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Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions: How do we bring good jobs to America? How do we equip people with the skills those jobs require? And how do we make sure your hard work leads to a decent living?

President Obama devoted his weekly address this morning to examining ways to complete the task he mentioned in his State of the Union address: "reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class." Creating new jobs—paying special attention to the manufacturing sector, particularly the part that builds and repairs intfrastructure—was at the top of his list.

We need to launch manufacturing hubs across the country that will transform hard-hit regions into global centers of high-tech jobs and manufacturing. We need to make our tax code more competitive, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and rewarding companies that create jobs here at home. And we need to invest in the research and technology that will allow us to harness more of our own energy and put more people back to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.
Skills, job training and education—from pre-school to high schools to college affordability—were also on his wish list for his second term, he said. The other keystone to prosperity he focused on was making sure that working people simply aren't living in poverty. He pushed once again raising the minimum wage and passing immigration reform to spur growth. And we can do that, despite what Republicans say, without raising the deficit, he told listeners:
But I disagree with Republicans who think we should do that by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits. That would force our senior citizens and working families to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthiest are asked to do nothing more. That won’t work. We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.

Instead, I’ve proposed a balanced approach; one that makes responsible reforms to bring down the cost of health care and saves hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. And we should finally pursue bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit.

To read the transcript in full, check below the fold or visit the White House website.

Remarks of President Barack Obama
As Prepared for Delivery
The White House
February 16, 2013

Hi, everybody. This week, I’ve been traveling across the country – from North Carolina to Georgia to here at Hyde Park Academy in my hometown of Chicago – talking with folks about the important task I laid out in my State of the Union Address: reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth – a rising, thriving middle class.

Every day, we should ask ourselves three questions: How do we bring good jobs to America? How do we equip people with the skills those jobs require? And how do we make sure your hard work leads to a decent living?

I believe all that starts by making America a magnet for new jobs and manufacturing. After shedding jobs for more than 10 years, our manufacturers have added about 500,000 jobs over the past three. What we need to do now is simple. We need to accelerate that trend. We need to launch manufacturing hubs across the country that will transform hard-hit regions into global centers of high-tech jobs and manufacturing. We need to make our tax code more competitive, ending tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, and rewarding companies that create jobs here at home. And we need to invest in the research and technology that will allow us to harness more of our own energy and put more people back to work repairing our crumbling roads and bridges.

These steps will help our businesses expand and create new jobs. But we also need to provide every American with the skills and training they need to fill those jobs. Let’s start in the earliest years by offering high-quality preschool to every child in America, because we know kids in these programs do better throughout their lives. Let’s redesign our high schools so that our students graduate with skills that employers are looking for right now. And because taxpayers can’t continue to subsidize the soaring cost of higher education, I’ve called on Congress to take affordability and value into account when determining which colleges receive certain types of federal aid.

So those are steps we can take today to help bring good jobs to America and equip our people with the skills those jobs require. And that brings us to the third question – how do we make sure hard work leads to a decent living?

No one in America should work full-time and raise their children in poverty. So let’s raise the minimum wage so that it’s a wage you can live on. And it’s time to harness the talents and ingenuity of hardworking immigrants by finally passing comprehensive immigration reform – securing our borders, establishing a responsible path to earned citizenship, and attracting the highly-skilled entrepreneurs and engineers that will help create jobs.

These steps will help grow our economy and rebuild a rising, thriving middle class. And we can do it while shrinking our deficits. We don’t have to choose between the two – we just have to make smart choices.

Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion – which puts us more than halfway towards the goal of $4 trillion in deficit reduction that economists say we need to stabilize our finances. Now we need to finish the job.

But I disagree with Republicans who think we should do that by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits. That would force our senior citizens and working families to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthiest are asked to do nothing more. That won’t work. We can’t just cut our way to prosperity.

Instead, I’ve proposed a balanced approach; one that makes responsible reforms to bring down the cost of health care and saves hundreds of billions of dollars by getting rid of tax loopholes and deductions for the well-off and well-connected. And we should finally pursue bipartisan, comprehensive tax reform that encourages job creation and helps bring down the deficit.

So we know what we need to do. All the steps I’ve mentioned are commonsense.  And, together, they will help us grow our economy and strengthen our middle class.

In the coming weeks and months, our work won’t be easy, and we won’t agree on everything.  But America only moves forward when we do so together – when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations.  That’s the American story.  And that is how we will write the next great chapter – together.

Thanks and have a great weekend.
 

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Comment Preferences

  •  fair enough. (5+ / 0-)

    except, those "manufacturing hubs" would immediately be bought out by such as Bain Capital, and those jobs outsourced to the cheapest, sleaziest, most dangerous third-world countries possible. when they'd finished sucking the life blood out there, they'd move on to the next one. until such time as federal regulations make it less profitable to do this, it will continue. i don't see that time coming any day soon, not with a GOP majority in the house.

    until a stake is driven through the heart of vampire capilists, this country's manufacturing base will continue to shrink.

  •  I hope (5+ / 0-)

    that someday Obama (and others) will come to recognize that "education" and "job training" are not the same thing.
    There are many, many reasons for supporting - and getting - education. Preparing for a job is only one of them.

    •  There's a lot of overlap (0+ / 0-)

      And they aren't mutually exclusive. Plus, I think that firms that end up hiring retrained workers should have to shoulder much of the cost of retraining them.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:45:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  and a lot of times one doesn't lead to another (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annieli

      all the computer classes in the world isn't going to get a 55 year old guy with a bad  back a job.

      How big is your personal carbon footprint?

      by ban nock on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:15:59 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Wait.. He wants to set us (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    raboof, JML9999

    On fire?

  •  Unfortunately, the usual platitudes (9+ / 0-)

    Obama is merely adjusting the margins of acceptable policies with the neo-liberal economic framework that has dominated the past half century.

    The central problem is the misuse and abuse of the power to create and allocate money and credit within the economy. Speculation in financial markets is around six trillion dollars a day, while the entire annual GDP is $15 trillion. So there's plenty of money out there. It's just being used for the wrong purposes.

    So, most important - a tax on all financial market trading high enough to cause Wall Street real pain.

    Second - tax and other incentives for actually investing in infrastructure and industry. Tax free infrastructure bonds that have interest payments above zirp levels, guaranteed by the national government.

    Direct creation of money by the U.S. Treasury rather than the Fed, by directly depositing "made up" money into the bank accounts of contractors doing work or supplying infrastructure construction.

    Secondarily, declare the end of GATT and work up across the board tariffs that account for the cost differential of lax environmental and safety regulations in other countries. The "free trade" regime of the past half century has mostly been used by multi-national companies to arbitrage regulatory differences between sovereign nation states.

    Third, begin attacking and seizing the trillions of dollars in hot money in places like Cayman Islands, Isle of Man, and City of London. Treat guys like Lloyd Blankfein as financial terrorists.

    A conservative is a scab for the oligarchy.

    by NBBooks on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:25:37 AM PST

    •  And tell companies (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hannibal

      to pay their workers more and executives less.

      ...and I get so sick of hearing how everyone needs an education and training.  There are plenty of well-educated, capable people without jobs, and plenty of capable people without formal education without jobs.

      BO is so full of crap.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:58:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I like the idea of a financial transaction tax (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hannibal, rlochow

      at least for high-volume, rapid turnaround transactions of the sort almost exclusively engaged in by large financial firms. Such a tax would reduce the number of such transactions on the one hand and hopefully encourage longer-term investing in the economy, and on the other hand raise a ton of capital to be used for better things. It would introduce the sort of fiscal friction that's sorely needed in today's overly financialized economy.

      If you run an engine into the red line too often and long, it will eventually destroy it. The same principle applies to an economy.

      Also, an aside, not intended for you, but I really wish that people would stop referring to financial firms whose primary activity consists of trading and speculation as investment banks. Investment banks, properly speaking, are divisions within larger financial firms that deal with the financing of public and private entities, and with other activities having to do with their longer-term finances and structuring, like mergers, acquisitions, divestitures, spinoffs, etc. They generally help existing firms and organizations with such things, and are paid for this service. When they do invest their own money, they generally do so on a long-term basis, and not speculatively.

      The division within a financial firm that does engage in speculation is properly referred to as its trading division, distinct from its investment banking division. In fact until Glass-Steagall was repealed over 10 years ago, such a separation was legally mandated. Unfortunately, with its repeal financial firms started merging these two divisions' operations and activities, resulting, among other things, in fraudulently overrated CDO's, and of course swaps, such that there's no such thing as a true investment bank anymore, or a trading division. They all work together now, and that's a REALLY bad idea, because it's led to the abuse of such instruments of mass financial destruction, and the redirecting of investment capital to speculation. So one of the longer-term things we need to do is restore this separation again, so that "investment banks" are so again.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:02:22 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Nothing free about free trade! (0+ / 0-)

      The free trade agreements have lead to the down turn of the middle class in the country. The middle class manufacturing jobs went overseas. We must realize that in order for there to be thriving communities in this country, there must be good fair waged jobs to support it. An it is unions that can help make it happen.

  •  Companies don't want to hire (5+ / 0-)

    Until they're allowed to pay their employees 25 cents an hour (or in company scrip).

  •  GOP Despised The Middle Class (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, gmartini

    Because their corporate masters have bribed them to do so. Paying people wages that are in line with the cost of living increases of the past few decades cuts into their religion of maximizing profits. I don't know what can be done but something must be done to rectify this.

    This head movie makes my eyes rain.

    by The Lone Apple on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:26:38 AM PST

  •  He better campaign his as...off in 2014. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tuba Les, Hannibal, vigilant meerkat

    Rethugs only focus is about opposing him. They care about themselves. THere really is no need for this party in the national discourse. Just the idea for instance that you would be against equal pay for women should marginalized you in this country.

  •  These are all great ideas. (8+ / 0-)

    And they are all utterly impossible without filibuster reform.  There's your first step, right there Mr. President.  Talk to Harry.  It's easy, he lives in the same town and works right across the street from you.

  •  Obama Promises (8+ / 0-)

    "But I disagree with Republicans who think we should do that by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training; Medicare and Social Security benefits. That would force our senior citizens and working families to bear the burden of deficit reduction while the wealthiest are asked to do nothing more. That won’t work. We can’t just cut our way to prosperity."  If that is true, why is he proposing to cut Social Security?!?!?!?!?!?!

  •  He should be asking a fourth question as well. (7+ / 0-)

    Which of our policy choices, although intended to better the lives of average Americans, are actually making things worse for them, and should be dropped?

    I want an evidence-based presidency.  When the evidence is that economic policy is actually continuing to funnel money out of the pockets of most Americans and into the pockets of the uberwealthy, then the policy needs to change.

  •  I hate that he has to pander to centrist oafs (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    tb mare

    and the clueless fools who listen to them by wasting time talking about the debt and deficit when they're not our most pressing problems and can easily be brought down by dealing properly with our actual problems, which he is thankfully now talking about more forcefully and frequently.

    I.e. I wish he was able to say only this:

    Hoover was wrong and Keynes was right. Suck on it, fools.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 07:43:38 AM PST

    •  Yeah, where is the (0+ / 0-)

      leadership?

      Can you imagine what the US would look like if BO had been president instead of Roosevelt?  We would have nothing now. As it is, everything we built is now crumbling.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:02:07 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Pandering would imply (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, rlochow

      That he's not himself one of those centrist oafs. In point of fact, he's center-right, always has been. His real brilliance is his ability to wrap center-right policy in progressive language.

      You need a license to drive, a license to run a business, but any idiot can buy a gun.

      by Hannibal on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:13:24 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just trying to avoid a pointless pie fight (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hannibal

        and attacks from the usual suspects, who live for such opportunities and in fact whose only purpose for being here is to do that. So I write in "code".

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:30:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I just found a perfect label for what he does (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hannibal, snoopydawg

        It's progressive greenwashing. That's part of why he was allowed to win. And he was allowed. No way in hell he could have won w/o special interest backing and approval. OFA would have been a fancier version of Kucinich's operation without it. His speeches have gotten more progressive, but his policies not. Just today I read that he's set to appoint the head of the Walmart Foudation to head OMB. I wouldn't be surprised if he was behind killing filibuster reform.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 09:34:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  OK. If the GOPer sh!ts are going to talk about... (0+ / 0-)

    increasing the age when SS and Medicare starts, then we have to have a frank talk about age discrimination AND retirement. Also, we have to talk about what happens when a certain segment is basically "asked" or "told" to fall on their swords.

    There was an article recently in DailyKos about Boomers vs. Millenials. That, given the fixed or even declining number of jobs, and the declining pay of these jobs, and the increasing income disparity, Boomers who stay on are against Millenials. Further, with rising costs of connectivity, communting, travel, and living accomodations, where are the boomers gonna live who are dropped due to their high wage expectations?

    OK. Fine. Well, who causes that? Those who pull the strings of the economy. Period.

    Alan Grayson was right.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    I love that mug of his!

    --UB.

    "Daddy, every time a bell rings, a Libertaria­n picks up his Pan Am tickets for the Libertaria­n Paradise of East Somalia!"

    by unclebucky on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:00:34 AM PST

  •  the Federal Government needs to do 2 things (0+ / 0-)

    1. Stop shedding jobs.

    2. Create more jobs.

    What he should do is promote a Federal jobs programs with an additional 4 percent payroll tax on these new jobs (3% goes back to Federal and 1% to the state).

    In order to be eligible for these jobs, a person would have to have been unemployed for at least 6 months. Preference would be given to those who have worked in occupations that have historically (say the past 25 years), been in decline.

  •  What's wrong with bad jobs? (0+ / 0-)

    Someone has to do them, why not Americans? Plus no one needs to bring them here and no one needs any more skills.

    A lot of the difference between good and bad is $$$$$

    Flipping burgers is a good job if it has benefits and a wage one can live on.

    How big is your personal carbon footprint?

    by ban nock on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:14:40 AM PST

  •  On a break again?? (0+ / 0-)


    OK, now that we've heard from the teabag congress cons bitchin, once again, about Obama being in 'still campaign mode' going out and speakin to the people, what hired representatives are supposed to do, and you can bet the ones on tomorrows sunday morn talk fests will bitch about it if given the chance, will anyone of them call town halls while they're on another 'vacation', like they work hard, and back in their districts, maybe!! Who's gonna be able to ask their reps questions during this, what, next ten days plus?

    Vets On FLOTUS and SLOTUS, "Best - Ever": "We haven't had this kind of visibility from the White House—ever." Joyce Raezer - Dec. 30, 2011

    by jimstaro on Sat Feb 16, 2013 at 08:45:11 AM PST

  •  Blah, blah, blay, blay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    snoopydawg

    Do something already, enough of the speechs, enough of the big anthems. We know what the fucking problems are, we know we need more jobs, we know you are all useless owned by corporation turds.

    Do something, I am tired of hearing the obvious.

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