まず英語の原文↓↓↓ Hi, everybody. This week, I spent a couple days in Minneapolis, talking with people about their lives – their concerns, their successes, and their hopes for the future.
I went because of a letter I received from a working mother named Rebekah, who shared with me the hardships her young family has faced since the financial crisis. She and her husband Ben were just newlyweds expecting their first child, Jack, when the housing crash dried up his contracting business. He took what jobs he could, and Rebekah took out student loans and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed – for their kids, and for each other. And five years later, they’ve paid off debt, bought their first home, and had their second son, Henry.
In her letter to me, she wrote, “We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times.” And in many ways, that’s America’s story these past five years. We are a strong, tight-knit family that’s made it through some very tough times.
Today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs. By measure after measure, our economy is doing better than it was five years ago.
But as Rebekah also wrote in her letter, there are still too many middle-class families like hers who do everything right – who work hard and who sacrifice – but can’t seem to get ahead. It feels like the odds are stacked against them. And with just a small change in our priorities, we could fix that.
The problem is, Republicans in Congress keep blocking or voting down almost every serious idea to strengthen the middle class. This year alone, they’ve said no to raising the minimum wage, no to fair pay, no to student loan reform, no to extending unemployment insurance. And rather than invest in education that helps working families get ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.
This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top, and rigged against the middle class. And as long as they insist on doing it, I’ll keep taking actions on my own – like the actions I’ve taken already to attract new jobs, lift workers’ wages, and help students pay off their loans. I’ll do my job. And if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that I’m trying to help people out, they can join me, and we’ll do it together.
The point is, we could do so much more as a country – as a strong, tight-knit family – if Republicans in Congress were less interested in stacking the deck for those at the top, and more interested in growing the economy for everybody.
So rather than more tax breaks for millionaires, let’s give more tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or college. Rather than protect tax loopholes that let big corporations set up tax shelters overseas, let’s put people to work rebuilding roads and bridges right here in America. Rather than stack the decks in favor of those who’ve already succeeded, let’s realize that we are stronger as a nation when we offer a fair shot to every American.
I’m going to spend some time talking about these very choices in the week ahead. That’s because we know from our history that our economy doesn’t grow from the top-down, it grows from the middle-out. We do better when the middle class does better. That’s the American way. That’s what I believe in. And that’s what I’ll keep fighting for.
Have a great Fourth of July, everybody – and good luck to Team USA down in Brazil.
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ Hi, everybody. As President, my top priority is rebuilding an economy where everybody who works hard has the chance to get ahead.
That’s what I’ll spend some time talking about on Monday, at the White House Summit on Working Families. We’re bringing together business leaders and workers to talk about the challenges that working parents face every day, and how we can address them together.
Take paid family leave. Many jobs don’t offer adequate leave to care for a new baby or an ailing parent, so workers can’t afford to be there when their family needs them the most. That’s wrong. And it puts us way behind the times. Only three countries in the world report that they don’t offer paid maternity leave. Three. And the United States is one of them. It’s time to change that. A few states have acted on their own to give workers paid family leave, but this should be available to everyone, because all Americans should be able to afford to care for a family member in need.
Childcare is another challenge. Most working families I know can’t afford thousands a year for childcare, but often that’s what it costs. That leaves parents scrambling just to make sure their kids are safe while they’re at work – forget about giving them the high-quality early childhood education that helps kids succeed in life.
Then there’s the issue of flexibility – the ability to take a few hours off for a parent-teacher conference or to work from home when your kid is sick. Most workers want it, but not enough of them have it. What’s more, it not only makes workers happier – studies show that flexibility can make workers more productive and reduce worker turnover and absenteeism. That’s good for business.
At a time when women make up about half of America’s workforce, outdated workplace policies that make it harder for mothers to work hold our entire economy back. But these aren’t just problems for women. Men also care about who’s watching their kids. They’re rearranging their schedules to make it to soccer games and school plays. Lots of sons help care for aging parents. And plenty of fathers would love to be home for their new baby’s first weeks in the world.
In fact, in a new study, nearly half of all parents – women and men – report that they’ve said no to a job, not because they didn’t want it, but because it would be too hard on their families. When that many talented, hard-working people are forced to choose between work and family, something’s wrong. Other countries are making it easier for people to have both. We should too, if we want American businesses to compete and win in the global economy.
Family leave. Childcare. Flexibility. These aren’t frills – they’re basic needs. They shouldn’t be bonuses – they should be the bottom line.
The good news is, some businesses are embracing family-friendly policies, because they know it’s key to attracting and retaining talented employees. And I’m going to keep highlighting the businesses that do. Because I take this personally. I take it personally as the son and grandson of some strong women who worked hard to support my sister and me. As the husband of a brilliant woman who struggled to balance work and raising our young ladies when my job often kept me away. And as the father of two beautiful girls, whom I want to be there for as much as I possibly can – and whom I hope will be able to have families and careers of their own one day.
We know from our history that our economy grows best from the middle-out; that our country does better when everybody participates; when everyone’s talents are put to use; when we all have a fair shot. That’s the America I believe in. That’s the America I’ll keep fighting for every day. Thanks, and have a great weekend. （７５１語）
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ Hi, everybody. This is commencement season, a time for graduates and their families to celebrate one of the greatest achievements of a young person’s life. But for many graduates, it also means feeling trapped by a whole lot of student loan debt. And we’ve got to do more to lift that burden.
See, in a 21st century economy, the surest pathway into the middle class is some form of higher education. The unemployment rate for workers with a bachelor’s degree is just 3.3 percent – about half what it is for high school graduates. The typical graduate of a four-year college earns $15,000 more per year than someone with just a high school degree.
But at a time when college has never been more important, it’s also never been more expensive.
That’s why, since I took office, I’ve worked to make college more affordable. We reformed a student loan system that gave away billions of taxpayer dollars to big banks and invested that money where it makes a bigger bang – in helping more young people afford a higher education.
But over the past three decades, the average tuition at a public four-year college has more than tripled. The average undergraduate student who borrows for college now graduates owing almost $30,000. And I’ve heard from too many young people who are frustrated that they’ve done everything they were supposed to do – and now they’re paying the price.
I’ve taken action on my own to offer millions of students the opportunity to cap their monthly student loan payments to 10% of their income. But Congress needs to do its part. The good news is that Senate Democrats are working on a bill that would help more young people save money. Just like you can refinance your mortgage at a lower interest rate, this bill would let you refinance your student loans. And we’d pay for it by closing loopholes that allow some millionaires to pay a lower tax rate than the middle class.
That’s the choice that your representatives in Congress will make in the coming weeks – protect young people from crushing debt, or protect tax breaks for millionaires. And while Congress decides what it’s going to do, I will keep doing whatever I can without Congress to help responsible young people pay off their loans – including new action I will take this week.
This country has always made a commitment to put a good education within the reach of all who are willing to work for it. That’s what made us an economic superpower. That’s what makes us special. And as long as I hold this office, I’ll keep fighting to give more young people the chance to earn their own piece of the American Dream. Thanks, and have a great weekend. （４８０語）
まず英語の原文↓↓↓ Hi, everybody. I’m here at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., visiting with some kids being treated here all the time for asthma and other breathing problems. Often, these illnesses are aggravated by air pollution – pollution from the same sources that release carbon and contribute to climate change. And for the sake of all our kids, we’ve got to do more to reduce it.
Earlier this month, hundreds of scientists declared that climate change is no longer a distant threat – it “has moved firmly into the present.” Its costs can be measured in lost lives and livelihoods, lost homes and businesses; and higher prices for food, insurance, and rebuilding.
That’s why, last year, I put forward America’s first climate action plan. This plan cuts carbon pollution by building a clean energy economy – using more clean energy, less dirty energy, and wasting less energy throughout our economy.
One of the best things we can do for our economy, our health, and our environment is to lead the world in producing cleaner, safer energy – and we’re already generating more clean energy than ever before. Thanks in part to the investments we made in the Recovery Act, the electricity America generates from wind has tripled. And from the sun, it’s increased more than tenfold. In fact, every four minutes, another American home or business goes solar – and every panel is pounded into place by a worker whose job cannot be shipped overseas.
We’re wasting less energy, too. We’ve doubled how far our cars and trucks will go on a gallon of gas by the middle of the next decade, saving you money at the pump – and we’re helping families and businesses save billions with more efficient homes, buildings, and appliances.
This strategy has created jobs, grown our economy, and helped make America more energy independent than we’ve been in decades – all while holding our carbon emissions to levels not seen in about 20 years. It’s a good start. But for the sake of our children, we have to do more.
This week, we will. Today, about 40% of America’s carbon pollution comes from power plants. But right now, there are no national limits to the amount of carbon pollution that existing plants can pump into the air we breathe. None. We limit the amount of toxic chemicals like mercury, sulfur, and arsenic that power plants put in our air and water. But they can dump unlimited amounts of carbon pollution into the air. It’s not smart, it’s not safe, and it doesn’t make sense.
That’s why, a year ago, I directed the Environmental Protection Agency to build on the efforts of many states, cities, and companies, and come up with commonsense guidelines for reducing dangerous carbon pollution from our power plants. This week, we’re unveiling these proposed guidelines, which will cut down on the carbon pollution, smog, and soot that threaten the health of the most vulnerable Americans, including children and the elderly. In just the first year that these standards go into effect, up to 100,000 asthma attacks and 2,100 heart attacks will be avoided – and those numbers will go up from there.
These standards were created in an open and transparent way, with input from the business community. States and local governments weighed in, too. In fact, nearly a dozen states are already implementing their own market-based programs to reduce carbon pollution. And over 1,000 mayors have signed agreements to cut their cities’ carbon pollution.
So the idea of setting higher standards to cut pollution at our power plants is not new. It’s just time for Washington to catch up with the rest of the country.
Now, special interests and their allies in Congress will claim that these guidelines will kill jobs and crush the economy. Let's face it, that’s what they always say.
But every time America has set clear rules and better standards for our air, our water, and our children’s health – the warnings of the cynics have been wrong. They warned that doing something about the smog choking our cities, and acid rain poisoning our lakes, would kill business. It didn’t. Our air got cleaner, acid rain was cut dramatically, and our economy kept growing.
These excuses for inaction somehow suggest a lack of faith in American businesses and American ingenuity. The truth is, when we ask our workers and businesses to innovate, they do. When we raise the bar, they meet it. When we restricted cancer-causing chemicals in plastics and leaded fuel in our cars, American chemists came up with better substitutes. When we phased out the gases that depleted the ozone layer, American workers built better refrigerators and air conditioners. The fuel standards we put in place a few years ago didn’t cripple automakers; the American auto industry retooled, and today, they’re selling the best cars in the world, with more hybrids, plug-in, and fuel-efficient models to choose from than ever before.
In America, we don’t have to choose between the health of our economy and the health of our children. The old rules may say we can’t protect our environment and promote economic growth at the same time, but in America, we’ve always used new technology to break the old rules.
As President, and as a parent, I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that’s beyond fixing. The shift to a cleaner energy economy won’t happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But a low-carbon, clean energy economy can be an engine of growth for decades to come. America will build that engine. America will build the future. A future that’s cleaner, more prosperous, and full of good jobs – a future where we can look our kids in the eye and tell them we did our part to leave them a safer, more stable world.