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  • (applause)

  • The President: Thank you.

  • Alright.

  • Let's bring this to order.

  • Paul Ryan: Members of Congress.

  • I have the high privilege, and the distinct honor of

  • presenting to you the President

  • of the United States.

  • (applause)

  • The President: Thank you very much.

  • Everybody, please have a seat.

  • Thank you.

  • Mr. Speaker, Mr. Vice President,

  • Members of Congress, my fellow Americans:

  • Tonight marks the eighth year I've come here to

  • report on the State of the Union.

  • And for this final one, I'm going to try to make

  • it shorter.

  • (applause)

  • I know some of you are antsy to get back to Iowa.

  • (laughter)

  • I've been there.

  • I'll be shaking hands afterwards,

  • if you want some tips.

  • (laughter)

  • I also understand that because it's an election

  • season, expectations for what we'll achieve this year

  • are low.

  • Still, Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the constructive

  • approach you and the other leaders took at the end of

  • last year to pass a budget and make tax cuts permanent

  • for working families.

  • So I hope we can work together this year on

  • bipartisan priorities like criminal justice reform,

  • (applause)

  • -- and helping people who are battling prescription

  • drug abuse.

  • (applause)

  • So, who knows.

  • We just might surprise the cynics again.

  • But tonight, I want to go easy on the traditional list

  • of proposals for the year ahead.

  • Don't worry, I've got plenty,

  • from helping students learn to write computer code to

  • personalizing medical treatments for patients.

  • And I'll keep pushing for progress on the work that

  • still needs doing.

  • Fixing a broken immigration system.

  • (applause)

  • Protecting our kids from gun violence.

  • (applause)

  • Equal pay for equal work,

  • (applause)

  • paid leave, raising the minimum wage.

  • (applause)

  • All these things still matter to hardworking

  • families; they are still the right thing to do;

  • and I will not let up until they get done.

  • But for my final address to this chamber,

  • I don't want to talk just about the next year.

  • I want to focus on the next five years, ten years,

  • and beyond.

  • I want to focus on our future.

  • We live in a time of extraordinary change -

  • change that's reshaping the way we live,

  • the way we work, our planet and our place in the world.

  • It's change that promises amazing medical

  • breakthroughs, but also economic disruptions that

  • strain working families.

  • It promises education for girls in the most remote

  • villages, but also connects terrorists plotting

  • an ocean away.

  • It's change that can broaden opportunity,

  • or widen inequality.

  • And whether we like it or not,

  • the pace of this change will only accelerate.

  • America has been through big changes before - wars and

  • depression, the influx of immigrants,

  • workers fighting for a fair deal,

  • and movements to expand civil rights.

  • Each time, there have been those who told us to fear

  • the future; who claimed we could slam the brakes on

  • change, promising to restore past glory if we just got

  • some group or idea that was threatening America

  • under control.

  • And each time, we overcame those fears.

  • We did not, in the words of Lincoln,

  • adhere to the "dogmas of the quiet past."

  • Instead we thought anew, and acted anew.

  • We made change work for us, always extending America's

  • promise outward, to the next frontier,

  • to more and more people.

  • And because we did - because we saw opportunity where

  • others saw only peril - we emerged stronger and better

  • than before.

  • What was true then can be true now.

  • Our unique strengths as a nation - our optimism and

  • work ethic, our spirit of discovery and innovation,

  • our diversity and commitment to the rule of law - these

  • things give us everything we need to ensure prosperity

  • and security for generations to come.

  • In fact, it's that spirit that made the progress of

  • these past seven years possible.

  • It's how we recovered from the worst economic crisis

  • in generations.

  • (applause)

  • It's how we reformed our health care system,

  • and reinvented our energy sector;

  • (applause)

  • -- how we delivered more care and benefits to our

  • troops and veterans,

  • (applause)

  • that's how we secured the freedom in every state to

  • marry the person we love.

  • (applause)

  • But such progress is not inevitable.

  • It is the result of choices we make together.

  • And we face such choices right now.

  • Will we respond to the changes of our time with

  • fear, turning inward as a nation,

  • and turning against each other as a people?

  • Or will we face the future with confidence in who we

  • are, what we stand for, and the incredible things we can

  • do together?

  • So let's talk about the future,

  • and four big questions that we as a country have to

  • answer - regardless of who the next President is,

  • or who controls the next Congress.

  • First, how do we give everyone a fair shot at

  • opportunity and security in this new economy?

  • (applause)

  • Second, how do we make technology work for us,

  • and not against us - especially when it comes to

  • solving urgent challenges like climate change?

  • (applause)

  • Third, how do we keep America safe and lead the

  • world without becoming its policeman?

  • (applause)

  • And finally, how can we make our politics reflect what's

  • best in us, and not what's worst?

  • (applause)

  • Let me start with the economy,

  • and a basic fact: the United States of America,

  • right now, has the strongest,

  • most durable economy in the world.

  • (applause)

  • We're in the middle of the longest streak of

  • private-sector job creation in history.

  • (applause)

  • More than 14 million new jobs;

  • the strongest two years of job growth since the '90s;

  • an unemployment rate cut in half.

  • Our auto industry just had its best year ever.

  • (applause)

  • That's just part of a manufacturing surge that has

  • created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years.

  • And we've done all this while cutting our deficits

  • by almost three-quarters.

  • (applause)

  • Anyone claiming that America's economy is in

  • decline is peddling fiction.

  • (applause)

  • What is true - and the reason that a lot of

  • Americans feel anxious - is that the economy has been

  • changing in profound ways, changes that started long

  • before the Great Recession hit and haven't let up.

  • Today, technology doesn't just replace jobs on the

  • assembly line, but any job where work can be automated.

  • Companies in a global economy can locate anywhere,

  • and face tougher competition.

  • As a result, workers have less leverage for a raise.

  • Companies have less loyalty to their communities.

  • And more and more wealth and income is concentrated at

  • the very top.

  • All these trends have squeezed workers,

  • even when they have jobs; even when the economy

  • is growing.

  • It's made it harder for a hardworking family to pull

  • itself out of poverty, harder for young people to

  • start on their careers, and tougher for workers to

  • retire when they want to.

  • And although none of these trends are unique to

  • America, they do offend our uniquely American belief

  • that everybody who works hard should get a fair shot.

  • For the past seven years, our goal has been a growing

  • economy that works better for everybody.

  • We've made progress.

  • But we need to make more.

  • And despite all the political arguments we've

  • had these past few years, there are some areas where

  • Americans broadly agree.

  • We agree that real opportunity requires every

  • American to get the education and training they

  • need to land a good-paying job.

  • The bipartisan reform of No Child Left Behind was an

  • important start, and together,

  • we've increased early childhood education,

  • lifted high school graduation rates to new

  • highs, and boosted graduates in fields like engineering.

  • In the coming years, we should build on that

  • progress, by providing Pre-K for all,

  • (applause)

  • -- offering every student the hands-on computer

  • science and math classes that make them job-ready on

  • day one, and we should recruit and support more

  • great teachers for our kids.

  • (applause)

  • And we have to make college affordable for every American.

  • (applause)

  • Because no hardworking student should be stuck in

  • the red.

  • We've already reduced student loan payments to ten

  • percent of a borrower's income.

  • Now, we've actually got to cut the cost of college.

  • (applause)

  • Providing two years of community college at no cost

  • for every responsible student is one of the best

  • ways to do that, and I'm going to keep fighting to

  • get that started this year.

  • (applause)

  • Of course, a great education isn't all we need in this

  • new economy.

  • We also need benefits and protections that provide a

  • basic measure of security.

  • After all, it's not much of a stretch to say that some

  • of the only people in America who are going to

  • work the same job, in the same place,

  • with a health and retirement package, for 30 years,

  • are sitting in this chamber.

  • (laughter)

  • For everyone else, especially folks in their

  • forties and fifties, saving for retirement or bouncing

  • back from job loss has gotten a lot tougher.

  • Americans understand that at some point in their careers,

  • they may have to retool and retrain.

  • But they shouldn't lose what they've already worked so

  • hard to build.

  • That's why Social Security and Medicare are more

  • important than ever; we shouldn't weaken them,

  • we should strengthen them.

  • (applause)

  • And for Americans short of retirement,

  • basic benefits should be just as mobile as everything

  • else is today.

  • That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about.

  • It's about filling the gaps in employer-based care so

  • that when we lose a job, or go back to school,

  • or start that new business, we'll still have coverage.

  • Nearly eighteen million have gained coverage so far.

  • (applause)

  • Health care inflation has slowed.

  • And our businesses have created jobs every single

  • month since it became law.

  • Now, I'm guessing we won't agree on health care

  • anytime soon.

  • (laughter)

  • But there should be other ways both parties can work

  • together to improve economic security.

  • Say a hardworking American loses his job - we shouldn't

  • just make sure he can get unemployment insurance;

  • we should make