After a decade of hardship for middle class families, and a recession that wiped away millions of jobs, we are in the middle of a tough fight to rebuild this economy and put folks back to work.
Winning this fight will not depend on government alone.
It will depend on the innovation of American entrepreneurs, on the drive of American small business owners, on the skills and talents of American workers.
These are the people who will help us grow our economy and create jobs.
But, government still has an important responsibility, and thatís to create an environment in which someone can raise capital to start a new company, where a business can get a loan to expand, where ingenuity is prized and folks are rewarded for their hard work.
Thatís why I fought so hard to pass a jobs bill to cut taxes and make more loans available for entrepreneurs.
It eliminated the capital gains taxes for key investments in small businesses.
It increased the deduction to defray the costs of starting a company, and itís freeing up credit for folks who need it.
In fact, in just the first two weeks since I signed the bill, thousands of business owners have been able to get new loans through the SBA.
But, we need to do more, so Iíve proposed additional steps to grow the economy and spur hiring by businesses across America.
Now, one of the keys to job creation is to encourage companies to invest more in the United States.
But, for years, our tax code has actually given billions of dollars in tax breaks that encourage companies to create jobs and profits in other countries.
I want to close these tax loopholes.
Instead, I want to give every business in America a tax break so they can write off the cost of all new equipment they buy next year.
Thatís going to make it easier for folks to expand and hire new people.
I want to make the research and experimentation tax credit permanent.
Because promoting new ideas and technologies is how weíll create jobs and retain our edge as the worldís engine of discovery and innovation, and I want to provide a tax cut for clean energy manufacturing right here in America.
Because thatís how weíll lead the world in this growing industry.
These are commonsense ideas.
When more things are made in America, more families make it in America, more jobs are created in America; more businesses thrive in America.
But, Republicans in Washington have consistently fought to keep these corporate loopholes open.
Over the last four years alone, Republicans in the House voted 11 times to continue rewarding corporations that create jobs and profits overseas, a policy that costs taxpayers billions of dollars every year.
That doesnít make a lot sense.
It doesnít make sense for American workers, American businesses, or Americaís economy.
A lot of companies that do business internationally make an important contribution to our economy here at home.
Thatís a good thing, but there is no reason why our tax code should actively reward them for creating jobs overseas.
Instead, we should be using our tax dollars to reward companies that create jobs and businesses within our borders.
We should give tax breaks to American small businesses and manufacturers.
We should reward the people who are helping us lead in the industries of the future, like clean energy.
Thatís how weíll ensure that American innovation and ingenuity are what drive the next century.
Thatís how weíll put our people back to work and lead the global economy, and thatís what Iíll be fighting for in the coming months.
Now, in a little more than two weeks, you have the opportunity to set the direction of this country for the next several years.
In two weeks, you can continue the journey that we started in 2008, and just like you did in that election, you can defy the conventional wisdom that says you canít change Washington, you canít overcome the cynicism of politics, you canít overcome all the special interest money, you canít solve tough problems.
That has always been the conventional wisdom.
It was the conventional wisdom two years ago.
You remember that?
Everybody said, ďNo, you canítĒ, and two years ago, you said, ďYes, we canĒ, and you can say that same thing two weeks from now.
I want everybody to be clear.
there is no doubt this is a difficult election.
It is difficult here and it is difficult all across the country.
This is a tough political environment.
This is a difficult election because weíve been through an incredibly difficult time as a nation.
For most of the last decade, middle-class families saw their costs rise and their incomes fall.
They saw too many jobs disappear overseas.
There were too many parents who couldnít afford to send their kids to college or see a doctor when they got sick, or Americans working two jobs, three jobs just to make ends meet.
And all these problems were compounded when we had the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the worst in most of our lifetimes, a recession that cost us more than 4 million jobs in the six months before I took office, 750,000 jobs lost the month I was sworn in, 600,000 the month after that, 600,000 the month after that.
All told, 8 million jobs lost before any of our economic plans an opportunity to take effect.
It was a once-in-a-generation challenge, and Iíll be honest with you, our hope was that because this was such a unique challenge, that it would cause both parties to put politics aside for the sake of the country.
That was our expectation.
Our hope was that we could move beyond the division and the bickering and the game-playing that had dominated Washington for so long, because although we are proud to be Democrats, weíre prouder to be Americans.
But, you know what happened.
The Republican leaders in Washington made a different decision, and I want to be clear it was the decision of Republicans in Congress, because I think there were a whole lot of Republicans all across the country who in fact wanted the same thing, but thatís not what they saw in Washington.
Their attitude, it was tactical on their part, was that we were climbing out of such a deep hole, they had made such a big mess, that they figured it was going to take some time to repair the economy, longer than any of us would like.
They knew that people would be frustrated.
They knew people would be angry, and they figured if they just sat on the sidelines and opposed us every step of the way, if they said no even to policies that they could agree with, that historically they had supported, then people might forget that they were the ones who had caused the mess , and that peopleís anger and frustration would lead them to success in the next election.
That was their strategy, and you have to give them credit.
In terms of short-term tactics, it wasnít a bad strategy.
In terms of what was good for the country, it didnít work out so well.
So the other side wants you to believe that this election is simply a referendum on the current state of the economy.
But make no mistake.
This election is a choice, and the stakes couldnít be higher.
If they win this election, the chair of the Republican campaign committee has promised to pursue the exact same agenda as they did before I took office.
We know what that agenda was.
You cut taxes, mostly for millionaires and billionaires.
You cut rules for special interests, and then you cut middle-class families loose to fend for themselves.
We also know the results of that agenda.
Itís not as if we didnít try it.
We donít have to guess in terms of how their theories might work out.
From 2001 to 2009, slowest job growth since World War II.
2001 to 2009, incomes for middle-class families went down by 5 percent.
Those arenít my claims.
That was trumpeted in The Wall Street Journal.
Took a record surplus and turned it to a record deficit.
An agenda that let Wall Street run wild at the expense of folks on Main Street.
An agenda that nearly destroyed our economy.
Thatís what they say they want to go back to, the exact same agenda.
If they take over Congress, the other side has promised to roll back health reform so that insurance companies can go back to denying you coverage when you get sick, or denying your child coverage if theyíve got a preexisting condition.
They want to roll back Wall Street reform so that taxpayers are on the hook again for Wall Street bailouts, and credit card companies can hit you with hidden fees and penalties, and mortgage brokers can steer you to the most expensive mortgage, or a mortgage you canít afford.
They want to cut back on education spending by 20 percent to help pay for a $700 billion tax break that only the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans will ever benefit from.
This is the same theory theyíve been peddling for years.
This is not as if they went off into the desert after 2008, and they said, boy, we really screwed up.
Letís meditate here a little bit and letís try to figure out what we did wrong, and then they came back and they said, we realize the error of our ways and we got some new.
Thatís not whatís happening.
Theyíre just pretending as if all that stuff didnít happen, and so itís up to you to remind your friends and your neighbors and your coworkers, weíve tried that stuff.
It didnít work.
Weíve been there before and weíre not going back.
Weíre moving forward, not backwards.
We donít want to keep giving tax breaks to companies that ship jobs overseas.
We want to give tax breaks to companies that are investing right here.
We donít want tax cuts for folks who donít need them by borrowing the money from China to pay for them and cut education in the process.
We want to invest in young people right here in the United States of America, because we know that the countries that out-educate us today are going to out-compete us tomorrow, and so weíre going to invest in our young people.
We donít want to go back.
We donít want to go back to the days where insurance companies and Wall Street banks had free reign to run roughshod over the middle class.
We donít want to see more two years of gridlock and game-playing and point-scoring in Washington.
We want to solve problems.
We want to move forward.