Las Vegas Sun

July 22, 2014

Currently: 80° — Complete forecast | Log in | Create an account

Guest column:

Obama: Build America to last

Image

Leila Navidi

President Barack Obama speaks at a UPS facility in Las Vegas Thursday, Jan. 26, 2012.

After World War II, a generation of heroes returned home to build the strongest economy and middle class the world has ever known. Today, as another generation of brave troops come home, we have a similar opportunity.

In my State of the Union address, I laid out a blueprint for an economy that’s built to last — an economy built on American manufacturing, American energy, skills for American workers, and a renewal of American values.

When it comes to American manufacturing, the rebirth of the American auto industry should give us new confidence. Over the past few years, it’s become more expensive to do business in places like China, while America is getting more productive. So for a lot of companies, it’s making more business sense to bring jobs back home.

We have to seize this opportunity to help these companies succeed. But right now, companies get all kinds of tax breaks for moving jobs and profits overseas, while companies that choose to stay in America get hit with one of the highest tax rates in the world. That makes no sense. It is time to stop rewarding businesses that ship jobs overseas and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in America.

The blueprint for an economy built to last also means making sure American workers have the skills they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow. At a time when millions of Americans are looking for work, I hear from business owners who can’t find workers with the skills they need. That’s inexcusable, and we know how to fix it. Let’s train 2 million Americans with skills that will lead directly to a job. Let’s forge partnerships between businesses and community colleges. Let’s turn our unemployment system into a re-employment system that puts people to work.

These reforms will help people get jobs that are open today. But to prepare for the jobs of tomorrow, our commitment to skills and education has to start earlier. That means giving schools resources to keep good teachers on the job and extending the tuition tax credit which saves middle-class families thousands of dollars and gives more young people the chance to earn their way through college.

An economy built to last is one fueled by American-made energy. Right now, American oil production is the highest it’s been in eight years. Last year, we relied less on foreign oil than in any of the past 16 years. However, we all know that oil isn’t enough. We need an all-of-the-above strategy that develops every available source of American energy.

We have a supply of natural gas that can last America nearly 100 years. My administration will take every possible action to safely develop this energy, which could support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of the decade. We must do this without putting the health and safety of our citizens at risk. That means requiring all companies that drill for gas on public lands to disclose the chemicals they use.

What’s true for natural gas is true for clean energy. Thanks to federal investments, renewable energy use has nearly doubled over the past three years. I will not walk away from these jobs or cede these industries to other countries. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. It’s time to end those taxpayer giveaways, and double down on the American clean energy industry.

Finally, an economy built to last insists on a return to the American values of fair play and shared responsibility. These values should guide us as we look to pay down our debt and invest in our future. When it comes to the deficit, we’ve already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings. But we need to do more, and that means making choices. We can either keep giving tax breaks to millionaires who often pay lower tax rates than middle-class households, or we can keep our investments in everything else — things like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans. But if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.

The American people know what the right choice is. They know that our generation’s success is only possible because past generations felt a responsibility to each other, and to their country’s future. We know our way of life will only endure if we feel that same sense of shared responsibility. That’s an America built to last.

Barack Obama is the 44th president of the United States of America.

Join the Discussion:

Check this out for a full explanation of our conversion to the LiveFyre commenting system and instructions on how to sign up for an account.

Full comments policy

Previous Discussion: 6 comments so far…

Comments are moderated by Las Vegas Sun editors. Our goal is not to limit the discussion, but rather to elevate it. Comments should be relevant and contain no abusive language. Comments that are off-topic, vulgar, profane or include personal attacks will be removed. Full comments policy. Additionally, we now display comments from trusted commenters by default. Those wishing to become a trusted commenter need to verify their identity or sign in with Facebook Connect to tie their Facebook account to their Las Vegas Sun account. For more on this change, read our story about how it works and why we did it.

Only trusted comments are displayed on this page. Untrusted comments have expired from this story.

  1. Mr. President...

    Considering what you inherited when you took this gig, you've done a REMARKABLE JOB.

    Democrats & Independents don't agree with the entirety of what you've done as President, but we DO understand that WHAT you do is predicated on what you KNOW the Republicans/TeaNuts will 'ALLOW' you to do...we're PAINFULLY AWARE of all the mindless roadblocks that have been thrown in your way by the right; their incessant desire to make you a 'one-term' President has clouded any semblance of judgement they may have once had.

    As the 2012 election approaches, we can reflect on your successes and misfires, and know that you are wise and well intentioned, and support your platform as laid out in the State of the Union address.

    The hate-filled, ill-informed, Fox-Snooze brainwashed, low-functioning rabble-rousers are well offset by a comfortable majority, thank God, so we look forward to another 4-year term of painfully & meticulously putting the USA back on track.

    Godspeed, President Obama!

  2. This is where Mr. Obama should have placed his emphasis when he first took office instead of health care reform.

    In March of 2009, he said that not only are most of the jobs not going to come back, but we did not need or want them to do so because they would be bad for the economy. After three years of high unemployment it would seem Mr. Obama was mistaken about the last part.

    Although I fully agree that we must bring these jobs back, and that we must use an all-of-the-above approach to energy, the timing of this makes it look much more like election tactics rather than genuine interest. It seems a lot like how the issue of immigration reform is trotted out every four years to entice the Hispanic voters and then forgotten until the next election.

    It is also disturbing that we do not hear more about our trade policies. Yes, the SOTU mentioned recent agreements, but those agreements benefit our partners almost immediately while our companies must wait as long as five years to see improved terms. This does not seem like a good deal for us.

    Mr. Obama has said nothing of how our trade relations with China have impacted our economy other than to say we must revise our tax codes. Yes, that is badly needed, but it is our trade policies and acceptance of restrictions placed upon us by the WTO, combined with China's continued abuse or ignoring of the WTO agreements that is the real culprit. Why has nothing been done about this?

    I close with a question for Mr. Obama. Do you, Mr. President, support Harry Reid's efforts to bring Chinese interests into our energy projects? If it is bad that we buy so many products manufactured in China, is it not worse than we must obtain our jobs from them, as well?

  3. The cornerstone of rebuilding our nation should be fair and unbiased media as nations with such are recognized to have good government. Apparently you can't have one without the other!

  4. Thank you, Dennis.

  5. After World war II troops came home to a huge housing shortage, and FDR passed away. Harry Truman and you have some common ground, but the housing shortage is now a housing overbuild,the Taft-Hartley act was passed over his veto ( Union issues) and he was able to get only 1 liberal act passed before congress put the brakes on his spending, you got an edge on that Mr. O,( Fair deal)and in the end His approval ratings in the polls started out very high, then steadily sank until he was one of the most unpopular men to leave the White House. I see this history repeating. You can't do anything without spending money, which you don't have. How about a new idea? I think your state of the union had about 4 or 5 new regulatory agencies, most of the proposed already have the same in place! Adjusted for inflation our gasoline costs are now about 30% higher then in the post world war II years, another failure on your part. You want to rebuild America? Get fuel costs back to $2.50 a gallon inflation adjusted with some sort of government control, yes I never would ask this but THEN tax it 50 cents, use that money to rebuild. Because fuel costs are so important I feel they should be regulated much like the utilities are. I await your reply.

  6. Only a fool would not support the President in bringing jobs back from overseas countries. It's the best inveatment for the future of our country. Giving U.S. companies a tax break for coming back home and creating jobs for Americans. It would be a double for the country taking in taxes from workers. Instead of paying out unemployment benifits and food stamps to the same people who need it at this time. The majority of laid off workers would rather be working than getting assistance from the goverment.