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President Obama's economic speech at Georgetown

(Page 7 of 9)



To meet that goal, we have already dramatically expanded early childhood education.  We are investing in innovative programs that have proven to help schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps.  We are creating new rewards tied to teacher performance and new pathways for advancement.  I have asked every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training, and we have provided tax credits to make a college education more affordable for every American.

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The third pillar of this new foundation is to harness the renewable energy that can create millions of new jobs and new industries.  We all know that the country that harnesses this energy will lead the 21st century.  Yet we have allowed other countries to outpace us on this race to the future.

Well, I do not accept a future where the jobs and industries of tomorrow take root beyond our borders.  It is time for America to lead again.

The investments we made in the Recovery Act will double this nation’s supply of renewable energy in the next three years.  And we are putting Americans to work making our homes and buildings more efficient so that we can save billions on our energy bills and grow our economy at the same time.

But the only way to truly spark this transformation is through a gradual, market-based cap on carbon pollution, so that clean energy is the profitable kind of energy.  Some have argued that we shouldn’t attempt such a transition until the economy recovers, and they are right that we have to take the costs of transition into account.  But we can no longer delay putting a framework for a clean energy economy in place.  If businesses and entrepreneurs know today that we are closing this carbon pollution loophole, they will start investing in clean energy now.  And pretty soon, we’ll see more companies constructing solar panels, and workers building wind turbines, and car companies manufacturing fuel-efficient cars.  Investors will put some money into a new energy technology, and a small business will open to start selling it. That’s how we can grow this economy, enhance our security, and protect our planet at the same time.

The fourth pillar of the new foundation is a 21st century health care system where families, businesses, and government budgets aren’t dragged down by skyrocketing insurance premiums.

One and a half million Americans could lose their homes this year just because of a medical crisis.  Major American corporations are struggling to compete with their foreign counterparts, and small businesses are closing their doors.  We cannot allow the cost of health care to strangle our economy any longer.

That’s why our Recovery Act will invest in electronic health records with strict privacy standards that will save money and lives.  We’ve also made the largest investment ever in preventive care, because that is one of the best ways to keep costs under control. And included in the budgets that just passed Congress is an historic commitment to reform that will finally make quality health care affordable for every American.  So I look forward to working with both parties in Congress to make this reform a reality in the coming months.

Fixing our health care system will certainly require resources, but in my budget, we’ve made a commitment to fully pay for reform without increasing the deficit, and we’ve identified specific savings that will make the health care system more efficient and reduce costs for us all.

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