The people of this country work hard to meet their responsibilities. The question tonight is whether we’ll meet ours. The question is whether, in the face of an ongoing national crisis, we can stop the political circus and actually do something to help the economy; whether we can restore some of the fairness and security that has defined this nation since our beginning.
Those of us here tonight cannot solve all of our nation’s woes. Ultimately, our recovery will be driven not by Washington, but by our businesses and our workers. But we can help. We can make a difference. There are steps we can take right now to improve people’s lives.
I am sending this Congress a plan that you should pass right away. It’s called the American Jobs Act. There should be nothing controversial about this piece of legislation. Everything in here is the kind of proposal that’s been supported by both Democrats and Republicans – including many who sit here tonight. And everything in this bill will be paid for. Everything.
The purpose of the American Jobs Act is simple: to put more people back to work and more money in the pockets of those who are working. It will create more jobs for construction workers, more jobs for teachers, more jobs for veterans, and more jobs for the long-term unemployed. It will provide a tax break for companies who hire new workers, and it will cut payroll taxes in half for every working American and every small business. It will provide a jolt to an economy that has stalled, and give companies confidence that if they invest and hire, there will be customers for their products and services. You should pass this jobs plan right away.
Jared Bernstein seems to think that the $450B package will please the base; a deeper payroll tax cut, help for state budgets (crucial), unemployment benefits extension, tax credit to companies that hire, needed infrastructure repair - everything mentioned so far has been common-sense measures that shouldn't be an issue to sane lawmakers who are truly interested in helping the American people and our economy.
But that's the problem right there, isn't it. Certain people have no intention of helping, in fact they have every intention of hurting, simply for political gain, and when they pull their usual nonsense, I hope the President calls them out loud and long on their obstruction.
Will that work? Unknown. But we have to try.
And, after watching that Freak Show last night, I'm more convinced than ever that the election next year may be the most important of our lives. These guys are totally around the bend, and they threaten serious damage to our nation should they regain power.
Make it stick, Mr. President. I don't expect miracles here, but we better make sure the American people have a clear choice before them.
Live stream from the White House here.
Update: Very good speech. Lots of fire, great delivery. Watch below:
The Aftermath: From the NYT.
Perhaps as important, they heard a president who was lately passive but now newly energized, who passionately contrasted his vision of a government that plays its part in tough times with the Republicans’ vision of a government starved of the means to do so.
Exactly. The details don't matter as much as the tone at this point. Even Krugman agrees.