The President's Weekly Address
This is a time of year when people get together with family and friends to observe Passover and to celebrate Easter. It's a chance to give thanks for our blessings and reaffirm our faith, while spending time with the people we love. We all know how important that is, especially in hard times. And that's what a lot of people are facing these days.
Even though the economy is growing again and we've seen businesses adding jobs over the past year, many are still looking for work. And even if you haven't faced a job loss, it's still not easy out there. Your paycheck isn't getting bigger, while the cost of everything from college for your kids to gas for your car keeps going up. That's something on a lot of people's minds right now with gas prices at $4 a gallon. It's just another burden when things were already pretty tough.
Now, whenever gas prices shoot up, like clockwork, you see politicians racing to the cameras, waving three-point plans for $2 gas. You see people trying to grab headlines or score a few points. The truth is, there is no silver bullet that can bring down gas prices right away.
But there are a few things we can do. This includes safe and responsible production of oil at home, which we are pursuing. In fact, last year, American oil production reached its highest level since 2003. On Thursday, my Attorney General also launched a task force with just one job: rooting out cases of fraud or manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices, including any illegal activity by traders and speculators. We're going to make sure that no one is taking advantage of the American people for their own short-term gain. And another step we need to take is to finally end the $4 billion in taxpayer subsidies we give to the oil and gas companies each year. That's $4 billion of your money going to these companies when they're making record profits and you're paying near-record prices at the pump. It has to stop.
Instead of subsidizing yesterday's energy sources, we need to invest in tomorrow's. We need to invest in clean, renewable energy. That's the long-term answer that we need. That's the key to helping families at the pump and reducing our dependence on foreign oil. We can see that promise already. Thanks to a historic agreement we secured with all the major auto companies, we're raising the fuel economy of cars and trucks in America, using hybrid technology and other advances. As a result, if you buy a new car in the next few years, the better gas mileage is going to save you about $3,000 at the pump.
But we need to do more. We need to harness the potential I've seen in promising startups and innovative clean energy companies across America. And that's at the heart of a debate we're having right now in Washington about the budget.
Both Democrats and Republicans believe we need to reduce the deficit. That's where we agree. The question we're debating is how do we do it. I've proposed a balanced approach that cuts spending while still investing in things like education and clean energy that are so critical to creating jobs and opportunities for the middle class. It's a simple idea: We need to live within our means while at the same time investing in our future.
That's why I so strongly disagree with a proposal in Congress that cuts our investments in clean energy by 70 percent. Yes, we've got to get rid of wasteful spending, and make no mistake, we're going through every line of the budget scouring for savings. But we can do that without sacrificing our future. We can do that while still investing in the technologies that will create jobs and allow the United States to lead the world in new industries. That's how we'll not only reduce the deficit, but also lower our dependence on foreign oil, grow our economy, and leave our children a safer planet. And that's what our mission has to be.
Thanks for listening, and have a wonderful Easter weekend.
Note: The address was recorded at approximately 5:15 p.m. on April 22 in the Blue Room at the White House for broadcast on April 23. The transcript was made available by the Office of the Press Secretary on April 22, but was embargoed for release until 6 a.m. on April 23.
Barack Obama, The President's Weekly Address Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/289924