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Washington Post: Full transcript: President Obama’s remarks on the economy at Knox College
I watched President Obama's speech at Knox College in Illinois just finishing this past hour. It was a long speech in which he laid out his vision for the remaining days of his presidency to help out the working class of America.
He first focused on the positives since he took office...job growth, reduction in deficit, higher energy production, health care benefits and costs, and economic growth, but he noted that while the top 1 percent has done well in the economy, the middle class wages have been stagnant. A Few highlights:
"Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. And companies continue to hold back on hiring those who've been out of work for some time."
"So in many ways, the trends that I spoke about here in 2005, eight years ago, the trend of a winner-take-all economy where a few are doing better and better and better while everybody else just treads water -- those trends have been made worse by the recession. And that's a problem.
"This growing inequality not just of result, inequality of opportunity, this growing inequality -- it's not just morally wrong; it's bad economics because when middle-class families have less to spend, guess what? Businesses have fewer consumers. When wealth concentrates at the very top, it can inflate unstable bubbles that threaten the economy. When the rungs on the ladder of opportunity grow farther and farther apart, it undermines the very essence of America, that idea that if you -- if you work hard, you can make it here.
"And that's why reversing these trends has to be Washington's highest priority.
Or they'll [Republicans] talk about government assistance for the poor, despite the fact that they've already cut early education for vulnerable kids, they've already cut insurance for people who've lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Or they'll bring up "Obamacare" -- this is tried and true -- despite the fact that our businesses have created nearly twice as many jobs in this recovery as businesses had at the same point in the last recovery, when there was no "Obamacare."
"...if you [Republicans] think you have a better plan for making sure that every American has the security of quality, affordable health care, then stop taking meaningless repeal votes and share your concrete ideas with the country. (Cheers, applause.)"
"Repealing "Obamacare" and cutting spending is not an economic plan. It's not. If you're serious about a balanced long-term fiscal plan that replaces the mindless cuts currently in place, or if you're interested in tax reform that closes corporate loopholes and gives working families a better deal, I'm ready to work. (Applause.) But you should know that I will not accept deals that don't meet the basic test of strengthening the prospects of hardworking families. This is the agenda we have to be working on."
Okay...I just wanted to quickly highlight a few lines that resonated with me. There's much more to discuss but I'll leave it here.