President Barack Obama discusses his plans of building a faster wireless infrastructure to connect every American to the global society for better learning experiences and better chances for economic growth.
It is wonderful to be here in the Upper Peninsula with so many Yoopers. How many of you are Green Bay fans, too? I've been seeing too many Green Bay fans lately.
It is great to be here. It is great to be at Northern Michigan University. We've got some wonderful guests here that I just want to mention. First of all, somebody who is as good a public servant, not just good at what he does but good at heart and works tirelessly on behalf of the entire state, your senior senator, Carl Levin, is here. Now, his partner in the Senate could not be here because she's actually leading a Democratic caucus retreat, but she's been fighting for manufacturing, for broadband, for a lot of things that we're talking about here today. So I just want to acknowledge Debbie Stabenow, who deeply cares about the work that you do up here.
I want to thank the great hospitality of Mayor John Kivela, who has been showing me around town. Thank you so much, Mayor Kivela. The President of Northern Michigan University, Dr. Les Wong, is here. And all of you are here. And you guys are pretty special. Absolutely.
Before I begin, I just want to say that we are following today's events in Egypt very closely. And we'll have more to say as this plays out. But what is absolutely clear is that we are witnessing history unfold. It's a moment of transformation that's taking place because the people of Egypt are calling for change. And they've turned out in extraordinary numbers representing all ages and all walks of life, but it's young people who've been at the forefront - a new generation, your generation, who want their voices to be heard. And so going forward, we want those young people and we want all Egyptians to know America will continue to do everything that we can to support an orderly and genuine transition to democracy in Egypt.
Now, as we watch what's taking place, we're also reminded that we live in an interconnected world. What happens across the globe has an impact on each and every one of us. And that's why I've come to Marquette today - not only because it's beautiful, and the people are really nice - which is true. But I've come here because in the 21st century, it's not just the big cities where change is happening. It's also in towns like this where the jobs and businesses of tomorrow will take root, and where young and talented Americans can lead. It's towns like this where our economic future will be won.
Now, in the short term, the best thing we can do to speed up economic growth is to make sure families and businesses have more money to spend, and that's exactly what - got a little applause there. That's exactly why we passed those tax cuts in December. That's what it's doing. Because Democrats and Republicans came together, Americans' paychecks will be a little bigger this year and businesses will be able to write off their investments and companies will grow and they'll add workers. But we've got more to do.
Our measure of success has to be whether every American who wants a job can find a job; whether this country is still the place where you can make it if you try. In a world that's more connected and more competitive, other nations look at this moment as their moment, their turn to win the jobs and industries of our time. I see things differently. I see this as America's moment to win the future, so that the 21st century is the American century just like the 20th century was. Yes we can.
But to do this, we're going to have to up our game, Marquette. We got to up our game. To attract the best jobs, the newest industries, we're going to have to out-innovate, out-educate, out-build. We're going to have to out-hustle the rest of the world. That means investing in cutting-edge research and technology, like the new advanced battery manufacturing industry that's taking root right here in the state of Michigan. It means investing in the skills and training of our people, just like it's taking place at this university. It means investing in transportation and communications networks that move goods and information as fast as possible.
And to make room for these investments, we're going to have to cut whatever spending we can do without. We've got a real issue with debts and deficit, and so we've got to live within our means. And that means that we've got to cut out things that aren't adding to growth and opportunity in order to invest in those things that are.
And that's why I've proposed that we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. That will reduce the deficit by more than 400 billion dollars over the next decade. It will bring spending to the lowest share of our economy since Eisenhower was President. That's a long time ago. Even I wasn't born then.
So government has to do what American families do every day: live within our means. But even as we do so, we can't sacrifice our future. I'll just give you guys an analogy. If you're trying to cut back in your family, you might decide, we're not going to go out to dinner so often; maybe we'll skip the vacation; we're not going to remodel the kitchen. But you wouldn't stop saving for your child's college education. You wouldn't stop saving for your own retirement. If your boiler was broken or your roof had a leak, you'd still go ahead and make those investments.
Well, the same is true with our country. We've got to cut out the equivalence of eating out and vacations. I know there may be some restaurant owners here - go eat at their restaurants - but I'm just making a general point. Even as we cut out the things we can afford to do without, we got a responsibility to invest in those areas that will have the biggest impact on our future, and those things are innovation, education and infrastructure.
And that last area - infrastructure - is why I've come here today. Connecting a country of our size has never been easy. Just imagine what Americans experienced when they fanned out from 13 colonies to settle a continent. If you wanted to get from one coast to the other, it would take you months; it would cost you a small fortune. If you settled in the heartland, you were an island, with no real market to sell your goods or buy what you needed. You might have to wait until the traders came by before you stocked up.
So we decided to build a railroad to span a continent - one that would blast through mountains of granite and use thousands of miles of steel, and put to work an army of citizens and immigrants to work. It was an endeavor that would also require support of our government. It didn't just happen on its own. As General William T. Sherman said,
Former President Bill Clinton speaks at the Decade of Difference concert celebrating 10 years of philanthropic activity by the Clinton Foundation. Clinton takes time to thank his many celebrity and citizen friends who have partnered with the Foundation over the years to fight diseases like AIDS and assist in recovery efforts in locations like New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and Port-au-Prince, Haiti after the earthquake.0 people like this