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America has fought back after years of recession: Obama

July 25, 2013 14:36 IST

America has fought back after years of recession: Obama

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President Barack Obama on Thursday said that the United States has fought its way back after years of worst economic recessions in the country.

"Five years after the start of that Great Recession, America has fought its way back. We fought our way back," he said in a speech at KnoxCollege in Galesburg, Illinois.

Listing out the steps taken by his administration to save the auto industry; fix the broken health care system and investing in new American technologies to reverse dependence on foreign oil, Obama said that in the last 40 months, businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs.

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Image: US President Barack Obama.
Photographs: Reuters

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"This year, we're off to our strongest private sector job growth since 1999," he said.

"Because we bet on this country, suddenly foreign companies are, too. Right now, more of Honda's cars are made in America than anyplace else on Earth. Airbus, the European aircraft company, they're building new planes in Alabama. And American companies like Ford are replacing outsourcing with insourcing - they're bringing jobs back home," he said.

"Thanks to the grit and resilience and determination of the American people we've been able to clear away the rubble from the financial crisis. We started to lay a new foundation for stronger, more durable economic growth. And it's happening in our own personal lives as well, right? A lot of us tightened our belts, shed debt, maybe cut up a couple of credit cards, refocused on those things that really matter," he said.

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Image: A Honda sign is displayed outside SanTan Honda Superstore in Chandler, Arizona.
Photographs: Joshua Lott/Reuters

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Noting that the US has recovered faster and gone further than most other advanced nations in the world, he said that with new American revolutions in energy and technology and manufacturing and health care, the US is actually poised to reverse the forces that battered the middle class for so long, and start building an economy where everyone who works hard can get ahead.

But at the same time, the US has a long way to go. "Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 per cent.

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Image: President Obama at a restaurant.
Photographs: Reuters

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The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 per cent since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999. And companies continue to hold back on hiring those who've been out of work for some time," he said.

Observing that there is a growing inequality, Obama said reversing trend like this has to be Washington's highest priority. "It has to be Washington's highest priority. It's certainly my highest priority," he said.

Obama said as Washington prepares to enter another budget debate, the stakes for the middle class and everybody who is fighting to get into the middle class could not be higher.

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Image: US President Barack Obama orders food inside the Varsity restaurant in Atlanta, Georgia.
Photographs: Larry Downing/Reuters

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The countries that are passive in the face of a global economy, those countries will lose the competition for good jobs, he said.

"That's why America has to make the investments necessary to promote long-term growth and shared prosperity rebuilding our manufacturing base, educating our workforce, upgrading our transportation systems, upgrading our information networks.

That's what we need to be talking about. That's what Washington needs to be focused on," he said. 


Image: People celebrate in Times Square, New York, after Barack Obama wins the 2012 US presidential election.
Photographs: Carlo Allegri/Reuters.

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