President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 25, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 25, 2010
THE PRESIDENT:  Merry Christmas, everybody.  Michelle and I just wanted to take a moment today to send greetings from our family to yours.
THE FIRST LADY:  This is one of our favorite times of year.  And we’re so fortunate to be able to celebrate it together in this wonderful home.
This is the “People’s House.”  So Barack and I try to open it to as many people as we can, especially during the holiday season.
This month, more than 100,000 Americans have passed through these halls.  And the idea behind this year’s theme, “Simple Gifts,” is that the greatest blessings of all are the ones that don’t cost a thing – the comfort of spending time with loved ones…the freedoms we enjoy as Americans… and the joy we feel upon giving something of ourselves.
So in this time of family, friends, and good cheer; let’s also be sure to look out for those who are less fortunate, who’ve hit a run of bad luck, or who are hungry and alone this holiday season.
THE PRESIDENT:  Because this is the season when we celebrate the simplest yet most profound gift of all: the birth of a child who devoted his life to a message of peace, love, and redemption.  A message that says no matter who we are, we are called to love one another – we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper, our separate stories in this big and busy world are really one.
Today, we’re also thinking of those who can’t be home for the holidays – especially all our courageous countrymen serving overseas.
That’s the message I delivered when I visited our troops in Afghanistan a few weeks ago – that while you may be serving far from home, every American supports you and your families.  We’re with you.  And I have no greater honor than serving as your Commander in Chief.
Today’s soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen make up the finest fighting force in the history of the world.  Just like their predecessors, they do extraordinary things in service to their country.  What makes that all the more remarkable is that today’s military is an all-volunteer force – a force of mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, husbands and wives.
THE FIRST LADY:  That’s right.  As First Lady, I’ve had the honor to meet members of our military and their families on bases and in communities all across the country.  I’ve gotten to know husbands and wives doing the parenting of two while their spouse is on another deployment…children trying their best in school but always wondering when mom or dad is coming home…patriots putting their lives on hold to help with a loved one’s recovery…or carry on the memory of a fallen hero.
When our men and women in uniform answer the call to serve, their families serve, too.  And they’re proud and glad to do it.  But as long as that service keeps the rest of us safe, their sacrifice should also be our own.  Even heroes can use a hand, especially during the holidays.
THE PRESIDENT:  So we’re encouraging Americans to ask what you can do to support our troops and their families in this holiday season.  For some ideas on how to get started, just visit
THE FIRST LADY:  You’ll see that you don’t need to be an expert in military life to give back to those who give so much to us.  There are countless ways to contribute by harnessing your unique talents.
If you live near a base, you can reach out through your local school or church.  If you don’t, you can volunteer with organizations that support military families.  And anybody can send a care package or pre-paid calling card to the front lines, or give what’s sometimes the most important gift of all: simply saying “thank you.”
THE PRESIDENT:   America’s brave servicemen and women represent a small fraction of our population.  But they and the families who await their safe return carry far more than their fair share of the burden.  They’ve done everything they’ve been asked to do.  They’ve been everything we’ve asked them to be.  And even as we speak, many are fighting halfway around the globe – in hopes that someday, our children and grandchildren won’t have to.
So let’s all remind them this holiday season that we’re thinking of them – and that America will forever be here for them, just as they’ve been there for us.
And on behalf of Michelle, Malia, Sasha…
THE PRESIDENT:  and Bo…have a very Merry Christmas.
THE FIRST LADY:  and an even happier New Year.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 18, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama Weekly Address
The White House
December 18, 2010
This week, Congress passed – and I signed into law – an essential economic package that will help grow our economy, spur businesses, and jumpstart job creation.

Instead of a New Years Day tax hike on the vast majority of Americans, two million Americans who’ve lost their jobs through no fault of their own will now know with certainty that they won’t lose their emergency unemployment insurance at the end of the month. Eight million college students who’d otherwise face a tuition hike next semester will continue having access to the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Twelve million families with twenty-four million children will benefit from extensions of the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit. And millions of entrepreneurs who’ve been waiting to invest in their businesses will receive new tax incentives to help them expand, buy new equipment, or make upgrades, freeing up money to hire new workers.

This package, which is so important for our economy at this pivotal time, was the product of hard negotiations. Like any negotiations, there was give and take on both sides. But I’m heartened by our ability to come together to do what’s best for middle class families across this country, and our economy as a whole.

Before going away for the holiday break, I’m hopeful we can also come together on another urgent national priority – and that is, the new START treaty that will reduce the world’s nuclear arsenals and make America more secure. Twenty-five years ago, the Soviet Union and United States each had about 25,000 nuclear weapons. In the decades since, that number has been reduced by over 70 percent, and we have had on-site inspections of Russian nuclear facilities. That progress would not have been possible without strategic arms control treaties.

During the past year, however, our old treaty with Russia expired, and without a new one, we won’t be able to verify Russia’s nuclear arsenal, which would undercut President Reagan’s call to trust, but verify, when it comes to nuclear weapons. Without a new treaty, we’ll risk turning back the progress we’ve made in our relationship with Russia, which is essential to enforce strong sanctions against Iran, secure vulnerable nuclear materials from terrorists, and resupply our troops in Afghanistan. And we’ll risk undermining American leadership not only on nuclear proliferation, but a host of other challenges around the world.

Ratifying a treaty like START isn’t about winning a victory for an administration or a political party. It’s about the safety and security of the United States of America. That’s why this treaty is supported by both Presidents Bill Clinton and George H.W. Bush. That’s why it’s supported by every living Republican Secretary of State, our NATO allies, and the leadership of the United States military. Indeed, the Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Hoss Cartwright, said this week that the military needs this treaty, and they need it badly. And that’s why every President since Ronald Reagan has pursued a treaty like START, and every one that has been reviewed by the Senate has passed with strong bipartisan support.

We have taken the time to get this right. The START treaty has now been under review by the Senate for over seven months.  It’s gone through 18 hearings.  Nearly 1,000 questions have been asked – and answered. Several Republican Senators have come out in support of ratification. Meanwhile, further delay comes at a cost. Every minute we drag our feet is a minute that we have no inspectors on the ground at those Russian nuclear sites.

It’s time to get this done. It’s time to show the same spirit of common purpose on our security that we showed this week on our economy. It’s time to remember the old saying that politics stops at the water’s edge. That saying was coined by a Republican Senator, Arthur Vandenberg, who partnered with a Democratic President, Harry Truman, to pass landmark national security measures at the dawn of the Cold War. Today, over sixty years later, when we’re threatened not only by nuclear weapons, but an array of other dangers, that’s a principle we must continue to uphold. Thank you, and have a nice weekend.


President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 11, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
December 11, 2010
Right now, there’s a big debate taking place in Washington that will affect how much you pay in taxes next year.  If Congress doesn’t act, tax rates will automatically go up for just about everyone in our country.  Typical middle class families would end up paying an extra $3,000.

That’s unacceptable to me.  Not when we know that it’s the middle class that was hit the hardest by the recession.  And not when we know that taking this money out of the pockets of working people is exactly the wrong thing to do to get our economy growing faster.  Economists tell us that this tax hike on working families could actually cost us well over a million jobs.

That’s why I’ve been fighting so hard to cut middle class taxes.  And that’s why I brought both Democrats and Republicans to the table – to put together a compromise, and work through our differences, so we could get this done.

Now, the Republicans in Congress strongly favored permanent tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers and the wealthiest estates, most of which would go to millionaires and even billionaires.  But I didn’t believe that these tax cuts were worth the cost.  They’d add to our deficits without really boosting the economy.

I believed that the best way to help the economy, and working families, was to keep middle class tax rates low, and cut taxes for working parents, college students, and small businesses.  And I believed that with millions of people looking for jobs, it would be a terrible mistake to end unemployment insurance – not only for people who are out of work, but for our entire economy.

So we hammered out a deal that reflects ideas from both sides.  It wasn’t easy, and it’s by no means perfect.  And as with any compromise, everybody had to live with elements they didn’t like.  But this is a good deal for the American people.  The vast majority of the tax cuts in this plan will help the middle class, including a new cut in payroll taxes that will save the average family about $1,000.  And as this plan is debated in Congress, what I want to make clear is the real difference it will make in people’s lives.

It’s going to make a difference for a single mom with two kids in Ohio working as a cashier.  With this plan, she’d get a new payroll tax cut and a bigger child tax credit together worth more than $2,300.

It’s going to make a difference for a couple in Florida earning about $50,000 and trying to put one of their two kids through college.  They’d save more than $4,000 because of the middle class tax cuts – including a $2,500 tax credit to go toward college tuition.

And it’s going to make an enormous difference for people looking for jobs.  For many of these families, emergency unemployment insurance is the last line of defense between hardship and catastrophe.  And I’d point out, if these folks stop spending money, it will also hurt businesses, which will hurt hiring, which will damage our recovery.

So this plan is going to help millions of families to make ends meet, through tax cuts and unemployment insurance for people who’ve lost their jobs by no fault of their own.  And we included tax relief for businesses, too – making it easier for them to invest and expand.  All told, this will not only directly help families and businesses.  By putting more money in people’s pockets, and helping companies grow, we’re going to see people being able to spend a little more, we’re going to spur hiring – we’re going to strengthen our entire economy.

Now, I recognize that many of my friends in my own party are uncomfortable with some of what’s in this agreement, in particular the temporary tax cuts for the wealthy.  And I share their concerns.  It’s clear that over the long run, if we’re serious about balancing the budget, we cannot afford to continue these tax breaks for the wealthiest taxpayers – especially when we know that cutting the deficit is going to demand sacrifice from everyone.  That’s the reality.

But at the same time, we cannot allow the middle class in this country to be caught in the political crossfire of Washington.  People want us to find solutions, not score points. And I will not allow middle class families to be treated like pawns on a chessboard.

The opportunity for families to send their kids to college hinges on this debate.  The ability of parents to put food on the table while looking for a job depends on this debate.  And our recovery will be strengthened or weakened based on the choice that now rests with Congress.

So I strongly urge members of both parties to pass this plan.  And I’m confident that they will do the right thing, strengthening the middle class and our economic recovery.

Thank you.

Democrats have no backbone

On Saturday, Dec. 04, 2010, the Times reported that the "Senate Republicans blocked legislation Saturday to let upper-income tax cuts expire on Jan. 1, a showdown scripted by Democrats eager to showcase GOP lawmakers as defenders of millionaires."

Does this mean that the Democrats  are going to give in or even compromise (again) with the Republicans ?

Over the last two years I watched the Democrats whining about all kinds of problems but then playing to the benefit if the Republicans?

What do Democrats stand fore? 
 What makes Democrats different from Republican?

As long as  Democrats continue to show no backbone, people will not vote for them again. People want to be sure that their interests are represented in the U.S. government. We can't afford to let Republicans call the Democrats fiscally irresponsible when in fact they are the ones who are giving away our tax-money to the millionaires and billionaire.

If  Democrats want to survive, they have to show the American people that they are on their side and not just going along with the Republicans!

Are the independents careful thinkers?

ZAKARIA: But the big shift if you look 1996 when the Democrats sweep into power, 57 percent of independents voted Democrat. In this election, 57 percent of independents voted Republican. What does that tell you?

MAHER: That tells me independents don't pay that much attention. Independents are people who just throw out the party that's in power because Obama got elected and it didn't immediately start rating 20s. So throw the bums out. By the way, the same bums that they just, you know, threw out two years ago they wanted to put back in. No wonder we can't get anything done in this country.

So, you know, this idea that the independents are these -- these careful thinkers who assess what's going -- I don't think that's who the independent voter is. I just they're -- they're cranky people who want change. They voted for change in '06. They voted for change in '08. They voted -- I don't blame them for being impatient with Obama. He did promise us change and he's delivered some of it. I mean there has been change.

In other ways, he looks too much like what we had before. I could name a whole list of issues where the Democrats and the Republicans really are the same party. When people say, you know, there's not enough bipartisanship, I very often think, no, there's actually too much. On Afghanistan, too much. We have two parties, we have one policy. Gun control, two parties, one policy. Marijuana, two parties, one policy. Lot -- there's a lot of that in this country.


Tax cuts for the wealthies or not?

An income tax is a tax imposed on the income of individuals or businesses (corporations or other legal entities). 

However, most of us don’t want to pay taxes. This is understandable because we think that if we didn’t have to pay taxes we would have more money to spend for ourselves. But then who would pay for things like schools, roads, hospitals, the military, government employees, national parks, and so forth? Imagine how much you would have to pay if you had to pay for these things by yourselves. So having a system in which everyone pays for the things we all benefit from makes sense, right.

Nonetheless, we have to ask the question, are our taxes used wisely?
Here I can only answer with a NO!

I think one of the reasons why our taxes are not used wisely is that our professional politicians often do not have our well-being in mind but merely their own.  

Consequently, our politicians have adopted an attitude to please the ones who help them to stay in power.

Now, to have a chance to be reelected you need a lot of money.
This money can only come form people who have a lot of money.
Therefore our professional politicians do everything in their power to please the wealthy by giving them tax-breaks.

And here is the dilemma:
The Republicans now want to extent the tax gift (implemented during the George W. Bush-era) to the wealthiest because they need their support to be reelected in 2012.
Does this make sense?
Many American believe the Republican politicians who claim that this is good for the country, not just good for Republican politicians.

However, the fact is that most leading academic economists agree that this would not have any benefits for the U.S economy as claimed by the Republicans. To the contrary, almost all leading academic economists agree that it would, as President Obama had said, only increase governmental debt. Moreover, it would put the greatest tax burden on the low- and middle-class-income as well as decrease competitiveness.

Well, who should we trust?
Should we trust professional politicians (Republican politicians) or independent academic economists?

Vice President Joe Biden for President Barack Obama Weekly Address December 4, 2010 (Video/Transcipt)

Remarks of Vice President Joe Biden
As Prepared for Delivery
Weekly Address
December 4, 2010
Hi, this is Joe Biden.  I’m filling in for President Obama this weekend because he’s on his way back from Afghanistan, where he was spending some time with the brave men and women of our Armed Forces.

It’s tough to be far from home during the holidays, especially in a warzone, so he wanted to be there in person to thank them on behalf of all Americans for their service and the sacrifice each one of them are making.  And here at home, the First Lady and my wife Jill have made supporting military families a priority.  These families are also making difficult sacrifices for our country, and they deserve our admiration and gratitude as well.

Our service members and their families are always on our mind, even as the President and I are working on other issues that all American families are deeply concerned about: accelerating our recovery, growing our economy, strengthening our middle class, and getting our friends and neighbors back to work.

In recent months, we’ve seen encouraging signs on that front.  After shrinking for four straight quarters, our economy has now grown five straight quarters.  After nearly two years of job loss, our economy has created more than one million private sector jobs just this year.

And after teetering on the brink of liquidation last year, our auto industry is posting healthy gains, assembly lines are running again, and American manufacturing is getting up off the mat and fighting its way back.

Still, Friday’s jobs report was a sobering reminder of that. While we saw another month of job growth in November, it just wasn’t enough.

That underscores why it’s so important to get going without delay on two things that will have the most impact in growing the economy.

One: we’ve got to extend the tax cuts for the middle class that are set to expire at the end of the month.  If we don’t, millions of middle-class families will see a big bite out of their paychecks starting January 1.  And that’s the last thing we should let happen.  After a decade in which they lost ground, middle class families can ill-afford a tax hike – and our economy can’t afford the hit it will take if middle class families have less money to spend.

And the second thing we’ve got to do is extend unemployment insurance for Americans who have lost their jobs in a tough economy.  Without unemployment benefits, families can’t spend on basic necessities that are grown, made, and sold by other Americans.

Together, the economic hit caused by raising taxes on the middle class, and denying two million Americans unemployment insurance, will wind up costing us hundreds of thousands of more jobs.  It just isn’t smart.

And, cutting unemployment insurance is not only not smart, it’s not right either.  It would mean telling millions of our neighbors who are out of work today through no fault of their own, that they’re on their own.

That’s no message to send in the season of hope.  We all know someone who’s hit a rough patch.  When that happens in America, we help him get back up on his feet.  That’s who we are.  That’s the American way.

So I just don’t agree with the folks who’ve said we can’t afford a lifeline for Americans who lost their jobs during the worst recession in generations, but we can afford to borrow hundreds of billions of dollars to extend tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of Americans.  That’s bad economic policy, and it’s also just simply wrong.

Congress must extend these needed unemployment benefits before it goes home for the year.  And it must bolster economic growth by preserving tax cuts for our middle class.  I’m glad that the House of Representatives voted to do that this week, and I call on the United States Senate to do the same.

Look, there’s no doubt these are tough times.  But we are slowly but surely fighting our way back, moving forward.  And we’re going to keep fighting – to grow this economy, to strengthen our middle class, and to restore the American Dream.  That’s my pledge to you.

And hey, one last thing – since the President will be back to record this message next week, let me take this chance to say from my family to yours: Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, have a great Holiday season and an even better New Year.

Thanks, and enjoy the weekend.