Opinion: Weekly remarks: President Obama on Wall Street reform, Rep. Mike Pence on economy and taxes

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Weekly remarks by President Obama, as prepared by the White House

This week, I signed into law a Wall Street reform bill that will protect consumers and our entire economy from the recklessness and irresponsibility that led to the worst recession of our lifetime. It’s reform that will help put a stop to the abusive practices of mortgage lenders and credit card companies. It will end taxpayer bailouts of Wall Street firms. And it will finally bring the shadowy deals that caused the financial crisis into the light of day.

Wall Street reform is a key pillar of an overall economic plan we’ve put in place to dig ourselves out of this recession and build an economy for the long run – an economy that makes America more competitive and our middle-class more secure. It’s a plan based on the Main Street values of hard work and responsibility – and one that demands new accountability from Wall Street to Washington.


Instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that ship jobs overseas, we want to give tax breaks to small-business owners who are creating jobs right here in America. Already, we’ve given small businesses eight new tax cuts, and have expanded lending to more than 60,000 small-business owners.

We’re also investing in a homegrown, clean energy industry – because I don’t want to see new solar panels and wind turbines and electric cars manufactured in some other country. I want to see them made in America, by American workers. So far, we’ve provided new tax credits, loan guarantees, and investments that will lead to more than 800,000 clean energy jobs by 2012. And throughout America, communities are being rebuilt by people working in hundreds of thousands of new private sector jobs repairing our roads, bridges, and railways.

Our economic plan is also aimed at strengthening the middle class. That’s why we’ve cut taxes for 95% of working families. That’s why we’ve offered ...

... tax credits that have made college more affordable for millions of students, and why we’re making a new commitment to our community colleges. And that’s why we passed health insurance reform that will stop insurance companies from dropping or denying coverage based on an illness or preexisting condition.

This is our economic plan – smart investments in America’s small businesses, America’s clean energy industry and America’s middle-class. Now, I can’t tell you that this plan will bring back all the jobs we lost and restore our economy to full strength overnight. The truth is, it took nearly a decade of failed economic policies to create this mess, and it will take years to fully repair the damage. But I am confident that we are finally headed in the right direction. We are moving forward. And what we can’t afford right now is to go back to the same ideas that created this mess in the first place.

Unfortunately, those are the ideas we keep hearing from our friends in the other party. This week, the Republican leader in the House of Representatives offered his plan to create jobs. It’s a plan that’s surprisingly short and sadly familiar.

First, he would repeal health insurance reform, which would take away tax credits from millions of small-business owners and take us back to the days when insurance companies had free rein to drop coverage and jack up premiums. Second, he would say no to new investments in clean energy, after his party already voted against the clean energy tax credits and loans that are creating thousands of new jobs and hundreds of new businesses. And third, even though his party voted against tax cuts for middle-class families, he would permanently keep in place the tax cuts for the very wealthiest Americans – the same tax cuts that have added hundreds of billions to our debt.

These are not new ideas. They are the same policies that led us into this recession. They will not create jobs; they will kill them. They will not reduce our deficit; they will add $1 trillion to our deficit. They will take us backward at a time when we need to keep America moving forward.

I know times are tough. I know that the progress we’ve made isn’t good enough for the millions of Americans who are still out of work or struggling to pay the bills. But I also know the character of this nation. I know that in times of great challenge and difficulty, we don’t fear the future – we shape the future. We harness the skills and ingenuity of the most dynamic country on Earth to reach a better day. We do it with optimism, and we do it with confidence. That’s the spirit we need right now, and that’s the future I know we can build together. Thank you. ####

Remarks by Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana, as provided by Republican congressional leadership

Hello, I’m Mike Pence from Indiana.

In the worst economy in a quarter of a century, American families are hurting. That’s obvious to just about everybody, except, that is, the Democrats in Washington, D.C.

You know, it’s more clear every day, they just don’t get it. Washington politicians just aren’t listening and the American people know it.

With nearly 15 million people unemployed and the Pelosi-led Congress poised to take a six-week paid vacation, the American people deserve better.

Now, President Obama says things are getting better. But American families see things a little differently. The economic policies of this administration have failed. Last year the Obama Administration said that its trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ plan would create jobs ‘immediately’ and keep unemployment below 8 percent.

Today unemployment remains near a heartbreaking 10 percent, and since the stimulus bill became law, our economy has lost about 3 million jobs.

And if they haven’t already done enough to wreck our recovery, Democrats in Washington are pushing more spending, more regulation, and right around the corner: more taxes. Democrats in Washington are now actually talking about embracing what would be the largest tax increase in American history.

Let me say that again. After 18 months of runaway spending, bailouts and takeovers, Washington Democrats are poised to allow the largest tax increase in American history to take effect next year. The American people deserve to know every income tax bracket will increase on January 1, 2011. Every single one.

So, if this year you receive a $1,000-per-child tax credit, next year you’ll get just $500 per child. If you run a small business and pay 35 percent in federal taxes, next year you’ll have to pay nearly 40 percent. And if you own a family farm, you’ll see death taxes rise from zero to 55 percent in a single year.

Washington, D.C., doesn’t tax too little. Washington, D.C. ,spends too much. I don’t know anybody back in Indiana who thinks they pay too little in taxes. And only in Washington, D.C., would anyone believe that raising taxes creates jobs.

The American people know we can’t tax and spend and bail our way back to a growing economy. House Republicans opposed the Democrats’ failed stimulus bill, their national energy tax, their government takeover of healthcare; and House Republicans will oppose this tax increase with everything we’ve got.

Congress must take immediate action to prevent any tax increase on working families, small businesses and family farms before next year.

So why are we in this mess? You know, it’s like I said before. Democrats just aren’t listening to the American people. The good news is that after seeing so many important decisions made behind closed doors and so much money being funneled into backroom deals, the American people finally have a way in, an unambiguous seat at the table. It’s called

Now in its third month, the Republicans’ America Speaking Out project is giving the American people a chance to share their ideas for building a more accountable government and a better country. Every day, thousands of potential solutions are being debated, discussed and voted on.

This week alone, Republican lawmakers initiated national discussions on ideas to prevent taxpayer dollars from being used to bail out European countries, to ensure that no new major federal regulation can be implemented without the approval of Congress, and debated making all legislation subject to a three-day mandatory public review, so lawmakers will have to read the bills.

With each of these dialogues, we’re breathing new life into the founding principle that government governs best when it governs closest to the people. And we’re forming a new path to prosperity that is built brick-by-brick on the hard work, innovation, entrepreneurship and good ideas of the American people. Thanks for listening. ####

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