President Obamas Full Speech: From the Paramount Theatre Austin Texas

THE WHITE HOUSE

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT ON THE ECONOMY

Office of the Press Secretary For Immediate Release      July 10 2014      12:48 P.M. CDT

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello Austin!  (Applause.)  Hey!  Hello Austin!  (Applause.)  All right everybody have a seat have a seat. Its good to be in Austin Texas. president-obama-paramount-7-10-143cAUDIENCE MEMBER:  We love you! THE PRESIDENT:  Thats because I love you.  (Applause.)  Everybody knows I love Austin Texas.  (Applause.)  Every time I come here I tell you how much I love you. I love Austin.  I love the people.  I love the barbecue -- which I will get right after this.  (Laughter.)  I like the music.  (Applause.)  Ive got good memories here Ive got good friends. I was telling somebody the last time I walked a real walk where I was kind of left alone was in Austin Texas.  ...(Applause.) Right before the debate here during the primary in 2007?  2008?  It must have been 2008.  And I was walking along the river and nobody noticed me and I felt great.  (Laughter.)  And then on the way back somebody did notice me and Secret Service started coming around and -- (laughter) -- but that first walk was really good.  So lets face it I just love Austin.  (Applause.)  Love the people of Austin. I want to thank a proud Texan Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee for being here today.  We appreciate her.  (Applause.) It is great to play at the Paramount.  I think I finally made it.  I finally arrived.  (Applause.)  Ive enjoyed the last couple of days just getting out of Washington.  And we started in Colorado in Denver and then went to Dallas and then came down here.  And at each stop Ive been able to just meet people and talk about peoples lives -- their hopes their dreams. I just had some coffee as Kinsey may have mentioned at the Magnolia Caf which is very nice.  (Applause.)  It was fun too because I had a chance to -- there were a bunch of folks there and some EMT folks were there on their break after the shift and there were a group of high school kids who were getting together -- they were about to go on a two-weeklong service trip to Peru  -- which by the way reminds you you should be optimistic whenever you meet young people because theyre full of energy and idealism.  And so they were going to do this service trip and they were going to go for two days then to Machu Picchu -- the old Inca ruins in Peru.  And I said I always wanted to go there. And they said well you can come with us if you want.  (Laughter.)  And I said Im really tempted but I think there are some things Ive got to do.  (Laughter.) But I got them -- in exchange for a selfie with them they promised that they would send me a picture of them when they get there.  So Im going to hold them to it.  We got their email and if I dont get it Ill be upset.  (Laughter.) Anyway so I was talking to Kinsey because she wrote me a letter and I wanted to reply in person.  Because as some of you may know every day we get tens of thousands of letters or correspondence emails at the White House.  And ever since the first day I was in office what Ive asked our Correspondence Office to do is to select 10 of them for me to read every night. And in these letters people tell me their stories.  They talk about losing a job or finding a job.  They talk about trying to finance a college education.  They talk about challenges because maybe theyre the children of immigrants and theyre worried about their status.  They talk about the hardships theyre going through successes theyve had things they hope for things that theyre afraid of when it comes to the future and their lives. Sometimes people say thank you for something Ive done or a position Ive taken and some people say Youre an idiot."  (Laughter.)  And thats how I know that Im getting a good representative sampling because -- (laughter) -- half the letters are less than impressed with me. So Kinsey wrote me to tell me about her family.  Her mom was a preschool teacher her dad was an engineer.  Together obviously they worked really hard raised a family.  They were responsible did all the right things were able to put their kids through college.  Then they lost their jobs.  And because they lost their jobs as mid-career persons a lot of their resumes didnt get answered.  And their savings started to dwindle.  And Kinsey works to pay for school but its not enough. And she told me that shes always been passionate about politics and the issues of the day but after last years government shutdown all this stuff thats happened with her family it doesnt seem like anybody in Washington is thinking about them.  She wrote I became a disgruntled citizen.  I felt as if my government my beloved government thats supposed to look out for the needs of all Americans had failed me.  My parents have always supported my siblings and me" she wrote now its my turn to help them.  I want to be involved.  President Obama what can I do?" So I wanted to meet with Kinsey to let her know that I had heard her that I listened to what was happening with her family and I was thinking about her parents and I was thinking about her and her sisters.  And Im here today because of Kinsey.  And Im here today because of every American who is working their tail off and does everything right and who believes in the American Dream and just wants a chance to build a decent life for themselves and their families. And you and folks like Kinsey are the reason I ran for President in the first place -- (applause) -- because your lives are the lives that I lived.  When I listen to Kinsey I think about me and Michelle trying to finance our college education.  When I think about somebody who didnt have health care I think about my mom when she had cancer that would ultimately end her life at about the age I am now.  When I think about equal pay I think about my grandmother working her way up at a bank with nothing but a high school education and becoming the vice president of the bank but always being kind of passed over for the next stage by men who were less qualified than she was. So the stories that I hear in these letters theyre my story and theyre Michelles story and theyre the story that we had before I became senator -- worrying about child care trying to figure out how to have a balanced life so that if Malia or Sasha got sick we could take time off and how do you manage all that. president-obama-paramount-7-10-143gSo thats why these letters are so important to me.  And thats why whenever Im out of Washington part of what I want to do is just to remember and to connect with your stories so that you know that what Im trying to do every single day is based on that experience.      AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Thank you!  (Applause.) THE PRESIDENT:  And when you see the trajectory of Kinseys family in some ways its a little bit a story of whats happened to America. The crisis in 2008 hurt us all badly -- worse financial crisis since the Great Depression.  But you think about the progress weve made.  Today our businesses have added nearly 10 million new jobs over the past 52 months.  (Applause.)  Our housing is rebounding.  Our auto industry is booming.  Manufacturing is adding more jobs than any time since the 1990s. The unemployment rate is the lowest point its been since September of 2008.  (Applause.)  Kinseys dad found a new job that he loves in the field he was trained for.  (Applause.)  So a lot of this was because of the resilience and hard work of the American people.  Thats what happens -- Americans bounce back. But some of it had to do with decisions we made to build our economy on a new foundation.  And those decisions are paying off. Were more energy independent.  For the first time in nearly 20 years we produce more oil here at home than we buy from abroad. (Applause.)  The worlds largest oil and gas producer isnt Russia; its not Saudi Arabia -- its the United States of America.  (Applause.) At the same time weve reduced our total carbon pollution over the past eight years more than any country on Earth.  (Applause.)  Weve tripled the amount of electricity we generate from wind.  Weve increased the amount of solar energy we have by 10 times.  Were creating jobs across the country in clean energy.  (Applause.) In education our high school graduation rate is at a record high; the Latino dropout rate has been cut in half since 2000.  (Applause.)  More young people are graduating from college than ever before.      AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Si se puede! THE PRESIDENT:  Si se peude.  (Laughter.) The Affordable Care Act has given millions more families peace of mind.  They wont go broke just because they get sick.  (Applause.)  Our deficits have been cut by more than half. We have come farther and recovered faster thanks to you than just about any other nation on Earth.  (Applause.)  And so weve got a lot to be encouraged by just as the story of Kinseys family makes us feel more encouraged.  For the first time in a decade business leaders around the world have said the number-one place to invest is not China its the United States of America.  So were actually seeing companies bring jobs back. (Applause.)  So theres no doubt that we are making progress.  By almost every measure we are better off now than we were when I took office.  (Applause.) But the fact is weve still got a long way to go.  Weve still got a long way to go because while were creating more jobs faster these first six months of this year than any time since 1999 we know there are still a lot of folks out there who are looking for work or looking for more full-time work or looking for a better-paying job.  Corporate profits are higher than ever.  CEOs make more than ever.  But youre working harder than ever just to get by and pay the bills. So as a whole the country is doing better.  But the problem is is that so much of the improved productivity and profits have gone to the folks at the very top and the average person their wages and incomes havent really gone up at all and in some cases havent kept up with the rising cost of health care or college or all the basic necessities that people need. president-obama-paramount-7-10-143eAnd so Austin Im here to say that this country is not going to succeed if just a few are doing well.  This country succeeds when everybody has got a shot.  (Applause.)  The country does better when the middle class does better and when there are more ladders of opportunity into the middle class.  (Applause.) Thats the kind of economy that works here in America.  And thats whats at stake right now. Now thats why were fighting for an opportunity agenda that creates more good jobs and creates more good wages -- jobs in American manufacturing jobs in construction.  We should be rebuilding infrastructure all across America putting people back to work rebuilding roads and bridges and schools creating a smart grid to transmit clean energy across the country more efficiently.  (Applause.) We can create good jobs in American energy -- (sneezes) -- bless me -- and innovation.  (Laughter.)  Im okay just havent had enough sleep.  (Laughter.) Were fighting for an opportunity agenda that trains more workers with the skills to fill the jobs that are being created. I was talking to some folks from a community college before I came out here.  Weve learned that if we reach out to businesses and help them design the training programs in the community colleges then when somebody finishes that training they know they can get a job right away.  (Applause.) Were fighting for an opportunity agenda that guarantees every child a world-class education from the time that they are three until the time that they graduate from college. Were fighting for an opportunity agenda that makes sure your hard work pays off with higher wages and equal pay for equal work and workplace flexibility and the overtime pay youve earned.  (Applause.) Were fighting for opportunity for all and the idea that no matter who you are and what you look like and where you come from and who you love if you work hard in America if you work hard in Austin if you work hard in Texas you can make it here.  (Applause.)  You can make it.  (Applause.) So thats what were working for.  And the good news is is that the things that we need to do are well within our capabilities our grasp.  We know we can -- we know how to build roads.  We know how to put people back to work on infrastructure. We know that if we invest in early childhood education every dollar we put in we get seven dollars back and fewer dropouts and fewer teen pregnancies and fewer folks going into the criminal justice system.  (Applause.) We know that if we do some basic things if we make some basic changes well see more jobs faster economic growth lift more incomes strengthen the middle class.  They are common-sense things.  Theyre not that radical.  We know its what we should be doing.  And what drives me nuts -- and I know drives you nuts -- is Washington isnt doing it.  (Applause.) And let me be clear about why Washington is broken because sometimes everybody says well you know what all politicians are the same he parties -- the Democrats Republicans it doesnt matter.  Look Democrats are not perfect I promise you. I know a lot of them.  (Laughter.)  And yes every member of Congress theyre thinking about Id like to be reelected and Id like to keep my job.  Thats human nature.  We all understand that.  But let me be clear.  On the common-sense agenda that would help middle-class families the overwhelming number of Democrats are in favor of these things. Theyre in favor of minimum wage.  Theyre in favor of equal pay.  (Applause.)  Theyre in favor of extending unemployment benefits.  Theyre in favor of infrastructure.  Theyre in favor of investing in research and development.  Theyre in favor of making college more affordable.  Theyve got specific proposals. Theyre willing to compromise.  Theyre prepared to go forward. So when folks say theyre frustrated with Congress lets be clear about what the problem is.  (Applause.)  Im just telling the truth now.  I dont have to run for office again so I can just let her rip.  (Applause.)  And I want to assure you Im really not that partisan of a guy.  My favorite President is the first Republican President a guy named Abraham Lincoln.  You look at our history and we had great Republican Presidents who  -- like Teddy Roosevelt started the National Park System and Dwight Eisenhower built the Interstate Highway System and Richard Nixon started the EPA. The statement Im making is not a partisan statement it is a statement of fact.  (Applause.)  So far this year Republicans in Congress have blocked or voted down every serious idea to strengthen the middle class.  They have said no --      AUDIENCE:  Booo! THE PRESIDENT:  Dont boo now because what I want you to do is vote.  (Applause.) Theyve said no to raising the minimum wage.  Theyve said no to fair pay.  They said no to unemployment insurance for hardworking folks like Kinseys parents who have paid taxes all their lives and never depended on anything and just needed a little help to get over a hump.  They said no to fixing our broken immigration system that we know would strengthen our borders and our businesses and help families.  (Applause.) Instead of investing in education that helps working families they voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.  Instead of creating jobs by rebuilding our infrastructure our roads our bridges our ports that help every obamabusiness theyve decided to protect tax loopholes for companies that are shifting jobs overseas and profits overseas. The best thing you can say about this Congress -- the Republicans in Congress and particularly the House of Representatives -- the best you can say for them this year is that so far they have not shut down the government -- (laughter) -- or threatened to have America welch on our obligations and ruin our credit rating.  Thats the best you can say.  But of course its only July -- (laughter) -- so who knows what they may cook up in the next few months. So even as theyre blocking policies that would help middle-class families they keep on offering these theories of the economy that have failed over and over again.  They say well if we give more tax breaks to folks at the top thats going to be good.  If we make fewer investments in things like education everything will work out.  If we loosen the rules for big banks and credit card companies and polluters and insurers somehow thats going to make the economy better.  If we shrink the safety net and cut Medicaid and cut food stamps and make sure that folks who are vulnerable and trying to get back on their suffer more hardship somehow thats going to improve the economy. Now they believe these things -- sincerely I assume -- that if they -- if we do these things if we just take care of folks at the top or at least if we dont empower our government to be able to help anybody that somehow jobs and prosperity will trickle down and well all be better off. And that may work just fine for folks at the top.  It worked fine for me.  I dont need government.  (Laughter.)  Michelle and I now are in a position where we can pretty much finance Malia and Sashas college education.  But I remember when Michelles parents couldnt they needed help.  And I dont know about you but I dont believe in pulling up the ladder once Im up.  I believe in extending it down and making sure that everybody has a chance to climb up.  (Applause.) The status quo certainly works for the special interests in Washington who like things just as they are.  Theyll be fine whether Congress ever passes a bill again or not.  But it doesnt help you.  It doesnt help your neighbors.  It doesnt help your friends.  It doesnt help your communities. And what it does is it just feeds peoples cynicism about Washington.  It just makes people think well nothing can happen and people start feeling hopeless.  And we have to understand in the face of all evidence to the contrary in Washington we can do better than were doing right now.  (Applause.)  We can do better than what were doing right now. We know from our history our economy does not grow from the top down it grows from the middle up.  It grows from a rising thriving middle class.  It grows when we got ladders of opportunity for everybody and every young person in America is feeling hopeful and has a chance to do what they can with the God-given talents that they have.  Thats what were fighting for.  That is what you should be fighting for.  (Applause.) And I will always look -- Ill always look for ways to get Republicans and Democrats together in this effort.  But Im not  -- I cant stand by with partisan gridlock thats the result of cynical political games that threaten the hard work of millions of Americans.  Im not just going to stand by and say okay thats -- I guess thats the way it is.  Whenever and wherever I have the power the legal authority to help families like yours even if Congress is not doing anything I will take that opportunity.  I will try to make something happen.  (Applause.) And thats the reason -- thats the reason why my administration has taken more than 40 different actions just this year to help working Americans -- because Congress wont. Congress wont act to make sure a woman gets equal pay for equal work.  So I made sure more women have the protections they need to fight for fair pay in the workplace -- because I think when women succeed America succeeds.   So we went ahead and did that.  (Applause.) Congress wont act to create jobs in manufacturing or construction.  Well I went ahead and speeded up permits for big projects.  We launched a new hub to attract more high-tech manufacturing jobs to America.  I want to make sure the next revolution in manufacturing is right here in America; its an American revolution not a German or a Chinese revolution.  I want it happening right here in Austin Texas.  (Applause.) Congress so far hasnt acted to help more young people manage their student loan debt.  So I acted with my lawful authority to give nearly 5 million Americans the chance to cap their student loan payments at 10 percent of their income so they can manage it better so that if they go into teaching or they go into social work or theyre doing something at a non-for-profit that theyre not encumbered by mountains of debt.  I dont want our future leaders saddled with debt before they start out in life.  (Applause.) And Republicans in Congress so far have refused to raise workers wages with a higher minimum wage.  So I acted to require that federal contractors pay their employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour -- (applause) -- which would give hundreds of thousands of workers a raise.  I asked business owners and governors and mayors and state legislators -- anybody I could work with -- do what you can on your own I told them. Since the first time I asked Congress to raise the minimum wage Congress hasnt done anything but 13 states have gone ahead and raised theirs.  (Applause.)  And by the way -- this is important to remember just because folks are always trying to run the okey doke on you -- (laughter) -- the states that have increased their minimum wages this year have seen higher job growth than the states that have not increased their minimum wage.  (Applause.)  And more and more business owners are choosing to lift the wages for their workers because they understand that its going to be good to have productive workers loyal workers invested workers. Just yesterday before I came down to Texas when I was in Denver I met with Carolyn Reed.  She owns six Silver Mine sub shops.  She started her own business.  She was working at UPS and decided she wanted to be a business owner got her first franchise.  Her and her husband mortgaged their house.  Eventually they got an SBA loan.  Now shes got six stores.  A wonderful woman.  And today she decided to raise her hourly employees wages to a minimum of $10.10 an hour.  (Applause.)  She just went ahead and did it on her own because she realized that shell have less turnover and shes going to have more productive workers. As long as Congress will not increase wages for workers I will go and talk to every business in America if I have to.  (Applause.)  Theres no denying a simple truth:  America deserves a raise and if you work full-time in this country you shouldnt live in poverty.  Thats something that we all believe. (Applause.) Now heres where it gets interesting.  There are a number of Republicans including a number in the Texas delegation who are mad at me for taking these actions.  They actually plan to sue me.  (Laughter.)  Now I dont know which things they find most offensive -- me helping to create jobs or me raising wages or me easing the student president-obama-paramount-7-10-143iloan burdens or me making sure women can find out whether theyre getting paid the same as men for doing the same job.  I dont know which of these actions really bug them.  (Laughter.) The truth is even with all the actions Ive taken this year Im issuing executive orders at the lowest rate in more than 100 years.  So its not clear how it is that Republicans didnt seem to mind when President Bush took more executive actions than I did.  (Applause.)  Maybe its just me they dont like.  I dont know.  Maybe theres some principle out there that I havent discerned that I havent figure out.  (Laughter.)  You hear some of them -- sue him" impeach him."  Really?  (Laughter.)  Really?  For what?  (Applause.)  Youre going to sue me for doing my job?  Okay.  (Applause.) I mean think about that.  Youre going to use taxpayer money to sue me for doing my job -- (laughter) -- while you dont do your job.  (Applause.) Theres a great movie called The Departed" -- a little violent for kids.  But theres a scene in the movie where Mark Wahlberg -- theyre on a stakeout and somehow the guy loses the guy that theyre tracking.   And Wahlberg is all upset and yelling at the guy.  And the guy looks up and he says Well who are you?"  And Wahlberg says Im the guy doing my job.  You must be the other guy."  (Laughter and applause.)  Sometimes I feel like saying to these guys Im the guy doing my job you must be the other guy.  (Applause.) So rather than wage another political stunt that wastes time wastes taxpayers money Ive got a better idea:  Do something.  (Applause.)  If youre mad at me for helping people on my own lets team up.  Lets pass some bills.  Lets help America together.  (Applause.) It is lonely me just doing stuff.  Id love if the Republicans did stuff too.  (Laughter.)  On immigration issues weve got -- and to their credit there are some Republicans in the Senate who actually worked with Democrats passed a bill would strengthen the borders would help make the system more fair and more just.  But the House Republicans they havent even called the bill.  They wont even take a vote on the bill.  They dont have enough energy or organization or I dont know what to just even vote no on the bill.  (Laughter.)  And then theyre made at me for trying to do some things to make the immigration system work better.  So it doesnt make sense.      AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.) THE PRESIDENT:  Im sorry what are you yelling about now?  Sit down guys.  Im almost done.  Come on sit down.  Ill talk to you afterwards I promise.  Ill bring you back.  Im wrapping things up here.      AUDIENCE MEMBER:  (Inaudible.) THE PRESIDENT:  I understand.  See everybody is going to start -- Im on your side man.  Sit down guys well talk about it later I promise. So look heres what we could do.  We could do so much more -- you dont have to escort them out.  Theyll sit down.  I promise Ill talk to you afterwards. We could do so much more if Republicans in Congress would focus less on stacking the deck for those on the top and focus more on creating opportunity for everybody.  And I want to work with them.  I dont expect them to agree with me on everything but at least agree with me on the things that you used to say you were for before I was for them.  (Applause.) You used to be for building roads and infrastructure.  Nothing has changed.  Lets go ahead and do it.  (Applause.)  Ronald Reagan passed immigration reform and you love Ronald Reagan.  Lets go ahead and do it.  (Applause.) I mean what changed?  Im just saying.  (Laughter.)  Thats what made our country great a sense of common purpose a sense were all in it together as one nation as one people.  We can debate the issues we can have our differences but lets do something.  (Applause.)  Lets rally around an economic patriotism that says instead of giving more tax breaks to millionaires lets give tax breaks to working families to help pay for child care or college. Instead of protecting tax loopholes that let corporations keep their profits overseas  lets put some of that money to work right here in the United States rebuilding America.  (Applause.)  We can rebuild our airports create the next generation of good manufacturing jobs make sure those are made in America. Lets rally around a patriotism that says were stronger as a nation when we cultivate the ingenuity and talent of every American and give every 4-year-old in America access to high-quality education -- good-quality preschool.  (Applause.)  Lets redesign our high schools to make them more relevant to the 21st century economy.  Lets make college more affordable.  Lets  make sure every worker if you lose your job you can get a good job training that gives you an even better job.  (Applause.) Lets embrace the patriotism that says its a good thing when our fellow citizens have health care.  Its not a bad thing. (Applause.)  Thats not a bad thing.  Its a good thing when women earn what men do for the same work.  Thats an all-American principle.  (Applause.)  Everybody has got a mom out there or a wife out there or a daughter out there.  They dont want them to not get treated fairly.  Why would you be against that? Its a good thing when parents can take a day off to care for a sick child without losing their job or losing pay and they cant pay their bills at the end of the month.  Its a good thing when nobody who works full-time is living in poverty.  That is not radical.  Its Howdy-Obama-Texas-Democrats-7-10-14not un-American.  Its not socialist.  Thats how we built this country.  Its what America is all about us working together.  (Applause.) So let me just wrap up by saying this:  The hardest thing to change in politics is a stubborn status quo.  Our democracy is designed where folks who have power who have clout -- they can block stuff they can keep things as they are.  Its hard.  Its even harder when Washington seems focused on everything but your concerns Kinseys concerns. There are plenty of people who count on you getting cynical and count on you not getting involved so that you dont vote so you give up.  And you cant give into that.  America is making progress despite what the cynics say.  (Applause.)  Despite unyielding opposition and a Congress that cant seem to do anything there are workers with jobs who didnt have them before; there are families with health insurance who didnt have them before; there are students in college who couldnt afford it before; there are troops who served tour after tour who are home with their families today.  (Applause.) Cynicism is popular.  Cynicism is popular these days.  Its what passes off as wisdom.  But cynics didnt put a man on the moon.  Cynics never won a war.  Cynics didnt cure a disease or start a business or feed a young mind.  Cynicism didnt bring about the right for women to vote or the right for African Americans to be full citizens.  Cynicism is a choice. Hope is a better choice.  Hope is what gave young soldiers the courage to storm a beach.  Hope is what gave young people the strength to march for womens rights and civil rights and voting rights and gay rights and immigrant rights.  (Applause.) Hope is what compelled Kinsey to sit down and pick up a pen and ask what can I do" and actually think maybe the President might read that story and it might make a difference.  (Applause.)  And her voice rang out here in the Paramount Theatre.  And its her voice and your voice thats going to change this country.  Thats how were going to make sure that we remain the greatest nation on Earth -- not by asking what we can do for ourselves but what we can do for each other and what we can do for our country. And so as President Im going to keep a promise that I made when I first ran:  Every day I will keep asking the same question and that is how can I help you?  And Ill keep treating your cares and your concerns as my own.  And I will keep fighting to restore the American Dream for everybody whos willing to work for it. And I am going to need you to be right there with me.  (Applause.)  Do not get cynical.  Hope is the better choice. Thank you Texas.  Thank you Austin.  God bless you.  (Applause.)                    END     1:28 P.M. CDT
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