Rural Tour Day Three: Last Stop, Alpha Illinois
09:58 AM EDT
President Obama ended his three day tour of the Midwest at a town hall meeting on a farm in rural Illinois, where he took questions on topics that ranged from enhanced protection for law enforcement officers to the shrinking size of local county fairs. The President’s last day was filled with opportunities to enjoy the rural landscape and attractions of his home state, and included stops at the Whiteside County Fair and a Galesburg High School football practice, in addition to an earlier town hall meeting in Atkinson.
The President told the crowd of 250 people gathered at Alpha’s Country Corner Farm that they can expect to hear about new proposals that will put Americans back to work in the next few weeks.
When folks tell you that we’ve got a choice between jobs now or dealing with our debt crisis, they’re wrong. They’re wrong. We can’t afford to just do one or the other. We’ve got to do both. And the way to do it is to make some -- reform the tax code, close loopholes, make some modest modifications in programs like Medicare and Social Security so they’re there for the next generation, stabilize those systems. And you could actually save so much money that you could actually pay for some of the things like additional infrastructure right now.
We can close the deficit and put people to work, but what’s required is that folks work together. That’s the big challenge. That’s the big challenge.
And over the course of the next few weeks, I’m going to be putting out more proposals to put people to work right now. And some of them -- yes, some of them cost money. And the way we pay for it is by doing more on deficit reduction than the plan that we had to come up with right at the last minute in order to avoid default. We didn’t do as much as we could have.
The President also laid out a series of steps that Congress can take as soon as they return to Washington that will put money in people’s pockets and create good jobs, including
- Extending the payroll tax cut that was passed in December that put $1,000 in the typical family’s pocket
- Passing trade deals that have the support of both business and the United Auto Workers, deals that will help realize the President’s dream of seeing more products overseas that carry the stamp, “Made in America.”
- Passing the America Invents Act which makes it easier to get patents for new products, services or inventions, they can turn it around without a lot of red tape and bureaucracy and start businesses that hire workers
As his three day trip through rural America drew to a close, the President told the crowd why his time on the road, meeting Americans in Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois, had been so rewarding, “It inspires you, because it reminds you about what makes this country so great, why I love this country so much, and why we’ve got to be doing every single thing we can every minute of every day to make sure that you can continue to achieve your American Dream and pass it on to your kids and your grandchildren.”
Use the jump links below to skip to the answers to questions you’re most interested in.The questions below are paraphrased from the questions asked by participants during the townhall: