Obama on the Record: Job Creation and Economic Growth

Full text of the president's address at the Brookings Institute, as prepared for delivery

But our work is far from done. For even though we have reduced the deluge of job losses to a relative trickle, we are not yet creating jobs at a pace to help all those families who have been swept up in the flood. There are more than seven million fewer Americans with jobs today than when this recession began. That’s a staggering figure and one that reflects not only the depths of the hole from which we must ascend, but also a continuing human tragedy. And it speaks to an urgent need to accelerate job growth in the short term while laying a new foundation for lasting economic growth.

My economic team has been considering a full range of additional ideas to help accelerate the pace of private sector hiring. We held a jobs forum at the White House that brought together small business owners, CEOs, union members, economists, folks from non-profits, and state and local officials to talk about job creation. And I’ve asked people to lead forums in their own communities – sending the results to me – so we are hearing as many voices as possible as we refine our proposals. We’ve already heard a number of good ideas, and I know we’ll learn of many more.

Today, I want to outline some of the broader steps that I believe should be at the heart of our efforts to accelerate job growth – those areas that will generate the greatest number of jobs while generating the greatest value for our economy.

First, we’re proposing a series of steps to help small businesses grow and hire new staff. Over the past fifteen years, small businesses have created roughly 65 percent of all new jobs in America. These are companies formed around kitchen tables in family meetings, formed when an entrepreneur takes a chance on a dream, formed when a worker decides its time she became her own boss. These are also companies that drive innovation, producing thirteen times more patents per employee than large companies. And, it’s worth remembering, every once in a while a small business becomes a big business – and changes the world.

That’s why it is so important that we help small business struggling to open, or stay open, during these difficult times. Building on the tax cuts in the Recovery Act, we’re proposing a complete elimination of capital gains taxes on small business investment along with an extension of write-offs to encourage small businesses to expand in the coming year. And I believe it’s worthwhile to create a tax incentive to encourage small businesses to add and keep employees and I’m going to work with Congress to pass one.

These steps will help, but we also have to address the continuing struggle of small businesses to get the loans they need to start up and grow. To that end, we’re proposing to waive fees and increase the guarantees for SBA-backed loans. And I am asking my Treasury Secretary to continue mobilizing the remaining TARP funds to facilitate lending to small businesses.

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