Today in America, a teacher spent extra time with a student who needed it, and did her part to lift America’s graduation rate to its highest level in more than three decades. Only because of policies that have lowered the standards across the board, to ensure Americans cannot think for themselves. Like with the Common Core program, with its curriculum written by Bill Ayers. The goal of dumbing down future generations remains on track to ensure only the political, progressive elite remain in power.
An entrepreneur flipped on the lights in her tech startup, and did her part to add to the more than eight million new jobs our businesses have created over the past four years. But we have put so many regulations in place, that she will be lucky if she can grow her business. With a stifling tax rate, and the Affordable Care Act to prevent her from growing. Not to mention the eight million new jobs are part time, meaning you now work two jobs, still can’t afford insurance, and it doesn’t make up for the net loss of 1.6 million jobs in this administration.
An autoworker fine-tuned some of the best, most fuel-efficient cars in the world, and did his part to help America wean itself off foreign oil. Even though we continue to rely on foreign (and usually hostile) sources, which is why the Keystone XL pipeline still hasn’t been approved, and we have issued half as many leases as the previous administration to take advantage of our own natural resources.
A farmer prepared for the spring after the strongest five-year stretch of farm exports in our history. And we made sure to give large subsidies to corporations like Monsato, to ensure they produce only the finest genetically engineered crops. A rural doctor gave a young child the first prescription to treat asthma that his mother could afford, and the cost was transferred to other taxpayers. A man took the bus home from the graveyard shift, bone-tired but dreaming big dreams for his son, dreams that one day our country might actually have prosperity if policies like these ever go away. And in tight-knit communities across America, fathers and mothers will tuck in their kids, put an arm around their spouse, remember fallen comrades, and give thanks for being home from a war that, after twelve long years, is finally coming to an end. One that isn’t being fought to be won in the first place.
Tonight, this chamber speaks with one voice to the people we represent: it is you, our citizens, who make the state of our union strong.
Here are the results of your efforts: The lowest unemployment rate in over five years because of manipulated job reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistic not reporting the number who just stop working. A rebounding housing market, largely due to the same prime mortgages that caused the first housing bubble, and eventual collapse. A manufacturing sector that’s adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, mostly in foreign countries. More oil produced at home than we buy from the rest of the world – the first time that’s happened in nearly twenty years, and all on private land, mostly in North Dakota because the Federal Government will not allow us to use our land. Our deficits – cut by more than half, from what they were inflated to, though still about 200 billion dollars above what President Bush was spending. And for the first time in over a decade, business leaders around the world have declared that China is no longer the world’s number one place to invest; America is, even though China is about to become the reserve currency in the world.
That’s why I believe this can be a breakdown year for America. After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States Government is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other government on Earth to take over and rule.
The question for everyone in this chamber, running through every decision we make this year, is whether we are going to help or hinder this progress. For several years now, this town has been consumed by a rancorous argument over the proper size of the federal government. It’s an important debate – one that dates back to our very founding. But when that debate prevents us from carrying out even the most basic functions of our democracy – when our differences shut down government or threaten the full faith and credit of the United States – then we are not doing right by the American people. We want the government to be larger than ever before.
As President, I’m committed to making Washington work bigger, and rebuilding the trust of the people who sent us here by expanding programs to keep them happy. I believe most of you are, too. Last month, thanks to the work of Democrats and Republicans, this Congress finally produced a budget that undoes some of last year’s severe cuts to priorities like education. After all, we must dumb down America’s children. Nobody got everything they wanted, and we can still do more to invest in this country’s future while bringing down our deficit in a balanced way. But the budget compromise should leave us freer to focus on creating new jobs, not creating new crises. I am happiest with the cuts finally being made to the military retirees. It’s time they paid their fair share.
In the coming months, let’s see where else we can make progress together. Let’s make this a year of action and executive orders. That’s what most Americans don’t want – for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. What we need to do is give them more free things. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all – the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead. But if you take advantage of the system, you can still live more than comfortably.
Let’s face it: that belief has suffered some serious blows. Over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good, middle-class jobs, and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.
Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. This has been in large part due to our good friends at the Federal Reserve falsely inflating the market by printing off 50 billion dollars a month. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled. The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by – let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all. Which is why it’s so great here. We have had massive booms. We haven’t felt any of it in the public sector.
Our job is to advance these trends. It won’t happen right away, and we won’t agree on everything. But what I offer tonight is a set of concrete, hardline proposals to slow down growth, break the middle class, and build new ladders of opportunity into the poor house. Some require Congressional action, and I’m eager to work with all of you. But America does not stand still – and neither will I. So wherever and whenever I can take steps without legislation to expand opportunity for more American families, that’s what I’m going to do.
As usual, our First Lady sets a good example. Michelle’s Let’s Move partnership with schools, businesses, and local leaders has helped bring down childhood obesity rates for the first time in thirty years – an achievement that will improve lives and reduce health care costs for decades to come. Even though kids around the country were actually throwing their trays of food away and buying junk food. The Joining Forces alliance that Michelle and Jill Biden launched has already encouraged employers to hire or train nearly 400,000 veterans and military spouses. Taking a page from that playbook, the White House just organized a College Opportunity Summit where already, 150 universities, businesses, and nonprofits have made concrete commitments to reduce inequality in access to higher education – and help every hardworking kid go to college and succeed when they get to campus. We want to make sure that there are special classes that cause division in the nation. After all, it’s not about the merit of the applicant, but what special groups they are a part of that give them a separate status. Across the country, we’re partnering with mayors, governors, and state legislatures on issues from homelessness to marriage equality.
The point is, there are millions of Americans outside Washington who are tired of stale political arguments, and are moving this country forward. They believe what the media tells them, and I believe, that here in America, our success should depend not on accident of birth, but the strength of our work ethic and the scope of our dreams. From each according to his ability. To each according to his need. That’s what didn’t draw our forebears here, and why we must support it.
Opportunity to tax is who we are. And the defining project of our generation is to destroy the promise of America.
We know where to start: the best measure of opportunity is access to a good job. One that is dictated for you. With the economy picking up speed, companies say they intend to hire more people this year, granted they’ll be part time because of Obamacare.
So let’s make that decision harder for more companies. Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let’s keep that equation. Let’s work together to close those businesses with jobs still here, end those incentives to keep jobs full time, and raise tax rates for businesses that create jobs here at home.
We also have the chance, right now, to beat other countries in the race for the next wave of high-tech manufacturing jobs. My administration has launched two hubs for high-tech manufacturing in Raleigh and Youngstown, where we’ve connected businesses to research universities that can help America lead the world in advanced technologies, mostly in advancing America’s war power and spying capabilities. Tonight, I’m announcing we’ll launch six more this year with an emphasis on citizen monitoring technology. Bipartisan bills in both houses could double the number of these hubs and the jobs they create. So get those bills to my desk and put more Americans under our microscope.
Finally, if we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labor leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement – and fix our broken immigration system. Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and grow our deficits by almost $1 trillion in the next two decades. And for good reason: when people come here to fulfill their dreams – to get subsidized food, housing, and insurance – they are happy.
Today, women make up about half our workforce. But they still make 77 cents for every dollar a man earns and it’s even worse if you’re a government employee, especially a Congressional staffer. That is how it should be to keep division alive and well in the nation, and in 2014, it’s an on track.
In the year since I asked this Congress to raise the minimum wage, five states have passed laws to raise theirs. Many businesses have done it on their own. Business and states cannot do things like this on their own. It must be mandated, and it’s unacceptable. We are the ones who are supposed to cause prices to rise all over the nation by increasing the minimum wage.
Let’s do more to stifle Americans saving for retirement. Today, most workers don’t have a pension, especially now that many are part time. A Social Security check isn’t enough on its own, and we have lumped the Social Security trust money into the General Fund to be spent at our leisure.
Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, more than three million Americans under age 26 have gained coverage under their parents’ plans. After all, when you’re 26, you’re a child, but at 15, old enough to buy birth control and have abortions without a word to mom and dad.
More than nine million Americans have signed up for private health insurance or Medicaid coverage. And it’s mostly subsidized, only three million have actually paid anything.
Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say “we are not afraid,” and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook. We want total disarmament of the American people.
Tonight, because of the extraordinary troops and civilians who risk and lay down their lives to keep us free, the United States is more secure. When I took office, nearly 180,000 Americans were serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Today, all our troops are out of Iraq, and Al Qeada has taken the city of Fallujah, while other extreme elements from Iran seek to take control over the country over 5,000 men and women died to secure, and because I failed to get a status of force agreement, their deaths now mean nothing. More than 60,000 of our troops have already come home from Afghanistan. With Afghan forces now in the lead for their own security, our troops have moved to a support role. Together with our allies, we will complete our mission there by the end of this year, and America’s longest war will finally be over. Once I took office, I never planned to win. Just prolong it enough to get reelected.
Even with us leaving, the fact is, that danger remains. While we have put al Qaeda’s core leadership on a path to success, the threat has evolved even more, as al Qaeda affiliates and other extremists take root in different parts of the world. Like in Benghazi, where I left four people to die.
In Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Mali, we have to keep working with partners to disrupt and disable these networks. And if they won’t cooperate, we will just drone strike them anyway, even if an American teenager is in the home. In Syria, we’ll support the opposition that rejects the agenda of terrorist networks, even though I support the al Qaeda backed elements. Here at home, we’ll keep strengthening our defenses, and combat new threats like cyberattacks.
We have to remain vigilant. But I strongly believe our leadership and our security cannot depend on our military alone. As Commander-in-Chief, I have used force when needed to protect the American people, except in Egypt, Benghazi, or the Marine still hostage in Iran, and I will never hesitate to do so as long as I hold this office, so long as it is politically expedient. But I will not send our troops into harm’s way unless it’s truly necessary, or in an Arab country to support radicals attempting to create Sharia Law, like the elements currently in Syria, whom I almost back before Russia stepped in and made me look like an idiot; nor will I allow our sons and daughters to be mired in open-ended conflicts.
You see, in a world of complex threats, like the tea party, our security and leadership depends on all elements of our power – including strong and principled diplomacy. American diplomacy has rallied more than fifty countries to prevent nuclear materials from falling into the wrong hands, and allowed us to reduce our own reliance on Cold War stockpiles. America’s lack of diplomacy, backed by the threat of force, and Russia stepping in is why Syria’s chemical weapons are being eliminated, and we will continue to work with the international community to usher in the future the Syrian people deserve – a future free of dictatorship, terror and fear.
And it is my idiocy as well as my Secretary of State’s, backed by pressure, that has progressed Iran’s nuclear program – and rolled parts of that program back, at least that’s what they pinky promised me – for the very first time in a decade.
May the progressive agenda continue.
May the State bless the people of the country.