In the end, the best way to bring down this deficit is to grow our economy. It’s not with a budget that continues the very same policies that have led us down the path of narrow prosperity for a few and massive debt. It’s with a budget that leads to broad economic growth and shared prosperity, moving from an era of borrow and spend to saving and investing.
That’s what clean energy jobs and businesses will do. That’s what a highly-skilled workforce will do. That’s what an efficient health care system can do. That’s how we’re going to control costs of entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid. That’s why this budget is inseparable from this recovery — because it is what lays the foundation for a secure and lasting prosperity; the groundwork for a future that reflects what we know this country can be.
Now, there are those who will tell you that all this is too much, that the plans in this budget are just too ambitious to enact; we should only focus, they’ll tell you, on one problem at a time. But we know that the challenges we face are too large to ignore. The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. Our dependence on foreign oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is growing too wide to ignore.
I said this at a town hall meeting the other day — the American people don’t have the luxury of choosing to handle one problem at a time. They can’t say, well, you know what, I’m not going to pay my mortgage this month because I’ve got medical bills to pay; we’re not going to save for a retirement, we’re going to do a child’s college tuition. They’ve got to do it all at the same time. They’ve got to confront all of these problems. That’s why we have to confront all of these problems.
To kick these problems down the road four years from now, eight years from now, for the next President, for the next generation, that would be to duplicate the irresponsibility that led us to this point. That’s not why I ran for office. That’s not why you worked so hard during this election. You didn’t send me here to pass on problems to somebody else. You sent me here to solve them, and with your help, that’s what I intend to do. (Applause.)
We know that the road to our future is going to be long, we’re going to hit our share of bumps and setbacks before it ends. We know that there’s going to be a lot of sniping. We know that — that’s how this town works. (Laughter.) But we also know this: We’ll only get there if we travel down this road as one nation — as one people. We’ll only get there if we remember that what has always built America is unflinching faith in the future and unshakable confidence that new and better day lies ahead.