Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, fellow citizens:
Fifty-one years ago, John F Kennedy declared to this chamber that “the Constitution makes us not rivals for power but partners for progress.” “It is my task,” he said, “to report the State of the Union — to improve it is the task of us all.”
Tonight, thanks to the grit and determination of the American people, there is much progress to report. After a decade of grinding war, our brave men and women in uniform are coming home. After years of grueling recession, our businesses have created over six million new jobs. We buy more American cars than we have in five years, and less foreign oil than we have in 20. Our housing market is healing, our stock market is rebounding, and consumers, patients, and homeowners enjoy stronger protections than ever before.
So, together, we have cleared away the rubble of crisis, and we can say with renewed confidence that the State of our Union is stronger.
But we gather here knowing that there are millions of Americans whose hard work and dedication have not yet been rewarded. Our economy is adding jobs — but too many people still can’t find full-time employment. Corporate profits have skyrocketed to all-time highs — but for more than a decade, wages and incomes have barely budged.
It is our generation’s task, then, to reignite the true engine of America’s economic growth — a rising, thriving middle class.
It is our unfinished task to restore the basic bargain that built this country — the idea that if you work hard and meet your responsibilities, you can get ahead, no matter where you come from, no matter what you look like, or who you love.
It is our unfinished task to make sure that this government works on behalf of the many, and not just the few; that it encourages free enterprise, rewards individual initiative, and opens the doors of opportunity to every child across this great nation.
The American people don’t expect government to solve every problem. They don’t expect those of us in this chamber to agree on every issue. But they do expect us to put the nation’s interests before party. They do expect us to forge reasonable compromise where we can.For they know that America moves forward only when we do so together, and that the responsibility of improving this union remains the task of us all.
Our work must begin by making some basic decisions about our budget — decisions that will have a huge impact on the strength of our recovery.
Over the last few years, both parties have worked together to reduce the deficit by more than $2.5 trillion — mostly through spending cuts, but also by raising tax rates on the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans. As a result, we are 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. And the question is, how?
In 2011, Congress passed a law saying that if both parties couldn’t agree on a plan to reach our deficit goal, about a trillion dollars’ worth of budget cuts would automatically go into effect this year. These sudden, harsh, arbitrary cuts would jeopardize our military readiness.They’d devastate priorities like education, and energy, and medical research. They would certainly slow our recovery, and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs. That’s why Democrats, Republicans, business leaders, and economists have already said that these cuts, known here in Washington as the sequester, are a really bad idea.
Now, some in Congress have proposed preventing only the defense cuts by making even bigger cuts to things like education and job training, Medicare and Social Security benefits. That idea is even worse.
Yes, the biggest driver of our long-term debt is the rising cost of health care for an aging population. And those of us who care deeply about programs like Medicare must embrace the need for modest reforms — otherwise, our retirement programs will crowd out the investments we need for our children, and jeopardize the promise of a secure retirement for future generations.
But we can’t ask senior citizens and working families to shoulder the entire burden of deficit reduction while asking nothing more from the wealthiest and the most powerful. We won’t grow the middle class simply by shifting the cost of health care or college onto families that are already struggling, or by forcing communities to lay off more teachers and more cops and more firefighters. Most Americans — Democrats, Republicans, and independents — understand that we can’t just cut our way to prosperity. They know that broad-based economic growth requires a balanced approach to deficit reduction, with spending cuts and revenue, and with everybody doing their fair share. And that’s the approach I offer tonight.
About the Author:
If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.
Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.
If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.
- In UK, Muslim Candidate Sneers at Ed Miliband, ‘The Jew’
on April 26, 2015 7:55 PM
- Arab Tries to Steal Guard’s Gun
on April 26, 2015 6:56 PM
- GOP’s Sen. Ted Cruz Courts Jewish Vote in Las Vegas
on April 26, 2015 6:17 PM
- Peres & Associates Turning Political Cache into Millions in Cash
on April 26, 2015 3:57 PM
- Israeli Search and Rescue Organizations Arrive in Nepal
on April 26, 2015 2:43 PM
- Abbas’ Son Loses $10 Million Libel Suit in US Court
on April 26, 2015 2:37 PM
- Lauder at 70th Bergen-Belsen Liberation Ceremony: ‘Silence Emboldens Tyrants’
on April 26, 2015 1:15 PM
- Israeli Rescue Planes on Way to Nepal as 2nd Quake Hits; 2,000 Dead [video]
on April 26, 2015 12:51 PM
- Russian Hackers Reading Obama’s Personal E-mails
on April 26, 2015 11:07 AM
- Bird Forces Emergency Landing of Arkia Plane at Ben Gurion Airport
on April 26, 2015 10:09 AM
- Police Arrest Suspect in Jerusalem Hit-and-Run Terrorist Attack
on April 26, 2015 9:59 AM
- Fate of 250 Israelis Unknown in Deadly Nepal Earthquake
on April 26, 2015 1:00 AM
- The ‘Almost’ Coalition: Bennett Education Minister and Lieberman FM
on April 26, 2015 12:44 AM
- Jerusalem-Ma’aleh Adumim Road Blocked
on April 26, 2015 12:12 AM
- Bus Catches Fire on 443, Suspected Firebombing
on April 25, 2015 11:57 PM