Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House
Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America. Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet. And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below 10% for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.
But what we must remember at a time like this is that we are not helpless in the face of our difficulties. As Americans, we make our own destiny. We forge our own path. And I am confident that if we come together and put aside the politics that keeps holding us back, we can do that again. We can rebuild this economy on a new, stronger foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity.
I believe a key part of that foundation is America’s small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin.
These companies represent the essence of the American spirit – the promise that anyone....
... can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through. And every once in awhile, these ideas don’t just lead to a new business and new jobs, but a new American product that forever changes the world. After all, Hewlett Packard began in a garage. Google began as a simple research project.
Government can’t create these businesses, but it can give entrepreneurs the support they need to open their doors, expand, or hire more workers. And that’s what we’ve always done in this country. The folks at Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Ariz., started their company in a small home. Since getting a loan from the Small Business Administration, they’ve sold 160,000 wind turbines to about 90 countries and are hiring even more workers today. When Sam Ko walked into one of the SBA’s small business development centers in Illinois, he didn’t have any business experience at all – just a patent for a new metal manufacturing technology. He was given a loan and a business plan, and today his company is still growing, with offices all over the Midwest.
Last year, the steps we took supported over 47,000 loans to small businesses and delivered billions in tax relief to small business owners, which helped companies keep their doors open, make payroll, and hire workers. But we can and must do more. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of steps this week to support small business owners and the jobs they create – to provide more access to credit, more incentives to hire, and more opportunities to grow and sell products all over the world.
Because financing remains difficult for good, credit-worthy small businesses across the country, I’ve proposed that we take $30 billion from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. We should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times.
To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I’ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment.
Finally, we should provide targeted support to the most innovative small businesses – the ones with the greatest potential to export new goods and products all over the world. A lot of these companies – like the wind turbine manufacturer I mentioned – are the foundation on which we can rebuild our economy to compete in the 21st century. They just need a little help securing the financing they need to get off the ground. We have every incentive to help them do that.
Next week, Congress will start debating many of these proposals. And if anyone has additional ideas to support small businesses and create jobs, I’m happy to consider them. My door is always open. But I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so.The proposals I’ve outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative.
They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job. Leaders in both parties have supported similar ideas in the past. So let’s come together and pass these measures without delay. Let’s put more Americans back to work, and let’s give our small business owners the support to do what they’ve always done: the freedom to pursue their dreams and build our country’s future.
Thanks for listening.
Remarks by Rep. Jeb Hensarling, as provided by the Republican National Committee
Hi, I’m Congressman Jeb Hensarling of Texas; I serve as the number two Republican on the House Budget Committee.
Some of you may have seen me on television last week when I had the opportunity to ask the President if his new budget would once again triple the national debt and dramatically increase the cost of government to 25 percent of the economy – up from its traditional 20 percent.
You may recall that the President declined to answer the question last week. But he has certainly answered it this week by submitting a new budget that does exactly what I feared.
The numbers in his budget are simply breathtaking: a record $3.8 trillion in spending, more than $2 trillion in new job crushing taxes, not to mention a tripling of the national debt – on top of the largest deficit in our nation’s history. Interest payments alone on this debt will set us back roughly $6 trillion over the next decade – that’s about $50,000 per household.
Now, you’re probably like me and believe, in America, you ought to work hard today, so your children can have a better, more prosperous tomorrow. But with this budget, it is like Washington has said, ‘let’s let government live easier today, so our children have to work harder tomorrow.’
Texas Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling
You know, it was about this same time last year, President Obama and Democrats in Congress promised that if we passed their trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ bill – and grew big government even more – that jobs would be created ‘immediately,’ they said unemployment would remain below eight percent.
Well, Republicans stood on principle and offered a better alternative that, according to an analysis developed by the President’s own economic advisors, would have created twice the jobs at half the cost. But, Democrats chose to go it alone and jam through their ‘stimulus.’
What did the American people get? A bill for $1.2 trillion and three million more jobs lost.
Americans are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’ but all they are getting from Washington is more spending, more taxes, more debt and more bailouts.
Now, when it comes to budget matters, I usually find myself agreeing with about 80 percent of what the President says, but I disagree with 80 percent of what he does.
While the President’s budget rhetoric gives a nod to reducing the deficit, he punts the problem to a ‘commission’ that does not yet exist, and whose recommendations may never see the light of day. We have to do better.
Additionally, President Obama’s proposed spending freeze unfortunately is not really a freeze at all. It exempts 86 percent of the federal budget from the freezer, doesn’t turn on the freezer until next year and then turns it off shortly thereafter.
In fact, when you run the numbers, the President’s idea of fiscal responsibility unfortunately amounts to choosing to grow government by 49.01 percent over 10 years instead of 49.27 percent. We have got to do better.
Serious fiscal responsibility requires more than just tinkering around the margins. Republicans have proposed adopting strict budget caps that limit federal spending on an annual basis and are enforceable by the President. These caps were a critical plank in the fiscally-responsible budget alternative Republicans proposed last year and yet they are noticeably absent from the President’s budget.
The federal budget must never be allowed to grow faster than the family’s budget ability to pay for it. You can learn more about our better Republican budget solutions on the web at solutions.GOP.gov.
So, you pile up all this Democrat spending, all their borrowing, all their debt, you add it to their government takeover of health care, their ‘cap-and-trade’ national energy tax and their continued bailouts – is it little wonder that job growth is lagging in our economy? Small business owners and investors tell me every week, ‘We’re not taking the risk to start or expand a business in this climate.’
We cannot continue on this reckless path, and the American people know it. But now it’s up to Democrats in Washington to listen and change course. We’re willing to work with them, but we will continue to stand on principle, we will oppose more reckless Washington spending, and we will fight for better solutions that make government live within its means. Our budget plan will help create jobs, prevent a fiscal calamity and give our children a brighter economic future.
Thank you for listening.