WASHINGTON, June 2 (Xinhua) -- In an effort to push his reform agenda, U.S. President Barack Obama reaffirmed Wednesday that the United States need to build a new foundation as the economy emerges from the recession.
In his remarks at Carnegie Mellon University, Obama outlined economic achievements of his administration and emphasized the policies that he intended to implement to build a stronger economy in the future.
STATE OF THE U.S. ECONOMY
Obama's remarks highlighted the progress that has been made in building the "new foundation" for growth and prosperity that the president called for a year ago.
That new foundation, Obama said at Georgetown University in April 2009, would be built on five pillars: new rules for Wall Street; investments in education, renewable energy and health care; and reductions in federal spending to bring down budget deficits.
In the new remarks, Obama reaffirmed that the foundation is not only based on investments, but also based on reforms.
Compared with a year ago, the state of the U.S. economy improved considerably.
Obama said that the economy, which was shrinking at an alarming rate when he took office, has now been growing for three consecutive quarters. After losing an average of 750, 000 jobs a month during the winter of last year, the nation has now added jobs for five of the last six months.
The taxpayers money it cost to shore up the financial sector and the auto industry is being paid.
"Despite temporary setbacks, uncertain world events, and the resulting ups and downs of the market, this economy is getting stronger by the day," Obama said.
The President owed the improved economy situation largely to his administration's policies.
His administration's 862 billion dollars stimulus plan included significant investments in education and incentives for growth in renewable energy industries. The 1 trillion dollars health care bill he signed into law in March was the largest overhaul of the U. S. health care system in decades.
And the financial overhaul, which is on the final procedure of legislation, is expected to become law in weeks.
POLICY CHOICES AHEAD
Although the U.S. economy is in on the track of recovery and in a relatively stronger position compared with other advanced economies, there are challenges both domestically and internationally.
In a global economy, Obama said that the U.S. cannot pursue its agenda in a vacuum. That is why the U.S. government has to take coordinated action with the G20 and to expand world markets for American products.
On the domestic front, Obama is pushing his reform agenda, including strengthening regulation, cutting debt, improving education and developing new energy economy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
"The economy is still fragile," Obama acknowledged. "We cannot put on the brakes too quickly. We have to do what it takes to ensure a strong recovery."
In this regards, Obama signed a bill to help small businesses and to create jobs. He also urged the Congress to pass legislation about new energy and climate change.
Moreover, Obama emphasized the urgency of the U.S. government to tackle its debt challenge. The national debt has ticked up to 13 trillion dollars on Obama's watch.
He believed that there are four key components to putting the U. S. budget on a sustainable path. Maintaining economic growth is the first, and health care reform is the second. The third components is the belt-tightening steps that he outlined to reduce deficit, including a three-year freeze on all discretionary spending outside of national security. Finally, the fourth component is that he proposed to set a bipartisan Fiscal Commission to provide new solutions to deal with the medium and long-term deficit.
Still, Republicans criticized that the president is a fine speechmaker, but poor economic strategist.
"It's clear from his harsh partisan rhetoric today that President Obama has run out of excuses for his broken promises on the economy," said John Boehner, the top Republican in the House of Representatives.
The Republicans also believe that the economic recovery is mostly a cyclical phenomenon.
Obama urged the Republicans to embrace his economic policies ahead of November's mid-term election.
He said that the United States is facing a choice. "We can return to the failed economic policies of the past, or we can keep building a stronger future."
"I want to move forward," Obama said.