Remarks of President Barack Obama

commitment to health care reform in this budget – reform that brings us closer to the day when health care is affordable and accessible for every single American.

Because we know that countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, this budget invests in a complete and competitive education for every American – in early childhood education programs that work; in high standards and accountability in our schools; and in finally putting the dream of a college degree or technical training within reach for anyone who wants it.

Because we know that enhancing America’s competitiveness will also require reducing our dependence on foreign oil and building a clean energy economy, this budget will spark the transformation we need to create green jobs and launch renewable energy companies right here in California. It makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy, and it invests in technologies like wind power and solar power and fuel-efficient cars and trucks, powered by batteries like the ones I’ll be seeing in Rosemead tomorrow – all of which will also help combat climate change.

That’s what this budget does. Here’s what it does not do. It does not raise the taxes of any family making less than $250,000 by a single dime. In fact, 95% of all working families will receive a tax cut – a tax cut – as a result of our recovery plan.

Now, there are those who say these plans are too ambitious; that we should be trying to do less, not more. Well, I say our challenges are too large to ignore. The cost of our health care is too high to ignore. Our dependence on oil is too dangerous to ignore. Our education deficit is too wide to ignore. To kick these problems down the road for another four years or eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. And I did not run for President to pass on our problems to the next generation – I ran for President to solve them.

So I know some folks in Washington and on Wall Street are saying we should focus on only one problem at a time. And I understand the thinking behind that. It’d be nice if we could pick and choose what problems to face and when to face them. But that’s just not the way it works. You don’t get to choose between paying your mortgage bills or your medical bills. You don’t get to choose between paying your kids’ tuition and saving enough for retirement. You need to take on all of these problems. And you need a government that will do the same. That’s what leadership is all about.

And that’s what this debate on the budget is all about – it’s about whether we are willing to do what needs to be done not only to get our economy moving right now, but to put it on the road to lasting, shared prosperity. It can be easy to lose sight of this.

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