President Obama in New York: A Focus on Jobs and Innovation

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Speaking at a General Electric plant in Schenectady, New York last Friday, President Obama asserted that “America is still home to the most creative and most innovative businesses in the world.” The President drew on themes expected in tomorrow’s State of the Union address of innovation and enterprise, expanding markets and job creation, as well as policies aimed at driving America’s economy and fueling our nation’s competitiveness.

President Obama spoke about the challenges America faces to lift our country from the ditch, and the efforts of his administration to accelerate that climb.

[A]s we continue to fight our way back from the worst recession in our lifetimes, is to harness this spirit, to harness this potential, the potential that all of you represent. Our challenge is to do everything we can to make it easier for folks to bring products to market and to start and expand new businesses, and to grow and hire new workers.

And that’s why, as part of the tax cut compromise that I signed at the end of the year, we provided incentives for businesses to make new capital investments -– and in fact GE is investing $13 million in advanced manufacturing at this plant, taking advantage of some of these tax breaks.

We also extended a program that GE says its customers have used to invest $6 billion in clean energy production across this country –- driving demand for the company’s wind turbines.  And I saw one of those big turbines on the way in.  So we know we can compete.  Not just in the industries of the past, but also in the industries of the future.

The President also talked about the need to increase American exports and the positive effect it has on job growth:

And that’s also why I fought hard to negotiate a new trade deal with South Korea that will support more than 70,000 American jobs.  That’s why I traveled to India a few months ago -- and Jeff was there with us -- where our businesses were able to reach agreement to export $10 billion in goods and services to India.  And that’s going to lead to another 50,000 jobs here in the United States.

The speech continued:

So it’s a perfect example of why promoting exports is so important.  That’s why I’ve set a goal of doubling American exports within five years.  And we’re on track to do it.  We’re already up 18 percent and we’re just going to keep on going, because we’re going to sell more and more stuff all around the world.

When a company sells products overseas, it leads to hiring on our shores.  The deal in Samalkot means jobs in Schenectady.  That’s how we accelerate growth.  That’s how we create opportunities for our people.  This is how we go from an economy that was powered by what we borrow and what we consume -- that’s what happened over the last 10 years.  What was driving our economy was we were spending a lot on credit cards.  Everybody was borrowing a lot.  The Chinese were selling a lot to us.  Folks were selling a lot to us from all over the world.  We’ve got to reverse that.  We want an economy that’s fueled by what we invent and what we build.  We’re going back to Thomas Edison’s principles.  We’re going to build stuff and invent stuff.

Check out the White House’s website dedicated to the State of the Union address. Starting Tuesday and throughout the week, there will be panels, Q&A’s with experts and top administration officials, and the first-ever YouTube interview on Thursday with President Obama. Don’t miss out!

Watch the President’s full speech in Schenectady.