Obama pushes 'grand bargain' in weekly address
August 3rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
8 months ago

Obama pushes 'grand bargain' in weekly address

(CNN) – President Barack Obama reiterated his "grand bargain" proposal Saturday in his weekly address.

In a series of speeches outside of Washington, the president this week suggested Congress cut corporate tax rates – long a goal of Republicans – while simultaneously making investments in job creation programs, which Democrats and the president have been championing.

The president's plan would propose slashing the corporate tax rate to 28% from 35% while making the filing process simpler and ramping up incentives for small businesses to hire workers.

The plan would also put the tax rate on manufacturers at 25% and remove current tax incentives to send jobs overseas.

"If we're going to give businesses a better deal, we're also going to have to give workers a better deal, too," he said earlier this week, suggesting money saved by closing tax loopholes should be put toward infrastructure initiatives that would create construction jobs.

But congressional Republicans signaled on Tuesday they were unlikely to back the plan, saying it lacked fresh ideas.

Read the president's full speech below:

Hi, everybody. This week, I went down to an Amazon warehouse in Tennessee to talk more about what we need to do to secure a better bargain for the middle class – to make sure that anyone who works hard can get ahead in the 21st century economy.

Over the past four and a half years, we’ve fought our way back from the worst recession of our lifetimes and begun to lay a foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. Today, our businesses have created 7.3 million new jobs over the last 41 months. We now sell more products made in America to the rest of the world than ever before. Health care costs are growing at the slowest rate in 50 years, and our deficits are falling at the fastest rate in 60 years.

But as any middle-class family will tell you, we’re not where we need to be yet. Even before the crisis hit, we were living through a decade where a few at the top were doing better and better, while most families were working harder and harder just to get by.

Reversing this trend must be Washington’s highest priority. It’s certainly mine. But too often over the past two years, Washington has taken its eye off the ball. They’ve allowed an endless parade of political posturing and phony scandals to distract from growing our economy and strengthening the middle class.

That’s why I’m laying out my ideas for how we can build on the cornerstones of what it means to be middle class in America. A good education. A home of your own. Health care when you get sick. A secure retirement even if you’re not rich. And the most important cornerstone of all: a good job in a durable, growing industry.

When it comes to creating more good jobs that pay decent wages, the problem is not a lack of ideas. Plenty of independent economists, business owners and people from both parties agree on what we have to do. I proposed many of these ideas two years ago in the American Jobs Act. And this week, I put forward common-sense proposals for how we can create more jobs in manufacturing; in wind, solar and natural gas; and by rebuilding America’s infrastructure.

What we’re lacking is action from Washington. And that’s why, in addition to proposing ideas that we know will grow our economy, I’ve also put forward a strategy for breaking through the Washington logjam – a “grand bargain” for the middle class.

I’m willing to work with Republicans to simplify our tax code for businesses large and small, but only if we take the money we save by transitioning to a simpler tax system and make a significant investment in creating good, middle-class jobs. We can put construction workers back on the job rebuilding our infrastructure. We can boost manufacturing, so more American companies can sell their products around the world. And we can help our community colleges arm our workers with the skills they need in a global economy – all without adding a dime to the deficit.

I’ll keep laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot in the 21st century, and I’ll keep reaching out to Republicans for theirs. But gutting critical investments in our future and threatening national default on the bills that Congress has already racked up – that’s not an economic plan. Denying health care to millions of Americans, or shutting down the government just because I’m for keeping it open – that won’t help the middle class.

The truth is, there are no gimmicks when it comes to creating jobs. There are no tricks to grow the economy. Reversing the long erosion of middle-class security in this country won’t be easy. But if we work together and take a few bold steps – and if Washington is willing to set aside politics and focus on what really matters – we can grow our economy and give the middle class a better bargain. And together, we can make this country a place where everyone who works hard can get ahead.

Thanks, and have a great weekend.


Filed under: Economy • President Obama
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Jeff Brown in Jersey

    @Bamabegone!
    The grandest bargain for this country will occur when Obama leaves office!

    And then you will complain about President Hillary Clinton for eight years. Who knows, maybe Michelle Obama will be President after that!

    August 3, 2013 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. Donkey Party

    Gunderson – "so many Stimulas (sic) Programs I can't keep up with them all".

    Go figure, an ignorant right-winger who can't count. You have a hard time naming all ONE of them?

    August 3, 2013 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  3. king

    Obama needs to know that the last thing the repubs want right now is more economic success, after all the mid term election is just around the corner for crying out loud, why you think they are putting everything in the basket to kill obamacare before it start getting popular with the people. they need the economy to fail so they can use it against this president and dems to maintain and grow their flock in congress, so we can sit down and watch the grass grow for another 4 years, as our rival countries modernized and get more powerful every day, while we watch our outdated infrastructure crumbles in front of our eyes. folks we might not get the chance again to compete as a world power if the American people stand by and watch the repubs obstruct our country into oblivion.

    August 3, 2013 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  4. Jack

    Just get a deal done!

    August 4, 2013 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  5. J.V.Hodgson

    Last I heard Republicans wanted tax reform ( but of course proposed nothing specific other than no increase in taxes but also a reduction in corporate taxes again with no idea of how to pay for that loss of revenue.
    Republicans have continuously put forward duplicity. When Republicans propose to cut revenue ( taxes), we don't have to pay for it with cost savings. It will magically be OK.
    When Dems Propose tax reductions it must be offset by spending cuts.
    Back to tax reform it was if you increase income taxes we need reform = reduction of corporate taxes. Again no mention of how to pay therefore.
    Obama says OK I'll cut corporate tax rates but close loopholes and eliminate outdated tax breaks.... now that's reform.. Ooops no not a good idea because you want to spend the gain on infrastructure/ education the key areas that give more bang for the buck than any other type of government backed spending... proved time and again, under both Republican led and Democratic led governments.
    But no its all wrong.... simply because Obama (two term president or not) has to be failure Republicans hoped for.
    They are only setting themselves up for failure....
    Keep it up Republicans, vote to defund Obama care, vote not to increase the debt ceiling, don't go to reconciliation on a budget, demand even more cuts to programs that will increase those numbers already below the poverty line ( farm bill defund of food stamps) Don't proceed with the Medicaid support in Republican states to allow a proper transition to PPACA/ exchanges.
    You think you win elections that way go ahead, but only in very very red states which is the real reason why you oppose the immigration bill and minimum wage proposals as that means a long term voter mass that's mostly democratic for at least two generations.
    Regards,
    Hodgson

    August 4, 2013 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. Harry Katz

    Republicans are like spoiled children who will complain when they don't get their way... even when presented with tax reductions, because in this plan jobs can be immediately created. They've always said that if they get tax reductions that will allow businesses to create more jobs on their own, however this has never proven to be true. They take their corporate profits and divide it amongst themselves and their shareholders... but let them go on their usual rant... it's what's kept them out of the White House for two terms... keep crying Republicans!!!!!!

    August 4, 2013 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
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