Obama pushes 'grand bargain' in weekly address
August 3rd, 2013
06:00 AM ET
5 years 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. Dixie

    Sounds good Mr. OBAMA but full time is not 30 hrs but 40 and small buisnesses need to be able to grow. This will help us. The energy jobs you want to kill will help us not shutting down those jobs. Why not give tax breaks for the new EPA regs that are implamented instead of closing the plant and making more jobless people?

    August 3, 2013 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  2. Gurgyl

    No bargain–stand firm on jobs bill. Manufacturing needed.

    August 3, 2013 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    President Obama's grand bargain proposal to lower taxes and create jobs is a good first step. However, Republican and Tea Party knee jerk reaction will be to reject it immediately. Partisan and ideological opposition to President Obama is more important to them than doing what is good and right for the country.

    August 3, 2013 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    Obama's "grand Bargain" is simply MORE spending, and REDUCED revenue..........another effort to bankrupt America, with increased debt.

    August 3, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  5. mark scott

    One more major accomlishment for team obama to go with his unworkable health care plan, record food stamps and poverty stats. Now more 30 year olds living with mommy and daddy because they can't find a job. hail the chief

    August 3, 2013 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. HenryMiller

    You mean the Grand Snow Job in which government gets to increase the taxes it extorts from businesses and then gets to waste that money on yet another huge government boondoggle?

    Is Obama trying to kill of American business? Or drive it out of the country? He's sure doing a great job of it. And it looks like he's doing his best to make sure unemployment remains as high as possible, and force as many people as possible into part-time jobs.

    August 3, 2013 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  7. Gunderson

    Well Mr Prez,
    Didn't we have a 700 Billion Stimulas Package and didn't we (You) say there were "Shovel Ready" projects? There have been so many Stimulas Programs I can't keep up with them all. Now you have a "Grand Bargain". It appears the real problem with the Economy is Obama Care. Get rid of it, and the Summer of Recovery will begin.

    August 3, 2013 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  8. barryinlasvegas

    Just another ploy to get more money for Obamaphones, Obamacare, Obamawelfare and Obamafoodstamps. That is his vision for America.

    August 3, 2013 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  9. george t hibs

    Same old tax and spend message, Obama will not be happy until the US goes from a depression/recession to an economic disaster. If the interest rates jump to only 5%, the US will not even be able to afford the interest on our debt. Add to this that the Obama administration has been printing money to the tune of $1T/year with nothing behind it but air simply to avoid the debt ceiling. It won't be long before the US dollar is worthless.

    August 3, 2013 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  10. rs

    tSame old tax and spend message,
    I LOVE it when the Right throws this out! Know why? I love to remind them the deficit is down by 50% (something that only happens when Democrats are in the WH). I also like to point out their record: "CUT TAXES AND SPEND" which worked so well for Bush.
    I'm just sorry you didn't throw out the "socialist" nonsense. What party believes in socialism for corporations? Heaven forbid we keep CITIZENS from starving, give our kids a good education, or allow the majority of Americans access to our second-rate health care system.

    And the GOP wonders why their approval in Congress hovers at 10%.

    August 3, 2013 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  11. rs

    However, Republican and Tea Party knee jerk reaction will be to reject it immediately. Partisan and ideological opposition to President Obama is more important to them than doing what is good and right for the country.
    So right. The trolls demonstrate that here today!

    August 3, 2013 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  12. wendel

    this is something the right has been for in the past . But now that the president has brought it up they will be against it. To busy getting ready to go on vacation again. vote the republican turds out in 2014

    August 3, 2013 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. rs

    Sounds good Mr. OBAMA but full time is not 30 hrs but 40 and small buisnesses need to be able to grow.
    Sorry, Dixie- you'll have to talk to WalMart about why they won't hire people full-time, not the President. It benefits business far too much to underpay their workers and deny them benefits. Now, I for one would love to see some regulations from the Dept. of Labor to help make that happen, but as we know, the GOP would much rather engage in corporate welfare, and get rid of the DoL than help real-live American workers.

    August 3, 2013 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Just a thought

    Everybody is an expert right GOP/Tea Trolls? Your party managed to nearly tank the economy / bringing this country to the brink of another depression and we are supposed to listen to you vapid folks???? Really???....In a pig's eye – LOL ....Proceed ahead President Obama....never mind the peanut gallery comments you see here

    August 3, 2013 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. Fair is Fair

    Well Mr Prez,
    Didn't we have a 700 Billion Stimulas Package and didn't we (You) say there were "Shovel Ready" projects? There have been so many Stimulas Programs I can't keep up with them all. Now you have a "Grand Bargain". It appears the real problem with the Economy is Obama Care. Get rid of it, and the Summer of Recovery will begin.

    Why did you drop the contrived Swedish/Russian dialect?

    August 3, 2013 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Just a thought

    Hey GOP/Tea baggers.....Here's a lesson in pragmatism...If tax cuts during two unfunded wars brings the US to the brink of another depression "DO THE OPPOSITE"! ...that's what the President did. He stopped the stupidity of the Bush administration and YOU FOLK ie. dropping money in the middle of the Iraqi desert and promptly losing it along with those WMD's we could never find. Instead the STIMULOUS WORKED! HA HA ...as much as you can only lie about it, all those ribbon cutting ceremonies and the fact unemployment is 3 points lower now, then it was when Pres. Obama took office. SO....we really don't think you people know your Hats from your Over Coats on anything except stupidty.

    August 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  17. Tigas

    Phony scandals...
    You mean the embassy attack in Beghazi was a terror attack and not a spontaneous demonstration?
    That the NSA didn't spy on journalists?
    That the NSA really doesn't have a facility to track communications under a program called PRISM?
    That the IRS admitted to targeting political groups?

    Only thing phony is Obama's speech and his fake concern for the people

    August 3, 2013 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Just a thought

    Excuse us GOP/Tea foolery if we don't take your advice on what to do in order to fix the U.S. economy. No one can remember when this group of GOP/tea tards actually had a successful policy. Why should we start listening to you geniuses now....YOu don't know squat and your history proves it.

    August 3, 2013 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. don

    I love Gopsters/Tea baggers,vote against your own interest???? Worst Congress in American History,money,Guns,and evangelical "Bigotry and Racially Brutal!!!! Shame GOP!

    August 3, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Just a thought

    Hey GOP/Tea Trolls what were your ideas for jobs before President Obama took over? Oh that's right, we were losing nearly a million jobs a week....so excuse us if we don't see you as the
    Apologies....meant to say a million jobs per month....no matter how you slice, that's alot of people losing jobs. I was one of them. But Thank Heavens President Obama didn't listen the GOP/Tea TArds and now I have the best job I've ever had. Not Obama Koolaid just realities for me folks

    August 3, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Ron L

    The problem with the economy IS NOT the President, it is two other things. 1) GREED, the largest fast food, and retailers are refusing to raise the minimum wage when they KNOW they can afford it with little effect on the profits. YES it would reduce their profit margin slightly but they would not be in any financial difficulty. McDonalds has a $50 billion dollar profit, and I guarantee you Wal-Marts was even bigger. The minimum wage should be $10.00 an hour, and when this occurs you WILL SEE an up tick in the overall economy. 2) We have a HUGE political fight going on in which the Tea party Republicans are attempting to drastically reduce the size of government to an extent it will be unhealthy for many of us who are less fortunate. For instance they are against a large infrastructure project because they see it a government stimulus, not as fixing the roads and bridges. The FACTS are 95% of all infrastructure projects are win-win for the area where the repairs are done and their surrounding areas. For every $1.00 spent, $1.50 to $3.00 is returned to the area the work was done. Historically this has been a non-issue, in the last 8 years it has become just another thing that can't be compromised on.

    August 3, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  22. boungiorno

    Simply Put!!!!!!! Ideas Come From Great Minds

    August 3, 2013 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. boungiorno

    get your thinking hats on everybody

    August 3, 2013 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Bamabegone!

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

    August 3, 2013 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  25. Gunderson

    Fair is Fair,
    Old Gunderson see if you pay attention. Maybe you get Shovel Ready Job, no? What make you think Gunderson Swedish/Russian pokermonger? Remember famous words Pogo. We have met enemy and he is us. I try improve english.

    August 3, 2013 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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