Saturday, September 8, 2012

Some Missing Pages From Obama's Speech

"Republicans often accuse me of not believing in 'American exceptionalism.' Well, I believe America is an exceptional country. My own life is testimony to the truth of that.

"Where I differ from Republicans is that they seem to believe that we can be exceptional just by saying we are. I think that being exceptional is hard work. Previous generations did that work for our benefit. Now a lot of people who claim to be concerned about future generations think we should just shirk our responsibilities.

"For example, Americans' deep belief in individual liberty and individual responsibility led us to establish free public education in this country, first at the elementary and then at the secondary level. And we established state universities and the G.I. Bill, to make college education feasible for millions of people who would never have had that opportunity otherwise. As a result, we had exceptionally well educated workers, and that is one of the reasons America became an economic powerhouse and a land of opportunity.

"Today, local governments are being forced to lay off teachers, state governments are raising tuition at universities, and Federal tuition assistance has lagged far behind college costs. Do we think we can continue to be an economic powerhouse and a land of opportunity if that keeps up?

"Or take infrastructure. Government has an important role to play in making sure that we have good transportation systems to knit this country together and lower the cost of getting goods to market. Americans have always understood this, from the Erie Canal in 1825 to the interstate highway system begun under President Eisenhower.

"But today there are more than sixty thousand state and interstate bridges, and almost another eighty thousand city and county bridges, that are rated structurally deficient or obsolete. Overall, the total infrastructure backlog in this country is more than $2 trillion. Do we think we can continue as the world's most powerful economy without taking action on this? The work will have to be done sooner or later. The best time to do it is when we have large numbers of workers and large amounts of capital sitting idle, as we do now.

"The truth is, the Republican path, of empty boasts and unnecessary wars, of paying lip service to future generations while making no investments, is not what made America great. That path is the path to American decline."

1 comment:

  1. Interesting example. Politicians who opposed the Erie Canal called it "Clinton's Folly" ( a different Governor Clinton), but it opened up the whole mid-west to shipping grain to the Eastern Seaboard.