Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Obama Speech on Taxes: Transcript (4-15-09)

Read the full transcript. Excerpt below:

I know that April 15th is not exactly everyone's favorite date on the calendar. But it is an important opportunity for those of us in Washington to consider our responsibilities to the people who sent us here and who pay the bills. And I've brought some friends of mine who sent me here and pay the bills.

Across America, families like the people who've joined me have had tough choices forced upon them because of this economic downturn. Many have lost a job. Many are fighting to keep their businesses open. Many more are struggling to make payments, to stay in their home or to pursue a college education.

And these Americans are the backbone of our economy, the backbone of our middle class. They're the workers, the innovators, the students who are going to be powering our recovery. And so, their dreams have to be our own. They need a government that is working to create jobs and opportunity for them, rather than simply giving more and more to those at the very top in the false hope that wealth automatically trickles down.

And that's why my administration has taken far-reaching action to give tax cuts to the Americans who need them, while jumpstarting growth and job creation in the process.

We start from the simple premise that we should reduce the tax burden on working people, while helping Americans go to college, own a home, raise a family, start a business and save for retirement. Those goals are the foundation of the American dream, and they are the focus of my tax policy.

OBAMA: First, we passed a broad and sweeping tax cut for 95 percent of American workers. This tax cut was a core focus of my campaign, it was a core component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and it is the most progressive tax cut in American history. And starting April 1st, Americans saw this tax cut in the extra money that they took home with each paycheck.

Make no mistake: This tax cut will reach 120 million families and put $120 billion directly into their pockets, and it includes the most American workers ever to get a tax cut. This is going to boost demand and it will save or create over half a million jobs.

The Vast Right Wing Conspiracy: A Threat to Obama's Safety?

If Barack Obama is assassinated it will be the fault of the Republicans and Conservative activists. They are fomenting hate directly primarily against the President. We have not seen this kind of Right Wing frenzy since the days of JFK. And we know how that ended? There have already been attempts against the President (albeit in the early stages). The Right is actively preaching hatred of Barack Obama. That is a green light for any individual to try and kill the President. Could it be their plan. Could fiction become reality. The pro-Republican FOX has a TV series in where a black President is assassinated as a result of a Right Wing plot.

Homeland Security officials are warning that right-wing extremists could use the bad state of the U.S. economy and the election of the country's first black president to recruit members to their cause.

In an intelligence assessment issued to law enforcement last week, Homeland Security officials said there was no specific information about an attack in the works by right-wing extremists.

The agency warns that an extended economic downturn with real estate foreclosures, unemployment and an inability to obtain credit could foster an environment for extremists to recruit members who may not have been supportive of these causes in the past.

Homeland Security spokesman Sean Smith said the report is one in a series of assessments issued by the agency's intelligence and analysis unit. The agency describes these assessments as part of a series published "to facilitate a greater understanding of the phenomenon of violent radicalization in the United States."

In February, the department issued a report to law enforcement that said left-wing extremist groups were likely to use cyber attacks more often in the next 10 years to further their cause. And in September, the agency issued a report that highlighted how right-wing extremists over the past five years have used the immigration debate as a recruiting tool.

The latest assessment started making its way into the mainstream press after conservative blogs got wind of the analysis. In this report, the agency warns that imposing new restrictions on firearms and returning military veterans who have difficulties assimilating back into their communities could lead to terror groups or individuals attempting to carry out attacks. The returning war veterans have skills and experience that are appealing to right-wing groups looking to carry out an attack, according to the report.

The agency cites the April 4 killings of three Pittsburgh police officers as an example of a the type of violence spurred by right-wing rhetoric.

"Despite similarities to the climate of the 1990s, the threat posed by lone wolves and small terrorist cells is more pronounced than in past years," the report said.

In the 1990s, the report said, a resurgence in right-wing extremism was brought on by the poor economy and the outsourcing of jobs, with extremist groups targeting government facilities, law enforcement officers and banks.

The growth was slowed after intense government scrutiny of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombings, according to the report, but the Internet now gives extremists more access to information about making bombs and weapons training. The new technologies also make it easier for extremists to communicate, the report said, and make it more difficult for law enforcement to detect or prevent an attack.

In November, after Barack Obama's election, law enforcement officials were seeing more threats and unusual interest against a president-elect than ever before.

Here's more on the media/Republican connection to the anti-Obama hysteria:
SHUSTER: For most Americans, Wednesday, April 15th will be Tax Day. But in our fourth story tonight: It‘s going to be teabagging day for the right-wing and they‘re going nuts for it. Thousands of them whipped out the festivities early this past weekend, and while the parties are officially toothless, the teabaggers are full-throated about their goals.

They want to give President Obama a strong tongue-lashing and lick government spending—spending they did not oppose when they were under presidents Bush and Reagan. They oppose Mr. Obama‘s tax rates—which will be lower for most of them—and they oppose the tax increases Mr. Obama is imposing on the rich, whose taxes will skyrocket to a rate about 10 percent less than it was under Reagan. That‘s teabagging in a nut shell.

Taking its inspiration from the Boston Tea Party when colonists tossed British tea into the sea because the tax in it had not been voted on by their own duly-elected representatives—that‘s exactly the opposite, of course, of today‘s taxes, known in some quarters as taxation with representation.

But as “New York Times” columnist, Paul Krugman, points out today, this time, the tea bagging is not a spontaneous uprising. The people who came up with it are a familiar circle of Republicans, including former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former House Majority Leader Dick Armey, both of whom have firm support from right-wing financiers and lobbyists. As well as Washington prostitute patron, Senator David Vitter, who has issued statements in support of teabagging but is publicly tight-lipped.

Then there was the media, specifically the FOX News Channel, including Glenn Beck and Sean Hannity. Both are looking forward to an up close and personal taste of teabagging themselves at events this Wednesday. But most amusing of all is Neil Cavuto, a member of the network‘s executive committee. Neil‘s online bio says he joined the network in July of 1996, three months before the FOX News Channel went on the air.

[...]This is an orchestrated attempt by Dick Armey, Newt Gingrich, people who are trying to repair the Republican Party. They know that the Republican Party is in shambles. They know that Eric Cantor is a disaster as a new leadership member. They know that Boehner is doing a terrible job in the leadership.

They‘ve been in the leadership in the House of Representatives. They don‘t have a great deal of faith in this strategy and that‘s why it‘s been delegated somewhat at arm‘s length. That‘s why they‘re pretending that this is a grassroots movement.

FOX News is in the same position. What they‘re trying to do is create gigantic television events for their shows on that day. They have to pretend that they are covering a news event rather than trying to create one, which they‘ve very clearly done when you look at the history in the last month of the FOX News discussion of this and how they‘ve built it up.

And so, this is an attempt to try to see if the taxation spot is the place where you can get at Barack Obama, because nothing else has worked. Now, the problem is—on this April 15th, the taxation rates that they will all be protesting are the George W. Bush Republican Congress taxation rates. That‘s how we got these tax rates.

Sean Hannity, in the approach of this April 15th protest, has talked about the skyrocketing tax rates. The tax rates have not increased in this country in 16 years, and they did under Bill Clinton in 1993. He increased one tax rate, the top tax rate, and President Bush then immediately cut it as his first order of business.

[...]SHUSTER: Is this a Faustian sort of thing for GOP leaders? I mean, meaning that maybe they know all of this has the effect of marginalizing the Republican Party, but in return, they can point to the publicity and say to their moneymen, “Hey, look, at least we‘re doing something”?

O‘DONNELL: That‘s what this is. This is a—this is truly desperate. And it‘s so desperate that people don‘t really want to formally attach their names to it. They don‘t really want to be seen as the leaders of it.

It‘s a—it‘s a one-day protest aimed at nothing Barack Obama has actually done. It is aimed at the tax code that has been imposed on this country by a Republican Congress and a Republican president, who was previously the champion of exactly these protesters.

And so, it is a completely wrong-headed approach to what‘s going on. They‘ve picked April 15th as rage day for taxpayers. And there‘s not a single taxpayer out there who is paying a new Barack Obama tax rate. That doesn‘t exist.