President Barack Obama made a visit to Missouri Friday afternoon. At the Ford Plant in Liberty, he discussed the progress made since the financial crisis started five years ago. Obama noted the work his administration has done to help the middle class, and acknowledged the sacrifices average Americans have made.
Click to hear the President’s speech, introduced by factory employee Jordan Wheeldon:
Obam discussed the financial crisis on Wall Street, and its effects on Americans. He said it came close to being another Great Depression.
“By the time I took office, the economy was shrinking at a rate of eight percent a year. Unprecedented,” said Obama, “Our businesses were shedding 800,000 jobs a month. And you had this perfect storm, and millions of Americans lost their jobs, their homes, their savings they had been working a lifetime to get.”
He acknowledged the sacrifices made by many. “Some folks had to tighten their belts, get rid of some debt, focus on things that really matter, cut out some things you didn’t need. We’ve shown the world that the American people are tough. They’re resilient. The only thing built tougher than Ford trucks are American workers.”
He discussed the collapse of Lehman Brothers five years ago, and the subsequent financial crisis. Progress has been made toward a recovery. However, he acknowledged it is not yet enough.
“We’re producing jobs, but we need to create more jobs and more good paying jobs. We’ve got to make sure that we’re rebuilding an economy that doesn’t work from the top down, it works from the middle out. That gives ladders of opportunity to folks who still don’t have a job. We’ve got to make sure that workers are sharing in growth and productivity.”
In the last year, the top one percent of earners brought home twenty percent of the nation’s income. Obama called this a shame, and called for a change.
The President is touring the country to discuss his “Better Bargain for the Middle Class.” This plan will improve such cornerstones as education and healthcare, with the intention of producing more security for average Americans in the future.
It’s been about five years since the nation’s financial crisis started on Wall Street. Obama discussed the decisions made at the height of the problem. He called the Recovery Act a “floor below which this country couldn’t fall.”
“We put money in folks’ pockets with tax breaks. We made sure the people were rebuilding roads and bridges, keeping things going.”
Businesses have added 7.5 million new jobs in the 3.5 years since the Recovery Act was passed.
The president’s administration reached a 26 billion dollar settlement last year to settle charges of abusive and negligent foreclosure practices.
“Today, our housing market is healed,” Obama stated, “We took on a tax code that was too skewed toward the wealthy. We gave tax cuts, locked them in for 98 percent of families. We asked those in the top two percent to pay a little bit more. Today, middle class tax rates are near their all-time low. The deficits are falling at the fastest rate since World War Two.”
Reverend Charles O. Bailey, Senior was up on the dais behind the President. His son is employed at the Ford Auto Plant. Bailey was impressed with President Barack Obama’s work to help the middle class.
Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Bailey:
“To continue to fight on a good fight that he’s fighting for our people, for workers, auto workers. I think he’s doing a great job,” said Bailey, “He has a lot of pressure to deal with, but I believe he’s going to do okay. I don’t believe the government’s going to collapse.”
Michelle Reinhart is married to a Ford employee, and was a part of the audience. She believes Obama is making good progress.
Click to hear KMZU’s Sarah Scott speak with Reinhart:
“I think it’s good that, eventually, everybody does do the right thing,” said Reinhart, “It’s time for our elected officials to realize why we elected them. And they need to think more about the people at home than the games that they like to play in Washington.”
The President spoke in the loading bay area of the new Ford Stamping Plant, to a crowd of about 400.