“All of you are committed to building a more responsible, more accountable government. And part of what that means is making sure that we’re spending precious tax dollars wisely and cutting costs wherever possible. During this period of economic emergency, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington. That’s why I am instituting a pay freeze on the salaries of my senior White House staff. Some of the people in this room will be affected by the pay freeze, and I want you to know that I appreciate your willingness to agree to it, recognizing that it’s what’s required of you at this moment. It’s a mark of your commitment to public service.”

“During this period of economic emergency, families are tightening their belts, and so should Washington. That’s why I am instituting a pay freeze on the salaries of my senior White House staff. Some of the people in this room will be affected by the pay freeze, and I want you to know that I appreciate your willingness to agree to it, recognizing that it’s what’s required of you at this moment. It’s a mark of your commitment to public service.”

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition”

– Barack Obama

 

“The question we ask today is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works, whether it helps families find jobs at a decent wage, care they can afford, a retirement that is dignified. Where the answer is yes, we intend to move forward. Where the answer is no, programs will end. And those of us who manage the public’s knowledge will be held to account, to spend wisely, reform bad habits, and do our business in the light of day, because only then can we restore the vital trust between a people and their government. Nor is the question before us whether the market is a force for good or ill. Its power to generate wealth and expand freedom is unmatched. But this crisis has reminded us that without a watchful eye, the market can spin out of control. The nation cannot prosper long when it favors only the prosperous. The success of our economy has always depended not just on the size of our gross domestic product, but on the reach of our prosperity; on the ability to extend opportunity to every willing heart — not out of charity, but because it is the surest route to our common good.”

“We remain the most prosperous, powerful nation on Earth. Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year”

“They saw America as bigger than the sum of our individual ambitions; greater than all the differences of birth or wealth or faction”

Barack Obama Inaugural Speech – Inauguration Day January 20, 2009

“Short term, the most important thing is to put people back to work … If they’re working, that means they’re paying taxes, that means that they’re buying goods and services – and the economy, instead of being on a downward spiral, starts back up on an upward spiral.”

“I don’t think that any economist disputes that we’re in the worst economic crisis since the great depression. The good news is that we’re getting a consensus around what needs to be done.”

“What we also have to recognize is that the deficit levels that I’m inheriting, over a trillion dollars, coming out of last year, that that is unsustainable. At a certain point, other countries stop buying our debt, at a certain point, we’d end up having to raise interest rates, and it would end up creating more economic chaos and potentially inflation.”

"There’s no doubt that we needed to stabilize the banking system. It could’ve been even more catastrophic. When we saw the stock market start collapsing in September, we could’ve seen a serious downward spiral – but there is nothing wrong with us placing some conditions, making sure the money is not going to excessive executive compensation, making sure that you’re not seeing big dividend payouts to shareholders, and making sure that money is being lent so that we can get credit flowing again – not just to individual homeowners who are losing their homes, but also small businesses, who are the lifeblood of this economy. If they can’t get credit, then they end up having to shutter their doors and when they shutter their doors, people lose jobs. They then can’t pay their mortgage and we start down the road that we’re on. We want to reverse that path, and that means that the way we use the next 350 billion that congress voted on … we’ve got to make sure that it’s transparent, that there’s oversight, that the American people know exactly how the money’s being used, and that dealing with home foreclosure is a central policy in that program."

“We will fight for you every single day that we’re in Washington, because Joe and I are committed to leading a government that is accountable, not just to the wealthy or to the well-connected, but to you. To the conductors who make our trains run, and to the workers who lay down the rails, to the parents who worry about how they’re going to pay the bills next month on the commute to work, and to the children who hear the whistle of the train and dream of a better life.”

“I have worked to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how their tax dollars are spent.”

“Restoring the economy requires that we maintain the flow of credit to families and businesses. So I’m gratified that a majority of the U.S. Senate, both Democrats and Republicans, voted today to give me the authority to implement the rest of the financial rescue plan in a new and responsible way. I know this wasn’t an easy vote because of the frustration so many of us share about how the first half of this plan was implemented. There was too little transparency and accountability, and it didn’t do enough to get credit where it’s needed most — small businesses and families struggling to keep their jobs and make ends meet. Now my pledge is to change the way this plan is implemented and keep faith with the American tax payer by placing strict conditions on CEO pay and providing more loans to small businesses, more transparency so that taxpayers can see where their money is spent, and more sensible regulations that will protect consumers, investors, and businesses.”

“We reward people a lot for being rich, for being famous, for being cute, for being thin… one of the values I think we need to instill in our country, in our children, is a sense of ‘usefulness’, in other words, are we useful, are we making other peoples’ lives a little bit better?”

“Let me tell you another place to look for some savings. We are currently spending $10 billion a month in Iraq when they have a $79 billion surplus. It seems to me that if we’re going to be strong at home as well as strong abroad, that we have to look at bringing that war to a close.”

“We right now give $15 billion every year as subsidies to private insurers under the Medicare system. Doesn’t work any better through the private insurers. They just skim off $15 billion.”

“Here’s what I can tell the American people: 95 percent of you will get a tax cut. And if you make less than $250,000, less than a quarter-million dollars a year, then you will not see one dime’s worth of tax increase.”

“We’re going to focus on what’s required to make sure that credit is flowing to consumers and businesses to create jobs in the United States and this is going to be part and parcel of a broader financial strategy that involves strengthening the regulations on Wall Street and in our financial sector and our banking sector so that we’re not seeing the kinds of systemic crises that led us into this situation in the first place.”

“There is a devastating economic crisis that will become more and more difficult to contain with time. For the sake of our economy and our people, this is the moment to act, and to act without delay. There are American dreams that are being deferred and that are being denied because of the current economic climate. Behind each and every one of those millions of jobs lost there are workers and families who are counting on us as they struggle to pay the bills or stay in their homes.”

“We start this new year in the midst of an economic crisis unlike we have seen in our lifetime.”

“Our resources may be finite, but our will is infinite, and I am confident that if we come together and summon that great American spirit once again, we will meet the challenges of our time and write the next great chapter in our American story.”

“Families across America are feeling the pinch as they watch debts mount, bills pile up and savings disappear.”

“Let’s not only provide a jumpstart to the economy and immediately or save 3 million jobs, but let’s also put a down payment on some of the structural problems that we have in our economy.”

“We are spending a lot of money subsidizing the insurance companies around something called Medicare Advantage, a program that gives them subsidies to accept Medicare recipients but doesn’t necessarily make people on Medicare healthier. And if we eliminate that and other programs, we can potentially save $200 billion out of the health care system that we’re currently spending and take that money and use it in ways that are actually going to make people healthier and improve quality. So what our challenge is going to be is identifying what works and putting more money into that, eliminating things that don’t work, and making things that we have more efficient.”

“Over the last decade or so, that more than half of the economic growth has been captured by the top 1% of US citizens. That means the other 99% have seen their effective incomes go down. That is not a recipe for long term economic growth. So if we, in fact are putting more money into the pockets of the middle class, if consumers feel some confidence because their bills are actually adding up at the end of the month and they can pay for them, that’s going to, over the long term be good for business, that’s going to be good for the markets, that’s going to be good for Wall Street. I think that we’ve had an economy that’s been out of balance for too long. So the general principle of raising taxes on higher income Americans, like myself, and providing relief to those who haven’t benefited as much from this new global economy, I think is a sound one. And keep in mind that on all of these proposals, what I’ve said is, let’s make sure that we define the well-off, so that we’re not hitting the middle class. I generally define well-off as people who are making $250,000 dollars a year or more and that means for example if we raise the capital gains tax, I would exempt people who are essentially small investors and really capture those who have done very, very well over the last two decades.”

“524,000 jobs were lost in December across nearly all major American Industries. That means that our economy lost jobs in all twelve months of 2008, and that nearly 2.6 million jobs, lost last year, amount to the single worst year of job loss since World War II. The unemployment rate is now well over seven percent. In addition, we have nearly 3.4 million people who want full time work, but are only able to get part time work.”

“Is this money well spent? This is taxpayer money, it is going to be adding to the deficit short term and if we can’t justify it, then we’re not going to spend tens or hundreds of billions of dollars, just to make somebody happy, if it’s not good for the economy.”

“For years, too many Wall Street executives made imprudent and dangerous decisions seeking profits with too little regard for risk, too little regulatory scrutiny, and too little accountability. Banks made loans without concern for whether borrowers could repay them, and some borrowers took advantage of cheap credit to take on debt they couldn’t afford. Politicians spent taxpayer money without wisdom or discipline, and too often focused on scoring political points instead of problems they were sent here to solve. The result has been a devastating loss of trust and confidence in our economy, our financial markets and our government.”

“Insist that the first question each of us asks, isn’t ‘what’s good for me’ but ‘what’s good for the country my children will inherit’”

“That’s why the American Recovery & Reinvestment Plan won’t just throw money at our problems, we’ll invest in what works”

“Money is not the only answer, but it makes a difference”

"I don’t take a dime of their [lobbyist] money, and when I am president, they won’t find a job in my White House."

"I think when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody."

"This is the moment when we must build on the wealth that open markets have created, and share its benefits more equitably. Trade has been a cornerstone of our growth and global development. But we will not be able to sustain this growth if it favors the few, and not the many."

"We have an obligation and a responsibility to be investing in our students and our schools. We must make sure that people who have the grades, the desire and the will, but not the money, can still get the best education possible."

“Instead of having a set of policies that are equipping people for the globalization of the economy, we have policies that are accelerating the most destructive trends of the global economy.”

"To the extent that we’ve got a fiscal crisis right now, part of it is prompted by a bullheaded insistence on the part of the president, for example, that we should extend all of his tax cuts, make all of them permanent."

“Tonight, more Americans are out of work and more are working harder for less. More of you have lost your homes and even more are watching your home values plummet. More of you have cars you can’t afford to drive, credit card bills you can’t afford to pay, and tuition that’s beyond your reach.”

“When George Bush came into office, we had surpluses. And now we have half-a-trillion-dollar deficit annually. When George Bush came into office, our national debt was around $5 trillion. It’s now over $10 trillion. We’ve almost doubled it.”

“I don’t think that any economist disputes that we’re in the worst economic crisis since the great depression. The good news is that we’re getting a consensus around what needs to be done.”

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