Washington, DC…Hi, everybody. On Thursday, I addressed a conference for business leaders from around the world. And my pitch was simple: Choose America. Invest in America. Create jobs in America. It speaks to my top priority as President: growing our economy, creating good jobs, strengthening security and opportunity for the middle class.
Over the past three and a half years, our businesses have created over seven and a half million new jobs. And this week, the Treasury confirmed that since I took office, we’ve cut our deficits by more than half.
But we have more work to do. We need to grow and create more good jobs faster. That’s my driving focus. And I’ll go anywhere and do anything to make it happen.
That has to be Washington’s driving focus as well. But I know that what you often hear out of Washington can sound like Charlie Brown’s teacher – a jumble of unfocused noise that’s out of touch with the things you care about.
So today, I want to cut through that noise and talk plainly about what we should do right now to keep growing this economy and creating new jobs.
It begins by ending what has done more than anything else to undermine our economy over the past few years – and that’s the constant cycle of manufactured crises and self-inflicted wounds.
I was glad to hear the Republican leader in the Senate say this week that they won’t pursue another government shutdown or threaten another default on our debt. Because we shouldn’t be injuring ourselves every few months – we should be investing in ourselves.
And one way to do that is through the budget that Congress started working on this week.
Now, budgets can be a boring topic – especially on the weekend. But they can also be revealing. Because they expose what our priorities are as a country for all to see.
Think about it. We can keep wasteful corporate tax giveaways that working folks don’t get – or we could close those loopholes and use that money to pay for things that actually create jobs.
We can keep harmful cuts to education programs – or we could give more kids a head start, hire more teachers in math and science, and help more kids afford a college education.
We can keep doling out corporate welfare to big oil companies – or we could keep investing in the renewable energy that creates jobs and lowers our carbon pollution.
Priorities. Choices. That’s what this is about. And the stakes for the middle class couldn’t be higher. If we don’t pick the right priorities now, make the right choices now, we could hinder growth and opportunity for decades, and leave our children with something less.
That includes the obsession with cutting just for the sake of cutting. That hasn’t helped our economy grow; it’s held it back.
Remember, our deficits are getting smaller – not bigger. On my watch, they’re falling at the fastest pace in 60 years. So that gives us room to fix our long-term debt problems without sticking it to young people, or undermining our bedrock retirement and health security programs, or ending basic research that helps the economy grow.
Here’s the bottom line. Congress should pass a budget that cuts things we don’t need, and closes wasteful tax loopholes that don’t help create jobs, so that we can free up resources for the things that actually do create jobs and growth.
Building new roads, and bridges, and schools, and airports – that creates jobs.
Educating our kids and our workers for a global economy – that helps us grow.
Investing in science, technology, and research – that keeps our businesses and our military on the cutting edge. It’s vital for our economic future.
So the question isn’t between growth and fiscal responsibility. We need both. The question can’t be how much more we can cut; it’s got to be how many more jobs we can create, how many more kids we can educate, and how much more shared prosperity we can generate.
Because in America, our economy doesn’t grow from the top-down. It grows from the middle-class out. And as long as I am President, our national mission will remain building an America where everyone belongs, and everyone who works hard has a chance to get ahead.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.