President Obama was in Alpha, Illinois yesterday on the last leg of his mini bus tour and once again, he proves why he is the president and everyone else isn’t. Early on in the speech, he reminded people of exactly what he inherited on January 21, 2009.
Obviously we’ve been going through as tough of a time as we’ve seen in my lifetime and in most people’s lifetimes these last two and a half years. We went through the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. When I took office we had already lost 4 million jobs and we lost another 4 million just in the few months right after I took office. And we’ve been fighting our way back over the last two and half months — or last two and a half years.
We were on the verge of going into a Great Depression, and we were able to yank ourselves out. The economy is now growing again. Over the last 17 months we’ve created over 2 million jobs in the private sector. We saved an auto industry that was on the brink. (Applause.) We have — we’ve made investments in clean energy, in rebuilding our roads and our bridges.
We just recently learned that during that period, we were much worse off than what the former Bush administration was telling us as they left office. Considering how bad our economy actually was and all the hurdles put in the path of Democrats who were trying to fix it, it is astounding to me that we have recovered as well as we have. It isn’t that long ago, really, but it certainly has been forgotten about by the “baggers” of Tea and Fire. They have agendas that have nothing to do with moving forward. The President, as always, is looking to the future and how we can create more jobs…
So the question is, what do we do going forward? Look, even though private sector job growth is good, we’ve still got a long way to go before we put everybody back to work. We need to go ahead and act right now on some proposals that are before Congress, ready to be voted on. We should extend the payroll tax cut that we passed in December, put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket — we need to extend that into next year. (Applause.) Because if you’ve got more money in your pockets, that means businesses have more customers, they’re more likely to hire. There’s no reason why we can’t do that right now.
There’s no reason why, as Ray LaHood knows, we’ve got over $2 trillion worth of repairs that need to be made around the country, and I know there are some right here in this county and right here in this state. And we’ve got a lot of construction workers that are out of work when the housing bubble went bust, and interest rates are low, and contractors are ready to come in on time, under budget — this is a great time for us to rebuild our roads and our bridges, and locks in the Mississippi, and our seaports and our airports. We could be doing that right now, if Congress was willing to act. (Applause.)
Right now, we could pass trade deals that we negotiated that not only have the support of business, but have the support of the UAW. That doesn’t happen very often. And the reason is, is because folks know that not only is that good for agricultural America — opening up markets, because we’ve got the best farmers in the world — but it’s also good for manufacturing. There are a whole bunch of Kias and Hyundais being driven around here; that’s great. But I want some Fords and Chevys being driven in Korea. (Applause.) We should pass that bill right now.
The President is out in the country, rallying people around liberal ideas and liberal policy. He is doing his part to advance these ideas and get support from the public. I wonder what the Professional Left has been up to for the last couple of days. Keep it up, Mr. President, the truth will set them free.
Cross-posted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles