This document resource is
Another Special Civics Guide
recommended by the TLD Task Force
for Teaching Responsible Citizenship
in the State Training Centers.
February 11, 2011
"But we have to do more."
The State of the Union address for 2011
Translated by DAVID T. WRIGHT
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After two years as emperor, the shine has pretty much worn off Barack Obama. He was sold to the masses as some kind of brilliant Dusky Messiah who would be all things to all Democrats and Independents. But after half a term of lackluster leadership and his complete failure to deal convincingly with any of the issues facing him, from foreign wars to an out-of-control airport "security" apparat to a disastrous economy, he is revealed to the world as just another politician, maybe a little slower than most. True, he's no Clueless George Bush, but he's no Clinton either whether we're talking Bill or Hillary.
He also turns out to have little in the way of actual charisma. When he takes questions from the press, his answers are stilted and his manner uptight. Indeed, in his dealings with the public he tends to come across much like an aristocrat condescending to the toothless participants of a backwoods possum boil. And he becomes positively surrealistic when he's addressing a black audience, mixing a fake black-preacher accent and holy-roller delivery with body language that says he'd rather be somewhere else. Every time I see one of those bizarre performances, I want to shout, "You were raised by white people in Hawaii, you fraud!"
Clearly, this is a man with issues.
Obama's term didn't start out especially well when he publicly allowed himself to be bullied by his generals into adopting their Afghanistan agenda. Soon after that, his vice-emperor, Biden, was publicly humiliated by a contemptuous Israeli government, when it gleefully announced new illegal West Bank settlements in direct contravention of U.S. requests while Biden was visiting. Obama has repeatedly allowed himself to be upstaged by his Minister of Aggression against Small Helpless Countries, the ghastly Hillary. And his magnum opus his attempt to foist a coercive "health care" system on every American has been slowly morphing into a public relations disaster, thanks to skillful demagoguing by the Republicans, who used it to help take the House of Representatives away from the hapless Democrats in the last election.
As for the rest, he has simply carried on most of Bush's policies, including his hugely expanded surveillance system, his abrogation of search and seizure protections, his abduction without charge and torture of "enemy combatants," his belligerence against Iran, his support of insanely massive military spending, his support of gigantic handouts to the big banks not to mention the wide range of Bush domestic policies that were themselves indistinguishable from those of his slick Democratic predecessor.
As with all new emperors these days, Obama's policies are different only at the margins, in the peripheral interest groups they pander to. In his case they're such Democrat stalwarts as the labor unions and Red Guard factions: feminists, race pimps, green fanatics, and so on. That is reflected most conspicuously in those groups' representation among the flood of new political appointees each new emperor brings to the various ministries here in Trantor. Those thousands of jobs are the true reward for their loyalty and help in bringing the latest Great Hope to power.
Meanwhile, the economy offers little or no hope of any improvement, however small, for which Obama could take credit, which raises the distinct possibility of a single-term presidency, and leaves us to wonder what new horror is waiting in the wings.
Perhaps that's why he didn't seem to have his heart in the State of the Empire address on
THE PRESIDENT: Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President, members of Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow Americans:
Tonight I want to begin by congratulating the men and women of the 112th Congress, as well as your new Speaker, John Boehner. (Applause.) And as we mark this occasion, we're also mindful of the empty chair in this chamber, and we pray for the health of our colleague and our friend Gabby Giffords. (Applause.)
We don't bother about the other people shot by that lunatic, because they don't count. What's important is to use that horrific event to stir the political pot.
It's no secret that those of us here tonight have had our differences over the last two years. The debates have been contentious; we have fought fiercely for our beliefs. And that's a good thing. That's what a robust democracy demands. That's what helps set us apart as a nation.
Stick some boilerplate in here you know, democracy, unity, greatness, motherhood, robust apple pie, that kind of thing.
But there's a reason the tragedy in Tucson gave us pause. Amid all the noise and passion and rancor of our public debate, Tucson reminded us that no matter who we are or where we come from, each of us is a part of something greater something more consequential than party or political preference.
Kill a member of the Empire's ruling classes, and the Earth stops rotating around its axis. Kill anybody else, especially Muslims, and who cares?
We are part of the American family. We believe that in a country where every race and faith and point of view can be found, we are still bound together as one people; that we share common hopes and a common creed; that the dreams of a little girl in Tucson are not so different than [sic] those of our own children, and that they all deserve the chance to be fulfilled.
A little maudlin tear-jerking makes me look like a nice person.
That, too, is what sets us apart as a nation. (Applause.)
Hey, the more races and faiths and points of view the better because the more split up the people are, the less likely they are to unite against us.
Now, by itself, this simple recognition won't usher in a new era of cooperation. What comes of this moment is up to us. What comes of this moment will be determined not by whether we can sit together tonight, but whether we can work together tomorrow. (Applause.)
I believe we can. And I believe we must. That's what the people who sent us here expect of us. With their votes, they've determined that governing will now be a shared responsibility between parties. New laws will only pass with support from Democrats and Republicans. We will move forward together, or not at all for the challenges we face are bigger than party, and bigger than politics.
You Republicans have won the election, but we've got the momentum with this Tucson thing. With the help of our friends in the news media, we're going to flog it with everything we've got to force you to play nice with us. Remember how Clinton used Oklahoma City to derail the "Republican Revolution"? It's working just as well the second time around.
At stake right now is not who wins the next election after all, we just had an election. At stake is whether new jobs and industries take root in this country, or somewhere else. It's whether the hard work and industry of our people is [sic] rewarded. It's whether we sustain the leadership that has made America not just a place on a map, but the light to the world.
It's whether we can use protectionism and subsidies to further impoverish the American people while helping out such sacred institutions as GM, Chrysler, the United Auto Workers, and Goldman Sachs.
We are poised for progress. Two years after the worst recession most of us have ever known, the stock market has come roaring back. Corporate profits are up. The economy is growing again.
Of course, unemployment is also up, the stock market is in the midst of yet another bubble because people can't think where else to put their money, and corporate profits are up because of downsizing, inventory reductions, and government subsidies, not growth. But that's not the point.
But we have never measured progress by these yardsticks alone. We measure progress by the success of our people. By the jobs they can find and the quality of life those jobs offer. By the prospects of a small-business owner who dreams of turning a good idea into a thriving enterprise. By the opportunities for a better life that we pass on to our children.
We measure progress by our success in fooling people that things are getting better.
That's the project the American people want us to work on. Together. (Applause.)
Hint, hint. You Republicans had better not do too much grandstanding, because we'll be pushing this "working together" baloney as hard as we can. You want to be accused of obstructionism by all the talking heads?
We did that in December. Thanks to the tax cuts we passed, Americans' paychecks are a little bigger today. Every business can write off the full cost of new investments that they make this year.
Yeah, those paychecks are a microscopic bit bigger although not enough to notice for those who have them. But don't worry, we have plans to claw that back from them, and more besides. And with the monetary base doubled and government spending through the roof, businessmen are looking at a price-inflation bomb that will go off with a huge bang when the banks start lending again. Plus, the foreclosure party is just getting started.
So sure, they're eager to invest. Who wouldn't be?
And these steps, taken by Democrats and Republicans, will grow the economy and add to the more than one million private sector jobs created last year.
Everybody knows that jobs spring from government intervention, not private enterprise. Of course, last year we promised a million and a half new jobs, but nobody remembers that now.
But we have to do more. These steps we've taken over the last two years may have broken the back of this recession, but to win the future, we'll need to take on challenges that have been decades in the making.
This recession is looking awfully robust for something with a broken back, but that just means more opportunities to provide "leadership," which means more government intervention, more subsidies for favored constituents, and more wasted resources on inefficient products such as solar power, biofuels, electric cars, and other nonsense.
Many people watching tonight can probably remember a time when finding a good job meant showing up at a nearby factory or a business downtown. You didn't always need a degree, and your competition was pretty much limited to your neighbors. If you worked hard, chances are you'd have a job for life, with a decent paycheck and good benefits and the occasional promotion. Maybe you'd even have the pride of seeing your kids work at the same company.
That world has changed. And for many, the change has been painful.
Not for us though. We've got our nice salaries, and when we retire we'll get our nice pensions, fat speaking fees, and sinecures with lobbying firms and on boards of directors.
I've seen it in the shuttered windows of once-booming factories, and the vacant storefronts on once-busy Main Streets. I've heard it in the frustrations of Americans who've seen their paychecks dwindle or their jobs disappear proud men and women who feel like [sic] the rules have been changed in the middle of the game.
It's tiresome for a superior person such as I to have to listen to poor people whining especially white poor people but it's part of the job. I am a man of the people after all.
They're right. The rules have changed. In a single generation, revolutions in technology have transformed the way we live, work, and do business. Steel mills that once needed 1,000 workers can now do the same work with 100. Today, just about any company can set up shop, hire workers, and sell their products wherever there's an Internet connection.
This has to be stopped. We need to make those steel mills hire back those 900 workers. And who do those companies think they are, setting up and hiring willy-nilly without our telling them where and how?
Meanwhile, nations like China and India realized that with some changes of their own, they could compete in this new world. And so they started educating their children earlier and longer, with greater emphasis on math and science. They're investing in research and new technologies. Just recently, China became the home to the world's largest private solar research facility, and the world's fastest computer.
Obviously, that means that we have to become more like China and India, which means more state intervention. I don't want to hear any nonsense about their new prosperity having anything to do with the fact that they loosened up and allowed their people more freedom.
So, yes, the world has changed. The competition for jobs is real. But this shouldn't discourage us. It should challenge us.
It should challenge us to come up with new ways to spend taxpayer money on boondoggles.
Remember for all the hits we've taken these last few years, for all the naysayers predicting our decline, America still has the largest, most prosperous economy in the world. (Applause.) No workers no workers are more productive than ours. No country has more successful companies, or grants more patents to inventors and entrepreneurs. We're the home to the world's best colleges and universities, where more students come to study than any place on Earth.
And with your help, we can continue destroying that great heritage. Because we all know that allowing people to do what they choose had nothing to do with building it.
What's more, we are the first nation to be founded for the sake of an idea the idea that each of us deserves the chance to shape our own destiny.
As long as it's within the state-approved boundaries of acceptable activities, with all applicable permits granted, taxes paid, and rules obeyed.
That's why centuries of pioneers and immigrants have risked everything to come here. It's why our students don't just memorize equations, but answer questions like, "What do you think of that idea? What would you change about the world? What do you want to be when you grow up?"
Instead of questions about math, history, science, etc. And they'd better be careful how they reply, too. You don't want the wrong answers going down on your record.
(By the way, "centuries of pioneers and immigrants"? Did he mean "hundreds"? Must press on ...)
The future is ours to win. But to get there, we can't just stand still. As Robert Kennedy told us, "The future is not a gift. It is an achievement."
What the hell does it mean? I don't know, but it sounds noble.
Sustaining the American Dream has never been about standing pat. It has required each generation to sacrifice, and struggle, and meet the demands of a new age.
And we're going to see to it that this generation finds out good and hard what it means to sacrifice and struggle.
And now it's our turn. We know what it takes to compete for the jobs and industries of our time. We need to out-innovate, out-educate, and out-build the rest of the world. (Applause.)
We need to subsidize all kinds of uncompetitive ventures that will benefit our campaign contributors and mollify our voting bases.
We have to make America the best place on Earth to do business. We need to take responsibility for our deficit and reform our government. That's how our people will prosper. That's how we'll win the future. (Applause.)
We need to breed more unicorns and woolly mammoths.
And tonight, I'd like to talk about how we get there.
That's right. I'm the one who knows how to save America.
The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn't know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do what America does better than anyone else is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We're the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It is how we make our living. (Applause.)
Make sure to give some lip service to free enterprise and all that. It doesn't cost us anything.
Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation. But because it's not always profitable for companies to invest in basic research, throughout our history, our government has provided cutting-edge scientists and inventors with the support that they need. That's what planted the seeds for the Internet. That's what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS. Just think of all the good jobs from manufacturing to retail that have come from these breakthroughs.
Our "free enterprise" system is a sacred cow, but you and I know that the state is the fount of all progress. Without the glorious, all-knowing state showing the way, how could "free" enterprise have come up with things such as the Internet and computer chips? And let's not forget that the Global Positioning System was established to make it easier for our bombers, missiles, and nuclear submarines to kill people. That's what progress is. Killing people.
Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't even there yet. NASA didn't exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
Funny how that "wave of innovation" was followed by the stagflation of the 1970s. We wasted billions of dollars and millions of man-hours in the service of a gigantic vanity project to plant a flag on a dead world. Only God knows what innovations might have emerged and what new industries and jobs might have blossomed if the taxpayers had been allowed to keep that money, but that doesn't matter. We're counting on the amnesia of the American people and their inability to imagine any alternatives to our enlightened rule.
This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology (applause) an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
With a trillion-dollar deficit, a national debt that has spiraled completely out of control, and a real unemployment rate equal to that of the worst of the Great Depression, what we need is to flush even more resources down the toilet. We'll be sure to "invest" in products and firms that otherwise can't compete in the marketplace, while creating entire new constituencies pushing for more state subsidies.
Already, we're seeing the promise of renewable energy. Robert and Gary Allen are brothers who run a small Michigan roofing company. After September 11th , they volunteered their best roofers to help repair the Pentagon. But half of their factory went unused, and the recession hit them hard. Today, with the help of a government loan, that empty space is being used to manufacture solar shingles that are being sold all across the country. In Robert's words, "We reinvented ourselves."
That's right, folks. While Chinese industry forges ahead making just about anything that people need or desire, we're looking around to subsidize projects that produce lame crap that nobody will buy unless we pay them to do it. That's what creates healthy economic growth.
That's what Americans have done for over 200 years: reinvented ourselves. And to spur on more success stories like the Allen Brothers, we've begun to reinvent our energy policy. We're not just handing out money. We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's scientists and engineers that if they assemble teams of the best minds in their fields, and focus on the hardest problems in clean energy, we'll fund the Apollo projects of our time.
We're issuing a challenge. We're telling America's insiders that if they can put together any half-assed business plan to make gasoline out of goat manure, we'll shovel bucketloads of money at them. Any sleazy operator who can't get rich on this scam doesn't deserve to call himself an American.
At the California Institute of Technology, they're developing a way to turn sunlight and water into fuel for our cars.
And daisies and butterflies into wide-screen TVs!
At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, they're using supercomputers to get a lot more power out of our nuclear facilities. With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015. (Applause.)
How much higher will food prices go, when food competes with fuel for farmland? And how many new power plants and transmission lines will we need to supply all those electric cars? And how much will those electric cars cost their owners, anyway? Who cares? It sounds good, and the right people will make money, and that's all that matters.
We need to get behind this innovation. And to help pay for it, I'm asking Congress to eliminate the billions in taxpayer dollars we currently give to oil companies. (Applause.)
In other words, we're going to stop allowing them to keep a huge chunk of what they think is their own money. Because it isn't, you know. All the money that the taxpayers make belongs to us we just allow them to keep some of it.
I don't know if I don't know if you've noticed, but they're doing just fine on their own. (Laughter.)
The key to leadership is attacking an interest group that everybody hates, and that can't hurt you. You hope.
So instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy, let's invest in tomorrow's.
Let's penalize the industries that make the products that people want, and help those that make the products that people don't want. As Omniscient Leader, I have the gift of foresight. I know what the future will bring. And it'd better bring it, if it knows what's good for it.
Now, clean-energy breakthroughs will only translate into clean-energy jobs if businesses know there will be a market for what they're selling. So tonight, I challenge you to join me in setting a new goal: By 2035,
80 percentof America's electricity will come from clean-energy sources. (Applause.)
I, the Great Obama, have spoken.
Some folks want wind and solar. Others want nuclear, clean coal, and natural gas. To meet this goal, we will need them all and I urge Democrats and Republicans to work together to make it happen. (Applause.)
I urge Democrats and Republicans to forget their petty little differences and work together to build new inefficient protected industries that will raise energy prices, suck down more and more subsidies, and guarantee lower incomes for all ordinary Americans.
Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America's success. But if we want to win the future if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.
That's right. It's a race to cram their little noggins with officially approved content.
Think about it. Over the next 10 years, nearly half of all new jobs will require education that goes beyond a high school education. And yet, as many as a quarter of our students aren't even finishing high school. The quality of our math and science education lags behind many other nations. America has fallen to ninth in the proportion of young people with a college degree. And so the question is whether all of us as citizens, and as parents are willing to do what's necessary to give every child a chance to succeed.
It's all you parents' fault.
That responsibility begins not in our classrooms, but in our homes and communities. It's family that first instills the love of learning in a child. Only parents can make sure the TV is turned off and homework gets done.
As I said, it's all you parents' fault.
We need to teach our kids that it's not just the winner of the Super Bowl who deserves to be celebrated, but the winner of the science fair. (Applause.)
Meth labs don't count.
We need to teach them that success is not a function of fame or PR, but of hard work and discipline.
And you congressmen and senators here today are certainly living proof of that!
Our schools share this responsibility. When a child walks into a classroom, it should be a place of high expectations and high performance. But too many schools don't meet this test. That's why instead of just pouring money into a system that's not working, we launched a competition called Race to the Top. To all 50 states, we said, "If you show us the most innovative plans to improve teacher quality and student achievement, we'll show you the money."
George Bush had "No Child Left Alone," so I had to come up with something too.
Race to the Top is the most meaningful reform of our public schools in a generation. For less than
1 percentof what we spend on education each year, it has led over [sic] 40 states to raise their standards for teaching and learning. And these standards were developed, by the way, not by Washington, but by Republican and Democratic governors throughout the country. And Race to the Top should be the approach we follow this year as we replace No Child Left Behind with a law that's more flexible and focused on what's best for our kids. (Applause.)
We've finally hit on the magic bullet to fix an education system that has been rotting into putrescence for decades. I'm a genius!
You see, we know what's possible from our children when reform isn't just a top-down mandate, but the work of local teachers and principals, school boards, and communities. Take a school like Bruce Randolph in Denver. Three years ago, it was rated one of the worst schools in Colorado located on turf between two rival gangs. But last May,
97 percentof the seniors received their diploma.
Note that I don't say how many of them can actually read.
Most will be the first in their families to go to college. And after the first year of the school's transformation, the principal who made it possible wiped away tears when a student said, "Thank you, Ms. Waters, for showing that we are smart and we can make it." (Applause.) That's what good schools can do, and we want good schools all across the country.
We want schools all across the country that meet certain arbitrary goals that have nothing to do with actual education. Having a bunch of people who know how to think for themselves is a recipe for disaster.
Let's also remember that after parents, the biggest impact on a child's success comes from the man or woman at the front of the classroom. In South Korea, teachers are known as "nation builders." Here in America, it's time we treated the people who educate our children with the same level of respect. (Applause.) We want to reward good teachers and stop making excuses for bad ones. (Applause.) And over the next 10 years, with so many baby boomers retiring from our classrooms, we want to prepare 100,000 new teachers in the fields of science and technology and engineering and math. (Applause.)
We should have uniforms and medals for teachers, and make ordinary citizens salute them.
In fact, to every young person listening tonight who's contemplating their [sic] career choice: If you want to make a difference in the life of our nation; if you want to make a difference in the life of a child become a teacher. Your country needs you. (Applause.)
If you can't figure out what to do with your life, and you can't make it in the private sector anyway, become a public-school teacher. The college courses are dead easy, and once you're in they can't fire you. It's a dream come true for resentful slackers, leftist social revolutionaries, and incompetent control freaks.
Of course, the education race doesn't end with a high school diploma. To compete, higher education must be within the reach of every American. (Applause.)
Even if he's got the IQ of an eggplant.
That's why we've ended the unwarranted taxpayer subsidies that went to banks, and used the savings to make college affordable for millions of students. (Applause.)
That is, affordable if you mean being on the hook for the rest of your life for your college loan, while you try to pay it off working at McDonald's.
And this year, I ask Congress to go further, and make permanent our tuition tax credit worth $10,000 for four years of college. It's the right thing to do. (Applause.)
Especially since it will help colleges and universities keep on raising their tuition to stratospheric levels.
Because people need to be able to train for new jobs and careers in today's fast-changing economy, we're also revitalizing America's community colleges. Last month, I saw the promise of these schools at Forsyth Tech in North Carolina. Many of the students there used to work in the surrounding factories that have since left town. One mother of two, a woman named Kathy Proctor, had worked in the furniture industry since she was 18 years old. And she told me she's earning her degree in biotechnology now, at 55 years old, not just because the furniture jobs are gone, but because she wants to inspire her children to pursue their dreams, too. As Kathy said, "I hope it tells them to never give up."
Good luck to Kathy getting a job in her chosen field after she graduates.
If we take these steps if we raise expectations for every child, and give them [sic] the best possible chance at an education, from the day they [sic] are born until the last job they [sic] take we will reach the goal that I set two years ago: By the end of the decade, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. (Applause.)
They may not know how to read, and they may not have jobs, but they'll be college graduates!
One last point about education. Today, there are hundreds of thousands of students excelling in our schools who are not American citizens. Some are the children of undocumented workers, who had nothing to do with the actions of their parents. They grew up as Americans and pledge allegiance to our flag, and yet they live every day with the threat of deportation. Others come here from abroad to study in our colleges and universities. But as soon as they obtain advanced degrees, we send them back home to compete against us. It makes no sense.
Pledging allegiance to leviathan, though: That makes a lot of sense!
Now, I strongly believe that we should take on, once and for all, the issue of illegal immigration. And I am prepared to work with Republicans and Democrats to protect our borders, enforce our laws, and address the millions of undocumented workers who are now living in the shadows. (Applause.)
In other words, if we get their address, we'll know where to send their 1040!
I know that debate will be difficult. I know it will take time. But tonight, let's agree to make that effort. And let's stop expelling talented, responsible young people who could be staffing our research labs or starting a new business, who could be further enriching this nation. (Applause.)
My friends in business don't want us to cut off the supply of cheap foreign labor. So, like every administration before me for the last
40 years,mine will give lip service to the immigration issue but do nothing substantive to deal with the concerns of the majority of Americans.
The third step in winning the future is rebuilding America. To attract new businesses to our shores, we need the fastest, most reliable ways to move people, goods, and information from high-speed rail to high-speed Internet. (Applause.)
Our infrastructure used to be the best, but our lead has slipped. South Korean homes now have greater Internet access than we do. Countries in Europe and Russia invest more in their roads and railways than we do. China is building faster trains and newer airports. Meanwhile, when our own engineers graded our nation's infrastructure, they gave us a "D."
We have to do better. America is the nation that built the transcontinental railroad, brought electricity to rural communities, constructed the Interstate Highway System.
America or Americans also invented the production line, interchangeable parts, the airplane, cotton gin, the mechanical harvester, the personal computer, the smart phone, the iPod, etc., but I don't mention those because the government wasn't involved. Only things that the state has done are worth mentioning. And everybody knows that those things could never have happened without the benevolence of the state.
The jobs created by these projects didn't just come from laying down track or pavement. They came from businesses that opened near a town's new train station or the new off-ramp.
They came from taking money away from other projects that will now never see the light of day.
So over the last two years, we've begun rebuilding for the 21st century, a project that has meant thousands of good jobs for the hard-hit construction industry. And tonight, I'm proposing that we redouble those efforts. (Applause.)
The construction unions are hurting, so we need to help them out with more boondoggles. Then they'll help us out next election.
We'll put more Americans to work repairing crumbling roads and bridges. We'll make sure this is fully paid for, attract private investment, and pick projects based [on] what's best for the economy, not politicians.
What's that somebody said about flying pigs?
Within 25 years, our goal is to give
80 percentof Americans access to high-speed rail. (Applause.) This could allow you to go places in half the time it takes to travel by car. For some trips, it will be faster than flying without the pat-down. (Laughter and applause.)
Sure, as if our beloved "security" apparatus isn't already staging pat-down raids on train and even bus stations. Why should train and bus passengers get away with not being humiliated? It's not as if I have to put up with it. (Ha, ha, ha. Clap, clap, clap.)
As we speak, routes in California and the Midwest are already underway.
The result will be hugely expensive projects that lose money while charging ticket prices that discourage ridership but make the greenies happy. The system, like Amtrak, will be an enormous financial burden, a burden that will be added to the shoulders of, you guessed it, the people we're supposedly trying to help.
On the other hand, cars are evil except for limousines, of course.
Within the next five years, we'll make it possible for businesses to deploy the next generation of high-speed wireless coverage to
98 percentof all Americans. This isn't just about (applause) this isn't about faster Internet or fewer dropped calls. It's about connecting every part of America to the digital age. It's about a rural community in Iowa or Alabama where farmers and small-business owners will be able to sell their products all over the world.
Too bad that because of taxes, regulation, overwhelming state debt, and massive inflation, there won't be any products worth selling.
It's about a firefighter who can download the design of a burning building onto a handheld device; a student who can take classes with a digital textbook; or a patient who can have face-to-face video chats with her doctor.
It's about taking money from ordinary, taxpaying Americans, and using it to subsidize certain enterprises that we in our universal wisdom decide are deserving of help, at the expense of others. Why should the peasants do what they want with their own money?
All these investments in innovation, education, and infrastructure will make America a better place to do business and create jobs. But to help our companies compete, we also have to knock down barriers that stand in the way of their success.
That doesn't mean making the government any smaller or less powerful, though. Quite the opposite.
For example, over the years, a parade of lobbyists has rigged the tax code to benefit particular companies and industries. Those with accountants or lawyers to work the system can end up paying no taxes at all. But all the rest are hit with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world. It makes no sense, and it has to change. (Applause.)
It's time to rig the tax code so that my cronies and campaign contributors get the benefits of all those tax breaks.
So tonight, I'm asking Democrats and Republicans to simplify the system. Get rid of the loopholes. Level the playing field. And use the savings to lower the corporate tax rate for the first time in 25 years without adding to our deficit. It can be done. (Applause.)
It really goes against my grain to talk about lowering any kind of taxes, especially corporate taxes, but my handlers tell me that the economy is a lot worse off than I'm admitting.
To help businesses sell more products abroad, we set a goal of doubling our exports by 2014 because the more we export, the more jobs we create here at home. Already, our exports are up. Recently, we signed agreements with India and China that will support more than 250,000 jobs here in the United States. And last month, we finalized a trade agreement with South Korea that will support at least 70,000 American jobs. This agreement has unprecedented support from business and labor, Democrats and Republicans and I ask this Congress to pass it as soon as possible. (Applause.)
But truly free trade, as in actually letting people trade with each other without state interference? Forget it!
Now, before I took office, I made it clear that we would enforce our trade agreements, and that I would only sign deals that keep faith with American workers and promote American jobs.
I made it clear that I would only sign deals that pass muster with powerful interest groups.
That's what we did with Korea, and that's what I intend to do as we pursue agreements with Panama and Colombia and continue our Asia Pacific and global trade talks. (Applause.)
To reduce barriers to growth and investment, I've ordered a review of government regulations. When we find rules that put an unnecessary burden on businesses, we will fix them. (Applause.)
Of course, that depends on which businesses we're talking about. And what we consider "unnecessary" burdens. Don't worry: there are plenty of "necessary" burdens.
But I will not hesitate to create or enforce common-sense safeguards to protect the American people. (Applause.)
See what I mean?
That's what we've done in this country for more than a century. It's why our food is safe to eat, our water is safe to drink, and our air is safe to breathe.
If it wasn't for all those regulations, we'd all be dead from bad food, poisonous water, and lethal air. Just like everybody else in the rest of the world.
It's why we have speed limits and child labor laws.
Not to enrich local governments and appease labor unions.
It's why last year, we put in place consumer protections against hidden fees and penalties by credit-card companies and new rules to prevent another financial crisis. (Applause.)
Yep. There will never be another financial crisis because of those wonderful new rules we've passed. Until there's another financial crisis.
And it's why we passed reform that finally prevents the health-insurance industry from exploiting patients. (Applause.)
By requiring you to buy coverage from ... the health-insurance industry.
Now, I have heard rumors that a few of you still have concerns about our new health-care law. (Laughter.) So let me be the first to say that anything can be improved. If you have ideas about how to improve this law by making care better or more affordable, I am eager to work with you. We can start right now by correcting a flaw in the legislation that has placed an unnecessary bookkeeping burden on small businesses. (Applause.)
What I'm not willing to do what I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when insurance companies could deny someone coverage because of a preexisting condition. (Applause.)
What I'm not willing to do is go back to the days when people could actually afford medical care.
I'm not willing to tell James Howard, a brain-cancer patient from Texas, that his treatment might not be covered. I'm not willing to tell Jim Houser, a small-business man from Oregon, that he has to go back to paying $5,000 more to cover his employees.
See? I really do care about the little people!
As we speak, this law is making prescription drugs cheaper for seniors and giving uninsured students a chance to stay on their patients' parents' coverage. (Applause.)
We really should extend that coverage until they're 45 or so, because the economic situation isn't going to be getting better any day soon.
So I say to this chamber tonight, instead of re-fighting the battles of the last two years, let's fix what needs fixing and let's move forward. (Applause.)
Now, the final critical step in winning the future is to make sure we aren't buried under a mountain of debt.
We are living with a legacy of deficit spending that began almost a decade ago.
It's only been going on for a decade? Whom do I think I'm kidding?
And in the wake of the financial crisis, some of that was necessary to keep credit flowing, save jobs, and put money in people's pockets.
But now that the worst of the recession is over, we have to confront the fact that our government spends more than it takes in. That is not sustainable. Every day, families sacrifice to live within their means. They deserve a government that does the same.
Let's see. I've presided over an explosion in government spending and I've just proposed billions of dollars in even more spending. And now I'm talking about responsible fiscal policy. And nobody's laughing!
So tonight, I am proposing that starting this year, we freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years. (Applause.) Now, this would reduce the deficit by more than
$400 billionover the next decade, and will bring discretionary spending to the lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President.
With the deficit running more than a trillion dollars a year, we're talking a drop in the bucket. And everybody here knows it will never happen, anyway.
This freeze will require painful cuts. Already, we've frozen the salaries of hardworking federal employees for the next two years. I've proposed cuts to things I care deeply about, like community action programs.
What percentage of
1 percentof the deficit will cutting those programs save? Don't bother me with details!
The Secretary of Defense has also agreed to cut tens of billions of dollars in spending that he and his generals believe our military can do without. (Applause.)
What they can't do without are such boondoggles as 11 massively expensive carrier battle groups that become more vulnerable to submarines and anti-ship missiles every year, hugely expensive stealth fighter planes that have nothing to fight, a military presence in more than a hundred countries around the world, and two wars that, they hope, will go on forever. And how much of those "tens of billions" in spending do you think will actually be cut?
I recognize that some in this chamber have already proposed deeper cuts, and I'm willing to eliminate whatever we can honestly afford to do without.
However, nobody thinks we can do without the Empire, massive subsidies for favored interest groups, regulating every facet of people's lives, and continued secrecy for the Federal Reserve.
But let's make sure that we're not doing it on the backs of our most vulnerable citizens. (Applause.)
The people at Goldman Sachs.
And let's make sure that what we're cutting is really excess weight. Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine. It may make you feel like [sic] you're flying high at first, but it won't take long before you feel the impact. (Laughter.)
That's right. Without our "investments," American society would grind to a halt. No innovation is possible without the state, and "education" is possible only when directed by the Central Regime.
Now, most of the cuts and savings I've proposed only address annual domestic spending, which represents a little more than
12 percentof our budget. To make further progress, we have to stop pretending that cutting this kind of spending alone will be enough. It won't. (Applause.)
In other words, there will be huge fights and lots of publicity over "cuts" that will turn out to be so vanishingly small in relation to the gigantic deficit that they will be utterly irrelevant.
The bipartisan fiscal commission I created last year made this crystal clear. I don't agree with all their proposals, but they made important progress. And their conclusion is that the only way to tackle our deficit is to cut excessive spending wherever we find it in domestic spending, defense spending, health-care spending, and spending through tax breaks and loopholes. (Applause.)
Whenever you don't want to take responsibility for anything, create a bipartisan commission.
This means further reducing health-care costs, including programs like Medicare and Medicaid, which are the single biggest contributor to our long-term deficit. The health-insurance law we passed last year will slow these rising costs, which is part of the reason that nonpartisan economists have said that repealing the health-care law would add a quarter of a trillion dollars to our deficit.
Yep. My "health care" decree, just like all the others that have gone before it, will magically bring down costs by destroying market incentives, promulgating a whole raft of new regulations, raising administrative costs and reporting requirements, driving talented people away from the medical profession, and forcing people to take what we give them, whether they want it or not. It worked for the Soviet Union, and it will work for us.
Still, I'm willing to look at other ideas to bring down costs, including one that Republicans suggested last year medical malpractice reform to rein in frivolous lawsuits. (Applause.)
Sure, as if I'm really going to cross the trial lawyers' lobby.
To put us on solid ground, we should also find a bipartisan solution to strengthen Social Security for future generations. (Applause.) We must do it without putting at risk current retirees, the most vulnerable, or people with disabilities; without slashing benefits for future generations; and without subjecting Americans' guaranteed retirement income to the whims of the stock market. (Applause.)
Maybe pigs really can fly.
And if we truly care about our deficit, we simply can't afford a permanent extension of the tax cuts for the wealthiest
2 percentof Americans. (Applause.) Before we take money away from our schools or scholarships away from our students, we should ask millionaires to give up their tax break. It's not a matter of punishing their success. It's about promoting America's success. (Applause.)
It's about scoring an easy rhetorical point. And anyhow, millionaires do nothing with their money that might promote America's success. They just throw it on the floor and wallow in it, like Scrooge McDuck, right? That's what they taught us in Community Organizer School, at least.
In fact, the best thing we could do on taxes for all Americans is to simplify the individual tax code. (Applause.) This will be a tough job, but members of both parties have expressed an interest in doing this, and I am prepared to join them. (Applause.)
Letting people keep more of their own money? Well, that's another matter entirely.
So now is the time to act. Now is the time for both sides and both houses of Congress Democrats and Republicans to forge a principled compromise that gets the job done. If we make the hard choices now to rein in our deficits, we can make the investments we need to win the future.
Now is the time to forge a principled compromise that preserves the perks and subsidies so vital to each faction, while making a big deal about what a painful sacrifice it is to all of us.
Oh, and be sure to use the word "investment" as much as possible. It sounds so much better than "boondoggle."
Let me take this one step further. We shouldn't just give our people a government that's more affordable. We should give them a government that's more competent and more efficient. We can't win the future with a government of the past. (Applause.)
We need a government that's more competent and more efficient at stealing people's resources, regulating everything that moves, and rooting out freedom. We can't rule the future with a Big Brother of the past.
We live and do business in the Information Age, but the last major reorganization of the government happened in the age of black-and-white TV. There are 12 different agencies that deal with exports. There are at least five different agencies that deal with housing policy. Then there's my favorite example: The Interior Department is in charge of salmon while they're in fresh water, but the Commerce Department handles them when they're in saltwater. (Laughter.) I hear it gets even more complicated once they're smoked. (Laughter and applause.)
I don't actually have a sense of humor, but I was told that people would laugh at that.
Now, we've made great strides over the last two years in using technology and getting rid of waste. Veterans can now download their electronic medical records with a click of the mouse.
Of course, they still have real mice infesting their VA hospitals, and the Pentagon is refusing to treat them for the physical and emotional trauma they've sustained serving the Empire in Iraq and Afghanistan. But they can download their records!
We're selling acres of federal office space that hasn't been used in years, and we'll cut through red tape to get rid of more. But we need to think bigger. In the coming months, my administration will develop a proposal to merge, consolidate, and reorganize the federal government in a way that best serves the goal of a more competitive America. I will submit that proposal to Congress for a vote and we will push to get it passed. (Applause.)
When you don't have a solution, indulge in pointless reorganization! It draws attention away from the fact that you're doing nothing about the whole operation going over the cliff.
In the coming year, we'll also work to rebuild people's faith in the institution of government.
We can't have people losing their delusions about the greatness of the state.
Because you deserve to know exactly how and where your tax dollars are being spent, you'll be able to go to a website and get that information for the very first time in history. Because you deserve to know when your elected officials are meeting with lobbyists, I ask Congress to do what the White House has already done put that information online. And because the American people deserve to know that special interests aren't larding up legislation with pet projects, both parties in Congress should know this: If a bill comes to my desk with earmarks inside, I will veto it. I will veto it. (Applause.)
That'll take care of a couple fractions of a percent of the deficit. It's what courageous leadership is!
The 21st century government that's open and competent. A government that lives within its means. An economy that's driven by new skills and new ideas.
An elephant that pirouettes on the point of a needle!
Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation.
Our sausage in this blue and cringing wobble will require rhubarb, rutabaga, and Chicken McNuggets.
It will also require us to approach that world with a new level of engagement in our foreign affairs.
That means we're not killing enough people yet.
Just as jobs and businesses can now race across borders, so can new threats and new challenges. No single wall separates East and West. No one rival superpower is aligned against us.
Which means we just have to manufacture sufficient enemies.
And so we must defeat determined enemies, wherever they are, and build coalitions that cut across lines of region and race and religion. And America's moral example must always shine for all who yearn for freedom and justice and dignity.
And so we must continue killing innocent civilians and strong-arming reluctant allies such as the Pakistani regime, which is becoming more and more unstable thanks to our interference. And the Empire's brutal example must always stand as a lesson for all who yearn to be left alone.
And because we've begun this work, tonight we can say that American leadership has been renewed and America's standing has been restored.
Look to Iraq, where nearly 100,000 of our brave men and women have left with their heads held high. (Applause.) American combat patrols have ended, violence is down, and a new government has been formed. This year, our civilians will forge a lasting partnership with the Iraqi people, while we finish the job of bringing our troops out of Iraq.
Look to Iraq, where we've managed to destroy what was once the most advanced and prosperous Arab nation on earth. Violence is down because ethnic cleansing has succeeded in killing or turning into refugees millions of people who never did anything to us. This year, the Empire will make a big deal about bringing our troops out of Iraq, but in fact thousands upon thousands will remain there in gigantic fortified redoubts, permanent occupiers in a devastated land, finishing the job of ruining the country. I ran posing as an antiwar candidate. But now the world knows the truth.
America's commitment has been kept. The Iraq war is coming to an end. (Applause.)
And where we make a wasteland, we call it peace.
Of course, as we speak,
al Qaedaand their affiliates continue to plan attacks against us. Thanks to our intelligence and law enforcement professionals, we're disrupting plots and securing our cities and skies.
Thanks to our state security thugs, we're hunting up mentally challenged malcontents, providing them with fake bombs, convincing them to do stupid things, and then arresting them so we can fool the people into thinking we're protecting everybody.
And as extremists try to inspire acts of violence within our borders, we are responding with the strength of our communities, with respect for the rule of law, and with the conviction that American Muslims are a part of our American family. (Applause.)
And as those pathetic losers kiss the pavement, we are subjecting people to useless invasive searches, with respect for nothing and nobody, and with the conviction that nobody should be free from our interference.
We've also taken the fight to
al Qaedaand their allies abroad. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken Taliban strongholds and trained Afghan security forces. Our purpose is clear: By preventing the Taliban from reestablishing a stranglehold over the Afghan people, we will deny al Qaedathe safe haven that served as a launching pad for 9/11.
After almost nine years we still have no idea where Osama bin Laden is, and our fight with
al Qaedaconsists mostly of bombing hundreds of innocent civilians with drones. In Afghanistan, our troops have taken a beating from the Taliban, which simply goes somewhere else when they occupy an area. Our purpose is clear: by preventing this war from ending, we will assure a stranglehold on the Afghan people, preserve the gravy train for generals and military contractors, and guarantee another 9/11.
Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, fewer Afghans are under the control of the insurgency.
Thanks to our heroic troops and civilians, the insurgency is stronger than ever, and fewer Afghans are alive.
There will be tough fighting ahead, and the Afghan government will need to deliver better governance.
I swear, that flying pig metaphor pops up on every page.
But we are strengthening the capacity of the Afghan people and building an enduring partnership with them. This year, we will work with nearly 50 countries to begin a transition to an Afghan lead [sic]. And this July, we will begin to bring our troops home. (Applause.)
Meanwhile, our benevolent liberation of the Quarblats of Planet Zelchron 6 in the Morphag Cluster is showing every sign of success.
al Qaeda'sleadership is under more pressure than at any point since 2001. Their leaders and operatives are being removed from the battlefield.
That, of course, assumes that they're actually on the "battlefield" in the first place. You have only our word that some goatherd or farmer and his family we've vaporized with a Hellfire missile are all
Their safe havens are shrinking. And we've sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: We will not relent, we will not waver, and we will defeat you. (Applause.)
We don't even know where their "safe havens" are. (Hamburg? London?) And we've sent a message from the Afghan border to the Arabian Peninsula to all parts of the globe: We will not stop interfering in other people's business, supporting Israeli retail genocide of the Palestinians, and occupying the countries of people who want us gone, until we're so bankrupt the roof falls in. We're playing right into
American leadership can also be seen in the effort to secure the worst weapons of war. Because Republicans and Democrats approved the New START treaty, far fewer nuclear weapons and launchers will be deployed. Because we rallied the world, nuclear materials are being locked down on every continent so they never fall into the hands of terrorists. (Applause.)
Because we're destabilizing Pakistan, its nuclear weapons are less secure now than they have ever been before.
Because of a diplomatic effort to insist that Iran meet its obligations, the Iranian government now faces tougher sanctions, tighter sanctions than ever before.
Because we have arbitrarily demanded that Iran go far beyond its obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, despite the utter lack of evidence that it has any intention to develop nuclear weapons, we now have the excuse we want to starve its people into penury the same way we starved the Iraqis. Meanwhile, Israel, which has dozens of nuclear weapons and didn't even sign the treaty, gets a free pass. How many Iranian children will die as a result of our vicious blockade? I couldn't care less.
And on the Korean Peninsula, we stand with our ally South Korea, and insist that North Korea keeps its commitment to abandon nuclear weapons. (Applause.)
And on the Korean Peninsula, we still hang around like a bad smell even though the South Korean people want us gone so they can get on with making some kind of peaceful accommodation with the North. The only thing as bad as being an enemy of our Empire is being its friend. Manuel Noriega, Saddam Hussein, the people of Okinawa, the Filipinos, the Pakistani regime, the Tunisians, and the people of Egypt the list of those who've regretted their association with us goes on and on.
This is just a part of how we're shaping a world that favors peace and prosperity. With our European allies, we revitalized NATO and increased our cooperation on everything from counterterrorism to missile defense.
With our European satraps, we've kept NATO alive despite the fact that its very reason for existence disappeared more than twenty years ago. We still have troops in Germany despite the fact that a Russian invasion or missile attack is about as probable as well, flying pigs.
We've reset our relationship with Russia, strengthened Asian alliances, built new partnerships with nations like India.
We continue to try to back Russia into a corner, even though there is no decent strategic reason to do so, promoting alliances with former Warsaw Pact countries and attempting to encircle it in Asia.
This March, I will travel to Brazil, Chile, and El Salvador to forge new alliances across the Americas.
Because of the growing hostility of most Latin American countries to U.S. interference, and the violence in others caused by our "war on drugs," those are about the only places I can safely go in Central and South America. What a triumphal procession it will be!
Around the globe, we're standing with those who take responsibility helping farmers grow more food, supporting doctors who care for the sick, and combating the corruption that can rot a society and rob people of opportunity.
As we're doing in Afghanistan, and Iraq, where we've put in power and continue to prop up two of the most absurdly corrupt and incompetent regimes on the globe, and in many other countries where we support vile dictatorships, such as Mubarak's, that suck the blood of their own people.
Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power it must also be the purpose behind it.
Recent events have shown us that what sets us apart must not just be our power it must also be the knowledge that we will turn viciously on any of our "friends" who no longer serve our purpose.
In south Sudan with our assistance the people were finally able to vote for independence after years of war. (Applause.) Thousands lined up before dawn. People danced in the streets. One man who lost four of his brothers at war summed up the scene around him: "This was a battlefield for most of my life," he said. "Now we want to be free." (Applause.)
Instead, we will see to it that they are saddled with a regime that takes its orders from us.
And we saw that same desire to be free in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: The United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people. (Applause.)
Let us be clear: That popular uprising caught us completely by surprise. The Empire is desperately trying to minimize the damage resulting from the loss of our pet dictator, so we will try to fool the people of Tunisia into thinking we're on their side.
We must never forget that the things we've struggled for, and fought for, live in the hearts of people everywhere. And we must always remember that the Americans who have borne the greatest burden in this struggle are the men and women who serve our country. (Applause.)
We must always remember that we have to give lip service to the lower-working-class chumps who volunteer for foreign meat grinders because they have no prospects at home.
Tonight, let us speak with one voice in reaffirming that our nation is united in support of our troops and their families. Let us serve them as well as they've served us by giving them the equipment they need, by providing them with the care and benefits that they have earned, and by enlisting our veterans in the great task of building our own nation.
Let us continue to exploit and betray our legionaries by refusing to treat the emotional problems caused by killing innocent civilians and being attacked by people who don't want them in their countries, by sending them back time and time again after their contracts run out, and by patronizing them with meaningless ceremonies and speeches.
Our troops come from every corner of this country they're black, white, Latino, Asian, Native American. They are Christian and Hindu, Jewish and Muslim. And, yes, we know that some of them are gay. Starting this year, no American will be forbidden from serving the country they [sic] love because of who [sic] they [sic] love. (Applause.)
We need every sucker we can get.
And with that change, I call on all our college campuses to open their doors to our military recruiters and ROTC. It is time to leave behind the divisive battles of the past. It is time to move forward as one nation. (Applause.)
It is time for our colleges and universities to get with the program as recruiting centers for the war machine. It is time to forget about freedom. It is time for the sheeple to forge themselves into a unified tool of the regime.
We should have no illusions about the work ahead of us. Reforming our schools, changing the way we use energy, reducing our deficit none of this will be easy.
Damn, here come those pigs again!
All of it will take time. And it will be harder because we will argue about everything. The costs. The details. The letter of every law.
The beneficiary of every subsidy or tax break. Who gets what pork-barrel project.
Of course, some countries don't have this problem. If the central government wants a railroad, they build a railroad, no matter how many homes get bulldozed. If they don't want a bad story in the newspaper, it doesn't get written.
Yes! Here in America, we're free! Here, if some developer wants your land, the state will never use eminent domain to take it from you and give it to him. And if we don't like a bad story in the newspaper, we'll never stick the alleged leaker in solitary confinement without charges and try to frame the publisher with a ludicrous sex scam.
And yet, as contentious and frustrating and messy as our democracy can sometimes be, I know there isn't a person here who would trade places with any other nation on Earth. (Applause.)
I know there isn't a congressman or senator here who could make an honest living in any other nation on Earth. Or this one, for that matter.
We may have differences in policy, but we all believe in the rights enshrined in our Constitution. We may have different opinions, but we believe in the same promise that says this is a place where you can make it if you try. We may have different backgrounds, but we believe in the same dream that says this is a country where anything is possible.
We may belong to different factions, but we believe in the same promise that says a career in politics is much safer and more lucrative than mugging pedestrians on the street. We may serve different interest groups, but we believe in the same dream that says power is the ultimate goal.
No matter who you are. No matter where you come from.
No matter whom you have to crush to get it.
That dream is why I can stand here before you tonight. That dream is why a working-class kid from Scranton can sit behind me. (Laughter and applause.) That dream is why someone who began by sweeping the floors of his father's Cincinnati bar can preside as Speaker of the House in the greatest nation on Earth. (Applause.)
That dream is why I have compromised every principle I supposedly ever stood for.
That dream that American Dream is what drove the Allen Brothers to reinvent their roofing company for a new era.
Plus the promise of government subsidies.
It's what drove those students at Forsyth Tech to learn a new skill and work towards the future. And that dream is the story of a small-business owner named Brandon Fisher.
Herewith the obligatory pat on the back for some member of the rabble who has distinguished himself.
Brandon started a company in Berlin, Pennsylvania, that specializes in a new kind of drilling technology. And one day last summer, he saw the news that halfway across the world, 33 men were trapped in a Chilean mine, and no one knew how to save them.
But Brandon thought his company could help. And so he designed a rescue that would come to be known as Plan B. His employees worked around the clock to manufacture the necessary drilling equipment. And Brandon left for Chile.
Along with others, he began drilling a 2,000-foot hole into the ground, working three- or four-hour three or four days at a time without any sleep. Thirty-seven days later, Plan B succeeded, and the miners were rescued. (Applause.) But because he didn't want all of the attention, Brandon wasn't there when the miners emerged. He'd already gone back home, back to work on his next project.
And later, one of his employees said of the rescue, "We proved that Center Rock is a little company, but we do big things." (Applause.)
We do big things.
Or rather, Brandon and his employees did big things, without the help of the state. "We" had nothing to do with it.
From the earliest days of our founding, America has been the story of ordinary people who dare to dream. That's how we win the future.
We're a nation that says, "I might not have a lot of money, but I have this great idea for a new company." "I might not come from a family of college graduates, but I will be the first to get my degree." "I might not know those people in trouble, but I think I can help them, and I need to try." "I'm not sure how we'll reach that better place beyond the horizon, but I know we'll get there. I know we will."
We do big things. (Applause.)
Just make sure you pay your taxes, conform to all the necessary regulations, and bow and scrape to the organs of state security. Or you'll get crosswise with our big thing.
The idea of America endures.
Too bad America itself is gone.
Our destiny remains our choice.
Or rather, the little people's destinies remain subject to our choice.
And tonight, more than two centuries later, it's because of our people that our future is hopeful, our journey goes forward, and the state of our union is strong.
Blah blah blah. Put some highfalutin nonsense in here.
Thank you. God bless you, and may God bless the United States of America. (Applause.)
Get me out of here. I became president so I wouldn't have to smell all these people. Ω
February 11, 2011
Published in 2011 by WTM Enterprises.
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