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To the Congress of the United States:
America is emerging from the worst recession in generations. In 2010, an economy that had been shrinking began to grow again. After nearly 2 years of job losses, America’s businesses added more than one million jobs. Our capital and credit markets are functioning and strong. Manufacturing is coming back. And after teetering on the brink of liquidation just 2 years ago, America’s auto industry is posting healthy gains and returning money to the taxpayers who helped it through a period of turmoil. The determination and resilience of the American people and the tough choices we made over the past 2 years helped to pull our economy back from the brink of a second Great Depression.
Two years after those dark days, the stock market is booming. Corporations are posting record profits. Momentum is building. Yet, in America, we have always had a broader measure of economic health. We believe in a country where everyone who is willing to work for it has the opportunity to get ahead; where the small businessperson with a dream or entrepreneur with a great new idea has their best chance to make them a reality; where any child can go as far as their talent and tenacity will take them. That is the genius of America. That spirit is what has built the greatest prosperity
the world has ever known.
So even as recovery begins to take hold, we have more work to do to live up to our promise by repairing the damage this brutal recession has inflicted on our people, generating millions of new jobs, and seizing the economic opportunities of this competitive, new century.
These must be the priorities as we put together our Budget for the coming year. The fiscal realities we face require hard choices. A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course. That’s why my Budget lays out a path for how we can pay down these debts and free the American economy from their burden.
But in an increasingly competitive world in which jobs and businesses are mobile, we also have a responsibility to invest in those things that are absolutely critical to preparing our people and our Nation for the economic competition of our time.
We do this by investing in and reforming education and job training so that all Americans have the skills necessary to compete in the global economy. We do this by encouraging American innovation and investing in research and development—especially in the job-creating industries of tomorrow such as clean energy. We do this by rebuilding America’s infrastructure so that U.S. companies can ship their products and ideas from every corner in America to anywhere in the world. And finally, we do this by coming together as Americans, not Democrats or Republicans, to make the tough choices that get America’s fiscal house in order, investing in what works, cutting what doesn’t, and changing
the way business is done in Washington.