Last week, I spent a few days in California, talking with ordinary Americans in town halls and in the places where they work. We talked about their struggles, and we talked about their hopes. At the end of the day, these men and women weren’t as concerned with the news of the day in Washington as they were about the very real and very serious challenges their families face every day: whether they’ll have a job and a paycheck to count on; whether they’ll be able to pay their medical bills or afford college tuition; whether they’ll be able to leave their children a world that’s safer and more prosperous than the one we have now.
Those are the concerns I heard about in California. They are the concerns I’ve heard about in letters from people throughout this country for the last two years. And they are the concerns addressed in the budget I sent to Congress last month.
With the magnitude of the challenges we face, I don’t just view this budget as numbers on a page or a laundry list of programs. It’s an economic blueprint for our future – a vision of America where growth is not based on real estate bubbles or overleveraged banks, but on a firm foundation of investments in energy, education, and health care that will lead to a real and lasting prosperity.
These investments are not a wish list of priorities that I picked out of thin air – they are a central part of a comprehensive strategy to grow this economy by attacking the very problems that have dragged it down for too long: the high cost of health care and our dependence on foreign oil; our education deficit and our fiscal deficit.
Now, as the House and the Senate take up this budget next week, the specific details and dollar amounts in this budget will undoubtedly change. That’s a normal and healthy part of the process.
But when all is said and done, I expect a budget that meets four basic principles:
First, it must reduce our dependence on dangerous foreign oil and finally put this nation on a path to a clean, renewable energy future. There is no longer a doubt that the jobs and industries of tomorrow will involve harnessing renewable sources of energy. The only question is whether America will lead that future. I believe we can and we will, and that’s why we’ve proposed a budget that makes clean energy the profitable kind of energy, while investing in technologies like wind power and solar power; advanced biofuels, clean coal, and fuel-efficient cars and trucks that can be built right here in America.
Second, this budget must renew our nation’s commitment to a complete and competitive education for every American child. In this global economy, we know the countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow, and we know that our students are already falling behind