Tag Archives: investment

The President and Vice President Meet with Newly Elected Mayors, 12/13/13

The President:

“Well, it is a great pleasure to welcome not only some of the most outstanding mayors in the country, but also folks who are representing incredible cities, world-class cities, that are going to be central to America’s economic growth and progress for years to come.

I’ve always said that mayors don’t have time to be ideological, and they don’t really have time to be partisan, because they, every day, are held accountable for concretely delivering the services that people count on all across the country. And I think it’s for that reason that when we think about mayors, we think about folks who actually get stuff done.

This is an outstanding group of both mayors and mayors-elect, representing some of our largest cities. They have a shared vision of cities as being critical hubs in which we’re creating jobs; bringing businesses; seeing startups develop; making sure that there are pathways, gateways for opportunity for people from the surrounding areas, the surrounding states, the regions, and in many cases, the world, because I think you’ve got a lot of immigrant populations that naturally gravitate towards the diversity and dynamism of the city.

And although we have seen terrific progress in our cities, as we have across the country over the last several years — millions of jobs being created, the housing market starting to recover, businesses investing again, manufacturing making an extraordinary comeback — what we know is we’ve still got a lot of work to do to deliver a vision that we all share, which is an America where if you work hard you can make it.

And what that means is, is that my hope and goal out of this meeting is we immediately set up a strong partnership with all the mayors here and all the mayors who aren’t here where we get a clear sense of what their vision is and how they’re trying to deliver services; how we can make sure that our kids are getting the very best education possible; how we make sure that we are creating the platforms, the infrastructure for jobs to succeed — or jobs to be created and businesses to succeed in these cities; how we make sure our transportation dollars are flowing in a way that maximizes economic development that hopefully reduces congestion and rush-hour traffic — I suspect that’s something that some of you have heard from your constituents about — (laughter) — how we make sure that there’s a strong social safety net there that is not a place where people stay over the long term but rather is a mechanism whereby people who have had some bad luck can get back on their feet and get back into the workforce.

So I’m very much looking forward to the conversation. In the meantime, at the federal level, there’s some things that we can do to help mayors. If we, in fact, can get this budget deal completed and out of the Senate, we can get away for the first time in a couple of years from the constant brinksmanship and crisis governance that we’ve seen up on Capitol Hill that impedes growth and makes businesses and investors less certain about wanting to put their money in. So that would be an important achievement and that’s something the federal government can do to help make.

One element that’s not in this budget that needs to be passed right away is UI — unemployment insurance. You’ve got potentially 1.3 million people who, during Christmastime, are going to lose their unemployment benefits, at a time when it’s still very difficult for a lot of folks to find a job. And that’s not just bad for those individuals and for those families, that’s bad for our economy and that’s bad for our cities, because if they don’t have the money to pay the rent or be able to buy food for their families, that has an impact on demand and businesses and it can have a depressive effect generally. In fact, what we know is the economists have said failing to extend unemployment benefits is going to have a drag on economic growth for next year.

So there are some basic things that we can do just to create a better economic environment for these outstanding mayors. There are some areas — for example, raising the minimum wage — that could have a tremendous boost in a lot of the cities where there are a lot of service workers who get up and do some of the critical work for all of us every single day but oftentimes still find themselves just barely above poverty or, in some cases, below poverty.

So what I want to do is explore ideas with them. We wish them luck. You can see that it’s a diverse group, but what binds them together is a commitment to helping people succeed in this country.

And so I want to congratulate all of them and I’m looking forward to, over the next three years for me, working with them for the benefit of their constituencies. Many of them may end up being around for 20 years and — (laughter) — so they’ll have other Presidents to work with.

But thank you so much for coming in.”

Source: http://1.usa.gov/1dyr7qZ

Advertisements

President Obama Speaks on Manufacturing and the Economy in Cleveland, Ohio, 11/14/13

The President:

“But we rolled up our sleeves, we made some tough choices. We rescued and retooled the American auto industry; it saved more than a million jobs. We bet on American ingenuity and American workers. (Applause.) And assembly lines started humming again, and automakers started to make cars again. And just a few months after this plant shut down, your plant manager got the call: Fire those furnaces back up, get those workers back on the job. And over the last four years, you’ve made yourselves one of the most productive steel mills not just in America, but in the world. In the world. (Applause.) ….

So we invested in new American technologies to reverse our addiction to foreign oil, double wind power, double solar power, produce more oil, produce more natural gas, and do it all in a way that is actually bringing down some of our pollution, making our entire economy more energy-efficient. Today, we generate more renewable energy than ever. We produce more natural gas than anybody in the world. Just yesterday, we learned that for the first time since 1995, the United States of America produces more of our own oil here at home than we buy from other countries. First time since 1995. (Applause.) And that’s a big deal. That’s what America has done these past five years.

And that is a huge competitive advantage for us. Part of the reason companies now want to move — we were just talking about it — this plant, if it’s located in Germany, energy costs are double, maybe triple; same in Japan. So this gives us a big edge. But this is also important: We reached the milestone not just because we’re producing more energy, but also we’re wasting less energy. And this plant is a good example of it. We set new fuel standards that double the distance our cars and trucks go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade. That saves the average driver, everybody here, more than $8,000 at the pump over the life of a new car. You like that? (Applause.) We launched initiatives to put people to work upgrading our homes, and our businesses, and our factories so we’re wasting less energy. All that saves businesses money on their energy bills. Your plant is one of the hundreds to answer that call. And if you’re saving money on energy costs, that means you can invest in equipment, invest in workers, hire more people, produce more products.

And here’s another thing: Between more clean energy, less wasted energy, the carbon pollution that’s helping to warm the planet, that actually starts going down. And that’s good news for anybody who cares about leaving a planet to our kids that is as beautiful as the one we got from our parents and our grandparents. (Applause.) So it’s a win-win. Our economy keeps growing, creating new jobs, which means that strengthening our energy security and increasing energy efficiency doesn’t have to be a choice between the environment and the economy — we can do both.

….And we’ve tackled a broken health care system. Obviously, we’re not done yet. (Applause.) ….But just keep in mind that if businesses’ health care costs are growing at about one-third the rate that they were a decade ago, that makes America a more affordable place to do business, and it also means that the investors here, if they’re putting less money into health care costs, they can put more money in terms of hiring more workers and making sure that they’re getting good pay….

But I didn’t run for President to go back to where we were. I want us to go forward. I want us to go towards the future. (Applause.) I want us to get us to where we need to be. I want to solve problems, not just put them off. I want to solve problems. And we’ve got to do more to create more good, middle-class jobs like the ones folks have here.

That means we’ve got to do everything we can to prepare our children and our workers for the competition that they’re going to face. We should be doing everything we can to help put some sort of advanced education within reach for more young people….

Another thing we should be working on: Fixing a broken immigration system. (Applause.) When you think about this whole region, a lot of folks forget, but almost everybody who worked in that plant 100 years ago came from someplace else. And so we’ve got now a new generation of hopeful, striving immigrants; we’ve got to make sure that they come legally and that we do what we need to secure our borders, but we’ve also got to make sure that we’re providing them opportunity just like your parents, grandparents, great-grandparents received when they arrived at this plant. And that’s important. (Applause.) And, by the way, it will help our economy grow because then they’re paying taxes and helping to invest and build here in America.

We should do everything we can to revitalize American manufacturing. Manufacturing is — that’s the hub of our economy. When our manufacturing base is strong, the entire economy is strong. A lot of service jobs depend on servicing manufacturing jobs. And, typically, manufacturing jobs pay a little bit better. So that’s been a path, a ticket to the middle class. So when we make steel and cars, make them here in America, that helps. Like I said, the work may be hard but it gives you enough money to buy a home and raise a kid, retire and send your kids to school.

And those kinds of jobs also tell us something else. It’s not just how much you get in your paycheck, it’s also a sense of, “I’m making something and I’m helping to build this country.” It helps establish a sense of — that we’re invested in this country. (Applause.) It tells us what we’re worth as a community…

And let me make one last point. We have to do everything we can to make sure every American has access to quality, affordable health care, period. (Applause.) … But we’re not going to go back to the old system, because the old system was broken. And every year, thousands of Americans would get dropped from coverage or denied their medical history or exposed to financial ruin. You guys are lucky that you work at a company with a strong union that gives you good health benefits.

(Applause.) But you know friends and family members who don’t have it, and you know what it’s like when they get sick. You know how scary it is for them when they get sick. Or some of them have health insurance — they think they do — and they get sick, and suddenly the insurance company says, oh, I’m sorry, you owe $50,000. That’s not covered. Or they jack up your premium so you can’t afford it because you had some sort of preexisting condition. That happens every day.

So we’re not going to let that happen. We’re not going to let folks who pay their premiums on time get jerked around. And we’re not going to walk away from the 40 million Americans without health insurance. (Applause.) We are not going to gut this law. We will fix what needs to be fixed, but we’re going to make the Affordable Care Act work. And those who say they’re opposed to it and can’t offer a solution, we’ll push back. (Applause.)

I got to give your Governor a little bit of credit. John Kasich, along with a lot of state legislators who are here today, they expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And think about that. Just that one step means as many as 275,000 Ohioans are going to have health insurance. And it doesn’t depend on a website. That’s already happening because of the Affordable Care Act. (Applause.)

And I think it’s fair to say that the Governor didn’t do it because he just loves me so much. (Laughter.) We don’t agree on much, but he saw, well, this makes sense — why wouldn’t we do this? Why wouldn’t we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in Ohio have some security? It was the right thing to do. And, by the way, if every Republican governor did what Kasich did here rather than play politics about it, you’d have another 5.4 million Americans who could get access to health care next year, regardless of what happens with the website. That’s their decision not to do it. And it’s the wrong decision. They’ve got to go ahead and sign folks up.

So the bottom line is sometimes we just have to set aside the politics and focus on what’s good for people…”

Complete text: http://1.usa.gov/HTDgNz

President Obama Speaks at the 150th Anniversary of the National Academy of Sciences

“…. But President Lincoln founded the Academy with a mandate that went far beyond the science and technology of war. Even as the nation was at war with itself, President Lincoln had the wisdom to look forward, and he recognized that finding a way to harness the highest caliber scientific advice for the government would serve a whole range of long-term goals for the nation.

It was the same foresight that led him to establish land-grant colleges and finish the Transcontinental Railroad — the idea that the essence of America is this hunger to innovate, this restlessness, this quest for the next big thing. And although much of this innovation would be generated by the powers of our free market, the investments and the convening power of the federal government could accelerate discovery in a way that would continually push the nation forward.

That’s our inheritance, and now the task falls to us. We, too, face significant challenges — obviously not of the magnitude that President Lincoln faced, but we’ve got severe economic and security and environmental challenges. And what we know from our past is that the investments we make today are bound to pay off many times over in the years to come.

So we will continue to pursue advances in science and engineering, in infrastructure and innovation, in education and environmental protection — especially science-based initiatives to help us minimize and adapt to global threats like climate change….

And what I want to communicate to all of you is, is that as long as I’m President, we’re going to continue to be committed to investing in the promising ideas that are generated from you and your institutions, because they lead to innovative products, they help boost our economy, but also because that’s who we are. I’m committed to it because that’s what makes us special and ultimately what makes life worth living.

And that’s why we’re pursuing “grand challenges” like making solar energy as cheap as coal, and building electric vehicles as affordable as the ones that run on gas. And earlier this month, I unveiled the BRAIN initiative, which will give scientists the tools that they need to get a dynamic picture of the brain in action, and better understand how we think and learn and remember.

Today, all around the country, scientists like you are developing therapies to regenerate damaged organs, creating new devices to enable brain-controlled prosthetic limbs, and sending sophisticated robots into space to search for signs of past life on Mars. That sense of wonder and that sense of discovery, it has practical application but it also nurtures what I believe is best in us.”

Full text: http://1.usa.gov/12K7pEe