Last month, I visited Andrews AFB and welcomed some of our last troops who fought in Iraq home. Together, we offered a final salute and pride to the flag under which more than one million of our American comrades fought, and some thousands gave their lives.
We meet tonight knowing that this generation of heroes has increased the security and respect of the United States around the world. For the first time in nine years, there are no Americans fighting in Iraq.
For the first time in two decades, Osama bin Laden is not a threat to this country. Most of al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated. The Taliban’s momentum has slowed down, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to return home.
These achievements are a testament to the courage, generosity and teamwork of the US military. At a time when too many of our institutions have disappointed us, they exceed all expectations. They are not guided by their personal ambition. Nor are obsessed with the differences between them. They focus on the mission that lies ahead. And they work together.
Imagine what could be achieved if we followed his example. Think of the United States that we have within our reach. A country that leads the world in education. A country that attracts a new generation of high-tech manufacturing jobs and jobs that pay good wages. A future in which we are in control of our own energy, and in which our security and prosperity are not so linked to unstable places in the world. An economy built to last, where hard work achieves results and where responsibility is rewarded.
We can make it. I know we can, because we have done it before. At the end of World War II, when another generation of heroes returned home from the war, they created the strongest economy and middle class the world had ever known. My grandfather, who was a veteran of Patton’s army, had the opportunity to study at the university under the law of readjustment of soldiers known as GI Bill. My grandmother, who worked in a bomb factory, was part of the workforce that produced the best products in the world.
The two shared the optimism of a nation that had triumphed over a great economic depression and fascism. They understood that they were part of something bigger; that they were contributing to a success story that all the inhabitants of the country had the opportunity to share: the basic promise of the USA. If you work hard, you can earn enough to raise your family, own your home, send your children to college, and save a little for your retirement.
The key issue of our times is how to keep that promise alive. No other problem is more urgent; No debate is more important. We can settle for a country where a growing number of people are very successful, while more Americans barely cover their expenses. Or we can create a nation where everyone has a fair chance, where everyone does what belongs to them, and everyone is governed by the same rules. What is at stake is not the Democratic or Republican values, but the American values. We have to recover them.
Remember how we got to this. Long before the recession, jobs and manufacturing began to leave our country. Technology made businesses more efficient, but also made some jobs obsolete. People at the economic top saw an unprecedented increase in their income, but most working Americans suffered to cope with rising costs, non-increasing checks, and personal debt that continued to grow.
In 2008, the paper house collapsed. We learned that mortgages were sold to people who could not afford them or could not understand them. Banks made huge bets and gave bonuses with other people’s money. The regulators had turned a blind eye, or lacked the authority to put an end to the deplorable behavior.
That was very wrong. It was irresponsible. And it plunged our economy into a crisis that left millions unemployed, overburdened us with more debt, and left innocent and hardworking people carrying the dead. In the six months before I assumed the presidency, we lost almost four million jobs. And we lost another four million before our policies came into full force.
Those are the facts. However, these are also. In the last 22 months, businesses have created more than three million jobs. Last year, they created the largest number of jobs since 2005. US manufacturing companies They are hiring again, creating jobs for the first time since the late 1990s. Together, we have agreed to cut the deficit by more than $ 2 billion. And we have established new rules to hold Wall Street accountable, so that a crisis like this never happens again.
The state of our union is strengthening. We have come too far to back out now. While I am President, I will collaborate with everyone in this chamber to take advantage of this momentum. But I intend to combat the obstruction with action, and I will oppose any effort to return to the same policies that led us to this economic crisis in the first place.
No, we will not return to an economy weakened by the export of jobs, uncollectible debts, and fictitious financial gains. Tonight, I want to talk about how we go forward and present a specific plan for an economy built to last: an economy built on US manufacturing, US energy, training for the workers of the United States. USA, and a renewal of US values.
This specific plan begins with the US manufacturing.
The day I assumed the presidency, our automotive industry was on the verge of collapse. Some even said that we should let her die. With a million jobs at stake, I refused to allow it. In exchange for help, we demand responsibility. We got the workers and car manufacturers to sort out their differences. We achieved that the industry was reconditioned and restructured. Today, General Motors is once again at the top as the world’s first automaker. Chrysler has grown faster in the US than any other major car company. Ford is investing billions in plants and factories in the US Together, the entire industry increased almost 160,000 jobs.
We bet on the American workers. We bet on American ingenuity. And tonight the American car industry has been reborn.
What is happening in Detroit can happen in other industries. It can happen in Cleveland and in Pittsburgh and in Raleigh. We can not bring back all the jobs that left our country. But, at this moment, it is becoming more expensive to do business in places such as China. Meanwhile, USA It is more productive. A few weeks ago, the CEO of Master Lock told me that it currently makes business sense for him to bring back jobs. Now, for the first time in fifteen years, the unionized Master Lock plant in Milwaukee is running at full capacity.
So we have a tremendous opportunity, at this time, to bring back manufacturing. But we have to take advantage of it. Tonight, my message to business leaders is simple: ask yourself what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything possible to help them succeed.
We must start with our tax code. Currently, companies receive tax advantages for moving jobs and profits abroad. Meanwhile, companies that choose to stay here pay one of the highest tax rates in the world. That does not make sense, and everyone knows it.
So let’s change it. First, if you are a business that wants to outsource jobs abroad, you should not receive a tax deduction for it. That money should be used to cover the moving expenses of companies like Master Lock who decide to bring the jobs back home.
Second, no US company should be able to avoid paying its share of taxes due to the transfer of jobs and profits abroad. From now on, every multinational company must have to pay a basic minimum tax. And every last penny should be used to reduce taxes on companies that choose to stay here and contract here.
Third, if you are a US manufacturing company, you should receive a higher tax cut. If it is a high-tech manufacturing company, we should double the tax deduction you receive for manufacturing your products here. And, if you want to move to a community that suffered a serious impact when a factory left, you should get help to finance a new plant, equipment, or training for new workers.
My message is simple. It’s time to stop rewarding businesses that send jobs abroad, and start rewarding companies that create jobs right here in the US. Send me those tax reforms and I’ll sign them immediately.
We are also making it easier for US companies. the sale of their products in all parts of the world. Two years ago, I set a goal of doubling US exports. during a period of five years. With the bipartisan trade agreements that I have promulgated, we are on track to meet that goal sooner than projected. Soon there will be millions of new customers of products from the United States in Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Soon, there will be new cars on the streets of Seoul imported from Detroit, Toledo, and Chicago.
I will go anywhere in the world to open new markets for products from the United States. And I will not stand by when our competition is not governed by the rules. We have initiated almost twice as many commercial cases against China as those initiated by the previous administration, and it has had an effect. More than a thousand Americans have jobs today because we stopped a large increase in the consumption of Chinese tires. But we have to do more. It is not right for another country to allow the piracy of our films, music and software. It is not fair for foreign manufacturing companies to take us advantage only because they have numerous subsidies.
Tonight, I am announcing the creation of a Commercial Rules Compliance Unit that will be responsible for the investigation of unfair business practices in countries such as China. There will be more inspections to prevent the entry of false or harmful products to our country. And this Congress must ensure that no foreign company has an advantage over US manufacturing in terms of obtaining financing or venturing into new markets such as Russia. Our workers are the most productive in the world and, if there are equal circumstances, I promise that the US he will always win.
I also hear that many business leaders want to hire in the United States, but can not find workers who have the necessary skills. Growing industries in science and technology have two job opportunities for each worker available to do the job. Analyze that situation: job opportunities at a time when millions of Americans are looking for work.
That is unforgivable. And we know how to solve it.
Jackie Bray is a single mother from North Carolina who lost her job as a mechanic. Then Siemens opened a gas turbine factory in Charlotte, and created a partnership with Central Piedmont Community College. The company helped the school design laser and robotic training courses. He paid Jackie’s studies, and then hired her to help operate his plant.
I want every American who is looking for a job to have the same opportunity that Jackie had. Join me in a national commitment to train two million Americans with the skills that will lead them directly to employment. My government has already made arrangements with other companies that want to help. There are model societies that are already operating between companies such as Siemens and community colleges in places like Charlotte, Orlando and Louisville. Now, it is necessary to give more community colleges the resources they need to become community centers of careers, places that give people the skills that companies are looking for right now, from data management to high-tech manufacturing.
And I want to simplify the maze of confusing training programs, so that, from now on, people like Jackie have a program, a website, and a place to look for all the information and help they need. It is time to turn our unemployment system into a re-employment system that puts people to work.
These reforms will help people get jobs that are available today. But to prepare for tomorrow’s jobs, our commitment to hands-on training and education has to start much earlier.
For less than one percent of what our country spends on education every year, we have convinced almost every state in the country to raise their expectations for instruction and learning. It is the first time that this happens in a whole generation.
However, we have other challenges. And we know how to solve them.
At a time when other countries are redoubling education, limited budgets have forced states to lay off thousands of teachers. We know that a good teacher can increase the income of a student classroom during their lifetime by more than $ 250,000. A great teacher can offer an escape from poverty to a student who dreams beyond their circumstances. Every person in this chamber can indicate a teacher who changed the trajectory of his life. Most teachers work tirelessly, with a modest salary, sometimes using their own resources to buy school supplies, only to have decisive influence. Teachers are important. So, instead of reproaching them, or defending the status quo, let’s offer them a deal to schools. Let’s give them the resources to keep good teachers employed, and reward the best. In return, let’s offer them flexibility: teach with creativity and passion, stop teaching in order to pass exams, and replace teachers who are simply not helping the kids learn.
We also know that when students are not allowed to drop out of their education, more of them will go on stage to receive their diploma. So tonight, I urge every state to demand that all students remain in high school until they graduate or turn eighteen.
When the boys graduate, the most difficult challenge may be the cost of the University. When Americans owe more in debt for education expenses than for credit card debts, this Congress should avoid doubling the interest rates on student loans in July. Extend the tax credit to the cost of teaching that we started and that saves middle class families thousands of dollars. And give more young people the chance to pay for their university studies by doubling the number of jobs with work-study programs in the next five years.
Of course, it is not enough that we increase student attendance. We can not continue subsidizing teaching expenses that increase disproportionately. We would run out of money. States must also do their part by giving higher education a higher priority in their budgets. And universities must do their part by striving to keep costs down. Recently, I spoke with a group of university rectors who have done exactly that. Some schools redesign their courses so that students can finish more quickly. Others use better technology. The point is that this is possible. So let me warn the universities: if they can not avoid raising the costs of teaching, the funding they receive from taxpayers will decrease. Higher education should not be a luxury. It is an economic imperative that all families in the United States should be able to afford.
Recall also that hundreds of thousands of talented and applied students in this country face another challenge: the fact that they are not yet American citizens. Many came to this country when they were small children, they are Americans to the core but they live day by day with the threat of being deported. Others arrived more recently to study careers in commerce, science and engineering, but as soon as they obtain their degree, we send them to their country to invent new products and create new jobs elsewhere.
That does not make any sense.
I firmly believe that we must face the problem of illegal immigration. That’s why my government has put more surveillance agents on the border than ever before. That’s why there are fewer illegal crossings since I took office.
Opponents to take action have run out of excuses. We must work on comprehensive immigration reform now. But if the political intrigues of the election year prevent Congress from formulating a comprehensive plan, at least we agree to stop expelling these responsible young people who want to work in our laboratories, start new businesses and defend this country. Send me a law that gives them the chance to earn their citizenship. I’ll sign it immediately.
An economy built to last is one in which we foster the talent and inventiveness of each person in this country. That means that women should receive the same remuneration for doing the same job. It means that we must support everyone who is willing to work; and anyone who takes risks and every entrepreneur who aspires to become the next Steve Jobs.
After all, innovation is something that the United States has always been characterized for. Most new jobs are created in new companies and small businesses. That’s why we approve a program that helps them succeed. Let’s eliminate the regulations that prevent those who aspire to be entrepreneurs from obtaining the financing required to grow. Let’s expand the tax reduction to small businesses so they can raise wages and create good jobs. Both parties agree on these ideas. So, include them in a bill and send them to my desk this year.
Basic research is essential for innovation. Today, the discoveries that take place in our nationally funded laboratories and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but do not affect healthy cells, or new light vests for police and soldiers that can stop any bullet. Do not eliminate these investments from our budget. Do not let other countries win the race of the future. Support the same type of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new jobs and new industries for Americans.
Nowhere is the promise of innovation greater than in the energy produced in the United States. Over the past three years, we have opened millions of new acres for oil and gas exploration, and tonight, I am asking my government to open more than 75% of our potential offshore oil and gas resources. Currently, US oil production is the highest it has been in eight years. That’s right: eight years. Not only that: last year, we depended less on foreign oil than any of the last sixteen years.
But with only 2% of the world’s oil reserves, oil is not enough. This country needs a comprehensive strategy that includes all of the above and takes advantage of all available resources of the US energy, a strategy that is cleaner, cheaper and promotes many new jobs.
We have a supply of natural gas that can last the United States for almost a hundred years, and my Government will take every possible step to take advantage of this energy safely. Experts believe that this will support more than 600,000 jobs by the end of this decade. And I will demand that all companies that drill for gas on public land disclose the chemicals they use. The United States will take advantage of this resource without endangering the health and safety of our citizens.
The development of natural gas will create jobs and supply energy to trucks and factories that is cleaner and more economical, demonstrating that we do not have to choose between our environment and our economy. And by the way, they were the public dollars destined to the investigation, in the course of thirty years, those that contributed to develop the technologies to extract all this natural gas of the schistose rock. This reminds us that government support is crucial in helping companies to come up with new ideas on energy.
What is true for natural gas is true for clean energy. In three years, our partnership with the private sector has already made the United States the world’s leading manufacturer of high-tech batteries. Due to federal investments, the use of renewable energy has almost doubled. And thousands of Americans have jobs because of it.
When Bryan Ritterby was fired from his furniture manufacturing job, he said he was concerned that at age 55, no one would give him a second chance. But he found work at Energetx, a manufacturer of wind turbines in Michigan. Before the recession, the factory only built luxury yachts. Today, he hires workers like Bryan, who said, “I’m proud to work in the industry of the future.”
Our experience with schist gas shows us that the benefits of these public investments do not always come immediately. Some technologies do not work; some companies fail. But I will not turn my back on the promise of clean energy. I will not turn my back on workers like Bryan. I will not give the wind, solar or battery industry to China or Germany because we were not willing to take the same commitment here. We have subsidized oil companies for a century. That’s enough. It’s time to put an end to taxpayer assistance that benefits an industry that has rarely been more profitable, and to bet on a clean energy industry that has never been more promising. Approve tax credits for clean energy and create these jobs.
We can also promote energy innovation with new incentives. The differences in this chamber may be too deep today to approve a comprehensive plan to combat climate change. But there is no reason why Congress does not establish at least one clean energy standard that creates a market for innovation. So far, you have not acted. Well, tonight I will. I am telling my Government to allow the development of clean energy on enough public land to power three million homes. And I’m proud to announce that the Department of Defense, the world’s largest energy consumer, will make one of the largest commitments to clean energy in history. The Navy will buy enough capacity to supply energy to a quarter of a million homes a year.
Of course the easiest way to save money is to waste less energy. That is why here I make another proposal: to help manufacturers to eliminate energy waste in their factories and grant incentives to companies to modernize their buildings. Your energy bills will be $ 100,000 million lower in the next decade and the United States will have less pollution, more factories and more jobs for construction workers who need them. Send me a bill that creates these jobs.
Building this new energy future should be just one part of a larger program to repair the infrastructure of the United States. There is so much of the United States to rebuild. We have roads and bridges that are collapsing, an electrical network that wastes too much energy, an incomplete network of high-speed broadband that prevents an owner of a small rural business in the United States from selling their products throughout the world.
During the Great Depression, the United States built the Hoover Dam and the Golden Gate Bridge. After World War II, we connect our states with a highway system. The Democratic and Republican governments invested in great works that benefited everyone, from the workers who built them to the companies that still use them today.
In the next few weeks, I will sign an Executive Order that will eliminate paperwork that delays too many construction projects. But you must fund these projects. Take the money that we no longer spend in the war, use half of it to pay off our debt and use the rest for the construction of the nation here in the United States.
There has never been a better occasion to build, especially since the construction sector was one of the most affected when the housing bubble burst. Of course the construction workers were not the only ones harmed. So were millions of innocent Americans who have seen the value of their home decrease. And while the government can not solve the problem on its own, responsible homeowners should not have to wait for the housing market to hit bottom to get some relief.
That is why I will send to Congress a plan that will give each responsible homeowner the possibility of saving about $ 3,000 a year on their mortgage through a refinancing at historically low interest rates. Enough of bureaucratic impediments. No more banking obstacles. A small fee to the largest financial institutions will ensure that the deficit does not increase, and will provide the banks that were rescued by the taxpayers with the possibility of re-establishing confidence.
Let’s never forget: millions of Americans who work hard and follow the rules every day deserve a government and a financial system that does the same. It is time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: enough financial rescues, gifts and breaches of responsibilities. A country like the United States, built to last, demands the responsibility of all.
We have all paid the price for lenders who sold mortgages to people who did not have the means to pay them, and buyers who knew they could not afford them. That’s why we need smart regulatory rules to prevent irresponsible behavior. The rules to prevent financial fraud, or the dumping of toxic waste, or defective medical devices, do not destroy the free market but make it work better.
There is no doubt that some standards are outdated, unnecessary or too expensive. In fact, I have approved fewer rules in the first three years of my presidency than those that my Republican predecessor approved in theirs. I ordered each federal agency to eliminate the rules that do not make sense. We have already announced more than 500 reforms, and only a fraction of them will save businesses and citizens more than US $ 10 billion over the next five years. We eliminated a 40-year-old rule that would have forced some dairy producers to spend $ 10,000 per year to prove they could contain a spill because the milk was classified for some reason as an oil. With a rule like that, I suppose it was worth crying over spilled milk.
I am confident that a dairy producer can contain a spill of milk without being supervised by a federal agency. But I will not stop making sure that the oil companies can contain the kind of oil spill that we saw in the Gulf two years ago. I will not stop protecting our children from mercury contamination or making sure our food is safe and our water is clean. I will not go back to the days when the insurance companies had the power to cancel the user’s policies, deny coverage or charge different rates to women than to men without any obstacle.
And I will not go back to the days when Wall Street was allowed to play by its own rules. The new rules that we passed restore what should be the central goal of any financial system: to get financing from entrepreneurs with the best ideas, and to provide loans to responsible families who want to buy a house, start a business, or send a child to University.
So if you are a large bank or financial institution, you will no longer be allowed to make risky bets with your clients’ deposits. Está obligado a escribir un “testamento vital” que detalla exactamente cómo va a pagar las cuentas si fracasa, porque el resto de nosotros no volveremos rescatarle nunca jamás.
Y si es un prestamista hipotecario o un prestamista de día de pago o una compañía de tarjetas de crédito, se han terminado los días de vender a las personas productos que no pueden pagar con formularios confusos y prácticas engañosas. Hoy en día, los consumidores estadounidenses por fin tienen un guardián en Richard Cordray con un propósito: velar por ellos.
También estableceremos una Unidad de Crímenes Financieros de investigadores altamente capacitados para tomar medidas enérgicas contra el fraude a gran escala y proteger las inversiones del pueblo estadounidense. Algunas firmas financieras violar las principales leyes anti-fraude porque no existe una verdadera sanción por violar la ley repetidamente. Eso es malo para los consumidores, y es malo para la gran mayoría de los banqueros y profesionales de servicios financieros que hacen lo correcto. Así que aprueben leyes que hacen que las sanciones para el fraude se hagan valer.
Y esta noche le pediré a mi Fiscal General que cree una unidad especial de fiscales federales y estatales para expandir nuestra investigación de la emisión abusiva de préstamos y venta de hipotecas riesgosas que llevó a la crisis habitacional. Esta unidad hará responsables a quienes violaron la ley, acelerará la asistencia a los dueños de hogares, y ayudará a salir de una época de imprudencia que hizo tanto mal a tantos estadounidenses.
Un retorno a los valores americanos de jugar limpio y la responsabilidad compartida nos ayudará a proteger a nuestra gente y nuestra economía. Pero también nos debe guiar cuando consideramos como pagar nuestra deuda e invertir en nuestro futuro.
Ahora mismo, nuestra prioridad más inmediata es detener un aumento de impuestos para 160 millones de trabajadores estadounidenses mientras la recuperación sigue siendo frágil. La gente no puede permitirse el lujo de perder 40 dólares de cada cheque de pago este año. Hay muchas maneras de hacer esto. Así que pongámosnos de acuerdo, aquí y ahora: nada de temas secundarios. Nada de drama.
Aprueben el recorte de impuestos sobre la nómina salarios sin demora.
Cuando se trata del déficit, ya hemos acordado a más de $2 billones en recortes y ahorros. Pero necesitamos hacer más, y eso significa tomar decisiones. En este momento, estamos a punto de pasar casi $1 billón más en lo que se suponía que era una rebaja de impuestos temporales para el 2% de los estadounidenses más ricos. En este momento, debido a lagunas reglamentarias y los refugios en el código tributario, un cuarto de todos los millonarios pagan tasas impositivas más bajas que millones de hogares de clase media. En este momento, Warren Buffett paga una tasa impositiva más bajo que su secretaria.
¿Queremos mantener a estos recortes de impuestos? ¿O es que queremos mantener nuestras inversiones en todo lo demás – como la educación y la investigación médica, un ejército fuerte y cuidado para nuestros veteranos? Porque si hablamos en serio sobre el pago de nuestra deuda, no podemos hacer ambas cosas.
El pueblo estadounidense sabe cual es la decisión correcta. Así como le dije el Presidente de la Cámara este verano, estoy dispuesto a hacer más reformas para controlar los costos a largo plazo de Medicare y Medicaid, y para fortalecer el Seguro Social, siempre y cuando los programas sigan siendo una garantía de seguridad para las personas mayores.
Pero a cambio, tenemos que cambiar nuestro código tributario para que la gente como yo, y una gran cantidad de los miembros del Congreso, pague su parte justa de impuestos. La reforma fiscal debe seguir la regla de Buffett: si usted gana más de $1 millón al año, usted no debe pagar menos del 30% en impuestos. Y mi amigo republicano Tom Coburn tiene razón: Washington debe dejar de subsidiar a los millonarios. De hecho, si usted está ganando un millón de dólares al año, no debe recibir subsidios especiales de impuestos o deducciones. Por otro lado, si usted gana menos de $250,000 al año, al igual que el 98% de las familias estadounidenses, sus impuestos no deben ser aumentados. Ustedes son los que luchan con los crecientes costos y los salarios estancados. Ustedes son los que necesitan alivio.
Ahora, usted puede referirse a esto como una lucha de clases. Sin embargo, ¿pedirle a un multimillonario que pague por lo menos tanto como su secretaria en impuestos? La mayoría de los estadounidenses lo llamarían sentido común.
No guardamos rencor al éxito financiero en este país. Lo admiramos. Cuando los estadounidenses hablan de que gente como yo debe pagar su parte justa de impuestos, no es porque envidian a los ricos. Es porque entienden que cuando yo recibo deducciones de impuestos que no necesito y que el país no puede pagar, o bien se añade al déficit, o alguien más tiene que pagar por la diferencia – como una persona mayor con un ingreso fijo; o una estudiante que está tratando de quedarse en la escuela; o una familia que intenta ganarse la vida. That is not right. Los estadounidenses saben que el éxito de esta generación sólo es posible porque las generaciones pasadas sintieron una responsabilidad hacia los demás, y hacia el futuro de su país, y saben que nuestra forma de vida sólo perdurará si tenemos el mismo sentido de responsabilidad compartida.
Así es como vamos a reducir nuestro déficit. Así será un Estados Unidos construido para ser perdurable.
Reconozco que las personas que nos miran esta noche tienen visiones encontradas sobre los impuestos y la deuda, sobre el empleo y el sistema de salud. Pero independientemente del partido al que pertenezcan, imagino que la mayoría de los estadounidenses ahora están pensando lo mismo: que no se logrará hacer nada este año, ni en el año que viene ni, quizás, en el otro, porque Washington está descompuesta.
¿Pueden culparles por sentir algo de cinismo?
El mayor golpe a la confianza en nuestra economía durante el año pasado no surgió de acontecimientos fuera de nuestro control. Surgió de un debate en Washington, sobre si Estados Unidos iba a pagar o no sus facturas. ¿A quién le benefició ese fiasco?
He hablado esta noche del déficit de confianza entre el ciudadano común y los mercados financieros. Pero la división entre esta ciudad y el resto del país es igual de mala —y parece empeorar cada año.
Parte de la culpa reside en la influencia destructiva del dinero en la política. Tomemos juntos, entonces, algunas medidas para remediarla. Envíenme un proyecto de ley que prohíba el abuso de información privilegiada en la Bolsa por Miembros del Congreso y lo firmaré mañana. Prohibamos que los funcionarios elegidos estén en posesión de acciones de las industrias afectadas por su trabajo.
Aseguremos que las personas que juntan contribuciones para las campañas electorales del Congreso no puedan hacer cabildeo en el Congreso, y viceversa —una idea que goza de apoyo bipartidista, por lo menos fuera de Washington.
En parte, lo que está mal tiene que ver con la manera en que el Congreso lleva sus asuntos hoy en día. Una simple mayoría ya no es suficiente para aprobar nada en el Senado —ni los asuntos más rutinarios—. Ninguno de los partidos se encuentra exento de culpabilidad en estas tácticas. Ahora ambos partidos deben ponerles fin. Para empezar, pido al Senado que apruebe una regla para que todos los nombramientos a puestos judiciales o de servicio público reciban una votación simple, a favor o en contra, dentro de 90 días.
El poder ejecutivo también necesita cambiarse. En demasiados casos es ineficaz, anticuado y distante. Es por eso que he pedido a este Congreso que me dé la autoridad de consolidar la burocracia federal, para que nuestro gobierno sea más eficiente, más rápido y más atento a las necesidades del pueblo estadounidense.
Finalmente, ninguna de estas reformas será posible si no bajamos el tono en esta ciudad. Necesitamos acabar con la idea de que los dos partidos deben estar siempre trabados en una campaña perpetua de destrucción mutua; que la política se trata de aferrarse a ideologías inflexibles en vez de llegar a consensos en torno a ideas racionales.
Soy demócrata. Pero creo en lo que creyó el republicano Abraham Lincoln: que un gobierno debe hacer para la gente solo lo que la gente no puede hacer mejor, y no más. Es por eso que mis reformas educativas ofrecen más competencia, y más control para las escuelas y los estados. Es por eso que nos estamos deshaciendo de los reglamentos que no funcionan. Es por eso que nuestra ley sanitaria se basa en un mercado privado reformado y no un programa gubernamental.
Por otro lado, hasta mis amigos republicanos que se quejan más del gasto gubernamental han apoyado carreteras, proyectos de energía sostenible y agencias federales para la gente de su distrito o estado, todos financiados por el gobierno federal.
Lo que quiero decir es que todos debemos querer tener un gobierno más inteligente y más eficaz. Y aunque quizás no lleguemos a llenar el vacío entre nuestras diferencias filosóficas más grandes este año, podremos lograr avances notables. Con este Congreso o sin él, yo seguiré actuando para fomentar el crecimiento de la economía. Pero hay mucho más que podría yo hacer con la ayuda de ustedes. Porque, cuando actuamos juntos, no hay nada que no puedan lograr los Estados Unidos de América.
Esto es lo que hemos aprendido de nuestras acciones en el exterior en los años más recientes.
La conclusión de la guerra en Irak nos ha permitido dar golpes decisivos a nuestros enemigos. Desde Pakistán a Yemen, los operarios de al-Qaeda que quedan hacen lo posible para huir, reconociendo que no podrán escaparse del alcance de los Estados Unidos de América.
Desde esta posición de poder, hemos empezado a concluir la guerra en Afganistán. Han regresado a casa diez mil tropas. Saldrán otras veintitrés mil para finales de este verano. Esta transición al control afgano continuará y construiremos una asociación duradera con Afganistán para que nunca más sea una fuente de ataques a Estados Unidos.
A la vez que se retrocede la oleada de la guerra, ha llegado una oleada de cambio al Oriente Medio y África del Norte; desde Túnez a El Cairo, desde Saná a Trípoli. Hace un año, Gadafi era uno de los dictadores con más tiempo en el poder en todo el mundo —un asesino con la sangre de estadounidenses en las manos. Hoy, está muerto. Y en Siria, no tengo duda alguna de que el régimen de Assad pronto se dará cuenta de que las fuerzas del cambio son irreversibles y que la dignidad humana no puede ser suprimida.
Aún no se sabe con seguridad en qué manera terminará esta transformación extraordinaria, pero nos interesa muchísimo el resultado de la misma. Defenderemos esos valores que han sido tan útiles a nuestro propio país, aunque queda en manos del pueblo de la región decidir su propio destino en última instancia. Nos opondremos a la violencia y la intimidación. Haremos valer los derechos y la dignidad de todos los seres humanos, hombres y mujeres, cristianos, musulmanes y judíos. Respaldaremos las políticas que conduzcan al establecimiento de democracias sólidas y estables y de mercados abiertos, pues la tiranía no llega a los talones de la libertad.
Y salvaguardaremos la propia seguridad de Estados Unidos contra aquellos que amenacen a nuestros ciudadanos, nuestros amigos y nuestros intereses. Miren a Irán. Gracias al poder de nuestra diplomacia, ahora se yergue unido un mundo otrora dividido en la manera de enfrentar el programa nuclear de Irán. El régimen está más aislado que nunca; sus líderes enfrentan sanciones asfixiantes. Esta presión no cederá en tanto el régimen rehúya sus responsabilidades. Que no quede duda alguna que Estados Unidos está decidido a impedir que Irán desarrolle armas nucleares. No descartaremos ninguna opción disponible para lograr este objetivo. Pero aún es posible llegar a una resolución pacífica de este problema. Aún más, si Irán cambia de rumbo y cumple sus obligaciones, puede reincorporarse a la comunidad de naciones.