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Jason FurmanFebruary 27, 2015
09:51 AM EST
Today’s estimate of fourth-quarter economic growth affirms the strong underlying trend of the largest and most persistent components of output, while reflecting downward revisions to more volatile sectors. The combination of personal consumption and business fixed investment—known as private domestic final purchases—grew at a somewhat faster pace than in the third quarter, indicating the same positive trend. Meanwhile, the more volatile and transitory factors that boosted growth in the third quarter subtracted from it in the fourth. Overall, today’s report is consistent with a wide range of indicators showing further labor market strengthening, increasing domestic energy security, continued low health cost growth, and resiliency in the face of slower growth in the global economy. The President’s approach to middle-class economics would build on this growth while helping to ensure that our recovery is widely shared with all American families.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF ECONOMIC ANALYSIS
1. Real gross domestic product (GDP) grew 2.2 percent at an annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2014, according to the second estimate from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The report reflects especially strong consumption growth, an upward revision to business fixed investment, and continued residential investment increases. At the same time, the large third-quarter increase in Federal defense spending reversed, and inventory investment was revised down (see point 2). Overall, real GDP has risen 2.4 percent versus the fourth quarter of 2013.
Gayle SmithFebruary 26, 2015
07:02 PM EST
Yesterday, the White House launched the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) strategy for 2015-2020 with our special guest, Steph Curry, a malaria champion who also happens to be a basketball player for the Golden State Warriors. Steph inspires legions around the world with his basketball skills, including those of us sports fans here in the White House. We were thrilled to have him speak about his passionate efforts—including at and around his alma mater, Davidson College—to raise awareness of and resources for malaria prevention, the results of which he saw firsthand in Tanzania.
Tanya SomanaderFebruary 26, 2015
05:15 PM EST
"Export" -- a rather formal word for such an important piece of our economic strength, and our daily lives. Think about it: When you're browsing eBay or Etsy, or perusing a small business in your community, you may be shopping with business owners who sell their products to consumers across the globe.
Those exports have helped strengthen the economy in every state and for our nation as a whole. In fact, American exports contributed nearly one-third to our economic growth in the recovery. They supported nearly 11.3 million jobs in 2013. And companies that sell their goods and services abroad pay their employees on average up to 18% more than companies that don't.
The bottom line? Exports are good for American businesses, and great for American workers.
Check out what happens for our economy when we export more goods and services stamped with three proud words: Made in America.
Jeffrey ZientsFebruary 26, 2015
03:00 PM EST
Senator Warren raises some important questions about an element of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) called Investor-State Dispute settlement, or ISDS. There are good answers.
The purpose of investment provisions in our trade agreements is to provide American individuals and businesses who do business abroad with the same protections we provide to domestic and foreign investors alike in the United States.
ISDS is an arbitration procedure – similar to procedures used every day by businesses, governments, and private citizens across the globe – that allows for an impartial, law-based approach to resolve conflicts and has been important to encouraging development, rule of law, and good governance around the world. ISDS does not undermine U.S. sovereignty, change U.S. law, nor grant any new substantive rights to multinational companies.
Brian DeeseFebruary 26, 2015
02:08 PM EST
Two-thirds of the American people believe climate change is a serious problem, and that the government should take action to address it. It shouldn’t be surprising that our nation’s doctors do, too — nearly 90 percent of them.
Today, the American Thoracic Society (ATS) will hit the halls of Congress to educate our representatives about a new survey of more than 900 ATS members, which found the majority of doctors believe climate change is already negatively affecting the health of their patients. In fact, 77 percent of respondents reported that increases in air pollution due to climate change are worsening the severity of illnesses in their patients, and they expect these health impacts will further increase in the future.
ATS members also indicated that their patients are experiencing other climate-related health problems — including injuries due to severe weather, allergic reactions, and heat-related impacts. These findings are in line with the results of a survey of the National Medical Association’s members last year, which also found that the sick, elderly, and people living below the poverty line will be disproportionately impacted by climate change.
Secretary Julián CastroFebruary 26, 2015
10:58 AM EST
Ed. note: This is cross-posted on the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's blog. See the original post here.
Our nation’s most basic duty is to ensure that every child has the chance to fulfill his or her potential. This isn’t the responsibility of one individual or one neighborhood: it’s up to all of us to pave these paths of opportunity so that young people — regardless of where they grow up — can get ahead in life and achieve their dreams.
That’s why My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) is such an important initiative. Launched by President Obama last year, MBK brings communities together to ensure that all youth — including boys and young men of color — can overcome barriers to success and improve their lives. I got to see this work up close during a recent trip to Oakland, California. I joined Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council President Lynette McElhaney, and other stakeholders for a conversation about efforts that are making a difference in the lives of local youth.
One of the participants was a teenager named Edwin Manzano. The son of a hard-working single parent, Edwin found encouragement and support at the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC). Thanks in part to the academic and mentoring services offered by the EOYDC, Edwin will become the first member of his family to attend college when he begins his studies this fall at San Francisco State University.
Edwin is grateful for the opportunities that EOYDC afforded him. “Everyone needs a support system,” he says. That’s true whether you are a teenager or HUD Secretary. I was lucky when I was growing up on the West Side of San Antonio. Although it was a modest community in terms of resources, it was rich with folks who took an interest in my future. I had family members, teachers — and even policymakers — who paved a path that allowed me and other young people like me to succeed.
Unfortunately, not every child is as fortunate. That’s why My Brother’s Keeper is so close to my heart. The future of every young person in America should be determined by their heart, their mind and their work ethic. It should never be determined by their zip code.
Cecilia MuñozFebruary 26, 2015
10:00 AM EST
Last Thursday, I traveled to Tampa, Florida to kick off the first regional forum of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. This forum brought together a community of older Americans, advocates, caregivers, experts, and local leaders who are committed to working to address the changing landscape of aging.
In panel discussions, speeches, and breakout sessions, participants in Tampa considered important issues such as:
- How to help older Americans remain healthy and independent as they age
- How to promote retirement security
- How to help prevent financial exploitation and other abuse of our most vulnerable elders
But while Tampa was an important opportunity for dialogue, it was just the beginning of the conversation. We’ll continue this work in Phoenix, Seattle, Cleveland, and Boston in the weeks and months ahead.
Please join the discussion by visiting WhiteHouseConferenceonAging.gov, where you can sign up for regular updates, watch the live webcast on our regional events, and share your comments, thoughts, and ideas through the Get Involved section.
The 2015 White House Conference on Aging aims to highlight the contributions of today’s older adults — and inform tomorrow’s aging policy and programs. We hope it will be a broad-based, national conversation, and we need your input to make that happen.
DJ PatilFebruary 25, 2015
11:14 AM EST
There’s lots of talk these days in the tech community about organizations being data-driven.
If you look across all organizations out there, which one has made the biggest change in being data driven? My answer is the U.S. Government. As a data scientist, one thing I can guarantee is that this is the most data-driven President we’ve ever had. Need proof?
This is the President that established Data.gov -- a one stop shop for the data that is produced by the government. And that list of data sets is growing thanks to the President’s Executive Action that made open and machine-readable data the new default for government information. This Administration also created the first set of dashboards at the Federal level to monitor over $70 billion in IT investments. On top of that the President announced in the State of the Union his ambitious plan to bring together big data, data science, and medicine to make precision medicine a reality.
Tanya SomanaderFebruary 24, 2015
04:06 PM EST
He’s treated thousands of patients in the U.S. and helped people around the globe. He’s trained students to become doctors, founded a nonprofit to combat HIV/AIDS, practices yoga daily, and keeps unflavored almond milk in his fridge. At 37, he is now one of the youngest Americans — and the first Indian American — to serve as the Surgeon General of the United States.
He’s America’s doctor — and he stopped by the White House recently to answer a few questions that you might want to know the answer to, like: What does he want to do as Surgeon General? What should you do to stay healthy? Will he ever dunk on a NBA-regulation basketball hoop?
Age-old questions. Check out his answers below:
February 24, 2015
02:45 PM EST
U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith just sent the following message to the White House email list, promoting our first "edit-a-thon" here at the White House. This afternoon at 5 p.m. ET, we'll be writing the stories of influential African American STEM leaders into history.
Get more details below -- and if you didn't get the email, make sure to sign up for email updates here.
In a few hours, we'll be hosting the first-ever "edit-a-thon" here at the White House as part of our celebration of Black History Month.
Today, we join others in working to raise visibility of past and living African American heroes through similar edit-a-thons, classroom activities, and on social media.
Katherine Johnson, an elite mathematician, was central in calculating the trajectories for John Glenn, Alan Shepard, and the Apollo 11 mission. Lewis Howard Latimer was recruited to join the Edison Electric Light Company after Latimer patented his "process for manufacturing carbons," allowing the company to improve production of carbon filaments used in light bulbs upgraded from the earlier paper-based filaments that burned out quickly. Earlier, Latimer worked as Alexander Graham Bell's draftsman and is credited with penning the drawings in Bell's telephone patent.
It's critically important to know about all of the talented people who have been a part of advancing culture and society throughout America's history.
Together, we can help make sure these nearly lost histories are captured for our youth. Today's event will focus on African American heroes in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).
February 24, 2015
02:23 PM EST
The President is continuing to take action, within his legal authority, to fix our broken immigration system. Today, the Administration announced a final rule that will allow spouses of certain high-skilled workers to contribute to the economy while they wait to obtain lawful permanent residence status (or a “green card”) through their employer. America needs a 21st century immigration system that lives up to our heritage as a nation of laws and a nation of immigrants—and that grows our economy. This change, as well as the other actions announced by the President this past November, will do just that.
The President’s Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) has also released an updated report on the economic impact of the President’s executive actions, which are now estimated to boost the nation’s GDP by as much as $250 billion over ten years, due in part to increases in the size of the American workforce and to increased innovation from high-skill workers. These actions will also increase the productivity and wages of all American workers, not just immigrants, as evidenced by a large body of academic work cited in the CEA report.
By finalizing this rule, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is taking an important step forward in executing the President’s immigration executive actions and locking in these economic benefits. The changes included in this rule will—for the first time—allow employment authorization for the spouses of certain high-skill workers who are here on H-1B visas, as long as those workers have begun the process of applying for a green card. This rule change, which was recommended in a “We the People” petition to the White House, will empower these spouses to put their own education and skills to work for the country that they and their families now call home.
David HudsonFebruary 23, 2015
06:48 PM EST
Earlier today at the White House, President Obama spoke to America's governors and reaffirmed his commitment to working with them to make more progress across our country.
As he reiterated in his remarks, America's resurgence is real. But even though our nation "is as well-positioned as we've been in a very long time," as the President noted, he also emphasized that we now have to focus on what kind of choices we need to make together going forward to ensure that our momentum is sustained:
February 23, 2015
05:21 PM EST
February is Black History Month – and there’s no better time to celebrate and share the stories of all-star African Americans in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Today, minorities remain considerably underrepresented in many areas of the Nation’s STEM student-pool and workforce. This is a squandered opportunity for our country and for those bright, creative individuals who might otherwise help solve the problems we face as a country and enjoy STEM careers— the kind of careers that can not only make a positive difference in the world, but also pay more than non-STEM jobs.
This Wednesday at 2:00pm ET, the White House is bringing back “We the Geeks” with a new episode on the Stories of African Americans in STEM. Tune in to this Google+ Hangout to hear from extraordinary (and extraordinarily geeky) students, scientists, engineers, and inventors, about how they got inspired to pursue STEM and how they are paying it forward to help engage America’s full and diverse STEM talent pool.
Valerie JarrettFebruary 23, 2015
03:28 PM EST
This afternoon, Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett posted the following message on LinkedIn, explaining why the President is taking action to address the "conflicts of interest" that are currently costing American workers millions in retirement savings.
Check out the original post on LinkedIn here.
Thanks to the grit and determination of millions of American workers, America is experiencing resurgence — and every single responsible worker in this country deserves the security of a dignified retirement.
You work hard every day to make ends meet and put a little away for yourself -- for a much-needed vacation, college tuition for your children, or – your retirement. If you’re working hard to build a nest egg for your future, you should have the peace of mind that you’re receiving the most out of your savings and that your hard-earned investment is protected. As the President has said, this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
February 23, 2015
12:02 PM EST
Mark your calendars: On April 6, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama will host the 137th-annual White House Easter Egg Roll on the South Lawn! The Easter Egg Roll is a special White House tradition that dates all the way back to 1878 and President Rutherford B. Hayes – and it's now the largest public White House celebration.
This year’s Easter Egg Roll theme is “#GimmeFive.” As part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to help kids grow up healthy and strong, Mrs. Obama is asking Americans to share five things they’re doing to live a healthy life – whether that’s eating five vegetables, doing five jumping jacks, or another combination of five healthy things.
Be creative and show us what #GimmeFive means to you! Share on social media with #GimmeFive, and be sure to pass on the challenge to others!
Lindsay HolstFebruary 23, 2015
10:35 AM EST
Today, the President is announcing major actions to update the rules in place to protect you and your retirement savings.
What exactly is a retirement "conflict of interest" and why should you care? Read on for a quick primer. And if you're really short on time, just skip to the second big sentence to get a sense of what this means to the average American worker.
Want to dig deeper? Take a look at the new report released by the President's Council of Economic Advisors today, which gives an in-depth breakdown of how these conflicts of interest are hurting the middle class right now.
Brian DeeseFebruary 23, 2015
10:19 AM EST
This morning, Senior Advisor Brian Deese sent the following message to the White House email list, detailing some of the steps the President will take over the coming weeks to help working- and middle-class families across America.
In the President's State of the Union address, he laid out his vision for Middle-Class Economics -- the theory that we can continue the progress we have made by promoting policies that build the economy from the middle out. In the run-up to the State of the Union and since, he has outlined specific proposals to achieve that goal -- in housing, jobs, education, to name a few.
The President's emphasis on Middle-Class Economics has begun to work -- delivering concrete benefits to families across the country and driving the policy debate in Washington as well. Over the next several weeks, the President will keep his foot on the gas by bringing forward new, concrete actions to strengthen the economic standing of working- and middle-class families.
This starts today, with the President announcing a new executive action to help more hardworking Americans save for retirement by cracking down on hidden fees that hurt consumers and back-door payments that help Wall Street brokers. Speaking at the AARP, the President will be joined by champions of consumer rights issues, including Senator Elizabeth Warren and Richard Cordray, Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, to announce this new move.
And that's just the beginning. Over the next several weeks, the President will announce new steps to protect consumers, make college more affordable, and help boost the wages of working and middle-class families trying to make ends meet.
Tanya SomanaderFebruary 21, 2015
06:00 AM EST
In this week’s address, the President underscored the importance of continuing to grow our economy and support good-paying jobs for our workers by opening up new markets for American goods and services.
While America’s businesses, ranchers, and farmers are already exporting goods at record levels, there’s more room for growth with 95 percent of the world’s customers living outside our borders. In order to pursue new trade agreements, the President called on Congress to pass trade promotion authority so that the U.S. -- not China -- can play a leading role in negotiating 21st century trade deals that protect our workers, support good wages, and help grow the middle class.
David HudsonFebruary 20, 2015
08:35 PM EST
In 1957, Carlotta Walls, a 14-year-old African American girl living in Little Rock, Arkansas, elected to attend Little Rock Central High School. One of the nine students who desegregated the school, Carlotta was subjected to constant bullying, physical abuse, and violent attacks -- her parents' home was bombed in February of 1960. Shortly after, she earned her high school diploma.
In 1961, Charlayne Hunter became the first African American woman to attend the University of Georgia. Enduring everyday bigotry and racial slurs, and bottles and bricks thrown at her windows, Charlayne went on to get her degree -- which has since propelled her to a successful career as a journalist with NPR, PBS, CNN, and the New York Times.
These are just two of the influential women that took part in a special panel discussion this afternoon at the White House in celebration of Black History Month.
David HudsonFebruary 20, 2015
08:07 PM EST
This week, the President received the newest enrollment numbers for those who found quality, affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act; spoke at the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism, designated three new National Monuments, and launched his Every Kid in a Park initiative.
Find out more about the past week at the White House in our latest "Week in Review."
During the latest Open Enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act, 11.4 million Americans signed up or re-enrolled for quality, affordable health insurance.
As the President said after hearing the news, "It gives you some sense of how hungry people were out there for affordable, accessible health insurance. And that's really the top-line message: The Affordable Care Act is working."
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) February 17, 2015