Good morning. We've come a long way together in the last few weeks. You've had the opportunity to look over my plan to give America a new direction. And from what I've heard all across the country, you like what you see, not because you agree with all of the details but because you know that this program is a fundamental departure from business as usual in Washington. It makes dramatic reductions in deficit spending, over 150 specific cuts in domestic programs, and asks a contribution from every American based on his or her ability to pay, all to get the deficit down.
I've challenged the critics of our plan to help me find more spending cuts that reduce the deficit for real, not the kind of gimmicks and not the delays of tough choices we've seen in the past. Previously, when Washington has talked about cutting the deficit tomorrow, it was a tomorrow that never comes. We're going to change that. But perhaps the biggest change we're offering is a national investment strategy to create jobs and grow our economy. Every investment we make is paid for, dollar for dollar, by spending cuts in existing programs. Every investment is designed to make us smarter, safer, and more secure, now and in the long term. These investments embraced old-fashioned ideas like education and work and self-reliance, but they meet the challenges of the new economy with an arsenal of new ideas.
But we begin by making an ironclad commitment to the safety and well-being of our families: First, to immunize every American against avoidable, preventable childhood diseases. For every $1 we spend today, we'll save $10 in the future. Then, to fully fund the Head Start program to give all of our children a chance to start school ready to learn. That will save $3 for every $1 we invest. And then, to open the doors to college education to tens of thousands of promising young students in exchange for their work in a program of national service. In every case, they are investments that will pay dividends and strengthen our economy for years to come. We can't afford to do less.
At a time of immense global change, the price of doing nothing is persistent unemployment, shrinking wages, and workers unable to fulfill their potential But with the advantages of intelligent investment, our workers can compete and win in this global economy. For example, changes are coming for communities and companies which defended America during the cold war. As the defense industry shrinks and adjusts to the new world, we must make offsetting investments in civilian research. And if your job has been threatened by the end of the cold war or by changes in world trade or by changes in the way we build products or provide services here in America, the United States shouldn't let you down.
This investment program includes a bold new initiative to ensure that every worker has the training to get a good job in the new economy. And the plan contains the boldest national apprenticeship program our country has ever had, so that all high school graduates who don't go to college can receive the skills and the encouragement they need to find good jobs.
For all these workers and students, their lives and livelihoods depend upon the power of investment. Overall, this plan will create more than 8 million public and private sector jobs over the next 4 years. It'll put people back to work in building roads and bridges and creating the new technologies that will employ our people and bolster our profits well into the 21st century.
We also propose the boldest package of incentives targeted to small business: a $3 billion-per-year permanent investment tax credit, targeted to the small businesses that promote job growth in this country, and tax initiatives for small companies who will start new enterprises so that we can reward entrepreneurs who take risks to build new businesses. And next week we'll go further by announcing regulatory changes to expand the availability of credit for small- and medium-sized businesses seeking loans, without sacrificing our abiding commitment to the safety and security of our financial system.
By making more capital available to the private sector and by lowering its costs, business will be able to expand, grow, and create jobs again. All of these investments, the new policies, and the new ideas reflect my belief, and I think yours, that the status quo isn't good enough and that we can do better.
Yesterday we saw figures showing a slight improvement in the Nation's jobless rate. We're happy whenever fewer Americans are out of work. But we certainly can't declare victory now. For while employment is edging up, unemployment is still higher than it was at the depths of this recession. And most of the new jobs being created pay part-time wages and rarely provide workers with the health care coverage families need. If this anemic recovery is the best we can do, it's further proof that real changes are needed to produce a better economy and a better life for our people.
There are those who actually lack the vision to support these investments because they say that we shouldn't spend any new money trying to grow this economy. It's not that they have a plan to make the economy grow, but they just dismiss the investment portion of our program by calling it more Government spending.
There is a profound difference between spending and investment. It's the difference between the status quo and change. And clearly, we have to change. We have to have the courage to cut spending and the wisdom to invest our new resources wisely. We can't do nothing, but we shouldn't do one without the other. The program I've offered to Congress is the only one which will offer a balanced approach to turn the economy around, and we have to do it now.
I hope you'll join me in this call for a new direction. I hope you'll enlist your Representatives and Senators in the critical cause of change. This is the American way, taking charge of our destiny, working hard, and investing today so that we might build a better tomorrow.
Thanks for listening.