まず英語の原文↓↓↓ As the Winter Olympics draw to a close this weekend, I just want to take a minute to congratulate all the athletes who competed in these games. And I especially want to say how proud I am of all the American men and women have achieved over the last few weeks.
Whether it was the men’s hockey team’s stunning upset of the Canadians on their way to the gold-medal game, Lindsey Vonn’s heroic gold-medal comeback from a shin injury, or Apolo Ohno becoming the most decorated American winter Olympian of all time, you can’t help but be inspired by the sheer grit and athletic prowess on display in Vancouver.
And it’s not just the medal count that’s inspiring – though we’ve certainly done great on that score. What’s truly inspiring is the character of the men and women who have won those medals. The sacrifices they’ve made. The integrity they’ve shown. The indomitable Olympic spirit that says no matter who you are or where you come from or what difficulties you may face, you can work hard and train hard and still triumph in the end. That is why we watch. That is why we cheer. That is why in the middle of an extremely challenging time for America, we’ve been able to come together as one nation for a few weeks in February and swell with pride at what our citizens have achieved.
Now, when it comes to meeting the larger challenges we face as a nation, I realize that finding this unity is easier said than done – especially in Washington. But if we want to compete on the world stage as well as we’ve competed in the world’s games, we need to find common ground. We need to move past the bickering and the game-playing that holds us back and blocks progress for the American people.
We know it’s possible to do this. And we were reminded of that last week when Democrats and Republicans in the Senate came together to pass a jobs bill that will give small businesses tax credits to hire more workers. We also saw it when Democrats and Republicans in the House came together to pass a bill that will force insurance companies to abide by common-sense rules that prevent price-fixing and other practices that drive up health care costs.
We need that same spirit of cooperation and bipartisanship when it comes to finally passing reform that will bring down the cost of health care and give Americans more control over their insurance. On Thursday, we brought both parties together for a frank and productive discussion about this issue. In that discussion, we heard many areas of agreement. Both sides agreed that the rising cost of health care is a serious problem that plagues families, small businesses, and our federal budget. Many on both sides agreed that we should give small businesses and individuals the ability to participate in a new insurance marketplace – which members of Congress would also use – that would allow them to pool their purchasing power and get a better deal from insurance companies. And I heard some ideas from our Republican friends that I believe are very worthy of consideration.
But still, there were differences. We disagreed over whether insurance companies should be held accountable when they deny people care or arbitrarily raise premiums. I believe they should. We disagreed over giving tax credits to small businesses and individuals that would make health care affordable for those who don’t have it. This would be the largest middle class tax cut for health care in history, and I believe we should do it. And while we agreed that Americans with pre-existing conditions should be able to get coverage, we disagreed on how to do that.
Some of these disagreements we may be able to resolve. Some we may not. And no final bill will include everything that everyone wants. That’s what compromise is. I said at the end of Thursday’s summit that I am eager and willing to move forward with members of both parties on health care if the other side is serious about coming together to resolve our differences and get this done. But I also believe that we cannot lose the opportunity to meet this challenge. The tens of millions of men and women who cannot afford their health insurance cannot wait another generation for us to act. Small businesses cannot wait. Americans with pre-existing conditions cannot wait. State and federal budgets cannot sustain these rising costs.
It is time for us to come together. It is time for us to act. It is time for those of us in Washington to live up to our responsibilities to the American people and to future generations. So let’s get this done.
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ The other week, men and women across California opened up their mailboxes to find a letter from Anthem Blue Cross. The news inside was jaw-dropping. Anthem was alerting almost a million of its customers that it would be raising premiums by an average of 25 percent, with about a quarter of folks likely to see their rates go up by anywhere from 35 to 39 percent.
Now, after their announcement stirred public outcry, Anthem agreed to delay their rate hike until May 1st while the situation is reviewed by the state of California. But it’s not just Californians who are being hit by rate hikes. In Kansas, one insurance company raised premiums by 10 to 20 percent only after asking to raise them by 20 to 30 percent. Last year, Michigan Blue Cross Blue Shield raised rates by 22 percent after asking to raise them by up to 56 percent. And in Maine, Anthem is asking to raise rates for some folks by about 23 percent.
The bottom line is that the status quo is good for the insurance industry and bad for America. Over the past year, as families and small business owners have struggled to pay soaring health care costs, and as millions of Americans lost their coverage, the five largest insurers made record profits of over $12 billion.
And as bad as things are today, they’ll only get worse if we fail to act. We’ll see more and more Americans go without the coverage they need. We’ll see exploding premiums and out-of-pocket costs burn through more and more family budgets. We’ll see more and more small businesses scale back benefits, drop coverage, or close down because they can’t keep up with rising rates. And in time, we’ll see these skyrocketing health care costs become the single largest driver of our federal deficits.
That’s what the future is on track to look like. But it’s not what the future has to look like. The question, then, is whether we will do what it takes, all of us – Democrats and Republicans – to build a better future for ourselves, our children, and our country.
That’s why, next week, I am inviting members of both parties to take part in a bipartisan health care meeting, and I hope they come in a spirit of good faith. I don’t want to see this meeting turn into political theater, with each side simply reciting talking points and trying to score political points. Instead, I ask members of both parties to seek common ground in an effort to solve a problem that’s been with us for generations.
It’s in that spirit that I have sought out and supported Republican ideas on reform from the very beginning. Some Republicans want to allow Americans to purchase insurance from a company in another state to give people more choices and bring down costs. Some Republicans have also suggested giving small businesses the power to pool together and offer health care at lower prices, just as big companies and labor unions do. I think both of these are good ideas – so long as we pursue them in a way that protects benefits, protects patients, and protects the American people. I hope Democrats and Republicans can come together next week around these and other ideas.
To members of Congress, I would simply say this. We know the American people want us to reform our health insurance system. We know where the broad areas of agreement are. And we know where the sources of disagreement lie. After debating this issue exhaustively for a year, let’s move forward together. Next week is our chance to finally reform our health insurance system so it works for families and small businesses. It’s our chance to finally give Americans the peace of mind of knowing that they’ll be able to have affordable coverage when they need it most.
What’s being tested here is not just our ability to solve this one problem, but our ability to solve any problem. Right now, Americans are understandably despairing about whether partisanship and the undue influence of special interests in Washington will make it impossible for us to deal with the big challenges that face our country. They want to see us focus not on scoring points, but on solving problems; not on the next election but on the next generation. That is what we can do, and that is what we must do when we come together for this bipartisan health care meeting next week. Thank you, and have a great weekend. （７５０語）
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ All across America, people work hard to meet their responsibilities. You do your jobs, take care of your families, pay your bills. Sometimes, particularly in tough times like these, you have to make hard choices about where to spend and where to save. That’s what being responsible means. That’s a bedrock value of our country. And that ought to be a value that our government lives up to as well.
Yet, over the past decade, this hasn’t always not been the case. Ten years ago, we had a big budget surplus with projected surpluses far into the future. Ten years later, those surpluses are gone. In fact, when I first walked through the door, the government’s budget deficit stood at $1.3 trillion, with the budget gap over the next decade projected to be $8 trillion.
Partly, the recession is to blame. With millions of people out of work, and millions of families facing hardship, folks are paying less in taxes while seeking more services, like unemployment benefits. Rising health care costs are also to blame. Each year, more and more tax dollars are devoted to Medicare and Medicaid.
But what also made these large deficits possible was the end of a common sense rule called “pay as you go.” It’s pretty simple. It says to Congress, you have to pay as you go. You can’t spend a dollar unless you cut a dollar elsewhere. This is how a responsible family or business manages a budget. And this is how a responsible government manages a budget, as well.
It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money. And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it. Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow.
But this isn’t a perfect world. This is Washington. And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one.
That is why this rule is necessary. And that is why I am pleased that Congress fulfilled my request to restore it. Last night, I signed the “pay as you go” rule into law. Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else.
But that’s not all we must do. Even as we make critical investments to create jobs today and lay a foundation for growth tomorrow – by cutting taxes for small businesses, investing in education, promoting clean energy, and modernizing our roads and railways – we have to continue to go through the budget line by line, looking for ways to save. We have to cut where we can, to afford what we need.
This year, I’ve proposed another $20 billion in budget cuts. And I’ve also called for a freeze in government spending for three years. It won’t affect benefits through Medicare, Medicaid, or Social Security. And it will not affect national security – including benefits for veterans. But it will affect the rest of the budget.
Finally, I’ve proposed a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to provide recommendations for long-term deficit reduction. Because in the end, solving our fiscal challenge – so many years in the making – will take both parties coming together, putting politics aside, and making some hard choices about what we need to spend, and what we don’t. It will not happen any other way. Unfortunately this proposal – which received the support of a bipartisan majority in the Senate – was recently blocked. So, I will be creating this commission by executive order.
After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility. It’s easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What’s hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that’s what we must do. Like families across the country, we have to take responsibility for every dollar we spend. And with the return of “pay as you go,” as well as other steps we’ve begun to take, that is exactly what we are doing. Thanks. （８３２語）
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ Even though our economy is growing again, these are still tough times for America. Too many businesses are still shuttered. Too many families can’t make ends meet. And while yesterday, we learned that the unemployment rate has dropped below ten percent for the first time since summer, it is still unacceptably high – and too many Americans still can’t find work.
But what we must remember at a time like this is that we are not helpless in the face of our difficulties. As Americans, we make our own destiny. We forge our own path. And I am confident that if we come together and put aside the politics that keeps holding us back, we can do that again. We can rebuild this economy on a new, stronger foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity.
I believe a key part of that foundation is America’s small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin.
These companies represent the essence of the American spirit – the promise that anyone can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through. And every once in awhile, these ideas don’t just lead to a new business and new jobs, but a new American product that forever changes the world. After all, Hewlett Packard began in a garage. Google began as a simple research project.
Government can’t create these businesses, but it can give entrepreneurs the support they need to open their doors, expand, or hire more workers. And that’s what we’ve always done in this country. The folks at Southwest Windpower in Flagstaff, Arizona started their company in a small home. Since getting a loan from the Small Business Administration, they’ve sold 160,000 wind turbines to about 90 different countries, and are hiring even more workers today. When Sam Ko walked into one of the SBA’s small business development centers in Illinois, he didn’t have any business experience at all – just a patent for a new metal manufacturing technology. He was given a loan and a business plan, and today his company is still growing, with offices all over the Midwest.
Last year, the steps we took supported over 47,000 loans to small businesses and delivered billions in tax relief to small business owners, which helped companies keep their doors open, make payroll, and hire workers. But we can and must do more. That’s why I’ve proposed a series of steps this week to support small business owners and the jobs they create – to provide more access to credit, more incentives to hire, and more opportunities to grow and sell products all over the world.
Because financing remains difficult for good, credit-worthy small businesses across the country, I’ve proposed that we take $30 billion from the TARP fund originally used for Wall Street and create a new Small Business Lending Fund that will provide capital for community banks on Main Street. These are the small, local banks that will be able to give our small business owners more of the credit they need to stay afloat. We should also continue to waive fees, increase guarantees, and expand the size of SBA-backed loans for small businesses. And yesterday, I proposed making it easier for small business owners to refinance their mortgages during these tough times.
To give these companies greater incentives to grow and create jobs, I’ve proposed a new tax credit for more than one million small businesses that hire new workers or raise wages, as well as the elimination of all capital gains taxes on small business investment.
Finally, we should provide targeted support to the most innovative small businesses – the ones with the greatest potential to export new goods and products all over the world. A lot of these companies – like the wind turbine manufacturer I mentioned – are the foundation on which we can rebuild our economy to compete in the 21st century. They just need a little help securing the financing they need to get off the ground. We have every incentive to help them do that.
Next week, Congress will start debating many of these proposals. And if anyone has additional ideas to support small businesses and create jobs, I’m happy to consider them. My door is always open. But I urge members of both parties: do not oppose good ideas just because it’s good politics to do so. The proposals I’ve outlined are not Democratic or Republican; liberal or conservative. They are pro-business, they are pro-growth, and they are pro-job. Leaders in both parties have supported similar ideas in the past. So let’s come together and pass these measures without delay. Let’s put more Americans back to work, and let’s give our small business owners the support to do what they’ve always done: the freedom to pursue their dreams and build our country’s future. Thanks for listening. （８４６語）