Sean Hannity predicted on his radio show that the State of the Union Address would be narcissistic. The following table compares the pronoun concentration in Obama's first state of the union with Slick's & Shrub's.
It appears that President Clinton is considerably more narcissistic than our current misleader while Shrub appears to be much less self centered.
Next, as usual, I will tear into selected excerpts from the address.
One year ago, I took office amid two wars, an economy rocked by a severe recession, a financial system on the verge of collapse, and a government deeply in debt. Experts from across the political spectrum warned that if we did not act, we might face a second depression. So we acted - immediately and aggressively. And one year later, the worst of the storm has passed.
As anyone could predict, President Obama began by blaming Shrub for the state of the economy. How bad was it? We faced "a second depression". There were 14 panics and depressions prior to the Great Depression. Does the President have a clue? Now the "worst of the storm has passed" has the President no clue about the continuing decline in employment and the threatened bursting of the commercial real estate bubble?
This recession has also compounded the burdens that America's families have been dealing with for decades - the burden of working harder and longer for less; of being unable to save enough to retire or help kids with college.
How sweet it must be to be blissfully ignorant of the basics we learned in Econ. 101. It is difficult to accrue a surplus to save or invest because of inflation resulting from federal fiscal policy and the economic coercion of labor unions. Without true growth, its a zero sum game. With inflation, it becomes a rat race. Because of Obama's idiocy, we are destined to suffer stagflation that will make Carter's malaise a Christmas party by comparison.
So I know the anxieties that are out there right now. They're not new. These struggles are the reason I ran for President. These struggles are what I've witnessed for years in places like Elkhart, Indiana; Galesburg, Illinois. I hear about them in the letters that I read each night. The toughest to read are those written by children - asking why they have to move from their home, asking when their mom or dad will be able to go back to work.
Artificial prosperity for a few, gained by economic coercion in the form of strikes against industry, created inflation which reduced everyone else's standard of living, eventually returning to the stricken industries in the form of foreign competition resulting in market loss, bankruptcy and permanent unemployment. They think that their prosperity will last forever, without retrenchment. They never learn from past experience. "Its a new economy." Of course, Obama is building the "new economy". Yeah, right.
For these Americans and so many others, change has not come fast enough. Some are frustrated; some are angry. They don't understand why it seems like bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded, but hard work on Main Street isn't; or why Washington has been unable or unwilling to solve any of our problems. They're tired of the partisanship and the shouting and the pettiness. They know we can't afford it. Not now.
Bad behavior on Wall Street is rewarded because the bad actors have friends in high places who bail them out with our future income in the form of taxes and inflation. Washington is a cause of problems. President Reagan was right: big government is the problem, not the solution. They've been tired of the partisanship, shouting & pettiness for a long time; does anyone remember Shrub's "new tone in Washington slogan". Unfortunately, the Democrats were playing the same old bells, while he stood alone ringing a single, small, new bell which was drowned out by the old bell.
It seems so long ago that candidate Obama was pitching a new era of openness, transparency and bipartisanship. Somehow that era slipped away even before the echoes of cheering died away after his inauguration. Wasn't it his party that completely shut the minority party out of the legislative process and circumvented the Senate rules? What happened to the promise of CSPAN coverage of the health care destruction deliberations? Obama is at once complainant and culprit, but almost no one notices, blinded by his effulgent halo.
"Numbing weight of politics"? No, Mr. President, its the numbing weight of your Socialist agenda. Your party cut everyone's disposable income by blocking extension of Shrub's tax cuts. Your party turned a deaf ear to the voter's shouts of "NO!" and pressed on regardless toward a takeover of the health care system that will push up the cost of health care while reducing both quality and supply. Your press on regardless attitude cost your party two governorships and a senate seat.
So we face big and difficult challenges. And what the American people hope - what they deserve - is for all of us, Democrats and Republicans, to work through our differences; to overcome the numbing weight of our politics. For while the people who sent us here have different backgrounds, different stories, different beliefs, the anxieties they face are the same. The aspirations they hold are shared: a job that pays the bills; a chance to get ahead; most of all, the ability to give their children a better life.
Jobs are not created by poor people, they are created by investors who perceive a chance to increase their wealth through enterprise. Those investors need predictability. They need stability. They want to know that their efforts will be rewarded with success, not hampered by new regulations and punished by new taxes. Your attempt to destroy the health care system and push up costs is preventing investment and job growth. Your threat to destroy the coal and oil industries is creating a barrier in the form of threatened inflation. Your cap and tax plan is making matters worse. Your massive increase in the federal deficit and debt has thrown a monkey wrench into the gears of finance.
You know what else they share? They share a stubborn resilience in the face of adversity. After one of the most difficult years in our history, they remain busy building cars and teaching kids, starting businesses and going back to school. They're coaching Little League and helping their neighbors. One woman wrote to me and said, "We are strained but hopeful, struggling but encouraged."
Those whose jobs have been terminated are struggling to juggle their bills, which an unemployement compensation check won't cover, and once their unemployment compensation runs out, they will be up the creek. This depression will outlast unemployment compensation, and any extension will be too little, too late. The suffering can only increase.
It's because of this spirit - this great decency and great strength - that I have never been more hopeful about America's future than I am tonight. (Applause.) Despite our hardships, our union is strong. We do not give up. We do not quit. We do not allow fear or division to break our spirit. In this new decade, it's time the American people get a government that matches their decency; that embodies their strength. (Applause.)
And tonight, tonight I'd like to talk about how together we can deliver on that promise.
A government that matches our decency and embodies our strength is long overdue. Unfortunately, our dumbed down electorate and agenda driven mass media combined to elect an idiot savant who persists on a course to certain destruction. Destroying industries and the jobs they support is not decency. Osculating the anuses of our enemies is not strength. Granting undeserved rights, privileges and immunities of citizens to unlawful enemy combatants is neither decency nor strength. Sending men and women into battle with both hands tied behind their backs in a war you do not intend to win is both weak and indecent.
The banking crisis is primarily a function of the real estate bubble. The real estate bubble is primarily a function of a vicious cycle of hyper inflation, speculation and false optimism. That cycle was fed by policies put in place by the Clinton administration, spurred on by ACORN and their allies. Banks and consumers participated in what they thought was a perpetual game of musical chairs. Then the music stopped. There is a similar bubble in commercial real estate which is stretching, ready to rupture because too many businesses are caught in a cash flow trap, unable to maintain their debt.
It begins with our economy.
Our most urgent task upon taking office was to shore up the same banks that helped cause this crisis. It was not easy to do. And if there's one thing that has unified Democrats and Republicans, and everybody in between, it's that we all hated the bank bailout. I hated it -- (applause.) I hated it. You hated it. It was about as popular as a root canal. (Laughter.)
But when I ran for President, I promised I wouldn't just do what was popular - I would do what was necessary. And if we had allowed the meltdown of the financial system, unemployment might be double what it is today. More businesses would certainly have closed. More homes would have surely been lost.
So I supported the last administration's efforts to create the financial rescue program. And when we took that program over, we made it more transparent and more accountable. And as a result, the markets are now stabilized, and we've recovered most of the money we spent on the banks. (Applause.) Most but not all.
Where did the thirteen billion go?
To recover the rest, I've proposed a fee on the biggest banks. (Applause.) Now, I know Wall Street isn't keen on this idea. But if these firms can afford to hand out big bonuses again, they can afford a modest fee to pay back the taxpayers who rescued them in their time of need. (Applause.)
Paying back is not a function of taxes or fees, those are attacks, not repayments. Repayment is a function of return of principal plus interest on money that was loaned. By raiding the banks, you are delaying and impairing the recovery. Uncertainty and punishing policies reduce the flow of investment capital. Your policy is counter productive.
Now, as we stabilized the financial system, we also took steps to get our economy growing again, save as many jobs as possible, and help Americans who had become unemployed.
You did not stabilize the financial system, you propped up a corpse which continues to rot. You destroyed jobs, you did not save them. The only way to help the unemployed is to replace their lost income.
Everyone's expense is someone else's income. Everyone's income is someone else's expense. When any segment of society cuts expenses, others lose income. With increasing losses, businesses and consumers cut back on consumption, further increasing losses, beginning a vicious cycle which can spiral into depression.
Inflation caused by government policies hurts everyone by reducing disposable income and creating artificial imbalance in markets. Increased taxation has the same effect.
That's why we extended or increased unemployment benefits for more than 18 million Americans; made health insurance 65 percent cheaper for families who get their coverage through COBRA; and passed 25 different tax cuts.
Consumers who bought expensive real estate in a time of rapid inflation, fearing that prices would rise out of reach and hoping that prices would continue to escalate so that they could sell at a profit over extended their credit. Now that prices have sunk and their incomes have ceased, they can't meet the mortgage. Increased and extended unemployment compensation won't meet all their needs and it will come to an end. You kicked the can down the road, solving nothing.
Now, let me repeat: We cut taxes. We cut taxes for 95 percent of working families. (Applause.) We cut taxes for small businesses. We cut taxes for first-time home buyers. We cut taxes for parents trying to care for their children. We cut taxes for 8 million Americans paying for college. (Applause.)
I thought I'd get some applause on that one. (Laughter and applause.)
You raised taxes; by allowing Shrub's tax cuts to expire. At the same time, you increased inflation and government spending, boosting the deficit and debt, further weakening the economy. The best metaphor for what you have done is the firefighter who sets fires so that he can display his heroism in extinguishing them. Eventually he is trapped and burns in a collapsing building.
As a result, millions of Americans had more to spend on gas and food and other necessities, all of which helped businesses keep more workers. And we haven't raised income taxes by a single dime on a single person. Not a single dime. (Applause.)
As a result of your idiotic policies, millions of Americans had to pay more for each gallon of gasoline, more for their groceries and every item transported by trucks, all of which resulted in decreased capital for growth and expansion. When paying more for motor fuel and home energy, consumers cut back on other items, throwing more production and sales staffers out of work. By preventing domestic oil exploration & production, you raised the cost of fuel. You increased the cost of transportation. You raised the cost of flour, beans, peanut butter and fruit. You raised the cost of home heating and electricity.
Inflation is a tax. You increased it. You let Shrub's tax cuts expire, effectively raising taxes.
Because of the steps we took, there are about two million Americans working right now who would otherwise be unemployed. (Applause.) Two hundred thousand work in construction and clean energy; 300,000 are teachers and other education workers. Tens of thousands are cops, firefighters, correctional officers, first responders. (Applause.) And we're on track to add another one and a half million jobs to this total by the end of the year.
In Michigan, more teachers and state police are being laid off. People who can't meet the mortgage are not paying their property taxes, putting local government and schools in jeopardy. Two million jobs: a drop in the ocean; insignificant to the big picture, no comfort to those who have lost their jobs permanently and whose unemployment benefits are exhausted.
The plan that has made all of this possible, from the tax cuts to the jobs, is the Recovery Act. (Applause.) That's right - the Recovery Act, also known as the stimulus bill. (Applause.) Economists on the left and the right say this bill has helped save jobs and avert disaster. But you don't have to take their word for it. Talk to the small business in Phoenix that will triple its workforce because of the Recovery Act. Talk to the window manufacturer in Philadelphia who said he used to be skeptical about the Recovery Act, until he had to add two more work shifts just because of the business it created. Talk to the single teacher raising two kids who was told by her principal in the last week of school that because of the Recovery Act, she wouldn't be laid off after all.
The Recovery Act primarily benefited a few powerful unions, it exacerbated the problem instead of providing real relief. You wasted money, reducing the availability of capital for real recovery and expansion. You increased the federal debt, greatly increasing future liability for interest payments.
There are stories like this all across America. And after two years of recession, the economy is growing again. Retirement funds have started to gain back some of their value. Businesses are beginning to invest again, and slowly some are starting to hire again.
But I realize that for every success story, there are other stories, of men and women who wake up with the anguish of not knowing where their next paycheck will come from; who send out resumes week after week and hear nothing in response. That is why jobs must be our number-one focus in 2010, and that's why I'm calling for a new jobs bill tonight. (Applause.)
Legislation does not create jobs, it destroys them. Creating jobs requires capital & confidence, inflation and legislation which imposes increased taxes and costs reduces both. Both consumers and producers need stability, predictability & confidence, which you destroy by dithering like a decapitated chicken, flopping from one failed remedy to another.
Now, the true engine of job creation in this country will always be America's businesses. (Applause.) But government can create the conditions necessary for businesses to expand and hire more workers.
But you are doing what government can do best: destroying risk capital and confidence. More laws, rules, regulations and taxes: fewer productive jobs, less confidence, less investment. You can not increase the number of jobs by increasing the cost of wages and benefits packages. Your proposal to destroy the health care system increases cost and insecurity, militating against job creation and increasing job destruction.
We should start where most new jobs do - in small businesses, companies that begin when -- (applause) -- companies that begin when an entrepreneur -- when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, or a worker decides it's time she became her own boss. Through sheer grit and determination, these companies have weathered the recession and they're ready to grow. But when you talk to small business owners in places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, or Elyria, Ohio, you find out that even though banks on Wall Street are lending again, they're mostly lending to bigger companies. Financing remains difficult for small business owners across the country, even those that are making a profit.
Most startups end in failure within a few years. Investment bankers know this fact. When they are having trouble meeting current obligations, they are understandably risk averse.
So tonight, I'm proposing that we take $30 billion of the money Wall Street banks have repaid and use it to help community banks give small businesses the credit they need to stay afloat. (Applause.) I'm also proposing a new small business tax credit
- one that will go to over one million small businesses who hire new workers or raise wages. (Applause.) While we're at it, let's also eliminate all capital gains taxes on small business investment, and provide a tax incentive for all large businesses and all small businesses to invest in new plants and equipment. (Applause.)
Tax credits will not cover the cost of hiring. No small business will stay in business long if it hires staff beyond current production requirements. Temporary tax reductions will not be effective. Managers must be able to plan for the medium and long term, not just the next year.
Next, we can put Americans to work today building the infrastructure of tomorrow. (Applause.) From the first railroads to the Interstate Highway System, our nation has always been built to compete. There's no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products.
Common sense dictates a crucial reform which you will never contemplate enacting: repeal of the Prevailing Wage Act. Unless effective competitive bidding is allowed, you will increase the deficit and debt, fostering an inflation spiral without creating any real jobs. There is a limited supply of construction equipment, engineers and qualified operators. New projects will increase costs, a form of inflation.Passenger rail is not viable. The service is too limited and too expensive. It loses money. The capital cost of improving rail beds is excessive. The capital cost of acquiring new rail beds is prohibitive. The technology for high speed rail is not in place and the cost of improving crossings is prohibitive.
"Clean energy products" is a vicious lie. No such entity exists nor will it ever exist. There is no magic wand; Harry Potter is fictional, not real. The volumes required to replace coal and petroleum simply do not and will not exist. You are selling fiction & fantasy.
Tomorrow, I'll visit Tampa, Florida, where workers will soon break ground on a new high-speed railroad funded by the Recovery Act. (Applause.) There are projects like that all across this country that will create jobs and help move our nation's goods, services, and information. (Applause.)
We should put more Americans to work building clean energy facilities -- (applause) -- and give rebates to Americans who make their homes more energy-efficient, which supports clean energy jobs. (Applause.) And to encourage these and other businesses to stay within our borders, it is time to finally slash the tax breaks for companies that ship our jobs overseas, and give those tax breaks to companies that create jobs right here in the United States of America. (Applause.)
The high capital cost of "energy-efficient" appliances is prohibitive to low income individuals. Attempts to compel their purchase through artificial inflation of utility rates combined with restrictions on sale of existing homes will eventually result in revolt.Your party has long campaigned for "international economic development". You thought that, if Africa & Asia became prosperous, they would be immune to Communism. Now you assert that affluence will make them immune to "radical Islam". Both proposals are lies. China is using its new found prosperity to fund a larger army with new and improved weaponry. Various Arab oil satrapies are developing nuclear energy, which ultimately translates into the bomb.
Develop means production & trade. That means competition for retail markets. You can't have it both ways Domestic consumption does not line the satrap's pockets with gold.Consumers want cheap goods. They can not afford the artificially high prices they must pay for goods produced by domestic industries enslaved to the labor unions with ever increasing demands for increased compensation.
Now, the House has passed a jobs bill that includes some of these steps. (Applause.) As the first order of business this year, I urge the Senate to do the same, and I know they will. (Applause.) They will. (Applause.) People are out of work. They're hurting. They need our help. And I want a jobs bill on my desk without delay. (Applause.)
But the truth is, these steps won't make up for the seven million jobs that we've lost over the last two years. The only way to move to full employment is to lay a new foundation for long-term economic growth, and finally address the problems that America's families have confronted for years.
You must first eliminate the artificial barriers erected by government. Restore the right to work, eliminating labor union coercion. Lower and eliminate burdensome taxes and regulations. Allow domestic energy exploration, production & refining. Allow exploration & production on federal lands, including the continental shelf and ANWAR. When you bring down the artificially inflated cost of energy, you will enable renewed prosperity and make our exports more competitive.
Cut the federal income tax, make the cut permanent. Eliminate the estate tax, permanently. Eliminate taxation on stock and bond investment income.
We can't afford another so-called economic "expansion" like the one from the last decade - what some call the "lost decade" - where jobs grew more slowly than during any prior expansion; where the income of the average American household declined while the cost of health care and tuition reached record highs; where prosperity was built on a housing bubble and financial speculation.
Slick Willy set the stage for our current misery by declaring a "new economy" that was always going to progress and never regress. We were told that recessions and depressions could not happen any more. Only ignorant fools believed those promises. Slick Willy wanted to increase home ownership and eliminate "red lining". The rules were changed, and we are reaping the harvest of what he sowed.
From the day I took office, I've been told that addressing our larger challenges is too ambitious; such an effort would be too contentious. I've been told that our political system is too gridlocked, and that we should just put things on hold for a while.
For those who make these claims, I have one simple question: How long should we wait? How long should America put its future on hold? (Applause.)
We need to flush your entire Socialist agenda down the crapper, permanently eliminating it. This includes your plan to destroy the health care system and your plan to destroy the energy industry and impose rationing and super inflation upon consumers. The whole load of crap must be flushed!
You see, Washington has been telling us to wait for decades, even as the problems have grown worse. Meanwhile, China is not waiting to revamp its economy. Germany is not waiting. India is not waiting. These nations -- they're not standing still. These nations aren't playing for second place. They're putting more emphasis on math and science. They're rebuilding their infrastructure. They're making serious investments in clean energy because they want those jobs. Well, I do not accept second place for the United States of America. (Applause.)
Europe is going to Hell because they installed Socialism, effectively making investment and productivity growth impossible. Fearing an overpopulated world with declining food production and seeking hedonistic pleasures of the moment, they reduced their reproduction rate, failing to replace a dieing generation. As more and more of their aging population went out of the factories and on the dole, they imported Muslims from Asia, Africa & Arabia and now the imported Muslims are taking over.
America is riding the same rail to destruction. Our Social Security and Medicare entitlements are unpaid liabilities, far beyond the capacity of the reduced work force to make up without impoverishing it with taxation. Every Congress promises to fix the problem, then kicks the can down the road. We baby boomers are the lit fuse which will bring the system down on our heads. Everyone will suffer as a result.
As hard as it may be, as uncomfortable and contentious as the debates may become, it's time to get serious about fixing the problems that are hampering our growth.
Shrub tried to fix the problems; your party frustrated his efforts. Your policies are the problem. Your labor union buddies, trial lawyer & high finance associates who fill your campaign treasuries in expectation of legislation to enrich them and perpetuate their power and yours contribute greatly to the problems.
Now, one place to start is serious financial reform. Look, I am not interested in punishing banks. I'm interested in protecting our economy. A strong, healthy financial market makes it possible for businesses to access credit and create new jobs. It channels the savings of families into investments that raise incomes. But that can only happen if we guard against the same recklessness that nearly brought down our entire economy.
The stage for economic destruction was set in years following WW2 through the Clinton era, when the UAW, Steel Workers & AFL-CIO distorted the economy with annual demands for more for less. First the steel industry was destroyed, then the auto industry. The golden goose has been strangled, now there are no more eggs.LBJ, with his grandiose schemes, expanded the federal government, and began the spiral of waste and inflation which have now come home to roost. Nixon & carter made matters worse with wage & price controls. Reagan had the right idea, but there were too many LibTards in the congress to really fix the system. Bush increased taxes, Slick Willy went hog wild, and Shrub failed to learn from history. Now we have Obama with his wrecking ball. I fear that the electorate will never learn.
We need to make sure consumers and middle-class families have the information they need to make financial decisions. (Applause.) We can't allow financial institutions, including those that take your deposits, to take risks that threaten the whole economy.
Our youth must abandon the time honored practice of sleeping through history and economics classes. If consumers were educated and rational, they would not have fallen for the siren song of home equity loans and house flipping. They should have revolted against the policies which produced artificial inflation of the housing market.
Now, the House has already passed financial reform with many of these changes. (Applause.) And the lobbyists are trying to kill it. But we cannot let them win this fight. (Applause.) And if the bill that ends up on my desk does not meet the test of real reform, I will send it back until we get it right. We've got to get it right. (Applause.)
Nobody with their head on straight believes a word of that.
Next, we need to encourage American innovation. Last year, we made the largest investment in basic research funding in history - (applause) -- an investment that could lead to the world's cheapest solar cells or treatment that kills cancer cells but leaves healthy ones untouched. And no area is more ripe for such innovation than energy. You can see the results of last year's investments in clean energy - in the North Carolina company that will create 1,200 jobs nationwide helping to make advanced batteries; or in the California business that will put a thousand people to work making solar panels.
Industrial scale solutions are impossible. There is no magic wand. The minerals required for some of those technologies are rare, and their sources are located in places where our interests are not high on the scale of local concern. Increasing the cost of fuel and electricity to make wind and solar systems competitive will be extremely destructive to the economy and our standard of living.
But to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And that means building a new generation of safe, clean nuclear power plants in this country. (Applause.) It means making tough decisions about opening new offshore areas for oil and gas development. (Applause.) It means continued investment in advanced biofuels and clean coal technologies. (Applause.) And, yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America. (Applause.)
You already decided to prohibit exploration & production in ANWAR, the most promising fields in the west and the continental shelf. Slick Willy could have and should have increased domestic production, instead he vetoed it. You do one thing and say another; the damned fools lap it up like cream. What will happen to your party's prospects when they wise up?Your cap & tax plan is exactly the wrong thing to do. It is 180° out of phase with reality and common sense. You will double and triple energy costs, destroying jobs and ruining the economy. Increased energy costs will be passed through in every product and service we consume. Our standard of living is going to be ruined if we allow you to continue promoting your damn fool policies.
Anthropogenic climate change is a massive fraud, recognized by a growing number of people. Eventually it is going to cost your party its grip on power.
I am grateful to the House for passing such a bill last year. (Applause.) And this year I'm eager to help advance the bipartisan effort in the Senate. (Applause.)
I know there have been questions about whether we can afford such changes in a tough economy. I know that there are those who disagree with the overwhelming scientific evidence on climate change. But here's the thing -- even if you doubt the evidence, providing incentives for energy-efficiency and clean energy are the right thing to do for our future - because the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation. (Applause.)
You are the one who disagrees with the overwhelming scientific evidence. The propaganda your side spews is based on fraud and deception. Your consensus is political, not scientific. You are contributing to a reduced trust of science and vast increase in public skepticism.
Third, we need to export more of our goods. (Applause.) Because the more products we make and sell to other countries, the more jobs we support right here in America. (Applause.) So tonight, we set a new goal: We will double our exports over the next five years, an increase that will support two million jobs in America. (Applause.) To help meet this goal, we're launching a National Export Initiative that will help farmers and small businesses increase their exports, and reform export controls consistent with national security. (Applause.)
You can not increase exports by artificially inflating the cost of production. When you decrease the availability of medical goods and services and increase their cost, you make our exports more expensive and discourage exports. When you artificially increase the cost of labor through the union movement and strikes, you decrease exports. When you artificially inflate energy costs with cap & tax, you decrease exports. When you artificially inflate energy costs by reducing domestic exploration, production & refining, you decrease exports. Your policies are 180° out of phase with your spew of lies. Cognitive dissonance abounds in your party, sooner or later the voters will wise up to it.
We have to seek new markets aggressively, just as our competitors are. If America sits on the sidelines while other nations sign trade deals, we will lose the chance to create jobs on our shores. (Applause.) But realizing those benefits also means enforcing those agreements so our trading partners play by the rules. (Applause.) And that's why we'll continue to shape a Doha trade agreement that opens global markets, and why we will strengthen our trade relations in Asia and with key partners like South Korea and Panama and Colombia. (Applause.)
In the long term, trade must be balanced. While China and Arabia do all the exporting without importing to balance it, a balance of payments problem is created. Money and gold accumulate in their treasuries, depleting ours, artificially shifting economic power to them .
While all sides are determined to increase their exports and decrease their imports, conflict is inevitable. Domestic political pressures will lead to artificial market protection. Exporters will seek subsidies. Those who produce more than the market can absorb will engage in dumping. Protective tariffs will be reciprocated, leading to another world wide great depression.
There is no magic wand. There is no quick road to riches on a national scale. We need to begin discounting and rejecting the promises made by our lying politicians.
Fourth, we need to invest in the skills and education of our people. (Applause.)
Inflation has pushed the cost of a university degree beyond the reach of many people. Students are burdened with a great debt load which they can not maintain if there are no jobs for them after graduation. When you raise the cost of utilities, taxes and construction, you push room and board out of reach. When you increase fees and tuition, you push eduction out of reach. When students spend their time partying instead of studying, you waste the precious resources invested in education.
Now, this year, we've broken through the stalemate between left and right by launching a national competition to improve our schools. And the idea here is simple: Instead of rewarding failure, we only reward success. Instead of funding the status quo, we only invest in reform -- reform that raises student achievement; inspires students to excel in math and science; and turns around failing schools that steal the future of too many young Americans, from rural communities to the inner city. In the 21st century, the best anti-poverty program around is a world-class education. (Applause.) And in this country, the success of our children cannot depend more on where they live than on their potential.
There is no magic wand. Throwing dollars at schools can't solve the problems of our system of education. Increasing teacher salaries will not solve the problems. First and foremost. you must stop inflation. The high cost of constructing, maintaining and operating schools must be reduced because the tax payers can not bear any more. Cap & tax will make the problem worse, not better.The prevailing wage law must go! The high cost of employee benefits is another problem. Destroying the health care system will make matters much worse. Unfunded pension liabilities are a double edged sword. This problem is already insoluble.
In urban areas, broken homes, drug & alcohol addiction and single mothers are contributing to the problem. Children need intact, loving families. They must arrive at the school able, ready and willing to learn. Education requires active participation, it is not a passive process. Teachers must be well prepared, dedicated and enthusiastic. If they are burned out and frustrated by discipline problems and moronic administrations, they are unlikely to succeed.
When we renew the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, we will work with Congress to expand these reforms to all 50 states. Still, in this economy, a high school diploma no longer guarantees a good job. That's why I urge the Senate to follow the House and pass a bill that will revitalize our community colleges, which are a career pathway to the children of so many working families. (Applause.)
Our community colleges are burdened by inflated utility expenses and other overhead. They can't keep paying more for less forever more any more than consumers can. By artificially inflating energy and labor benefit expenses, you will be part of their problems, making them worse, not solving them.
To make college more affordable, this bill will finally end the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that go to banks for student loans. (Applause.) Instead, let's take that money and give families a $10,000 tax credit for four years of college and increase Pell Grants. (Applause.) And let's tell another one million students that when they graduate, they will be required to pay only 10 percent of their income on student loans, and all of their debt will be forgiven after 20 years - and forgiven after 10 years if they choose a career in public service, because in the United States of America, no one should go broke because they chose to go to college. (Applause.)
And by the way, it's time for colleges and universities to get serious about cutting their own costs - (applause) -- because they, too, have a responsibility to help solve this problem.
Post secondary education is not affordable. You can not make it more of what it ain't. You must first stop and roll back inflation. Your Socialist agenda will increase inflation, not reduce it.
How do you propose to finance that student debt and forgive large portions of it? How do you propose to fund those Pell grants? You have too many priorities and too few resources. Harry Potter's magic wand is fictional, not real.
Now, the price of college tuition is just one of the burdens facing the middle class. That's why last year I asked Vice President Biden to chair a task force on middle-class families. That's why we're nearly doubling the child care tax credit, and making it easier to save for retirement by giving access to every worker a retirement account and expanding the tax credit for those who start a nest egg. That's why we're working to lift the value of a family's single largest investment - their home. The steps we took last year to shore up the housing market have allowed millions of Americans to take out new loans and save an average of $1,500 on mortgage payments.
It is not possible to save unless current income exceeds current expenses. When you generate spiraling inflation, you push the dream of saving and investing further out of reach.
Lifting the value of homes? No, you mean price, not value. Prices need to be set by the market, not artificially by laws and regulations such as those that produced the real estate bubble. When you increase the price of existing homes, you push the dream of home ownership further out of reach.
This year, we will step up refinancing so that homeowners can move into more affordable mortgages. (Applause.) And it is precisely to relieve the burden on middle-class families that we still need health insurance reform. (Applause.) Yes, we do. (Applause.)
Affordability has several components: income, principal, value, rate, fees and time. A mortgage is not affordable if the payments exceed the difference between income and other necessary living expenses. An affordable mortgage can easily lose its status due to increased interest rates, property taxes or inflated consumer costs as well as lost income. A balloon mortgage is not likely to remain affordable.
Inflated medical care and insurance costs are an important factor. Your scam will increase costs and reduce quality and availability. The voters of Massachusetts recently sent a vital message about that, but you are not receptive to their message.
Now, let's clear a few things up. (Laughter.) I didn't choose to tackle this issue to get some legislative victory under my belt. And by now it should be fairly obvious that I didn't take on health care because it was good politics. (Laughter.) I took on health care because of the stories I've heard from Americans with preexisting conditions whose lives depend on getting coverage; patients who've been denied coverage; families - even those with insurance - who are just one illness away from financial ruin.
Once again, inflation resulting from bad fiscal policies and labor union extortion have greatly increased prices. The high cost of new technology and litigation also contributed. But second party payers, the government programs as well as insurance plans have been major contributors to rising medical care prices.
You can't increase supply or decrease costs by forcing hospitals to close or doctors to quit the profession. You can't solve the nursing shortage by cutting their wages. Increasing their wages will reduce the shortage at the expense of increased cost.
Screwing doctors and hospitals will result in reduced supply. Increasing coverage will result in increased demand, which will mean increased costs, waiting times and rationing. It is necessary to eliminate fraud & litigation expenses. Tort reform is not going to happen because trial lawyers contribute to Democrat's campaign coffers.
The bottom line: promises of reform, decreased cost & increased coverage are fraudulent. There is no possibility of delivering on those promises.
After nearly a century of trying -- Democratic administrations, Republican administrations -- we are closer than ever to bringing more security to the lives of so many Americans. The approach we've taken would protect every American from the worst practices of the insurance industry. It would give small businesses and uninsured Americans a chance to choose an affordable health care plan in a competitive market. It would require every insurance plan to cover preventive care.
That statement is malignant malarkey. It is 180° out of phase with objective factual reality.
Our approach would preserve the right of Americans who have insurance to keep their doctor and their plan. It would reduce costs and premiums for millions of families and businesses. And according to the Congressional Budget Office - the independent organization that both parties have cited as the official scorekeeper for Congress - our approach would bring down the deficit by as much as $1 trillion over the next two decades. (Applause.)
The content of the initial legislation passed by the House and posted on the web, disproves those egregious lies.
Still, this is a complex issue, and the longer it was debated, the more skeptical people became. I take my share of the blame for not explaining it more clearly to the American people. And I know that with all the lobbying and horse-trading, the process left most Americans wondering, "What's in it for me?"
Extended debate brings new facts to light, which is what Obama,. Reid & Pelosi seek to avoid. Like sausage makers, they seek to perform their ministrations in dark back rooms, out of our sight. It is not possible to increase coverage and reduce costs at the same time. A growing number of voters are wising up to this reality. In a special election January 20, '10, some of those voters sent a message, which Washington is ignoring.
But I also know this problem is not going away. By the time I'm finished speaking tonight, more Americans will have lost their health insurance. Millions will lose it this year. Our deficit will grow. Premiums will go up. Patients will be denied the care they need. Small business owners will continue to drop coverage altogether. I will not walk away from these Americans, and neither should the people in this chamber. (Applause.)
People are losing coverage because they are losing their jobs. Many lose coverage because employers can no longer afford it. Nothing Obama can do will solve those problems. He can only make matters worse. He will continue to push his scam through congress until it is enacted, causing reduced supply, increased demand, increased costs & deficits and rationing of care. His scam will cause the loss of more jobs and destroy the economy. We must rise up as one screaming HELL NO!!!
So, as temperatures cool, I want everyone to take another look at the plan we've proposed. There's a reason why many doctors, nurses, and health care experts who know our system best consider this approach a vast improvement over the status quo. But if anyone from either party has a better approach that will bring down premiums, bring down the deficit, cover the uninsured, strengthen Medicare for seniors, and stop insurance company abuses, let me know. (Applause.) Let me know. Let me know. (Applause.) I'm eager to see it.
"As temperatures cool"? You expect to wear us down, to keep coming back with this damn scam until we finally accept it. We are outraged by your arrogance as well as your attempt to strip us of our liberty, prosperity, health and lives. Your persistence is going to pay off by making you the first one term President since G.H.W. Bush.There is a reason why many doctors are quitting the AMA: it endorsed your damn scam. There is a reason why some doctors are beginning to plan for an early retirement: you are going to push them out of the profession.
To bring down premiums, you must first bring down costs and increase competition. Do away with the state laws which narrow the market, let insurance providers compete across state lines. Do away with laws and regulations that force policies to cover abortion and cosmetic procedures.
Give people a real choice. Allow them to create and fund Health Savings Accounts with before tax dollars, at least equal to the current cost of insurance premiums. Allow them to deduct the entire cost of catastrophic care coverage as well as their HSAs..
Here's what I ask Congress, though: Don't walk away from reform. Not now. Not when we are so close. Let us find a way to come together and finish the job for the American people. (Applause.) Let's get it done. Let's get it done. (Applause.)
What you propose is destruction, not reform. We are disrespectfully demanding that Congress drop the proposal and quit trying to scam us. We are preparing to turn them out of office next November. One state has shown the way with a special election, and we are going to follow their lead.
Now, even as health care reform would reduce our deficit, it's not enough to dig us out of a massive fiscal hole in which we find ourselves. It's a challenge that makes all others that much harder to solve, and one that's been subject to a lot of political posturing. So let me start the discussion of government spending by setting the record straight.
It is not possible to reduce the deficit by spending more. Your health care destruction plan will increase, not reduce spending and inflation. It will increase, not decrease the deficit and debt.
At the beginning of the last decade, the year 2000, America had a budget surplus of over $200 billion. (Applause.) By the time I took office, we had a one-year deficit of over $1 trillion and projected deficits of $8 trillion over the next decade. Most of this was the result of not paying for two wars, two tax cuts, and an expensive prescription drug program. On top of that, the effects of the recession put a $3 trillion hole in our budget. All this was before I walked in the door. (Laughter and applause.)
Our only recourse is to remove the drunken sailors from Congress. We need to clean house completely, replacing all of the incumbents with genuine fiscal conservatives.
Common sense dictates not having prolonged wars, instead, we should have nuked Afghanistan & Pakistan and told the world "You can have one, too, if you don't approve.". Shrub lacked common sense.
You don't pay for tax cuts, you reduce spending. Instead, Congress increased wasteful spending. You bitch about an expensive prescription drug program, while proposing a much more expensive and destructive program. Your hypocrisy is as unbounded as your arrogance!
Now -- just stating the facts. Now, if we had taken office in ordinary times, I would have liked nothing more than to start bringing down the deficit. But we took office amid a crisis. And our efforts to prevent a second depression have added another $1 trillion to our national debt. That, too, is a fact.
I'm absolutely convinced that was the right thing to do. But families across the country are tightening their belts and making tough decisions. The federal government should do the same. (Applause.) So tonight, I'm proposing specific steps to pay for the trillion dollars that it took to rescue the economy last year.
When tight times come and people cut back on their expenditures, others lose business and lay off employees. It is a vicious cycle, to which your idiotic fiscal policies contribute greatly. You can't pay for a damn thing, the government is bankrupt. When interest rates rise again, you won't be able to make the payment Increasing taxes will cause further economic contraction, resulting in a double dip recession and a prolonged depression.
Starting in 2011, we are prepared to freeze government spending for three years. (Applause.) Spending related to our national security, Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will not be affected. But all other discretionary government programs will. Like any cash-strapped family, we will work within a budget to invest in what we need and sacrifice what we don't. And if I have to enforce this discipline by veto, I will. (Applause.)
Better yet, start immediately with a no new programs pledge. Forswear your entire Socialist agenda, including health care destruction and Cap & Tax. You must make choices, you chose the bailout and the stimulus, so the rest of your agenda must be dropped.At the same time, roll back the recent increases in Congressional salaries and benefit packages. Of course, that should include Pelosi's luxury aircraft. Apply the savings to extending unemployment compensation for the long term unemployed. The same should apply to your own expensive travel schedule. Is this trip necessary?
We will continue to go through the budget, line by line, page by page, to eliminate programs that we can't afford and don't work. We've already identified $20 billion in savings for next year. To help working families, we'll extend our middle-class tax cuts. But at a time of record deficits, we will not continue tax cuts for oil companies, for investment fund managers, and for those making over $250,000 a year. We just can't afford it. (Applause.)
The class warfare is unbecoming to a democrat. The appeal is to the baser instincts such as envy, greed & schadenfreud.
Now, even after paying for what we spent on my watch, we'll still face the massive deficit we had when I took office. More importantly, the cost of Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security will continue to skyrocket. That's why I've called for a bipartisan fiscal commission, modeled on a proposal by Republican Judd Gregg and Democrat Kent Conrad. (Applause.) This can't be one of those Washington gimmicks that lets us pretend we solved a problem. The commission will have to provide a specific set of solutions by a certain deadline.
You are not going to pay for the trillions you threw away. Your children won't be able to pay for it, nor will your grandchildren. The time for fixing the entitlement programs was decades ago. Your party's denial and dithering have pushed the problem beyond any possibility of correction. You kicked the can down the road several times too many.
Now, yesterday, the Senate blocked a bill that would have created this commission. So I'll issue an executive order that will allow us to go forward, because I refuse to pass this problem on to another generation of Americans. (Applause.) And when the vote comes tomorrow, the Senate should restore the pay-as-you-go law that was a big reason for why we had record surpluses in the 1990s. (Applause.)
Pay as you go never happened and never will. Politicians can not resist the impulse to buy votes.
Now, I know that some in my own party will argue that we can't address the deficit or freeze government spending when so many are still hurting. And I agree -- which is why this freeze won't take effect until next year -- (laughter) -- when the economy is stronger. That's how budgeting works. (Laughter and applause.) But understand - understand if we don't take meaningful steps to rein in our debt, it could damage our markets, increase the cost of borrowing, and jeopardize our recovery - all of which would have an even worse effect on our job growth and family incomes.
What if the economy is weaker next year? What if unemployment increases and the GDP takes a steep decline, what then? There are no meaningful steps to rein in our debt. We owe it, we are obligated to pay it, and when interest rates rise again, we won't be able to make the payments.
From some on the right, I expect we'll hear a different argument - that if we just make fewer investments in our people, extend tax cuts including those for the wealthier Americans, eliminate more regulations, maintain the status quo on health care, our deficits will go away. The problem is that's what we did for eight years. (Applause.) That's what helped us into this crisis. It's what helped lead to these deficits. We can't do it again.
We got into this crisis because of politicians kicking the can down the road. You reached the end of the road, now you need to deal with the can and no solutions exist. So you blame Shrub, and he is due for his share, but most of it is from Johnson, Carter & Clinton, not from Shrub. Your appeal to class envy is transparent, and irritating. We look forward with great anticipation to the Tuesday after the first Monday in November, 2012.
Rather than fight the same tired battles that have dominated Washington for decades, it's time to try something new. Let's invest in our people without leaving them a mountain of debt. Let's meet our responsibility to the citizens who sent us here. Let's try common sense. (Laughter.) A novel concept.
Decreased respect and increased contempt for politicians is largely traceable to their abuse of the language. Not all spending is investment. If you want to invest in people, go to Arabia or Pakistan and buy some on the slave market.
To do that, we have to recognize that we face more than a deficit of dollars right now. We face a deficit of trust - deep and corrosive doubts about how Washington works that have been growing for years. To close that credibility gap we have to take action on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue -- to end the out sized influence of lobbyists; to do our work openly; to give our people the government they deserve. (Applause.)
Neither you nor the Congress has earned our trust. You lied, misrepresenting yourself and your policies in order to get elected. Nothing could be more corrosive to trust. Your record of broken promises is too extensive to allow any trust.
Lobbyists are not the problem. Politicians who have no reverence for their oath of office are the problem. Forsworn,corrupt politicians who lie to get elected and sell their power to finance their next campaign; those are the problem.
That's what I came to Washington to do. That's why - for the first time in history - my administration posts on our White House visitors online. That's why we've excluded lobbyists from policymaking jobs, or seats on federal boards and commissions.
How many lobbyists are in your administration, and what positions do they hold? How many of them are advising you and your top appointees?
But we can't stop there. It's time to require lobbyists to disclose each contact they make on behalf of a client with my administration or with Congress. It's time to put strict limits on the contributions that lobbyists give to candidates for federal office.
Its time to require Congressmen to disclose each contact with lobbyists and what they offer and give to the Congressmen. Each Congressional web site should have a lobbyist contact page with full disclosure we can compare to the lobbyist's disclosures.
With all due deference to separation of powers, last week the Supreme Court reversed a century of law that I believe will open the floodgates for special interests - including foreign corporations - to spend without limit in our elections. (Applause.) I don't think American elections should be bankrolled by America's most powerful interests, or worse, by foreign entities. (Applause.) They should be decided by the American people. And I'd urge Democrats and Republicans to pass a bill that helps to correct some of these problems.
Elections are not decided by political speech, they are decided by voters, jointly and severally casting their ballots in the privacy of the polling booth. Voters obtain information from multiple sources, including advertising. Political speech, including advertising, is critical to the process. When the government seeks to stifle political speech or to censor its content, the First Amendment is stretched to the breaking point.
Political speakers should be required to identify themselves and their interests, but should not be silenced. The voters must be given an opportunity to listen to and compare the multifarious messages sent in a campaign and make their decisions based on the best information they can find.
I'm also calling on Congress to continue down the path of earmark reform. Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. (Applause.) Democrats and Republicans. You've trimmed some of this spending, you've embraced some meaningful change. But restoring the public trust demands more. For example, some members of Congress post some earmark requests online. (Applause.) Tonight, I'm calling on Congress to publish all earmark requests on a single Web site before there's a vote, so that the American people can see how their money is being spent. (Applause.)
Disclosure of earmarks is important, but entirely eliminating them would be far better. Even more important, grafting non germane issues into unrelated bills should be stopped, particularly the sneaky tactic of inserting poison pills into defense appropriations bills.
The legislative process should be made truly transparent. Proposed legislation should be published on the web well in advance of the final vote. External references to existing legislation should be fully documented with direct links. Bills which amend existing legislation should display both the existing and proposed language for side by side comparison.
Of course, none of these reforms will even happen if we don't also reform how we work with one another. Now, I'm not naïve. I never thought that the mere fact of my election would usher in peace and harmony -- (laughter) -- and some post-partisan era. I knew that both parties have fed divisions that are deeply entrenched. And on some issues, there are simply philosophical differences that will always cause us to part ways. These disagreements, about the role of government in our lives, about our national priorities and our national security, they've been taking place for over 200 years. They're the very essence of our democracy.
The present controversy results from your Hellbent determination to impose injurious policies on the nation, press on regardless. Like Shrub's determination to enact amnesty for illegal aliens, your health care destruction plan can not be accepted. Some issues of principle must not be subjected to compromise. The first rule should be do no harm. The second should be adherence to the Constitution. Actions destructive of our prosperity, security and liberty simply should not be supported. I, for one will not vote for anyone who compromises on the vital issues. That is why I wrote in Alan Keyes; I could not lower my standards to vote for John McCain after the gang of 14 incident.When absolute evil is proposed, less evil is not an acceptable compromise. Conservatives should never accept false premises. The Socialist agenda should be resisted with extreme persistence, never accepted.
But what frustrates the American people is a Washington where every day is Election Day. We can't wage a perpetual campaign where the only goal is to see who can get the most embarrassing headlines about the other side - a belief that if you lose, I win. Neither party should delay or obstruct every single bill just because they can. The confirmation of -- (applause) -- I'm speaking to both parties now. The confirmation of well-qualified public servants shouldn't be held hostage to the pet projects or grudges of a few individual senators. (Applause.)
Bills should be supported, opposed or amended based on their merits, not their political consequences. Your legislative proposals lack merit. If enacted into law they will be extremely harmful to our liberty and prosperity and nearly impossible to repeal.
The confirmation issue sticks out like a sore toe. Some of us are old enough to remember the origin of "Borking" and "high tech lynching". There are no appointments more important than appointments to the appeals bench. The Democrat's outstanding record of obstruction can not be ignored.
Washington may think that saying anything about the other side, no matter how false, no matter how malicious, is just part of the game. But it's precisely such politics that has stopped either party from helping the American people. Worse yet, it's sowing further division among our citizens, further distrust in our government.
"Helping people" is not part of the Federal government's charter. Perhaps a Constitutional lawyer should be expected to know that. I recall a certain radio interview in which a Chicago politician complained about our "negative charter of rights", which tell the government what it can't do to citizens rather than what it must "do for them".
So, no, I will not give up on trying to change the tone of our politics. I know it's an election year. And after last week, it's clear that campaign fever has come even earlier than usual. But we still need to govern.
The "politics of personal destruction" was invented by your own party, who maintain it with great care. Shrub tried and failed to change the tone, what makes you think you can change it?
To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades, and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills. (Applause.) And if the Republican leadership is going to insist that 60 votes in the Senate are required to do any business at all in this town -- a super majority -- then the responsibility to govern is now yours as well. (Applause.) Just saying no to everything may be good short-term politics, but it's not leadership. We were sent here to serve our citizens, not our ambitions. (Applause.) So let's show the American people that we can do it together. (Applause.)
Arrogance and hubris are the hallmarks of this administration. The Senate was created to temper the popular fervor of the House. The Senate is intended to be a deliberative body, where issues are carefully considered. There is no good reason why the Senate should not prevent the enactment of damaging legislation such as health care system destruction and Cap & Tax. No compromise can make those proposals acceptable.
Throughout our history, no issue has united this country more than our security. Sadly, some of the unity we felt after 9/11 has dissipated. We can argue all we want about who's to blame for this, but I'm not interested in re-litigating the past. I know that all of us love this country. All of us are committed to its defense. So let's put aside the schoolyard taunts about who's tough. Let's reject the false choice between protecting our people and upholding our values. Let's leave behind the fear and division, and do what it takes to defend our nation and forge a more hopeful future -- for America and for the world. (Applause.)
With one Communist regime and one Islamist regime developing nuclear warheads and missiles to deliver them with, the Obama administration has stopped progress on anti-missile defense. So much for national security.
There is no conflict between "protecting our people" and "upholding our values". Our civil liberties are designed for citizens, to maximize protection from arbitrary authority gone wild with malicious prosecution. Those rights, privileges & immunities belong to citizens, not to unlawful enemy combatants captured on foreign battle fields. Neither do they belong to invaders who sneak onto our soil with malicious intent. The latter issue was resolved during WW2 by the Supreme Court.
The so called underwear bomber should have been interrogated and tried by a military tribunal. He is not a common criminal in a minor case entitled to Miranda notification, counsel and trial by jury. Attempting to detonate a bomb on a passenger aircraft was an act of war, called Jihad, which fact was admitted by the perpetrator before the Miranda notice was read to him.
That's the work we began last year. Since the day I took office, we've renewed our focus on the terrorists who threaten our nation. We've made substantial investments in our homeland security and disrupted plots that threatened to take American lives. We are filling unacceptable gaps revealed by the failed Christmas attack, with better airline security and swifter action on our intelligence. We've prohibited torture and strengthened partnerships from the Pacific to South Asia to the Arabian Peninsula. And in the last year, hundreds of al Qaeda's fighters and affiliates, including many senior leaders, have been captured or killed -- far more than in 2008.
Terrorists are the low level foot soldiers who execute attacks. They are recruited, trained and dispatched by others who remain out of our reach. Those others, in turn, are recruited, motivated and financed by wealthy regimes and individuals. Terrorists are the tip of the iceberg. The main body of the iceberg is unseen below the water line.
And in Afghanistan, we're increasing our troops and training Afghan security forces so they can begin to take the lead in July of 2011, and our troops can begin to come home. (Applause.) We will reward good governance, work to reduce corruption, and support the rights of all Afghans -- men and women alike. (Applause.) We're joined by allies and partners who have increased their own commitments, and who will come together tomorrow in London to reaffirm our common purpose. There will be difficult days ahead. But I am absolutely confident we will succeed.
Are there any armed forces better trained than ours? In the last eight years have they defeated the Taliban & al-Qaeda? So, what makes you dream that training Afghan security forces will enable them to defeat the terrorists? We trained PLO forces in Gaza and the West Bank so that they could control terrorists attacking Israel, how did that work out? How do the numbers of indigenous security forces compare to our troop level in theater? How is that situation going to be improved in two years?
As we take the fight to al Qaeda, we are responsibly leaving Iraq to its people. As a candidate, I promised that I would end this war, and that is what I am doing as President. We will have all of our combat troops out of Iraq by the end of this August. (Applause.) We will support the Iraqi government -- we will support the Iraqi government as they hold elections, and we will continue to partner with the Iraqi people to promote regional peace and prosperity. But make no mistake: This war is ending, and all of our troops are coming home. (Applause.)
The war is ending in defeat for us, and will continue after our forces withdraw. Sunni & Shiia will continue to blow each other up. Iraq will revert to status quo ante, as a state sponsor of terrorism.
Now, even as we prosecute two wars, we're also confronting perhaps the greatest danger to the American people - the threat of nuclear weapons. I've embraced the vision of John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan through a strategy that reverses the spread of these weapons and seeks a world without them. To reduce our stockpiles and launchers, while ensuring our deterrent, the United States and Russia are completing negotiations on the farthest-reaching arms control treaty in nearly two decades. (Applause.) And at April's Nuclear Security Summit, we will bring 44 nations together here in Washington, D.C. behind a clear goal: securing all vulnerable nuclear materials around the world in four years, so that they never fall into the hands of terrorists. (Applause.)
Pandora's box is open, the demons are out, and they can not be recaptured. How can you hope to verify and enforce nuclear disarmament? If everyone disarms but one rogue regime, there will be Hell to pay. Yours is a damn fool's enterprise, for which you should be subjected to impeachment.
Now, these diplomatic efforts have also strengthened our hand in dealing with those nations that insist on violating international agreements in pursuit of nuclear weapons. That's why North Korea now faces increased isolation, and stronger sanctions - sanctions that are being vigorously enforced. That's why the international community is more united, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is more isolated. And as Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: They, too, will face growing consequences. That is a promise. (Applause.)
China and Russia have veto power in the Security Council. Given that fact, there is no possibility of effective international sanctions against Iran. Iran's development of atomic weapons can only be stopped by military force.
That's the leadership that we are providing - engagement that advances the common security and prosperity of all people. We're working through the G20 to sustain a lasting global recovery. We're working with Muslim communities around the world to promote science and education and innovation. We have gone from a bystander to a leader in the fight against climate change. We're helping developing countries to feed themselves, and continuing the fight against HIV/AIDS. And we are launching a new initiative that will give us the capacity to respond faster and more effectively to bioterrorism or an infectious disease - a plan that will counter threats at home and strengthen public health abroad.
Promotion of science, education and innovation in Muslim communities is a fool's errand of the worst sort. It is the equivalent of promoting science & innovation in Germany between the two world wars. The inability to recognize, identify name and shame the enemy leads to a multitude of suicidally stupid policies.
As we have for over 60 years, America takes these actions because our destiny is connected to those beyond our shores. But we also do it because it is right. That's why, as we meet here tonight, over 10,000 Americans are working with many nations to help the people of Haiti recover and rebuild. (Applause.) That's why we stand with the girl who yearns to go to school in Afghanistan; why we support the human rights of the women marching through the streets of Iran; why we advocate for the young man denied a job by corruption in Guinea. For America must always stand on the side of freedom and human dignity. (Applause.) Always. (Applause.)
What are you doing to support human rights in Iran? How did you deal with their election fraud? What did you do to support the demonstrators who were tortured, raped and murdered?
The only hope for girls in Afghanistan is the elimination of Islam from that benighted land. While Allah's writ runs, those girls are the property of their fathers & husbands, who can sell or kill them at will.
Abroad, America's greatest source of strength has always been our ideals. The same is true at home. We find unity in our incredible diversity, drawing on the promise enshrined in our Constitution: the notion that we're all created equal; that no matter who you are or what you look like, if you abide by the law you should be protected by it; if you adhere to our common values you should be treated no different than anyone else.
We must continually renew this promise. My administration has a Civil Rights Division that is once again prosecuting civil rights violations and employment discrimination. (Applause.) We finally strengthened our laws to protect against crimes driven by hate. (Applause.) This year, I will work with Congress and our military to finally repeal the law that denies gay Americans the right to serve the country they love because of who they are. (Applause.) It's the right thing to do. (Applause.)
"If you adhere to our common values", an interesting clause for inclusion in that paragraph. Do Muslims adhere to our values? They "love death more than you love life". I guess they don't adhere to our values. It is obvious that Nidal Malik Hasan did not adhere to them. Do Queers adhere to our values? Isn't heterosexual marriage one of our values?
We're going to crack down on violations of equal pay laws - so that women get equal pay for an equal day's work. (Applause.) And we should continue the work of fixing our broken immigration system - to secure our borders and enforce our laws, and ensure that everyone who plays by the rules can contribute to our economy and enrich our nation. (Applause.)
How do you hope to secure our borders without building the fence at the Mexican border? It is not just illegal migrants who cross that open border, Muslim terrorists can also cross it besides smugglers. Your proposal for alien amnesty does nothing to enforce our laws or secure our borders, instead, it will act as an incentive to increased illegal immigration.
Unfortunately, too many of our citizens have lost faith that our biggest institutions - our corporations, our media, and, yes, our government - still reflect these same values. Each of these institutions are full of honorable men and women doing important work that helps our country prosper. But each time a CEO rewards himself for failure, or a banker puts the rest of us at risk for his own selfish gain, people's doubts grow. Each time lobbyists game the system or politicians tear each other down instead of lifting this country up, we lose faith. The more that TV pundits reduce serious debates to silly arguments, big issues into sound bites, our citizens turn away.
No wonder there's so much cynicism out there. No wonder there's so much disappointment.
Corporations are looking out for the stock holders, at least in theory. But some of them are led by avaricious men driven to dominance at all costs. There have been histories of harmful practices, including building monopolies and exporting jobs. Big unions have made their own contribution to our problems.While those bankers were engaged in risky practices, Fannie Mae & Freddie Mac, with the support of Congressional leaders in your party, were engaged in in similar shenanigans and collecting huge bonuses.
Certain influential newspapers have published national security secrets, interfering with our efforts to prevent and punish terrorism. Worse yet, the media giants acted with bias and prejudice in the presidential campaign, supporting your candidacy instead of investigating your background, associations & policies and reporting the facts.
I campaigned on the promise of change - change we can believe in, the slogan went. And right now, I know there are many Americans who aren't sure if they still believe we can change - or that I can deliver it.
"Change" is an ambiguous abstraction, signifying nothing. Birth and death are changes, only one of them is desirable. Not all change is improvement. After eight years of Slick Willy, we needed change. Shrub did not deliver it. After eight years of Shrub, we needed change. You did not deliver it. I hope that Tom Tancredo will deliver it in '13.
But remember this - I never suggested that change would be easy, or that I could do it alone. Democracy in a nation of 300 million people can be noisy and messy and complicated. And when you try to do big things and make big changes, it stirs passions and controversy. That's just how it is.
When you propose legislation that would destroy the world's best health care delivery system, increase costs, reduce supply and impair quality, and you lie about the details, that is not the change we want. Your lies generate cynicism.
When you lie about "climate change" and propose legislation that will destroy the energy industry, double our cost of living and throw many out of work, that is change we don't want.
Those of us in public office can respond to this reality by playing it safe and avoid telling hard truths and pointing fingers. We can do what's necessary to keep our poll numbers high, and get through the next election instead of doing what's best for the next generation.
Yes, you can, and you are doing just that. You prefer lies to the hard truths. You project blame onto others. Your policies will do severe harm to the next generation.
But I also know this: If people had made that decision 50 years ago, or 100 years ago, or 200 years ago, we wouldn't be here tonight. The only reason we are here is because generations of Americans were unafraid to do what was hard; to do what was needed even when success was uncertain; to do what it took to keep the dream of this nation alive for their children and their grandchildren.
Washington and his army persevered in the face of overwhelming odds and great privation. Their lives, honor and fortunes were on the line, along with our future. Lincoln and his army persevered through a terrible civil war to end slavery and preserve the union. Later great generations slogged through terrible wars to preserve liberty and restore peace.So you can persevere in an ill guided attempt to destroy the best system ever known to man, the last best hope of liberty and prosperity. Instead of passing it on to future generations, you insist on enslaving us to a Socialist state, making us totally dependent on government whim for our sustenance and preservation.
Lovers of life, liberty & prosperity recognize what you are doing, and we will persevere in resistance. We realize that the next two years will be a great struggle, difficult to endure, but we are determined to preserve liberty and the hope of prosperity. We will not yield!
Our administration has had some political setbacks this year, and some of them were deserved. But I wake up every day knowing that they are nothing compared to the setbacks that families all across this country have faced this year. And what keeps me going - what keeps me fighting - is that despite all these setbacks, that spirit of determination and optimism, that fundamental decency that has always been at the core of the American people, that lives on.
It lives on in the struggling small business owner who wrote to me of his company, "None of us," he said, "…are willing to consider, even slightly, that we might fail."
It lives on in the woman who said that even though she and her neighbors have felt the pain of recession, "We are strong. We are resilient. We are American."
It lives on in the 8-year-old boy in Louisiana, who just sent me his allowance and asked if I would give it to the people of Haiti.
And it lives on in all the Americans who've dropped everything to go someplace they've never been and pull people they've never known from the rubble, prompting chants of "U.S.A.! U.S.A.! U.S.A!" when another life was saved.
The spirit that has sustained this nation for more than two centuries lives on in you, its people. We have finished a difficult year. We have come through a difficult decade. But a new year has come. A new decade stretches before us. We don't quit. I don't quit. (Applause.) Let's seize this moment -- to start anew, to carry the dream forward, and to strengthen our union once more. (Applause.)
Thank you. God bless you. And God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
At least I can agree with the last sentence. God bless the United States of America.