The White House Blog: The President
- Posted byon February 16, 2013 at 6:40 AM EDT
In this week’s address, President Obama calls for quick action on the proposals he made during the State of the Union to grow our economy and create jobs, including making America a magnet for manufacturing, strengthening our education system through high-quality preschool for every child, and raising the minimum wage.
- Posted byon February 15, 2013 at 7:41 PM EDT
President Barack Obama and President Giorgio Napolitano of Italy address the media at the start of their bilateral meeting in the Oval Office, Feb. 15, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)
But the primary focus of the conversation was on the world economy and President Obama's plan to pursue a U.S.-European Union free trade agreement, which he discussed in his State of the Union address earlier this week.
President Napolitano expressed enthusiasm for the proposed agreement, saying he believes it will represent "a relevant contribution for promoting a new wave of development of technologic advancement of social justice on both shores of the Atlantic. And I think it can represent even something more. It is to say a new historic stage in relations between Europe and the United States -- not only economically, but also from a political and moral point of view."
Everything You Need to Know about President Obama's Plan to Ensure Hard Work Leads to a Decent LivingPosted byon February 15, 2013 at 2:15 PM EDT
"America is not a place where the chance of birth or circumstance should decide our destiny. And that’s why we need to build new ladders of opportunity into the middle class for all who are willing to climb them." President Barack Obama, State of the Union, February 12, 2013
In his State of the Union Address, President Obama laid out a plan to build on the progress we’ve made over the last four years to expand opportunity for every American and every community willing to do the work to lift themselves up. But there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the challenges we face. It will take a collaborative effort—between business and federal, state, and local officials; faith-based and non-profit organizations; kids and parents—to ensure that hard work leads to a decent living for every American. Read more about his plan below.
Reward hard work by raising the minimum wage
The President believes that no one who works full time should have to raise their family in poverty. But right now, a full-time minimum wage worker makes $14,500 a year – which leaves too many families struggling to make ends meet. A family of four supported by a minimum wage worker still living below the poverty line, even counting tax credits for working families. That’s why the President is calling on Congress to raise the Federal minimum wage to $9.00 and index it to inflation thereafter, so that working families can keep up with rising costs.
Raising the minimum wage to $9 would directly boost the wages of about 15 million workers by the end of 2015, and a range of economic studies show that raising the minimum wage increases earnings and reduces poverty without jeopardizing employment. For a working family earning $20,000 - $30,000, the extra $3,500 per year from raising the minimum wage would cover:
- The family’s spending on groceries for a year
- The family’s spending on utilities for a year
- The family’s spending on gasoline and clothing for a year
- Six months of housing
- Posted byon February 14, 2013 at 10:10 PM EDT
During the virtual conversation, the President answered questions about a range of topics, from steps to reduce gun violence to his plan to reward hard work by raising the minimum wage. The President also addressed some more personal questions from participants on recommended reading, Valentine’s Day plans and baby names.
Use the links below to jump to specific questions and answers during the hangout (questions are paraphrased):
- Posted byon February 14, 2013 at 6:17 PM EDT
This week, the President delivered the first State of the Union address of his second term, and then brought his proposals to a factory in North Carolina and a school in Georgia, presided over a Medal of Honor ceremony, honored the outgoing Secretary of Defense, and hungout on Google Plus.
- Posted byon February 14, 2013 at 6:12 PM EDT
President Barack Obama delivers remarks on early education and his plan to ensure high-quality preschool for every child, at the Decatur Community Recreation Center in Decatur, Ga., Feb. 14, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Lawrence Jackson)
In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, President Obama laid out a plan for reigniting the true engine of America’s economic growth: a thriving, growing, rising middle class. A key component of that plan is making sure that every American has the skills they need for the competitive global job market, which means that education must begin at the earliest possible age.
The President proposed working with states like Georgia to make high-quality preschool available to every child in America, and today he paid a visit to that state to see firsthand how the programs they have put in place are making a difference in the lives of our youngest citizens:
Study after study shows that the earlier a child begins learning, the better he or she does down the road. But here’s the thing: We are not doing enough to give all of our kids that chance. The kids we saw today that I had a chance to spend time with in Mary's classroom, they're some of the lucky ones -- because fewer than 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in a high-quality preschool program.
Most middle-class parents can’t afford a few hundred bucks a week for private preschool. And for the poor children who need it the most, the lack of access to a great preschool education can have an impact on their entire lives. And we all pay a price for that. And as I said, this is not speculation. Study after study shows the achievement gap starts off very young. Kids who, when they go into kindergarten, their first day, if they already have a lot fewer vocabulary words, they don’t know their numbers and their shapes and have the capacity for focus, they're going to be behind that first day. And it's very hard for them to catch up over time.
- Posted byon February 14, 2013 at 3:27 PM EDT
On Tuesday, President Obama laid out his agenda for the coming year. Citing the importance of a strong middle class, he provided the framework necessary to move America forward.
The White House Photo Office followed the President throughout the day, and they've put together a collection of images from the State of the Union, which include the President greeting Members of Congress, reactions of his speech from the audience and a few special behind the scene looks. Check out the gallery below and visit our State of the Union page to share your own reactions from the State of the Union.
This afternoon, President Obama will sit down for a discussion about the State of the Union and his plan to create jobs and strengthen the middle class. Be sure to check it out.
What You Need to Know About President Obama's Plan to Provide High-Quality Early Education for All ChildrenPosted byon February 14, 2013 at 12:43 PM EDT
“In states that make it a priority to educate our youngest children…studies show students grow up more likely to read and do math at grade level, graduate high school, hold a job, form more stable families of their own. We know this works. So let’s do what works and make sure none of our children start the race of life already behind.”
President Barack Obama, State of the Union, February 12, 2013
The beginning years of a child’s life are critical for building the early foundation needed for success later in school and in life. Leading economists agree that high-quality early learning programs can help level the playing field for children from lower-income families on vocabulary, social and emotional development, while helping students to stay on track and stay engaged in the early elementary grades. Children who attend these programs are more likely to do well in school, find good jobs, and succeed in their careers than those who don’t.
Despite the benefits of early education, our nation has lagged in making sure high-quality programs are available for our youngest kids. While 39 states and the District of Columbia offer state funded pre-school, the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development estimates that the United States ranks 28th out of 38 countries for the share of four-year olds enrolled in early childhood education. And just 3 in 10 four-year-olds are enrolled in high-quality programs that prepare kids with the skills they need for kindergarten.
- Posted byon February 13, 2013 at 6:15 PM EDT
Today, Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, answered questions from the public about President Obama's State of the Union Address in an “Open for Questions” session moderated by Yahoo! Finance. Check it out below.
- Posted byon February 13, 2013 at 6:00 PM EDT
Last night President Obama used his State of the Union address to lay out his plan to strengthen the middle class. Today he was in Asheville, NC to talk more specifically about his committment to making America a magnet for jobs and manufacturing so we continue to build things the rest of the world buys:
A few years ago, manufacturing comebacks in North Carolina, a manufacturing comeback in Asheville may not have seemed real likely, because Volvo had just left town. This plant had gone dark -- 228 jobs had vanished. And that was a big blow for this area, because part of what happens is when those manufacturing jobs go away, then suddenly the restaurant has fewer customers, and suppliers for the plant start withering. And it's hard for everybody. It has a ripple effect.
But then local officials started reaching out to companies, offering new incentives to take over this plant. Some of the workers who got laid off, like Stratton, went back to school and they learned new skills. And then, a year later, Linamar showed up. They were looking for a place to build some big parts. And these parts are big, I got to say, hubs and wheels and anchors for 400-ton mining trucks. And while they could have gone any place in the world, they saw this incredible potential right here in Asheville. They saw the most promise in this workforce, so they chose to invest in Asheville, in North Carolina, in the United States of America.
So to date, Linamar has hired 160 workers. It will be 200 by the end of the year, and it's just going to keep on going after that. So the folks at Linamar said, they came to Asheville to grow their business. They came here to stay and put down some roots.
And the good news is what’s happening here is happening all around the country. Because just as it’s becoming more and more expensive to do business in places like China, America is getting more competitive and more productive.