Hi, everybody. It’s hard to believe, but it was seven years ago this week that one of Wall Street’s biggest investment banks went bankrupt, triggering a meltdown on Wall Street and the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. And in the months that followed, millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes, and the savings they’d worked so hard to build.
Today’s a different story. Over the past five and a half years, our businesses have created more than 13 million new jobs. The unemployment rate is lower than it’s been in over seven years. Manufacturing is growing. Housing is bouncing back. We’ve reduced our deficits by two-thirds. And 16 million more Americans now know the security of health insurance.
This is your progress. It’s because of your hard work and sacrifice that America has come back from crisis faster than almost every other advanced nation on Earth. We remain the safest, strongest bet in the world.
Of course, you might not know all that if you only listened to the bluster of political season, when it’s in the interest of some politicians to paint America as dark and depressing as possible. But I don’t see it that way. I’ve met too many Americans who prove, day in and day out, that this is a place where anything is possible. Yes, we have a lot of work to do to rebuild a middle class that’s had the odds stacked against it now for decades. That’s the thing about America – our work is never finished. We always strive to be better – to perfect ourselves.
We just have to make the right choices. And if Republicans want to help, they can choose, right now, to pass a budget that helps us grow our economy even faster, create jobs even faster, lift people’s incomes and prospects even faster. But they’ve only got until the end of the month to do it – or they’ll shut down our government for the second time in two years.
Democrats are ready to sit down and negotiate with Republicans right now. But it should be over legitimate issues like how much do we invest in education, job training, and infrastructure – not unrelated ideological issues like Planned Parenthood. We need to set our sights higher than that. We need to reverse harmful cuts to middle-class economic priorities, close loopholes that benefit only a fortunate few at the top, and invest more in the things that help our entire economy grow.
There’s nothing principled about the idea of another government shutdown. There’s nothing patriotic about denying the progress you’ve worked so hard to make. America is great right now – not because of our government, or our wealth, or our power, but because of everyone who works hard every day to move this country forward. Now Congress needs to work as hard as you do.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.