In this week’s address, President Barack Obama broke with Republicans in Congress who are putting special interests ahead of the American people and offering only a rehash of the very same economic policies that led to the financial crisis. When the GOP asked the American people, through a website, for ideas, one that drew great deal of interest is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas. But when the administration closed one of the most egregious loopholes for companies creating jobs overseas, Republicans were almost unanimously opposed. Rather than offering a path to a better future, their plan is an echo of a disastrous decade the country cannot afford to relive.
This week, the economists who officially decide when recessions start and end declared the recession of 2008 to be over. But if you’re one of the millions of Americans who lost your home, your job, or your savings as a consequence of the recession, this news is of little comfort or value.
Yes, the economy is growing instead of shrinking, as it was in 2008 and the beginning of 2009. We’re gaining private sector jobs each month instead of losing 800,000, as we did the month I took office.
But we have to keep pushing to promote growth that will generate the jobs we need, and repair the terrible damage the recession has done. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of additional steps: accelerated tax breaks for businesses who buy equipment now; a permanent research and development tax break to promote innovation by American companies; and a new initiative to rebuild America’s roads, rails, and runways that will put folks to work and make our country more competitive.
Taken together with the small business tax cut and lending plan we passed through Congress last week, these steps will help spur jobs in the short run, and strengthen our economy for the long run.
Now, the Republicans who want to take over Congress offered their own ideas the other day. Many were the very same policies that led to the economic crisis in the first place, which isn’t surprising, since many of their leaders were among the architects of that failed policy.
It is grounded in same worn out philosophy: cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires; cut the rules for Wall Street and the special interests; and cut the middle class loose to fend for itself. That’s not a prescription for a better future. It’s an echo of a disastrous decade we can’t afford to relive.
The Republicans in Washington claimed to draw their ideas from a website called “America Speaking Out.” It turns out that one of the ideas that’s drawn the most interest on their website is ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas.
Funny thing is, when we recently closed one of the most egregious loopholes for companies creating jobs overseas, Republicans in Congress were almost unanimously opposed. The Republican leader John Boehner attacked us for it, and stood up for outsourcing, instead of American workers.
So, America may be speaking out, but Republicans in Congress sure aren’t listening. They want to put special interests back in the driver’s seat in Washington. They want to roll back the law that will finally stop health insurance companies from denying you coverage on the basis of a preexisting condition. They want to repeal reforms that will finally protect hardworking families from hidden rates and penalties every time they use a credit card, make a mortgage payment, or take out a student loan.
And for all their talk about reining in spending and getting our deficits under control, they want to borrow another $700 billion, and use it to give tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires. On average, that’s a tax cut of about $100,000 for millionaires.
Instead of cutting taxes for the wealthiest few – tax breaks we cannot afford – I’ve called for tax cuts for middle class families who saw their incomes shrink by five percent during the last, lost decade. We’ve already cut 8 different taxes for small business owners to help them hire and grow, and we’re going to cut 8 more. We’re challenging our states and schools to do a better job educating our kids and making college more affordable so America can once more lead the world in the proportion of our kids graduating from college. And we’re putting an end to the days of taxpayer-funded bailouts so Main Street never again has to pay for Wall Street’s mistakes.
America is a great country. Our democracy is vibrant, our economy is dynamic, and our workers can outcompete the best of them. But the way for us to remain the greatest country on Earth isn’t to turn back the clock and put the special interests in charge. It’s to make sure all our people are getting a fair shake. It’s to make sure everyone who’s willing to work for it still has a chance to reach for the American dream. And that will remain my mission every single day so long as I have the honor of serving as President.
Have a nice weekend, everybody.