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Sunday, August 7, 2011

President Obama's Call To Action

My concern right now - my singular focus - is the American people. Getting the unemployed back on the job, lifting their wages. Rebuilding that sense of security the middle class has felt slipping away for years. And helping them recover fully, as families and as communities, from the worst recession that any of us have ever seen.

Today, we know that our economy created 154,000 new private sector jobs in July. And that’s the strongest pace since April. The unemployment rate went down, not up. But while this marks the 17th month in a row of job growth in the private sector - nearly 2.5 million new private sector jobs in all - we have to create more jobs than that each month to make up for the more than 8 million jobs that the recession claimed. We need to create a self-sustaining cycle where people are spending, and companies are hiring, and our economy is growing. And we’ve known that will take some time.

But what I want the American people and our partners around the world to know is this: We are going to get through this. Things will get better. And we’re going to get there together.

The bipartisan compromise on deficit reduction was important in terms of putting us on sounder fiscal footing going forward. But let’s be honest: The process was divisive. It was delayed. And if we want our businesses to have the confidence they need to get cash off the sidelines and invest and hire, we’ve got to do better than that. We’ve got to be able to work together to grow the economy, right now, and strengthen our long-term finances. That’s what the American people expect of us – leaders that can put aside our differences to meet our challenges.

So when Congress gets back in September, I want to move quickly on things that will help the economy create jobs right now – extending the payroll tax credit to put $1,000 in the pocket of the average worker, extending unemployment insurance to help people get back on their feet, putting construction workers back to work rebuilding America. Those are all steps that we can take right now that will make a difference. And there’s no contradiction between us taking some steps to put people to work right now and getting our long-term fiscal house in order. In fact, the more we grow, the easier it will be to reduce our deficits.

Now, both parties share power. Both parties share responsibility for our progress. Moving our economy and our country forward is not a Democratic or a Republican responsibility; it is - it’s not a public or a private responsibility. It is the responsibility of all Americans. It’s in our nature to do the tough things when necessary; to do the right things when called. And that’s the spirit that Washington needs right now.

(full transcript)

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