.)  Thank you.

Now, you know, in these kind of intimate settings, I usually don’t make a long speech because what I want to do is have a conversation.  And so let me just say a few things at the top.

I’ll give you a sense of the kind of season we’re in.  Jim Messina, my campaign manager, tells this story.  He was at an event like this, and there was a young couple; they had a four-year-old boy, cute as can be.  And during this campaign event, there was a picture of me there.  And so the parents, very proudly, prompt the son, “Who is that?”  And he says, “That’s Barack Obama.”  And they say, “Well, and what does Barack Obama do?”  And he thinks for a second, and he says, “Barack Obama approves this message.”  (Laughter and applause.)

Now, that speaks to the state of affairs in politics today.  (Laughter.)  Unless you have — you don’t have a TV set or your cable is busted, you’re seeing an awful lot of stuff about politics.  And the reason I think there’s so much intensity is because we’ve got a choice that is as stark and as critical as any that we’ve seen in my lifetime — in some ways, more important than 2008.

In 2008, we came together — and it wasn’t just Democrats, it was independents and some Republicans — because we recognized that for over a decade the core idea at the heart of this country was at risk — the idea that if you work hard, that hard work is rewarded; that you can make it here if you try, regardless of what you look like, where you come from, what your last name is.

And for a decade, we had seen job growth slow and we had seen jobs moving overseas, and we had seen people working harder and harder but coming up with less because the costs were going up a lot faster than their wages and their incomes.  And this all culminated in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

We have spent three and a half years, a little over three and a half years now, trying to make sure that this country gets back on its feet.  And because of the extraordinary resilience of the American people, we have seen signs of recovery — 4.5 million new jobs, half a million new manufacturing jobs, an auto industry that is reinvigorated.

But we didn’t work this hard in 2008 just to get back to where we were in 2007.  Our notion was that we needed to rebuild a country where the foundations for people who were willing to act responsibly were there for them either to feel security in the middle class or to climb into the middle class — and maybe do even better.  And that means making sure that we have an education system that works — which is why we’ve initiated more aggressive education reform across the country than any President in a very long time; and the reason that we put so much emphasis on making college more affordable for young people.

It meant health care, because in a country this wealthy, we shouldn’t go bankrupt when we get sick.  And the Affordable Care Act means that 30 million people will have health insurance, but it also means that people who already have health insurance have a little more security.

We did an event just before we came here, and there was a woman who clearly is doing fine and is well-insured, but she personally thanked me for the health care bill because she said, my husband just got cancer and we weren’t sure whether we were going to hit that $1 million limit on our insurance policy.  Well, that limit is no longer allowed under the Affordable Care Act — which means they may not lose their house because of an illness.  (Applause.)

It means making investments in science and research that are what made us an economic superpower.  It means having a tax code that’s fair so that we bring down our deficit not on the backs of folks who are struggling, but we ask those of us who are — who’ve been incredibly blessed by this country to do a little bit more, understanding that when folks in the middle and the bottom are doing well, everybody does well and the economy grows.

It means a foreign policy that recognizes the force of our example and our ideals and our capacity to engage with countries diplomatically is a complement to our incredible military power.  And it’s not a sign of weakness to say that we are going to reach out around the world and engage people.

So we’ve had a lot of work to do over the last three and a half years, and we’re not done.  We’re just — we’ve gotten on track, but these gains are reversible.  And you’ve got the other party and the other candidate who don’t just want to reverse the gains that we’ve made over the last three and a half years, but in many ways want to reverse gains we’ve made over the last 40, 0r 50, or 60 years.

When you look at their budget, and they say that they want to initiate a $5 trillion tax cut on top of the Bush tax cut, what that functionally means is that either you blow up the deficit by another $5 trillion — which they say is irresponsible — or you’re going to have to eliminate funding for education, for infrastructure, for basic science and research.  Medicare is going to be a voucher system, which means that seniors may end up paying thousands of dollars more for care that they were counting on.

When Mitt Romney says he wants to eliminate funding for Planned Parenthood I think he means it.  When he says that Arizona is a model for how we should deal with immigration, I think that fundamentally misunderstands that we’re a nation of laws but also a nation of immigrants.

So on a whole host of issues, you’ve got very stark differences.  And the good news is that you guys are the tie-breaker.  You and the American people.  And when you walk into that ballot box — or don’t walk into the ballot box.  That’s the second time I’ve said this today.  (Laughter.)  When you walk into the voting booth — it’s illegal, I’m sure, to walk into a ballot box.  (Laughter.)  When you cast your ballot, you will have the opportunity to determine the course of this country’s direction not just tomorrow, or next year, or five years from now, but probably for decades to come.

And the great privilege of being President is you interact with people from every walk of life, from every corner of the country.  And what you discover is the faith that I brought into this office in the American people — their core decency and their values and their resilience and their fundamental fairness — they have never disappointed me.  And I’m confident that they won’t this time either, despite the fact that we’ve got all these negative ads raining down on our heads, and super PACs running around with folks writing $10 million checks — because when the American people focus and are paying attention, their instincts are sound and they know what makes this country great.

That’s what we’re going to be fighting for, and we’ve got 90 days to do it.  So I hope you guys are onboard.  Thank you very much.  (Applause.)

END
8:10 P.M. EDT

 

Remarks by the President at Campaign Event — Stamford, CT

Source: WH, 8-6-12
Stamford Marriott Hotel
Stamford, Connecticut

6:35 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you so much.  (Applause.)  Well, it is wonderful to be back in Connecticut.  A couple of people I want to give a shout-out to — first of all, your outstanding Governor, Dan Malloy, is here.  (Applause.)  Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman is here.  (Applause.)  Senator Dick Blumenthal is here.  (Applause.)  A outstanding trio of Congressmen — Rosa DeLauro, Jim Himes, Chris Murphy.  (Applause.)  And please give it up for Ben Harper.  (Applause.)  We are so grateful to him.

It was my birthday this weekend.  (Applause.)  I was 51 years old.  Michelle says I don’t look a day over 50.  (Laughter.)  She was pointing out, I think in the last week you’ve gotten more gray hair.  (Laughter.)  But that’s okay.

Obviously I know that all of you have been spending most of this week rooting for our unbelievable athletes in London.  (Applause.)  On the flight over here, I’ve got to admit I was spending most of my time watching U.S. women’s soccer.  They won, by the way, 4 to 3 — (applause.)  It was a tight game.  And it’s just an extraordinary reminder of the fact that even when we’ve got political differences, when it comes to our love of this country and the incredible people who represent us, we are unified.  And it’s a very gratifying feeling during the course of a political season, where sometimes the fact that we are unified around so many important things gets hidden.

But unless you’ve been able to hide from your television, or your cable is broke — (laughter) — you are aware that there is a pretty intense campaign going on right now.  And it’s a healthy thing because that’s what our democracy is about.  Sometimes it’s messy and folks get excited.  But in this election in particular, the reason that there is such an intensity is because the choice that we face in November could not be bigger.  Could not be bigger.

It’s not just a choice between two candidates or two political parties.  More than any election in recent memory, it is a choice about two fundamentally different paths for our country.  And the direction that we choose — the direction that you choose when you step into that ballot box in November — in that voting booth — I guess you shouldn’t step into the ballot box.  (Laughter.)  Step into the voting booth.  That’s probably illegal.  (Laughter.)  The impact that you’ll have not just on our lives, but on our kids and our grandkids for decades to come is remarkable.

Now, four years ago, we came together — and it wasn’t just Democrats, we had independents and Republicans coming together to restore that basic bargain that made America an economic superpower, made us the most prosperous economy in the world.  And it’s a bargain that says if you work hard in this country, then your work should be rewarded.  It’s an idea that says if you put in enough effort, if you act responsibly, then you can find a job that pays the bills, and you can afford a home that you can call our own, and you can count on health care if you get sick, and put away a little bit for retirement, and most importantly, give your kids the kind of education that allows them to dream even bigger and do even better than you did.

That’s at the core of what America is about.  That’s the American promise.  And we understood that restoring it wouldn’t be easy.  We had gone through a decade in which jobs were being shipped overseas and job growth was sluggish and incomes were falling even as the costs of health care and college and gas and groceries were going up.  So we understood that it was going to take more than one year, or one term, or even one President to meet these challenges.

And that was before the middle class was hammered by the worst economic crisis in most of our lifetimes — a crisis that robbed many of our friends and neighbors of the security of a job, or their homes, or their savings.  That crisis pushed the American Dream even further out of reach for too many working people.

But one of the great privileges of being President is you get to see Americans from every walk of life, and one consistent theme is we don’t buckle, we don’t break, we’re tougher than tough times.  And so over the last three and a half years, we have devoted ourselves to bringing this country back to where it needs to be.

And we’re not there yet, but we created 4.5 million new jobs and 500,000 in manufacturing.  (Applause.)  An auto industry that was on its knees has come roaring back.  We’ve said that we’ve got to make college more accessible, and been able to provide millions of more young people access to higher education.  We made sure that in a country as remarkable as ours that nobody is going to go bankrupt when they get sick.  (Applause.)

And through all these battles, through all these struggles, understanding that we’re not where we need to be, what we’ve constantly been able to affirm is that this economic crisis didn’t change our character.  It didn’t change who we are.  It didn’t change what made us great.  It didn’t change our determination and our resilience.

And what also hasn’t changed is what we came together for in 2008.  It’s just made our mission that much more urgent.  We are here to build an economy where work pays off so that no matter what you look like or where you come from, you can make it here if you try.  That’s what this campaign is about.  (Applause.)  That’s what this campaign is about, Connecticut, and that’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

And we understand there are no quick fixes or easy solutions to these challenges, but we know that we have the capacity to meet them.  We’ve got the best workers in the world. We’ve got the best entrepreneurs in the world.  We have the best scientists and the best researchers in the world.  We have the best universities and the best colleges in the world.  We are a young nation, and we’ve got the greatest diversity of talent and ingenuity from every corner of the globe.  (Applause.)  So, no matter what the naysayers may say, no matter how dark the picture they try to paint, there’s not another country on Earth that wouldn’t gladly trade places with the United States of America.  (Applause.)

So what’s standing in our way right now is not the lack of technical solutions to the deficit or to education or to energy.  What’s standing in our way is our politics — the uncompromising view that says we should be going back to the old, top-down economics that got us into this mess in the first place.  (Applause.)

And I don’t exaggerate when it comes to how my opponent and his allies in Congress view this economy.  They believe — and this is the sum total of their economic package — that if we give more tax breaks to some of the wealthiest Americans, and we get rid of regulations that keep our air clean and our water clean and make sure consumers aren’t getting cheated and make sure insurance companies aren’t taking advantage of you, that somehow prosperity will rain down on everybody.  That’s their theory.  That’s the path they’re proposing.  That’s where they will take us if we [sic] win.  It is on Mr. Romney’s website.  It is in the form of a bill that passed through the House of Representatives by this Republican Congress.

In fact, the entire centerpiece of Mitt Romney’s economic plan is a new $5 trillion tax cut.  And we’ve known for a while that a lot of this tax cut would go to the wealthiest 1 percent of all households.  But just last week, an independent, non-partisan organization crunched the numbers.  They went through what would it mean to add a $5 trillion tax cut.  Just to give you a sense of perspective here — our entire defense budget is about — it’s over $500 billion a year, but it’s less than $600 billion.

So you’re talking about each year, a tax cut that’s equivalent of our defense budget for the next 10 years.  And what this policy center did was — it just ran the numbers — if you wanted to actually pay for that, what would that mean.  And they determined that Governor Romney’s plan would effectively raise taxes on middle-class families with children by an average of $2,000 — to pay for this tax cut.  Not to reduce the deficit.  Not to invest in things that grow our economy, like education or roads or basic research.  He’d ask the middle class to pay more in taxes so that he could give another $250,000 tax cut to people making more than $3 million a year.

AUDIENCE:  Booo —

THE PRESIDENT:  It’s like Robin Hood in reverse.  (Laughter.)  It’s Romney Hood.  (Applause.)

And if this sounds like an idea that’s difficult to explain or sell to the American people, you’d be right.  (Laughter.)  So there were all kinds of different gymnastics being performed by the Romney campaign last week.  They have tried to sell us this trickle-down, tax cut fairy dust before.  And guess what — it does not work.  It didn’t work then; it won’t work now.  It’s not a plan to create jobs.  It’s not a plan to reduce our deficit.  And it is not a plan to move our economy forward.

We do not need — I do not need a tax cut.  We need tax cuts for working Americans.  We need tax cuts for families who are trying to raise kids, and keep them healthy, and send them to college, and keep a roof over their heads.

So that’s the choice in this election.  That’s what this is about.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President of the United States.  (Applause.)

See, I’ve got a different plan for America.  Four years ago, I promised to cut middle-class taxes — that’s exactly what I’ve done, by a total of about $3,600 for the typical family.  (Applause.)  So I want to keep taxes exactly where they are for the first $250,000 of everybody’s income.  If your family makes under $250,000 — like 98 percent of Americans do — you will not see your income taxes increase by a single dime next year.

And if you’re fortunate enough — as many of you are, as I am — to be in the other 2 percent, you still keep the tax cut on the first $250,000 of your income.  All we’re asking is that, after that, you contribute a little bit more so we can pay down our deficit and invest in things like education that will help us grow.  (Applause.)

And by the way, we’re going to make sure that government does its part.  Government is going to have to cut away the spending that we don’t need.  We’ve already cut a trillion dollars’ worth of spending that wasn’t necessary, and we can find more.  Members of Congress here are committed to doing that.  We can’t waste taxpayer dollars.  But we’re not going to pay for a massive new tax cut for folks who don’t need it by gutting investments that have always kept the middle class strong.

We’re going to have to make sure that college is affordable.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re rebuilding our infrastructure.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re investing in science and technology in this competitive 21st century economy.  We’ve got to make sure that Medicare is there for our seniors after they’ve worked hard all their lives.  And we can do all that simply by having folks like me go back to the rates that we paid under Bill Clinton.  And if you remember, that was when the economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and a whole lot of millionaires to boot.  (Applause.)

The interesting thing when you look at our economic history is, when a construction worker has got some money in his pocket, he goes out and buys a new car.  When a teacher is getting paid a decent wage, that means they can maybe take their family to a restaurant once in a while.  And when the middle class is doing well, then business is doing well, and those at the top do well.  Everybody does well.  That’s what we believe in — an economy that grows from the middle class out and the bottom up.  That’s the choice in this election.  That’s why I’m running for a second term as President.  (Applause.)

But, look, we’re going to have — that’s just on tax policy and fiscal issues.  There are going to be contrasts throughout this election.  When the American auto industry was on the brink of collapse, more than 1 million jobs on the line, Governor Romney said, let’s “let Detroit go bankrupt.”  I refused to turn back on a great American industry and its workers.  We bet on America’s workers.  Three years later, the American auto industry has come roaring back.  (Applause.)

So I want to make sure that this happens not just in the auto industry; let’s replicate that.  There are manufacturing opportunities — advanced manufacturing, high-tech manufacturing opportunities all across America, because I want those jobs here — not in China, not in Germany.  I want them in Connecticut.  I want them in the United States of America.  (Applause.)

And so Governor Romney extolls his experience in the private sector, investing in companies that have been called “pioneers” of outsourcing.  I believe in insourcing.  I want to give — I want to take away tax breaks for companies shipping jobs overseas.  Let’s give them to companies that are investing right here in Connecticut, investing in American workers.  (Applause.)

I said in 2008 I wanted to end the war in Iraq — we ended it.  (Applause.)  I said we’d go after bin Laden — we got him.  (Applause.)  I said that we would blunt the Taliban’s momentum, and now we can begin transitioning our troops home.  And so, after a decade of war, I think it’s time to do some nation-building here at home.  (Applause.)

Our freedom was secured because of the courage and selflessness of our men and women in the United States armed forces.  I want to make sure that they don’t have to scramble for a job when they come home.  I want to make sure that we’re investing in a Veterans Job Corps that can give them a chance to go back to work.  I want to make sure that they’re getting the services that they need.  We can take half the savings that we spent on war, and let’s use it to do some nation-building here in the United States of America.  Let’s rebuild America — rebuilding schools, rebuilding roads, hiring our veterans, making sure they get the care that they have earned.  That’s the choice in this election.  (Applause.)

Because Mr. Romney has got a different idea — he said me ending the war in Iraq was “tragic.”  (Laughter.)  I disagree.  (Laughter.)  That’s the choice in this election.

Connecticut, I’m running to make sure that America once again is a leader in educating our kids and training our workers.  I want to help our schools hire and reward the best teachers, especially in math and science.  (Applause.)  Let’s give 2 million more Americans the chance to go to community colleges and get the skills that local businesses are looking for right now.  We’ve already done a lot to make millions of young people in a better place to be able to go to college, but I want to also work to help colleges and universities bring the cost of tuition down once and for all.  Higher education cannot be a luxury; it is a economic necessity that every American should be able to afford.  (Applause.)

When it comes to the housing market, Mr. Romney says just let foreclosures bottom out.  I don’t think that’s a solution — I think that’s the problem.  I want to give every American homeowner the opportunity to take advantage of historically low rates and refinance their homes, save $3,000, use that money to recirculate in the economy.  (Applause.)  That will help the entire economy grow and improve the housing market.

I’m running because I continue to believe that no American should go broke because they get sick.  Health care was the right thing to do.  The Supreme Court has spoken.  We are implementing it now.  (Applause.)  That’s a choice in this election.

I believe it was the right thing to do to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  You shouldn’t have to hide who you love to serve the country that you love.  (Applause.)  That’s a choice in this election.

I don’t believe that it is Congress’s job to take away the decisions around women’s health.  I think women should be in charge of their own health care.  That’s a choice in this election.  (Applause.)

So all these things, Connecticut — whether it’s bringing manufacturing and construction jobs back, or protecting your health care, or making sure our children get the best education they deserve, or making sure that veterans get the care that they have earned — all these things that help make up a middle-class life, they all tie together.  They’re all central to the idea that made this country great — the promise that if you work hard, you can get ahead.  The same promise our parents and our grandparents passed down to us.  And now it’s our responsibility to make sure that our children and grandchildren can enjoy that same American Dream.

And over the course of the next three months, the other side is going to spend more money than we have ever seen on ads that basically say the same thing you’ve been hearing for months.  They know their economics theory won’t sell, so their ads are going to say the same thing over and over again, which is:  The economy is not where it needs to be and it’s Obama’s fault.  I mean, there will be variations on the theme, but it’s basically — (laughter) — that’s basically their message.

And I’m not exaggerating.  Their strategists admit it.  They say, you know, we’re not going to put out any plans.  We’re just going to see if this works.  (Laughter.)  Now, that may be a plan to win the election, but that’s not a plan to create jobs.  That’s not a plan to grow the economy or revive the middle class.

They don’t have that plan.  I do.  (Applause.)  So, Connecticut, let me say this.  When you’re talking to your friends and your neighbors, and they’re saying, well, I don’t know, I’m not sure — you just tell them, look, if you believe that a plan to just cut taxes and eliminate regulations is going to make our economy stronger, even if it means gutting investments in education or infrastructure or science, if you want an America that essentially sets our sights lower, then by all means send these folks to Washington for the next few years.

AUDIENCE:  No!

THE PRESIDENT:  But you need to ask your friends and your neighbors, you need to ask them wouldn’t you be better off if we kept fighting for the things that always made us strong — (applause) — if we fight to make sure more of our students can afford to go to college?  Won’t we be better off if we kept developing new sources of American energy?  Won’t we be better off if we invest in manufacturing and we’re selling goods around the world stamped with three proud words:  Made in America?  Five years from now, or 10 years from now, or 20 years from now, won’t we be better off if we had the courage to keep working and to keep fighting and moving forward — understanding that it’s not easy — change has never been easy.  I told you in 2008, it wasn’t easy.  And I told you I’m not a perfect man.  I told you I wouldn’t be a perfect President.  But I always said that I’d tell you what I thought and where I stood.  And, most of all, I told you I would wake up every single day, fighting as hard as I knew how to make your lives a little bit better.  (Applause.)

And, Connecticut, I have kept that promise.  I’ve kept that promise, because I still believe in you.  And if you still believe in me, and you’re willing to stand with me, and knock on some doors for me, make some phone calls with me, work hard and organize and mobilize with me for the next three months, we will finish what we started in 2008, and we will show the world why the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.  (Applause.)

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

END
6:58 P.M EDT

 

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Full Text Obama Presidency August 3, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech on Extending Middle-Class Tax Breaks — Obama & Mitt Romney Hold High Noon Duel Over Jobs

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama, Romney Hold High Noon Duel Over Jobs

JEWEL SAMAD/FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images

President Obama and Mitt Romney held a high noon showdown on the economy today, with both men delivering live, televised statements on jobs, taxes and economic growth at the exact same time.

As Romney spoke outside a small business in Las Vegas, Obama surrounded himself with a group of middle-class Americans in Washington to praise the July jobs report and continue his push to put Romney on the defensive on taxes.

“This morning we learned that our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the month of July. That means that we’ve now created 4.5 million over the last 29 months and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year,” Obama said. “Those are our neighbors and family members finding work and the security that comes with work.”…READ MORE

President Obama on Extending Middle-Class Tax Breaks

President Obama on Extending Middle-Class Tax Breaks

Remarks by the President on Tax Cuts for the Middle Class

Source: WH, 8-3-12

South Court Auditorium

12:00 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Good morning.  Thank you.  Thank you so much.  Everybody, please have a seat.  Have a seat.  Well, it is great to see all of you, and I hope you guys are having a wonderful summer.

I am joined here today by moms and dads, husbands and wives, middle-class Americans who work hard every single day to provide for their families.  And like most Americans, they work hard and they don’t ask for much.  They do expect, however, that their hard work is going to pay off.  They want to know that if they put in enough effort, if they are acting responsibly, then they can afford to pay the bills; that they can afford to own a home that they call their own; that they can afford to secure their retirement; and most of all, that they can afford to give their kids greater opportunity — that their children and grandchildren can achieve things that they didn’t even imagine.

Every single decision that I make is focused on giving them that chance — because if we want to keep moving this country forward, these are the folks who are going to get us there.

This morning, we learned that our businesses created 172,000 new jobs in the month of July.  That means that we’ve now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months — and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year.  Those are our neighbors and family members finding work, and the security that comes with work.

But let’s acknowledge, we’ve still got too many folks out there who are looking for work.  We’ve got more work to do on their behalf — not only to reclaim all the jobs that were lost during the recession, but also to reclaim the kind of financial security that too many Americans have felt was slipping away from them for too long.

And we knew when I started in this job that this was going to take some time.  We haven’t had to come back from an economic crisis this deep or this painful since the 1930s.  But we also knew that if we were persistent, if we kept at it and kept working, that we’d gradually get to where we need to be.

Here’s the thing.  We are not going to get there, we’re not going to get to where we need to be if we go back to the policies that helped to create this mess in the first place.  And the last thing that we should be doing is asking middle-class families who are still struggling to recover from this recession to pay more in taxes.

Rebuilding a strong economy begins with rebuilding our middle class.  And what we should do right now is give middle-class families and small business owners a guarantee that their taxes will not go up next year.  When families have the security of knowing that their taxes won’t go up they’re more likely to spend, and more likely to grow the economy.  When small business owners have certainty on taxes and can plan ahead they’re more likely to hire and create new jobs.  And that benefits all of us.

And that’s why, last week, I was pleasantly surprised — I was glad to see the Senate come together and extend tax cuts on the first $250,000 of every family’s income.  That means 98 percent of Americans won’t see their income taxes go up next year.  That means that 97 percent of small businesses wouldn’t see their income taxes go up next year.  Not a single dime.  That would be important.

And that’s why it’s so disappointing that, so far at least, House Republicans have refused to follow the Senate’s example and do the same thing.  On Wednesday, they voted to hold these middle-class tax cuts hostage unless we also spend a trillion dollars over the next decade on tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.  In fact, it’s a little worse than that because their plan would actually raise taxes on 25 million hardworking American families by about $1,000 each.

So, at a time when too many working families are already struggling to make ends meet, they want to give millionaires and billionaires and folks like me tax cuts that we don’t need and that the country can’t afford, even if middle-class families have to pick up the tab for it.  Those are their priorities.

And this week, we learned that there’s some in the Republican Party who don’t want to stop there.  An independent, non-partisan study found that one plan at least would give more tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires, and they’d pay for those tax cuts by raising taxes on the middle class — an average tax hike of more than $2,000 for families with children.

Now, I just think we’ve got our priorities skewed if the notion is that we give tax breaks to folks who don’t need them and, to help pay for that, we tax folks who are already struggling to get by.  That’s not how you grow an economy.  You grow an economy from the middle out, and from the bottom up.  And the kind of approach that the House Republicans are talking about is bad for our families and it’s bad for our economy.

The people standing behind me should not have to pay more just so the wealthiest Americans can pay less.  That’s not just top-down economics, that’s upside-down economics.  (Laughter.)

Instead of the middle class paying more, we should ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more, a modest amount, so that we can reduce our deficit and still make investments in things like education that help our economy grow.

And keep in mind, we’re talking about folks like me going back to the tax rates that existed under Bill Clinton.  If you remember, that was when we created 23 million new jobs, we went from deficits to surplus, and folks at the top did well, too — because when middle-class families have money in their pockets, they go out and buy that new car, or that new appliance, or that new computer for their kids, or they go out to a restaurant, or, heaven forbid, they take a vacation once in a while.  And that money goes back into the economy, and businesses do well because they’ve got more customers.

And here’s the thing — there are a lot of well-to-do Americans, patriotic Americans, who understand this and are willing to do the right thing, willing to do their part to make this country strong.

So, for those of you who are keeping score at home, here’s where we stand.  We might have a whole bunch of disagreements with folks in the other party on whether it’s a good idea to spend more money giving tax breaks to millionaires or billionaires.  And frankly, that issue is probably not going to be resolved until after November.  In the meantime, though, we say we all agree on extending tax cuts for middle-class families. The House says it agrees.  The Senate has already shown that it agrees.  And I certainly agree.  So let’s at least work on what we agree on.

Let’s keep taxes low for 98 percent of Americans, and we can argue about the other 2 percent.  Let’s keep taxes low for the 97 percent of small business owners, and we can argue about the other 3 percent.  If Congress sends me a clean bill extending the tax cuts on the first $250,000 of every family’s income, I will sign it right away.  (Applause.)  I will sign it right away.

There’s no reason to wait.  There’s no reason to make families and small businesses anxious just so one party can score political points.  Let’s go ahead and give them that guarantee now that their taxes won’t go up next year.

And keep in mind — just one last point I want to make — we’re saying nobody’s income taxes go up on the first $250,000 of their income.  So even somebody who makes more than $250,000 is still getting a tax break on their first $250.000.  Yuu understand?  Even somebody who’s worth $200 million — on that first $250,000 they’re still paying lower taxes.

It’s the right thing to do.  It’s the smart thing to do.  It would be good for the economy, and most importantly, it would be good for your families.

So we’re going to have plenty to argue about in the next three months, and probably in the next five years.  (Laughter.)  This shouldn’t be one of those things we argue about.  (Applause.)

Let’s do what the American people sent us here to do.  Let’s work on those things we can agree on; let’s make progress; let’s do right by the people behind me, and the millions of Americans that they represent.  I’m going to be fighting every single day to make sure that you have opportunity.  I expect, and I hope, that Congress will do the same.

So, thank you very much, everybody.  God bless you.  God bless America.  And have a great weekend.  (Applause.)

END
12:12 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency July 26, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Remarks Before Cabinet Meeting Urges Congress to Pass Middle-Class Tax Cuts Extension

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama Urges House to ‘Do The Right Thing’ on Tax Cuts

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-26-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is urging the Republican-led House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead and “do the right thing” to extend middle class tax cuts.
Speaking to reporters at a Cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon, the president praised the Senate for moving forward with his plan to extend the Bush-era tax rate for families earning less than $250,000 a year and let the rate expire for higher earners….READ MORE

Remarks by the President Before Cabinet Meeting

Source: WH, 7-26-12 

Cabinet Room

2:24 P.M. EDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Well, this is a good opportunity for me to bring my Cabinet together to thank them for the extraordinary work that they’re doing on a whole range of fronts.

You’ve got Tom Vilsack working very hard to make sure that farmers and ranchers are getting help at a time of devastating drought.

You have Secretary Clinton who has been logging more miles than any Secretary of State in history, dealing with a whole range of problems and opportunities around the globe.  Obviously, we’re going to be focusing a lot on the situation in Syria and what we can do there to make sure that we reduce the bloodshed.

But a whole range of Cabinet members and obviously my administration is focusing on our economy, and how do we make sure that this is an economy in which people who work hard, who act responsibly, can get ahead.

This is a particular challenge right now — we’re seeing some of the weaknesses in Europe — and it is a perfect time for us to focus on what are steps we can take now — not later, not a year from now, but right now — to strengthen the middle class, put more people back to work and provide business greater certainty.

And yesterday, the Senate voted to ensure that 98 percent of Americans don’t see their taxes go up next year, that 97 percent of small businesses don’t see their taxes go up next year.  It was the right thing to do.  It will provide certainty and security to families who are already being pinched because of the economy.  It will be good for the economy as a whole.

And now, the only thing that is going to prevent the vast majority of Americans from not seeing a tax increase next year is if the House doesn’t act.  We need 218 votes in the House of Representatives — 218 votes in the House of Representatives — to make sure that 98 percent of Americans don’t see their taxes go up next year.

And so one of the things that I’m going to be doing, my Cabinet members are going to be doing over the next several days is to make sure that the American people understand that we can provide them certainty right now for next year that their taxes will not go up, and that they will then be able to plan accordingly; small businesses will be able to plan accordingly, knowing that we’ve taken a whole bunch of uncertainty out of the economy at a time when the global economy is experiencing a number of disruptions.

So, again, I would urge the House of Representatives to do the right thing and I’m going to make sure that my Cabinet members amplify that message in the days to come.

Thank you very much, everybody.

Q    Mr. President, can you tell us, if what the Colorado shooter did was entirely legal, how do you do more on this subject without any new laws?

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you very much.  I’m sure we’ll have more opportunity to talk about this.

Q    This afternoon is fine.  I’m available.

THE PRESIDENT:  Thanks.  I’ll ask Jay for your number.  (Laughter.)

END
2:27 P.M. EDT

Full Text Obama Presidency July 14, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Weekly Address Pushes Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

POLITICAL SPEECHES & DOCUMENTS

OBAMA PRESIDENCY & THE 112TH CONGRESS:

POLITICAL QUOTES & SPEECHES

Obama’s Address: POTUS Continues Push for ‘Middle-Class’ Tax Cut Extension

Source: ABC News Radio, 7-14-12

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama is continuing his push to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making less than $250,000, while simultaneously allowing breaks for those over that mark to expire. Targeting congressional Republicans and Mitt Romney, the president says their insistence in maintaining the cuts for high income earners has led to a debate over “two fundamentally different paths” for the country….READ MORE

Weekly Address

President Obama calls on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address
President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address in the Map Room, White House Photo, Chuck Kennedy, 7/12/12

Weekly Address: It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

Source: WH, 7-14-12

President Obama calls on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98 percent of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year. 

Transcript | Download mp4 | Download mp3

WEEKLY ADDRESS: It’s Time for Congress to Pass the Middle Class Tax Cut Extension

In this week’s address, President Obama called on Congress to act now to extend tax cuts for the 98% of Americans making less than $250,000 for another year.  If Congress fails to act, taxes will go up on January 1st and will be a blow to millions of middle class families and to our economy.  Both parties agree on extending the tax cuts for the middle class, and the President believes it’s time for Congress to act so that we can give the middle class and our small businesses the certainty they need as we work to create an economy that is built to last.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
July 14, 2012

Over the past couple weeks I’ve been talking with folks across the country about how we’re going to rebuild an economy where if you work hard, you and your family can get ahead.

And right now, there’s a big debate going on in Washington over two fundamentally different paths we can take as a country to do that.

One path – pushed by Republicans in Congress and their nominee for President – says that the best way to create prosperity is to let it trickle down from the top.  They believe that if we spend trillions more on tax cuts for the wealthy, it’ll somehow create jobs – even if we have to pay for it by gutting education and training and by raising middle-class taxes.

I think they’re wrong.  We already tried it that way for most of the last decade, and it didn’t work.  We’re still paying for trillions of dollars in tax cuts that benefitted the wealthiest Americans more than anyone else; tax cuts that didn’t lead to the rise in wages and middle class jobs that we were promised; and that helped take us from record surpluses to record deficits.

The last thing we need right now is more top-down economics.  What we need are policies that will grow and strengthen the middle class; that will help create jobs, make education and training more affordable, and encourage businesses to start up and stay right here in the United States.

Soon, we’ll face a choice between these two different approaches.  On January 1st, taxes are set to go up for tens of millions of Americans.  I think that would be a huge financial hit for middle-class families.  That’s why I’ve cut middle-class taxes every year that I’ve been President – by $3,600 for the typical family.  And that’s why, this week, I called on Congress to immediately stop the January 1st tax hike from hitting any American on the first $250,000 of their income.

Under my plan, 98% of American families won’t see their income taxes go up at all.  But the other 2% of Americans will have to pay a little more in taxes on anything they make over $250,000.  In other words, the wealthiest few Americans will go back to the income tax rates they were paying under Bill Clinton.  And if you remember, that was when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and millionaires were doing pretty well.

The folks in Congress and on the campaign trail who oppose this plan warn that it would somehow hurt small businesses and job creators.  Well, they’re completely ignoring the facts.

Under my plan, 97% of small business owners would avoid getting hit with any income tax hike whatsoever.  In fact, I’ve cut taxes for small businesses eighteen times since I’ve been President.  And just this week, I ordered a series of new steps to help our small businesses grow and hire.

The only place we disagree is whether we keep giving tax cuts to the wealthiest 2% of Americans.  Republicans in Washington want more of those tax cuts.  With the deficit we have, I don’t think we can afford them.

But even if we disagree on the tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans, we all agree that no American should pay more taxes on the first $250,000 of their income.  So let’s at least agree to do what we all agree on.  That’s what compromise is all about.  Let’s not hold the vast majority of Americans and our entire economy hostage while we debate the merits of another tax cut for the wealthy.  Let’s skip the unnecessary drama, the needless delays and all the partisan posturing and let’s just do the right thing for the people who sent us here to serve.

And I’m going to keep fighting to make sure we rebuild an economy that rewards work, grows the middle class, and gives new opportunity to those trying to earn their way into the middle class.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.

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