Wednesday, December 4, 2013

UPDATE: Full transcript and Video President Barack Obama Speech 12/4/2013 on economy and where we are...

Full transcript: President Obama’s December 4 remarks on the economy

Thank you. (Cheers, applause.) Thank you, everybody. Thank you so much. Thank you. Thank you, everybody. Please, please, have a seat. Thank you so much.
Well, thank you, Neera, for the wonderful introduction and sharing a story that resonated with me. There were a lot of parallels in my life, and probably resonated with some of you.
You know, over the past 10 years, the Center for American Progress has done incredible work to shape the debate over expanding opportunity for all Americans. And I could not be more grateful to CAP not only for giving me a lot of good policy ideas but also giving me a lot of staff. (Laughter.) My friend John Podesta ran my transition. My chief of staff, Denis McDonough, did a stint at CAP. So you guys are obviously doing a good job training folks.
I also want to thank all of the members of Congress and my administration who are here today for the wonderful work that they do. I want to thank Mayor Gray and everyone here at THEARC for having me.
This center, which I’ve been to quite a bit and have had a chance to see some of the great work that’s done here, and all the nonprofits that -- that call THEARC home offer access to everything from education to health care to a safe shelter from the streets, which means that you’re -- you’re harnessing the power of community to expand opportunity for folks here in D.C. And your work reflects a tradition that runs through our history, the belief that we’re greater together than we are on our own. And -- and that’s what I’ve come here to talk about today.
Now, over the last two months, Washington’s been dominated by some pretty contentious debates, I think that’s fair to say. And between a reckless shutdown by congressional Republicans in an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act and, admittedly, poor execution on my administration’s part in implementing the latest stage of the new law, nobody has acquitted themselves very well these past few months. So it’s not surprising that the American people’s frustrations with Washington are at an all-time high.
But we know that people’s frustrations run deeper than these most recent political battles. Their frustration is rooted in their own daily battles, to make ends meet, to pay for college, buy a home, save for retirement. It’s rooted in the nagging sense that no matter how hard they work, the deck is stacked against them. And it’s rooted in the fear that their kids won’t be better off than they were.
They may not follow the constant back-and-forth in Washington or all the policy details, but they experience, in a very personal way, the relentless decadeslong trend that I want to spend some time talking about today, and that is a dangerous and growing inequality and lack of upward mobility that has jeopardized middle-class America’s basic bargain that if you work hard, you have a chance to get ahead. I believe this is the defining challenge of our time: making sure our economy works for every working American. That’s why I ran for president. It was the center of last year’s campaign. It drives everything I do in this office.