These are the concerns I heard last week when I traveled to California and I spent time talking with ordinary Americans in town halls and in the places where they work. They’re the same concerns that I read about when I look through the letters that I’ve taken to reading every night — letters from constituents all across the country. And all of them ask the same simple question: What are you going to do in Washington about the problems that we’re facing out here? Do you hear me? Do you remember me?
Over the past two months, we’ve been working to answer that question with a comprehensive strategy to attack the current economic crisis on all fronts. And I know it can be easy, especially in Washington, to get caught up in the day-to-day chatter of cable television; to be distracted by the petty and the trivial, and to fall into the trap of keeping score about who’s up and who’s down.
There will be days where we may be declared winners, and there will be days where the umpires say, oh, they lost that one. There will be days when the markets go up; there will be days when the markets go down. But you and I, we measure our economic recovery in a different way. We’re already starting to see signs of progress that we’re making a difference in the lives of the American people. (Applause.)
We measure our recovery by how many Americans can bring home a paycheck that lets them make ends meet. That’s why the first part of our strategy was to pass a recovery plan to jumpstart job creation and put money in people’s pockets. And because we did, all across the country there are teachers that are still in the classroom, and police officers that are still on the beat, and construction crews that are breaking ground rebuilding America’s infrastructure for the future. Because of this plan, as early as next week, 95 percent of all Americans are going to receive a tax cut — a tax cut that we promised during the campaign — it’s going to be in their paychecks.
That’s how we measure success. We measure our recovery by how many families own their own piece of the American Dream. That’s why the second step of our strategy was to launch a plan to stabilizing the housing market and help responsible homeowners stay in their homes. That’s why the recovery plan included an $8,000 tax credit for first-time homebuyers. Already, mortgage rates have fallen to near-historic lows, encouraging Americans to re-finance their mortgages, and we’ve begun to see signs of increased sales and stabilizing home prices for the very first time in a long time.