Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:
No nation, however large or small, wealthy or poor, can escape the impact of climate change. Rising sea levels threaten every coastline. More powerful storms and floods threaten every continent. More frequent droughts and crop failures breed hunger and conflict in places where hunger and conflict already thrive. On shrinking islands, families are already being forced to flee their homes as climate refugees. The security and stability of each nation and all peoples -- our prosperity, our health, and our safety -- are in jeopardy. And the time we have to reverse this tide is running out.
And yet, we can reverse it. John F. Kennedy once observed that "Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man." It is true that for too many years, mankind has been slow to respond or even recognize the magnitude of the climate threat. It is true of my own country, as well. We recognize that. But this is a new day. It is a new era. And I am proud to say that the United States has done more to promote clean energy and reduce carbon pollution in the last eight months than at any other time in our history.
We are making our government's largest ever investment in renewable energy -- an investment aimed at doubling the generating capacity from wind and other renewable resources in three years. Across America, entrepreneurs are constructing wind turbines and solar panels and batteries for hybrid cars with the help of loan guarantees and tax credits -- projects that are creating new jobs and new industries. We're investing billions to cut energy waste in our homes, our buildings, and appliances -- helping American families save money on energy bills in the process.
We've proposed the very first national policy aimed at both increasing fuel economy and reducing greenhouse gas pollution for all new cars and trucks -- a standard that will also save consumers money and our nation oil. We're moving forward with our nation's first offshore wind energy projects. We're investing billions to capture carbon pollution so that we can clean up our coal plants. And just this week, we announced that for the first time ever, we'll begin tracking how much greenhouse gas pollution is being emitted throughout the country.
at 10:26 PM |
This speech was given at Hudson Valley Community College, Troy, N.Y. Read the complete transcript. Excerpt below:
Now, communities like this one were once the heart of America’s manufacturing strength. But over the last few decades, you’ve borne the brunt of a changing economy which has seen many manufacturing plants close in the face of global competition.
So while all of America has been gripped by the current economic crisis, folks in Troy and upstate New York have been dealing with what amounts to almost a permanent recession for years, an economic downturn that’s driven more and more young people from their hometowns.
I also know that, while a lot of people have come here promising better news, that news has been hard to come by, despite the determined efforts of the leaders who are here today and many who are not.
And part of the reason is that, while the people of this city work hard to meet their responsibilities, I have to confess that some in Washington haven’t always lived up to theirs.
For too long, as old divisions and special interests reigned, Washington has shown neither the inclination nor the ability to tackle our toughest challenges.
Meanwhile, businesses were saddled with ever-rising health care costs; the economy was weakened by ever-growing dependence on foreign oil; our investments in cutting-edge research declined; our schools fell further short; growth focused on short-term gains and, fueled by debt and reckless risk led to cycles of precipitous booms and painful busts.
OBAMA: And meanwhile, too many in Washington stood by and let it happen.
Now, after so many years of failing to act, there are those who now suggest that there’s really not much the government can or should do to make a difference; that what we’ve seen in places like Troy is inevitable; that somehow the parts of our country that helped us lead in the last century don’t have what it takes to help us lead in this one.
And I’m here to tell you that that is just flat-out wrong. What we have here in this community is talented people, entrepreneurs, world-class learning institutions.
The ingredients are right here for growth and success and a better future. These young people are testimony to it. You are proving that right here in the Hudson Valley.
Students here are training full-time while working part-time at G.E. Energy in Schenectady, becoming a new generation of American leaders in the new generation of American manufacturing. IBM has partnered with the University at Albany. Their partnership in nanotechnology is helping students train in industries in which America has the potential to lead.
at 8:58 AM |
Ratigan has become a champion of the American consumer:
But if you decide you want to buy your appliance someplace else, no problem, the GE Appliance Store is there if you want it at any time, but there is certainly no obligation to buy there. And they certainly don't pay me in expensive GE stoves, because I would much rather have actual money that I could then go and use it to buy any stove I want, maybe even a smaller, cheaper one since I live in New York City. Or if I didn't need a new stove, I could just use the money for something I did need.
The same is true for all of the non-health insurance I have. They have nothing to do with where I work, so I can change my homeowners insurance and car insurance at any time, and the insurers are forced to compete based on my preferences.
And yet that is exactly the opposite of how the Employer-based Health Care model works: they decide your choices, and if you don't like their limited selection, you end up having to forgo their entire subsidy and pay for the plan you want completely out of pocket. It would be like getting partially paid in stoves that you need and can't sell.
However, when you compare my predicament to the 47 million people without health insurance, I couldn't seem more whiny. The fact is that GE does provide me with excellent health insurance, so this really has nothing to do with benefiting me personally. But the cost of health insurance in this country is out of control, and it is not only keeping millions from accessing proper medical care, but it is also hobbling our large companies in the global marketplace and strangling at birth many of the small businesses we need so desperately to get job growth going.
Meanwhile, innovative health care programs like the Mayo Clinic are out of reach of most of the 174 million Americans currently on Employer-based health care, protecting the majority of insurers from competing against the Mayo Clinic's amazing advances. This in turn prevents the smarter, less-expensive large scale health care companies from growing large enough to cover the currently uninsured.
at 8:40 AM |