Obama on the Record: State of the Economy - Page 9 of 14

Obama on the Record: State of the Economy

That’s the new foundation we must build. That’s our house built upon a rock. That must be our future — and my administration’s policies are designed to achieve that future.

Let me talk about each of these steps in turn. The first step we will take to build this foundation is to reform the outdated rules and regulations that allowed this crisis to happen in the first place. It is time to lay down tough new rules of the road for Wall Street to ensure that we never find ourselves here again. Just as after the Great Depression new rules were designed for banks to avoid the kind of reckless speculation that helped to create the depression, so we’ve got to make adaptations to our current set of rules: create rules that punish shortcuts and abuse; rules that tie someone’s pay to their actual job performance — a novel concept — (laughter); rules that protect typical American families when they buy a home, get a credit card or invest in a 401(k). So we’ve already begun to work with Congress to shape this comprehensive new regulatory framework — and I expect a bill to arrive on my desk for my signature before the year is out.

The second pillar of this new foundation is an education system that finally prepares our workers for a 21st century economy. You know, in the 20th century, the G.I. Bill helped send a generation to college. For decades we led the world in educational attainment, and as a consequence we led the world in economic growth. But in this new economy, we’ve come to trail the world’s leaders in graduation rates, in educational achievement, in the production of scientists and engineers. That’s why we have set a goal that will greatly enhance our ability to compete for the high-wage, high-tech jobs of the 21st century: By 2020, America will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. That is the goal that we have set and we intend to do. (Applause.)

To meet that goal, we have to start early. So we’ve already dramatically expanded early childhood education. (Applause.) We are investing in innovative programs that have proven to help schools meet high standards and close achievement gaps. We’re creating new rewards that tie teachers’ performance and new pathways for advancement. And I’ve asked every American to commit to at least one year or more of higher education or career training, and we have provided tax credits to make a college education more affordable for every American, even those who attend Georgetown. (Applause.)