Obama measures 'true progress'
February 5th, 2011
01:28 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama measures 'true progress'

Washington (CNN)-President Obama defined the "true measure of progress" for America in his weekly address Saturday. Focusing on his goal to "win the future" for the second consecutive week, he turned his attention to recent unemployment numbers and jobs.

"Our true measure of progress has to be whether every American who wants a job can find one; whether the jobs available pay well and offer good benefits; whether people in this county can still achieve the American Dream for themselves and their children."

The president asserted that this progress needs to be faster. And in a phrase reminiscent of recent speeches, he said, "To win the future, American needs to out-educate, out-innovate, and out-build the rest of the world."

He also shared lessons from a recent visit to Penn State University, saying, "If you assemble teams of the best minds in your field, and focus on tackling the biggest obstacles ... we'll get behind your work. Your government will support your research.

"If businesses sell these discoveries ... they will hire more workers. And that's how Americans will prosper. That's how we'll win the future."

Obama emphasized the importance of being the best in education, innovation, and infrastructure as he referred to a government obligation to ensure that America is "the best place on Earth to do business."

Because, he said, "if we make America the best place to do business, businesses should make their mark in America." Citing a "mutual responsibility" between business and government, Obama explained that a successful partnership would produce workers who will succeed and a prosperous nation.

House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling delivered the GOP rebuttal with reference to an expression from his home state.

"Down here in Texas, we have a saying: 'When you're digging a deep hole for yourself, stop digging.'"

The congressman criticized Obama for economic policies that led the country to "our second trillion-dollar deficit in our nation's history," saying, "While I appreciate the president's 'can-do' rhetoric, his job-destroying policies won't do."

Blaming the deficits for adding uncertainty to the economy and weakening confidence in government, he recommended an "end to the spending binge."

"If the president wants our help to pay off his debts, he's going to have to begin the process of cutting up the credit cards. In other words, we need major spending cuts and major spending reforms," he said.

The conference chair recounted several actions by the House majority it says will cut spending, including the House vote to repeal health care - dependent on Senate approval - a ban on congressional earmarks, and weekly "You Cut" votes. He also discussed plans to introduce a continuing budget resolution that honors a pledge to "cut spending back to the pre-'stimulus,' pre-bailout levels," a controversial pledge for some conservatives.

And according to Hensarling, the moves to make further cuts may continue. "In order to get Americans back to work and create jobs, there is no limit to the amount of spending that we're going to be willing to cut," he said.

Taking direct aim at Obama's keystone, the conference chair affirmed, "Of course, Americans know you don't simply 'win' the future, you've got to plan for it."

Filed under: GOP weekly address • President Obama
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Republicans criticise, say no and want to repeal everything but never offer any positive solutions. Nobody gives an H about "down here in Texas" people want jobs and not some D quote, that's a total insult to Americans and that's not what they were sent to Washington to deliver.

    February 5, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Common Sense

    Only if was that easy Jeb, you and Republican Party are full of lies and negative comments...heck I live in Texas and our Republican Governor lied to the people about Texas doing better than many other states for his reelection campaign but come to find out we're worse...no plans for the future but to be against the President and his plans; won't work GOP, the Party of No...his plans/policies are really working the American people!

    February 5, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. DENNA

    House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling this is my rebuttal to you: Too bad you people didn't cut up the president's credit card when Bush was in office. The Republican party caused all of this mess and you still won't take responsibility. Two unfunded wars, tax cuts for the rich (which my middle class self enjoyed also), spend, spend, spend without a thought to tomorrow. Banks running amok, mortgage companies giving out toxic, over priced loans and taking advantage of people. Bush borrowing from China, who now essentially owns us. NOW the Republicans want fiscal responsibility. Again, where you you?

    February 5, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  4. addon

    Its a strong possiblity that if America begins to invest in education; the GOP party and the haters in the Tea-Part brainless ranks, would diminish and eventually disappear...much to the benefit of our great nation.

    In other words, we would stop listening to stupidity, completely ridiculous notions of turning this country back 200 years, and finally have intelligent dialog. Right now we have to listen to these idiots because, the media keeps sticking microphones in their faces. But once we separate intellect from total Tom Foolery, we will be on the road to recovery – hopefully

    February 5, 2011 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. CAW in MD

    Well, Hensarling lied. They had the perfect opportunity to cut $700 billion out of the budget, but Republicans insisted that the wealthy needed tax cuts, so just add it on to the debt. Nothing Republicans have suggested so far comes close to those numbers, with the exception of the the one committee that suggested cuts up to $2.5 trillion, which has no chance of ever coming to a vote. They had to have those tax cuts because those are the job creators. Okay - where are the jobs?

    Until the Republicans come up with a credible plan to responsibly cut spending in a way that protects the economic recovery, then they are wasting their time. Kinda like what we predicted a few months back...

    February 5, 2011 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. A

    It is going to take a few years for the jobs to come back. During the Financial Crisis, companies closed their doors, others downsized and people lost their retirement savings. People that should be retiring have to keep working due to losing their retirement savings. The baby boomers should have started retiring this year but many just cannot. Most pension plans are tied to the stock market so hopefully the market keeps on a steady upswing for these retirees.

    February 5, 2011 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  7. addon

    The crisis in Egypt should prompt us all to consider, "...except for the grace of God, there go we (here in the US)"

    Our president is fighting for those that have no voice and are being drowned out by big business (insert: idiot judgement of the our extreme/Supreme court ruling – corporations are now individuals). And rightfully so, President Obama called them out for that poor decision. What is happening now in Egypt is a clear indicator that when the status quo doesn't listen to the people (poor and middle class), you end up with a country falling into disarray.

    The GOPers and Tea-tards, want us to believe that Business is Good, Poor and Middle Class people are bad. In other words, its more American to be Big Business than it is an everyday person trying to make it.

    Let's go back to what this country is really all about; supporting the collective individuals that make this country great. We should stamp out joblessness and poverty to resume our world leadership. Easier said than done – of course.

    February 5, 2011 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. BeverlyNC

    President Obama is accomplishing TRUE PROGRESS. He saved the banks, the financial system, stopped the massive job losses under Bush, and turned it all around. The stock market is the highest it has ever been. The unemployment rate keeps dropping. Job creation is Obama's main focus. The American People and their lives are President Obama's main focus. He is doing an outstanding job and staying close to the needs and cares of the People. The list of all he has done for the People is long and the greatest one is healthcare. It's what we voted for. Republicans don't care what the People want, need, or care about/ All they do is try to block all legislation, tell outrageous lies, spread hate, and take away all the wonderful new social legislation we wanted and got because of the work of President Obama and the leadership of the Democratic Party. If we want our nation to keep moving forward, we must reject the Republican hate, lies, and obstructionism and vote them out of office in 2012. Republicans have solutions for nothing. Their only goal is destruction of our country. They are bitter old men who can't stand the fact we have a brilliant black President who is tens time the man Bush ever hoped to be. Republicans and Bush destroyed this country and President Obama is bringing it back to greatness and prosperity. Stand with our President and we will be great again. He is a good and decent man full of integrity, character, and honor. He is our President and a great one. Do not let the Republican lies and own dishonor affect your honest knowledge of all President Obama is doing to bring America back to economic prosperity and to a respected status around the world.

    February 5, 2011 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  9. Chipster

    What Hensarling calls "the President's debt" is OUR debt and it didn't originate with Obama or Bush. Although the Bush bailouts of the financial and auto industries in Oct & Dec 2008 certainly contributed to the huge deficit, as did an unnecessary war of obsession against Iraq. We will never know what might have happened had Bush not signed the bailouts so I won't 2nd guess that decision. The deficit went from $5.5 Trillion when Bush took office to more than $11 trillion when Obama took office. So, the GOP effort to convince everyone that Obama signed those bailouts defies history!

    As for entitlements, seniors have paid for decades for Social Security and Medicare! YES! They are entitled to receive money from their investment. How about cutting benefits for all the elected officials? Why do they get life-time pensions and health care at taxpayer expense? But they never suggest paying for their own health care or living on Social Security without their govt pensions! Of course not! Our elected officials always look to seniors to take up the slack. My husband and I worked for more than 35 years each. We couldn't begin to live on Social Security alone, much less pay for health coverage. And increasing the retirement age is ridiculous! Companies push seniors out by 62 – 65 years old! What are they supposed to do until they're 70 yrs old? Who will hire them? And denying them Medicare (that they also paid for!) is worse. When their health is failing, who will sell them insurance even if they could afford it! Tell elected officials that they must live on Social Security and Medicare, pay for their own health insurance and pensions. See how they respond to that!

    February 5, 2011 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Dean

    "Our true measure of progress has to be whether every American who wants a job can find one; whether the jobs available pay well and offer good benefits; whether people in this county can still achieve the American Dream for themselves and their children."

    --------------–The answer to that is "NO". That is unless they want to work in a Ford plant in Brazil or a GM plant in Canada.

    February 5, 2011 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  11. Alex agu

    It's astounding how many Republicans are still confused and misinformed about our national debt. Here are the facts, which anybody can look up at the Bureau of Public Debt:

    When Reagan became president, the national debt was less than $1 trillion.

    He and Bush Sr. promptly quadrupled it, passing a $350 billion annual deficit on to Clinton.

    Clinton eventually balanced the budget, thanks primarily to the Deficit Reduction Act of 1993, which not one single Republican in Congress voted for.

    We were on a path toward eradicating the national debt altogether when Bush Jr. became president.

    Bush took the projected surpluses and turned them into nearly $5 trillion in additional debt, handing a failed economy and a $1.4 trillion (actually more) annual deficit to Obama.

    Virtually all of the debt incurred since then (we're past $14 trillion now thanks to Reagan Republicans) has been due to: the effects of the Great Recession, the two botched Bush wars, Medicare Part D (not paid for under Bush), and the two Bush tax cuts.

    The Recovery Act REDUCED deficits after it was enacted (see the Blinder/Zandi report).

    Get a clue Republicans or you will continue to ruin your own country. Let the smart people continue fixing the mess that Bush and the Republicans made.
    Copy and pasted from another CNN user.

    February 5, 2011 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |