Saturday, March 31, 2012

Weekly Address: Passing the Buffett Rule So That Everyone Pays Their Fair Share

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Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
March 31, 2012


Hello.

Over the last few months, I’ve been talking about a choice we face as a country. We can either settle for an economy where a few people do really well and everyone else struggles to get by, or we can build an economy where hard work pays off again – where everyone gets a fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same rules. That’s up to us.

Today, I want to talk to you about the idea that everyone in this country should do their fair share.

Now, if this were a perfect world, we’d have unlimited resources. No one would ever have to pay any taxes, and we could spend as much as we wanted. But we live in the real world. We don’t have unlimited resources. We have a deficit that needs to be paid down. And we also have to pay for investments that will help our economy grow and keep our country safe: education, research and technology, a strong military, and retirement programs like Medicare and Social Security.

That means we have to make choices. When it comes to paying down the deficit and investing in our future, should we ask middle-class Americans to pay even more at a time when their budgets are already stretched to the breaking point? Or should we ask some of the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share?

That’s the choice. Over the last decade, we’ve spent hundreds of billions of dollars on what was supposed to be a temporary tax cut for the wealthiest two percent of Americans. Now we’re scheduled to spend almost a trillion more. Today, the wealthiest Americans are paying taxes at one of the lowest rates in 50 years. Warren Buffett is paying a lower rate than his secretary. Meanwhile, over the last 30 years, the tax rates for middle class families have barely budged.

That’s not fair. It doesn’t make any sense. Do we want to keep giving tax breaks to the wealthiest Americans like me, or Warren Buffett, or Bill Gates – people who don’t need them and never asked for them? Or do we want to keep investing in things that will grow our economy and keep us secure? Because we can’t afford to do both.

Now, some people call this class warfare. But I think asking a billionaire to pay at least the same tax rate as his secretary is just common sense. We don’t envy success in this country. We aspire to it. But we also believe that anyone who does well for themselves should do their fair share in return, so that more people have the opportunity to get ahead – not just a few.

That’s the America I believe in. And in the next few weeks, Members of Congress will get a chance to show you where they stand. Congress is going to vote on what’s called the Buffett Rule: If you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up. You’re the ones struggling with the rising cost of everything from college tuition to groceries. You’re the ones who deserve a break.

So every Member of Congress is going to go on record. And if they vote to keep giving tax breaks to people like me – tax breaks our country can’t afford – then they’re going to have to explain to you where that money comes from. Either it’s going to add to our deficit, or it’s going to come out of your pocket. Seniors will have to pay more for their Medicare benefits. Students will see their interest rates go up at a time when they can’t afford it. Families who are scraping by will have to do more because the richest Americans are doing less.

That’s not right. That’s not who we are. In America, our story has never been about what we can do by ourselves – it’s about what we can do together. It’s about believing in our future and the future of this country. So tell your Members of Congress to do the right thing. Call them up, write them a letter, pay them a visit, and tell them to stop giving tax breaks to people who don’t need them and start investing in the things that will help our economy grow and put people back to work.

That’s how we’ll make this country a little fairer, a little more just, and a whole lot stronger. Thank you.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly Address: Ending Subsidies for Big Oil Companies

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Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hi, everybody. As I’m sure you’ve noticed over the past few weeks, the price at your local pump has been going up and up. And because it’s an election year, so has the temperature of our political rhetoric.

What matters most to me right now is the impact that rising prices have on you. When you’ve got to spend more on gas, you’ve got less to spend on everything else. It makes things harder. So I wanted to take a minute this weekend to explain what steps my Administration is taking when it comes to energy – most importantly, producing more of it while using less of it.

The truth is: the price of gas depends on a lot of factors that are often beyond our control. Unrest in the Middle East can tighten global oil supply. Growing nations like China or India adding cars to the road increases demand. But one thing we should control is fraud and manipulation that can cause prices to spike even further.

For years, traders at financial firms were able to game the energy markets, distort the price of oil, and make big profits for themselves at your expense. And they were able to do all that because of major gaps and loopholes in our regulations. When I took office, we did something about it.

The Wall Street reforms I signed into law are helping bring energy markets out of the shadows and under real oversight. They’re strengthening our ability to go after fraud and to prevent traders from manipulating the market. So it’s not just wrong, but dangerous that some in Congress want to roll back those protections and return to the days when companies like Enron could avoid regulation and reap enormous profits, no matter who it hurt.

What’s more, at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies.

In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.

And tell them to be honest with you. It’s easy to promise a quick fix when it comes to gas prices. There just isn’t one. Anyone who tells you otherwise – any career politician who promises some three-point plan for two-dollar gas – they’re not looking for a solution. They’re just looking for your vote.

If we’re truly going to make sure we’re not at the mercy of spikes in gas prices every year, the answer isn’t just to drill more – because we’re already drilling more. Under my Administration, we’re producing more oil here at home than at any time in the last eight years, that’s a fact. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs to a record high, that’s a fact. And we’ve opened millions of acres on land and offshore to develop more of our domestic resources.

Those are the facts. But we can’t just rely on drilling. Not when we use more than 20 percent of the world’s oil, but still only have 2 percent of the world’s known oil reserves. If we don’t develop other sources of energy, and the technology to use less energy, we’ll continue to be dependent on foreign countries for our energy needs. That’s why we’re pursuing an all-of-the-above strategy. As we develop more oil and gas, we’re also developing wind and solar power; biofuels, and next-generation vehicles – and thousands of Americans have jobs right now because of it. We need to keep making those investments – because I don’t want to see those jobs go to other countries. I want to create even more of them right here in America.

And after three decades of inaction, we raised fuel economy standards so that by the middle of the next decade, our cars will average nearly 55 miles per gallon. That’s nearly double what they get today. That means you’ll only have to fill up every two weeks instead of every week. And that will save the typical family more than $8,000 over the life of the car – just by using less gas.

Combined, these steps have helped put us on a path to greater energy independence. Since I took office, America’s dependence on foreign oil has gone down every single year. In 2010, for the first time in 13 years, less than half the oil we used came from foreign countries.

We can do even better. And we will. But what we can’t do is keep being dependent on other countries for our energy needs. In America we control our own destiny. So that’s the choice we face – the past, or the future. And America is what it is today because we have always placed our bets on the future. Thanks, and have a great weekend.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Obama'12 Blog Reader Opinion

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I would love for Obama to make a simple speech targeted to lower-income and middle-income voters. The speech would explain that these voters have been hoodwinked by the Republican Party. By making politics over the last decades turn on social issues like abortion, gay marriage and flag burning, the Republicans have caused these votors to take their eye off the ball. Everyone is getting all excited about these issues...they elect Republicans...and then find that their everyday life is worse and worse - there is an increasing gap between rich and poor, that the richest Americans pay the least taxes, and they (the low-income and middle-income voters) are having an increasingly hard time getting by. These voters should be concentrating on the issues that they think about every day - getting through financially, paying for education for their kids, having good education for their kids, healthcare, etc. - rather than gay marriage. How many times has gay marriage/abortion/flag burning actually affected their everyday lives? Are they prepared to accept a more difficult life for themselves and the wealthy paying few taxes in exchange for banning gay marriage - because that is the tradeoff they accept if they vote Republican. They have been totally swindled.

by: Kate

Boehner Callded Himself 'Dumbest'

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From Huffington Post - "We got some of the smartest people in the country who serve here, and some of the dumbest. We got some of the best people you'd ever meet, and some of the raunchiest. We've got 'em all," he said in an interview with the Wall Street Journal.

He also touted his own achievement in Congress

"There's nobody who tried harder last year with the president to do the right thing," he said. "There's nobody who walked further out on a limb than I did to try to get him to do the right thing."

Boehner's comments referred to last year's contentious debt talks. The months-long saga resulted in a bitter struggle between Democrats and Republicans, as well as between Obama and GOP leaders. Obama once blamed Boehner for the talks falling apart after the Speaker walked out in the middle of a meeting.

continue reading: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/11/john-boehner-dumbest-people-congress_n_1337575.html?ref=politics 

Santorum's war on teleprompters

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FROM CNN - Republican Rick Santorum has for quite a while taken issue with candidates on the trail who use a teleprompter. It's a dig on President Barack Obama, and more recently has been used to attack Mitt Romney - a man who's also been known to use a prompter or two.

But campaigning along the Gulf Coast in the Tuesday primary state of Mississippi, Santorum took it a step further, saying use of the digital word machine should be outlawed.

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/03/11/santorums-war-on-teleprompters/

Weekly Address: Investing in a Clean Energy Future

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Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
Petersburg, Virginia
March 10, 2012




Hi, everybody. I’m speaking to you this week from a factory in Petersburg, Virginia, where they’re bringing on more than 100 new workers to build parts for the next generation of jet engines.

It’s a story that’s happening more frequently across the country. Our businesses just added 233,000 jobs last month – for a total of nearly four million new jobs over the last two years. More companies are choosing to bring jobs back and invest in America. Manufacturing is adding jobs for the first time since the 1990s, and we’re building more things to sell to the rest of the world stamped with three proud words: Made in America.

And it’s not just that we’re building stuff. We’re building better stuff. The engine parts manufactured here in Petersburg will go into next-generation planes that are lighter, faster, and more fuel-efficient.

That last part is important. Because whether you’re paying for a plane ticket, or filling up your gas tank, technology that helps us get more miles to the gallon is one of the easiest ways to save money and reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

The recent spike in gas prices has been another painful reminder of why we have to invest in this technology. As usual, politicians have been rolling out their three-point plans for two-dollar gas: drill, drill, and drill some more. Well, my response is, we have been drilling. Under my Administration, oil production in America is at an eight-year high. We’ve quadrupled the number of operating oil rigs, and opened up millions of acres for drilling.

But you and I both know that with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, we can’t just drill our way to lower gas prices – not when consume 20 percent of the world’s oil. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that relies less on foreign oil and more on American-made energy – solar, wind, natural gas, biofuels, and more.

That’s the strategy we’re pursuing. It’s why I went to a plant in North Carolina earlier this week, where they’re making trucks that run on natural gas, and hybrid trucks that go further on a single tank.

And it’s why I’ve been focused on fuel efficient cars since the day I took office. Over the last few years, the annual number of miles driven by Americans has stayed roughly the same, but the total amount of gas we use has been going down. In other words, we’re getting more bang for our buck.

If we accelerate that trend, we can help drivers save a significant amount of money. That’s why, after 30 years of inaction, we finally put in place new standards that will make sure our cars average nearly 55 miles per gallon by the middle of the next decade – nearly double what they get today. This wasn’t easy: we had to bring together auto companies, and unions, and folks who don’t ordinarily see eye to eye. But it was worth it.

Because these cars aren’t some pie in the sky solution that’s years away. They’re being built right now – by American workers, in factories right here in the U.S.A. Every year, our cars and trucks will be able to go further and use less fuel, and pretty soon, you’ll be able to fill up every two weeks instead of every week – something that, over time, will save the typical family more than $8,000 at the pump. We’ll reduce our oil consumption by more than 12 billion barrels. That’s a future worth investing in.

So we have a choice. Right now, some folks in Washington would rather spend another $4 billion on subsidies to oil companies each year. Well you know what? We’ve been handing out these kinds of taxpayer giveaways for nearly a century. And outside of Congress, does anyone really think that’s still a good idea? I want this Congress to stop the giveaways to an oil industry that’s never been more profitable, and invest in a clean energy industry that’s never been more promising. We should be investing in the technology that’s building the cars and trucks and jets that will prevent us from dealing with these high gas prices year after year after year.

Ending this cycle of rising gas prices won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight. But that’s why you sent us to Washington – to solve tough problems like this one. So I’m going to keep doing everything I can to help you save money on gas, both right now and in the future. I hope politicians from both sides of the aisle join me. Let’s put aside the bumper-sticker slogans, remember why we’re here, and get things done for the American people.

Thank you, God bless you, and have a great weekend.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Romney wins 6 statesl;Santorum takes 3 - CNN

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Mitt Romney won six Super Tuesday states including the big prize of Ohio, while Rick Santorum took three states and Newt Gingrich grabbed a vital triumph in Georgia, CNN projected.

Romney was projected early Wednesday to win Alaska's caucuses, the last to tally votes among the 10 states with delegates up for grabs.

The six victories made it a good night for Romney, padding his front-running delegate total in the Republican presidential campaign, but he failed to get the convincing showing needed to demonstrate his ability to generate support among diehard conservatives.

from http://www.cnn.com/2012/03/06/politics/super-tuesday/index.html?iref=werecommend
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