REMARKS BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
IN HONORING THE ALLIANCE
BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND FRANCE
4:27 P.M. CET
THE PRESIDENT: Good afternoon. Bon après-midi. (Applause.) I studied French in school, and that’s about as far as I got. (Laughter.)
But, Mr. President, I understand clearly the affection with which you’ve once again described our alliance and the friendship between our peoples. So thank you, Nicolas, my partner, mon ami. Thank you. (Applause.)
To Generals Puga and Estrate and members of the French Armed Forces; to Mayor Brochand and the people of Cannes — thank you for your wonderful hospitality and the beautiful weather — (laughter) — that I’m enjoying here today.
We stand here today as free and democratic peoples because of each other. It was the ideas of the Enlightenment, centered here in France, that helped inspire a band of Colonists across the ocean to seek our freedom. It was the success of our Revolution that helped inspire your own. In our founding documents, we pledge ourselves to the same inalienable rights, and to the truth that all men and women are created equal. We are societies where our diversity is considered a strength; where you can become President even if your name is Obama or Sarkozy. (Laughter.) We live by a common creed: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness — liberté, égalité, fraternité. (Applause.)
And for more than two centuries, we haven’t simply professed these ideas, we have preserved them, by serving together and by sacrificing together. And not far from here is the hometown of Admiral de Grasse, who helped Americans secure our independence. Here at this memorial, we recall our shared sacrifices in the trenches of the First World War. And just as President Sarkozy and I have honored those who fell at Normandy, let it also be remembered that American and free French forces stormed the beaches of this southern coast. And not far from here, at Rhone, some of them rest in peace in the land that they liberated.
Nor have we simply defended these ideals for ourselves. Together we have stood up for our ideals around the world. And today, we pay special tribute to all those who have served and given their lives — French, American, and forces from our allies and partners — so that Afghanistan will never again become a haven for those who would attack us. They have sacrificed to keep us all safe, and we honor them all.
We saw this same solidarity most recently in the mission to protect the Libyan people. When the old regime threatened to massacre on a horrific scale, the world refused to stand by. The United States was proud to play a decisive role, especially in the early days, taking out Libyan air defenses and conducting precision strikes that stopped the regime in its tracks. But at the same time, this mission showed us why NATO remains the world’s most effective alliance. We acted quickly, in days — the fastest mobilization in NATO history. And whether contributing forces or command staff, every single one of NATO’s 28 members played a role. Eighteen nations, including Arab states, provided forces.
And in a historic first, our NATO allies, including France, and especially the extraordinary leadership of President Sarkozy, helped us to conduct 90 percent of our strike missions — (applause) — 90 percent. So that showed more nations bearing the burdens and costs of peace and security. And that’s how our alliance must work in the 21st century.
In this mission, French and American soldiers, airmen, naval officers, served shoulder to shoulder — the commanders who planned and executed this complex operation; the pilots who prevented a massacre in Benghazi; the tanker crews from bases here in France who sustained this operation; the airmen who delivered lifesaving aid; the sailors and Marines who enforced the arms embargo at sea.
In fact, American pilots even flew French fighter jets off a French aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean. Allies don’t get any closer than that. And thanks to their extraordinary service, the last air mission over Libya ended on Monday, and that operation ended in giving the Libyan people the opportunity to live with freedom and democracy. And I might add, we succeeded in bring every single one of our service members back safely, which is a remarkable achievement.
Every man and woman in uniform who participated in this effort can know that you have accomplished every objective. You saved the lives of countless Libyan men, women and children. And today, the Libyan people have liberated their country and begun to forge their own future, and the world has once again seen that the longing for freedom and dignity is universal.
Thousands of personnel made this operation a success, but we are honored to have some of them join us today. And I would ask you in joining me in saluting Admirals Jim Stavridis and Sam Locklear, as well as General Ralph Jodice, and all our service members who are here for a job well done. (Applause.)
Finally, I would note that this success is part of a larger story. After a difficult decade, the tide of war is receding. The long war in Iraq is finally coming to an end. With our allies and partners, including the extraordinary sacrifices of the French people, we’ve achieved major victories against
al Qaeda, including Osama bin Laden. In Afghanistan, where French and American soldiers fight side by side, we’ve begun a transition so Afghans can take responsibility for their security and our troops can begin coming home.
Today, America and our allies are moving forward with confidence and with strength. And these men and women in uniform carry on a legacy that I actually can see from the windows of the White House. In one direction, there’s the monument to Washington; in the other, a statue of Rochambeau, who served so well at Washington’s side. And at the base of that statue are words Washington expressed to his friend after the Revolutionary War in America was won — and I’ve shared these words with President Sarkozy on one of our visits, so I want to conclude with them this afternoon, because they capture the spirit that we celebrate today.
This is what Washington said to his dear friend from France: “We are fellow laborers in the cause of liberty, and we have lived together as brothers should do — in harmonious friendship.”
President Sarkozy, ladies and gentlemen, members of the Armed Forces of France and the United States, for more than two centuries we have stood together in friendship, and because of our unwavering commitment to the cause of liberty, I’m confident that we’ll continue to stand together, strong and free, for all the centuries to come. So vive la France. God bless America. And long live the alliance between our two great nations. (Applause.)
PRESS CONFERENCE BY PRESIDENT OBAMA
AFTER G20 SUMMIT
Claude Debussy Theater
3:40 P.M. CET
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Good afternoon, everybody. I want to begin by thanking my friend, President Sarkozy, for his leadership and his hospitality. And I want to thank the people of Cannes for this extraordinary setting.
Over the past two years, those of us in the G20 have worked together to rescue the global economy, to avert another depression, and to put us on the path to recovery. But we came to Cannes with no illusions. The recovery has been fragile. And since our last meeting in Seoul we’ve experienced a number of new shocks — disruptions in oil supplies, the tragic tsunami in Japan, and the financial crisis in Europe.
As a result, advanced economies, including the United States are growing and creating jobs, but not nearly fast enough. Emerging economies have started to slow. Global demand is weakening. Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are unemployed, or underemployed. Put simply, the world faces challenges that put our economic recovery at risk.
So the central question coming into Cannes was this: Could the world’s largest economies confront this challenge squarely — understanding that these problems will not be solved overnight, could we make progress? After two days of very substantive discussions I can say that we’ve come together and made important progress to put our economic recoveries on a firmer footing.
With respect to Europe, we came to Cannes to discuss with our European friends how they will move forward and build upon the plan they agreed to last week to resolve this crisis. Events in Greece over the past 24 hours have underscored the importance of implementing the plan, fully and as quickly as possible.
Having heard from our European partners over the past two days, I am confidence that Europe has the capacity to meet this challenge. I know it isn’t easy, but what is absolutely critical, and what the world looks for in moments such as this, is action.
That’s how we confronted our financial crisis in the United States — having our banks submit to stress tests that were rigorous, increasing capital buffers, and passing the strongest financial reforms since the Great Depression. None of that was easy, and it certainly wasn’t always popular. But we did what was necessary to address the crisis, put ourselves on a stronger footing, and help rescue the global economy.
And that’s the challenge that Europe now faces. Make no mistake, there’s more hard work ahead and more difficult choices to make. But our European partners have laid a foundation on which to build, and it has all the elements needed for success: a credible firewall to prevent the crisis from spreading, strengthening European banks, charting a sustainable path for Greece, and confronting the structural issues that are at the heart of the current crisis.
And here in Cannes we’ve moved the ball forward. Europe remains on track to implement a sustainable path for Greece. Italy has agreed to a monitoring program with the IMF — in fact, invited it. Tools have been identified that will better enable the world to support European action. And European finance ministers will carry this work forward next week.
All of us have an enormous interest in Europe’s success, and all of us will be affected if Europe is not growing — and that certainly includes the United States, which counts Europe as our largest trading partner. If Europe isn’t growing, it’s harder for us to do what we need to do for the American people: creating jobs, lifting up the middle class, and putting our fiscal house in order. And that’s why I’ve made it clear that the United States will continue to do our part to support our European partners as they work to resolve this crisis.
More broadly, we agreed to stay focused on jobs and growth with an action plan in which each nation does its part. In the United States, we recognize, as the world’s largest economy, the most important thing we can do for global growth is to get our own economy growing faster. Back home, we’re fighting for the American Jobs Act, which will put people back to work, even as we meet our responsibilities to reduce our deficit in the coming years.
We also made progress here in Cannes on our rebalancing agenda. In an important step forward, countries with large surpluses and export-oriented countries agreed to take additional steps to support growth and boost demand in their own countries. In addition, we welcome China’s determination to increase the flexibility of the RMB. This is something we’ve been calling for for some time, and it will be a critical step in boosting growth.
Finally, we also made progress across a range of challenges to our shared prosperity. Following our reforms in the United States, the G20 adopted an unprecedented set of high-level financial reforms to prevent a crisis in the future. We agreed to keep phasing out fossil fuel subsidies — perhaps the single-most important step we can take in the near term to fight climate change and create clean-energy economies.
And even as our countries work to save lives from the drought and terrible famine in the Horn of Africa, we agreed on the need to mobilize new resources to support the development that lifts nations out of poverty.
So, again, I want to thank President Sarkozy and our French hosts for a productive summit. I want to thank my fellow leaders for their partnership and for the progress we’ve made to create the jobs and prosperity that our people deserve.
So with that, let me take a few questions. I’ll start with Jim Kuhnhenn of AP.
Q New jobless numbers today back in the States. You’re on a pace to face the voters with the highest unemployment rate of any postwar President. And doesn’t that make you significantly vulnerable to a Republican who might run on a message of change? And if I may add, given that you have just witnessed the difficulties of averting economic problems beyond your control, what state do you think the economy will be in when you face reelection next year?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Jim, I have to tell you the least of my concerns at the moment is the politics of a year from now. I’m worried about putting people back to work right now, because those folks are hurting and the U.S. economy is underperforming. And so everything that we’re doing here in the — here at the G20 mirrors our efforts back home — that is, how do we boost growth; how do we shrink our deficits in a way that doesn’t slow the recovery right now; how do we make sure that our workers are getting the skills and the training they need to compete in a global economy. And not only does the American Jobs Act answer some of the needs for jobs now, but it will also lay the foundation for future growth through investments in infrastructure, for example.
So my hope is, is that the folks back home, including those in the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, when they look at today’s job numbers — which were positive but indicate once again that the economy is growing way too slow — that they think twice before they vote “no” again on the only proposal out there right now that independent economists say would actually make a dent in unemployment right now. There’s no excuse for inaction. That’s true globally; it’s certainly true back home as well. And I’m going to keep on pushing it regardless of what the politics are.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. Clearly, there was some sort of dispute between you and the European leaders about how to fund this bailout. And you, in your remarks, emphasized the fact that TARP was done with U.S. funds, that there wasn’t any international involvement here. Are you confident now that the European leaders are going to own this firewall or bailout fund themselves, not looking for handouts from other countries, and that they will do what they have to do?
And the second part of my question is, how hard was it to convince these folks to do stimulus measures when your own stimulus measure — you’ve mentioned it twice now — is not going anywhere right now on Capitol Hill?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, we didn’t have a long conversation about stimulus measures, so that was maybe two or three G20s ago. We had a discussion about what steps could be taken to continue to spur economic growth. And that may not always involve government spending. For example, the rebalancing agenda that I talked about is one way in which we can make a big difference in spurring on global demand. It requires some adjustments, some changes in behavior on the part of countries. But it doesn’t necessarily involve classic fiscal stimulus.
It wasn’t a dispute with the Europeans. I think the Europeans agree with us that it is important to send a clear signal that the European project is alive and well, and that they are committed to the euro, and that they are committed to resolving this crisis. And I think if you talk to European leaders, they are the first ones to say that that begins with European leaders arriving at a common course of action.
So essentially, what we’ve seen is all the elements for dealing with the crisis put in place, and we think those are the right elements. The first is having a solution to the specific problem of Greece. And although the actions of Papandreou and the referendum issue over the last couple of days I think got a lot of people nervous, the truth is, is that the general approach — which involved a voluntary reduction on the part of those who hold the Greeks’ debt, reducing the obligations of the Greek government — Greece continuing with reforms and structural change, that’s the right recipe. It just has to be carried out. And I was encouraged by the fact that despite all the turmoil in Greece, even the opposition leader in Greece indicated that it’s important to move forward on the proposal.
The second component is recapitalization of Europe’s banks. And they have identified that need and they are resourcing that need. And that I think is going to be critical to further instill confidence in the markets.
And the third part of it is creating this firewall, essentially sending a signal to the markets that Europe is going to stand behind the euro. And all the details, the structure, how it operates, are still being worked out among the European leaders. What we were able to do was to give them some ideas, some options in terms of how they would put that together.
And what we’ve said is — and I’m speaking now for the whole of the G20 — what we’ve said is the international community is going to stand ready to assist and make sure that the overall global economy is cushioned by the gyrations in the market and the shocks that arise as Europe is working these issues through. And so they’re going to have a strong partner in us. But European leaders understand that ultimately what the markets are looking for is a strong signal from Europe that they’re standing behind the euro.
Q So you’re discouraging them from looking for money — outside money?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: No, what we were saying is that — and this is reflected in the communiqué — that, for example, creating additional tools for the IMF is an important component of providing markets overall confidence in global growth and stability, but that is a supplement to the work that is being done here in Europe.
And based on my conversations with President Sarkozy, Chancellor Merkel, and all the other European leaders, I believe they have that strong commitment to the euro and the European project.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. I’m curious what you would say to Americans back home who’ve watched their 401(k)s recover largely when the bailout seemed a certainty, and then this week with the brand new political tumult in Greece, watched themselves lose essentially what they had gained back. You mentioned you’re confident in the bailout plan. Are you confident this will actually happen, and if so, that it will work?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, if you’re talking about the movements of the U.S. stock market, the stock market was down when I first took office and the first few months I was in office about 3,000 points lower than it is now. So nothing has happened in the last two weeks that would suggest that somehow people’s 401(k)s have been affected the way you describe.
Am I confident that this will work? I think that there’s more work to do. I think there are going to be some ups and downs along the way. But I am confident that the key players in Europe — the European political leadership — understands how much of a stake they have in making sure that this crisis is resolved, that the eurozone remains intact, and I think that they are going to do what’s necessary in order to make that happen.
Now, let’s recognize how difficult this is. I have sympathy for my European counterparts. We saw how difficult it was for us to save the financial system back in the United States. It did not do wonders for anybody’s political standing, because people’s general attitude is, you know what, if the financial sector is behaving recklessly or not making good decisions, other folks shouldn’t have to suffer for it.
You layer on top of that the fact that you’re negotiating with multiple parliaments, a European parliament, a European Commission — I mean, there are just a lot of institutions here in Europe. And I think several — I’m not sure whether it was Sarkozy or Merkel or Barroso or somebody, they joked with me that I’d gotten a crash course in European politics over the last several days. And there are a lot of meetings here in Europe as well. So trying to coordinate all those different interests is laborious, it’s time consuming, but I think they’re going to get there.
What is also positive is — if there’s a silver lining in this whole process, it’s the fact that I think European leaders recognize that there are some structural reforms, institutional modifications they need to make if Europe and the eurozone is to be as effective as they want it to be.
I think that what this has exposed is that if you have a single currency but you haven’t worked out all the institutional coordination and relationships between countries on the fiscal side, on the monetary side, that that creates additional vulnerabilities. And there’s a commitment on the part of European leaders, I think, to examine those issues. But those are long term. In the short term, what they’ve got to do is just make sure that they’re sending a signal to the markets that they stand behind the euro.
And if that message is sent, then I think this crisis is averted, because some of this crisis is psychological. Italy is a big country with a enormous industrial base, great wealth, great assets, and has had substantial debt for quite some time — it’s just the market is feeling skittish right now. And that’s why I think Prime Minister Berlusconi’s invitation to the IMF to certify that the reform plan that they put in place is one that they will, in fact, follow is an example of the steady, confidence-building measures that need to take place in order for us to get back on track.
Q Thank you, Mr. President. The world leaders here have stressed growth — the importance of growth. And yet growth back at home has been anemic, the new jobs report today showing just 88,000 jobs added. The Republicans in Congress have made it clear that they’re going to block your jobs bill because they believe the tax hikes in it hurt small businesses. At what point do you feel that you declare stalemate to try and reach common ground? And do you feel like you have been an effective leader when it comes to the economy?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, wherever Republicans indicate an interest in doing things that would actually grow the economy, I’m right there with them. So they’ve said that passing trade bills with South Korea and Panama and Colombia would help spur growth — those got done, with significant bipartisan support. They’ve suggested that we need to reform our patent laws — that’s something that was part of my long-term program for economic growth; we’ve got that done. What I’ve said is all those things are nice and they’re important, but if we want to grow the economy right now then we have to think bigger; we’ve got to do something bolder and more significant.
So we put forward the American Jobs Act, which contains ideas that are historically supported by Democrats and Republicans — like rebuilding our infrastructure, our roads and our bridges; putting teachers back in the classroom; providing tax credits to small businesses.
You say, Norah, that the reason they haven’t voted for them is because they don’t want to tax small business. Well, actually, that’s not — if that’s their rationale then it doesn’t fly, because the bill that they voted down yesterday — a component of the American jobs bill — essentially said we can create hundreds of thousands of jobs, rebuilding our infrastructure, making America more competitive, and the entire program will be paid for by a tax not on millionaires but people making a million dollars a year or more, which in the United States is about — a little over 300,000 people.
Now, there aren’t a lot of small businesses across the country that are making that kind of money. In fact, less than 3 percent of small businesses make more than $250,000 a year. So what they’ve said is, we prefer to protect 300,000 people rather than put hundreds of thousands of people back to work and benefit 300 million Americans who are hurting because of low growth.
So we’re going to keep on pushing. Now, there are steps that we can take absent congressional action. And the refinancing proposal that we put forward in Las Vegas is an example of that — helping students with student loans. We’re going to keep on rolling out administrative steps that we can take that strengthen the economy. But if we’re going to do something big to jumpstart the economy at a time when it’s stabilized but unemployment is way too high, Congress is going to need to act.
And in terms of my track record on the economy — well, here’s just a simple way of thinking about it: When I came into office, the U.S. economy had contracted by 9 percent — the largest contraction since the Great Depression. Little over a year later, the economy was growing by 4 percent, and it’s been growing ever since.
Now, is that good enough? Absolutely not. We’ve got to do more. And as soon as I get some signal from Congress that they’re willing to take their responsibilities seriously, I think we can do more. But that’s going to require them to break out of the rigid ideological positions that they’ve been taking. And the same is true, by the way, when it comes to deficit reduction.
We can solve all our problems. We can grow our economy now, put people back to work, reduce our deficit. And you get surprising consensus from economists about how to do it, from both the left and the right. It’s just a matter of setting politics aside. And we’re constantly remembering that the election is one year away. If we do that, there’s no reason why can’t solve these problems.
All right? Thank you, everybody.
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- · Anne C. Richard - Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, Department of State
- · Tara D. Sonenshine - Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Department of State
The President also announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key administration posts:
- · Julie Ann Petty - Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
- · Lauren Elizabeth Potter - Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
President Obama said, “I am grateful that these talented and dedicated individuals have agreed to take on these important roles and devote their talents to serving the American people. I look forward to working with them in the coming months and years.”
President Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Anne C. Richard, Nominee for Assistant Secretary for Population, Refugees and Migration, Department of State
Anne C. Richard is the Vice President of Government Relations and Advocacy for the International Rescue Committee (IRC). Prior to joining IRC in 2004, Ms. Richard was Director of the Office of Resources, Plans and Policy at the Department of State from 1999 to 2001. From 1997 to 1999, she was Deputy Chief Financial Officer of the Peace Corps. She has also served as a budget and policy advisor at the Department of State and as Budget Examiner at the United States Office of Management and Budget. Ms. Richard was an International Affairs Fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations from 1993 to 1994 and was part of the team that created the International Crisis Group. From 1985 to 1986, she was a fellow of the Robert Bosch Foundation in Germany. She received a B.S. in Foreign Service from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Public Policy Studies from the University of Chicago.
Tara D. Sonenshine, Nominee for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, Department of State
Tara D. Sonenshine is the Executive Vice President of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). Prior to joining USIP, she was a strategic communications adviser to many international organizations including USIP, the International Crisis Group, Internews, CARE, The American Academy of Diplomacy, and the International Women’s Media Foundation. Ms. Sonenshine served in various capacities at the White House during the Clinton Administration, including Transition Director, Director of Foreign Policy Planning for the National Security Council, and Special Assistant to the President and Deputy Director of Communications. Prior to serving in the Clinton Administration, Ms. Sonenshine was an Editorial Producer of ABC News’ Nightline, where she worked for more than a decade. She was also an off-air reporter at the Pentagon for ABC’s World News Tonight and is the recipient of 10 News Emmy Awards for coverage of international affairs. She holds a B.A. in Political Science from Tufts University.
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Lauren Elizabeth Potter, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Lauren Elizabeth Potter is a cast member on the FOX television program Glee where she plays the part of Becky Jackson. Ms. Potter also serves on the Board of Best Buddies International, has participated in the Abilitypath.org campaign against bullying, partnered with the Special Olympics in their “End the Word” campaign, and is currently lending her name and fame to numerous organizations, including the Down Syndrome Association and the American Association of People with Disabilities. Her disability rights advocacy has earned her awards from The Down Syndrome Association of Los Angeles, the Arc, and the Full Life Festival. Ms. Potter is a graduate of Polytechnic High School in Riverside, California and she is currently a student at Irvine Valley College.
Julie Ann Petty, Appointee for Member, President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Julie Ann Petty is a project trainer for Partners for Inclusive Communities at the Arkansas University Center on Disabilities. Ms. Petty’s work at the Center on Disabilities focuses on educating those with intellectual disabilities on health and safety. She is also co-chair of the Alliance for Full Participation, a nationwide coalition of self-advocacy disability organizations. Previously, Ms. Petty served as state coordinator for Arkansas People First (1998-2007), national chairperson of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered (2006-2008), and a policy analyst for the Human Service Research Institute (2007 – 2009). Ms. Petty received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Arkansas.
BREAKING NEWS: ALAN KRUEGAR, CHAIRMAN OF THE COUNCIL OF ECONOMIC ADVISERS, ISSUES STATEMENT ON THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION IN OCTOBER
Statement on the Employment Situation in October
WASHINGTON, DC – Alan Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in October. You can view the statement HERE.
The Employment Situation in October
Posted by Alan Krueger on November 04, 2011 at 11:46 AM EDT
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to recover from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but the pace of improvement is not fast enough. Private sector payrolls increased by 104,000 and overall payroll employment rose by 80,000 in October. The unemployment rate edged down 0.1 percentage point to 9.0 percent, a level that remains unacceptably high. Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth, the economy has added private sector jobs for 20 straight months, for a total of 2.8 million jobs over that period.
We need faster economic growth to put more Americans back to work. Today’s report provides further evidence for why it is so important that Congress pass the President’s American Jobs Act to put more money in the paychecks of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to keep teachers in the classroom; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while not adding to the deficit over ten years. The report underscores that one area that remains notably weak is the construction sector. That’s why it is disappointing that the Senate was not able to proceed to the infrastructure part of the American Jobs Act.
Sectors with employment increases included professional and business services (+32,000), leisure and hospitality (+22,000), retail trade (+17,800), health care and social assistance (+16,300), and manufacturing (+5,000). Sectors with employment declines included government (-24,000) and construction (-20,000). State and local governments lost 22,000 jobs and have shed more than 430,000 jobs since February 2010.
The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. There is no better example than August’s jobs figure, which was initially reported at zero and in the latest revision increased to 104,000. This illustrates why the Administration always stresses it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.
Alan Krueger is Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers
President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
- · Jerry L. Johnson - Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
- · Jacob Lozada - Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
- · Dean Ornish - Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
- · Herminia Palacio - Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
- · Kent A. Salazar – Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust
President Obama said, “I am honored that these talented individuals have decided to join this Administration and serve our country. I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”
President Obama announced his intent to appoint the following individuals to key Administration posts:
Jerry L. Johnson, Appointee for Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
Jerry L. Johnson currently serves as a principal partner for Heffler, Radetick & Saitta, LLP, a certified public accounting and consulting firm. He is also the founder and co-chairman of ESmith Legacy, Inc. and chairman of Auxum Partners, LLC, positions he has held since 2007 and 2000 respectively. From 2002 to 2006, Mr. Johnson served as the President of eMoney Advisory, Inc. Prior to joining eMoney, he was an Executive Vice President at Safeguard Scientifics, Inc., a position he held from 1995 to 2002. He currently serves on the boards of Bryn Mawr Trust Company, Savanna Inc., Coriell Institute, Arthur Ashe Youth Tennis and Education and the Union League of Philadelphia. He previously served as Vice Chairman of PWRT Services, Inc. In 2010, Mr. Johnson was awarded the Distinguished Community Leadership Award from Operation Understanding. He was previously named by Black Enterprise Magazine as one of the Top 40 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America. Mr. Johnson holds a B.S. in Education from Truman University, a M.S. in Management from Massachusetts Institute Technology, and a M.A. in counseling and guidance from Northern Illinois University.
Dr. Jacob Lozada, Appointee for Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
Dr. Jacob Lozada currently serves as Member of the Board of Directors of the American Association of Retired Persons, the National Medical Music Group, the Budget Committee of Andrews Federal Credit Union, and he is a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. Dr. Lozada previously served as a Senior Advisor for Diversity Strategies at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), where he managed the Interagency Task Force on Hispanic Employment from 2003 to 2005. Prior to his work at OPM, Dr. Lozada was the Assistant Secretary of Human Resources and Administration at the Department of Veterans Affairs from 2001 to 2003. He was awarded the VA Exceptional Service Award and LULAC’s Presidential Citation Award for his extraordinary service. He has also worked as a Principal at Booz Allen & Hamilton’s Healthcare Practice, a Consultant at Electronic Data Systems, an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The George Washington University, Principal at the Council for Excellence in Government, and a Colonel for the U.S. Army Medical Department. Dr. Lozada holds a B.A. in Science from the University of Puerto Rico, an M.A. in Health Administration from Baylor University and a Ph.D. in Education from Walden University.
Dr. Dean Ornish, Appointee for Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
Dr. Dean Ornish is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, positions he has held since 1995. Dr. Ornish is the author of six books, including The Spectrum. He serves on the board of directors for a number of non-profits, including the San Francisco Food Bank, and was previously appointed to the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy during the Clinton Administration. During his career, Dr. Ornish has received numerous awards and honors, including being selected as a “National Public Health Hero” by the University of California, Berkeley, “one of the 125 most extraordinary University of Texas alumni in the past 125 years,” “one of the fifty most influential members of his generation” by LIFE magazine, and one of the “TIME 100” in integrative medicine. He was a Clinical Fellow in Medicine at Harvard Medical School and completed his residency in internal medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital from 1981 to 1984. Dr. Ornish received a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Texas in Austin in 1975 and his M.D. in 1980 from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston.
Dr. Herminia PalacioAppointee for Member, Advisory Group on Prevention, Health Promotion, and Integrative and Public Health
Dr. Herminia Palacio currently serves as the Executive Director of Harris County Public Health and Environmental Services, a local health department assisting approximately 2 million people. Dr. Palacio is also an adjunct faculty member of the Baylor College of Medicine and the University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. Palacio previously served as Special Policy Advisor to the Director for the San Francisco Department of Public Health; and before that, she worked as an attending physician in various departments of San Francisco General Hospital. She has served on the advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Preparedness and Emergency Response Research Center at UC Berkeley, the CDC Advisory Committee to the Director, and the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Prepositioned Medical Countermeasures for the Public. Dr. Palacio has served on the Boards of the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Leland National Urban Air Toxics Research Center, the Texas Association of Local Health Officials, and the Harris County Healthcare Alliance. She was awarded the Excellence in Health Administration Award by the American Public Health Association in 2007. Dr. Palacio received her M.D. from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, her M.P.H. from the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health and her B.A. from Barnard College, Columbia University.
Kent A. Salazar, Appointee for Member, Board of Directors of the Valles Caldera Trust
Kent A. Salazar has owned and run Kent Salazar Co., a small business focused on environmental consulting, since 2002. Additionally, Mr. Salazar is serving his second term as a regional director for the National Wildlife Federation Board. In the past he has been appointed by the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and State Governors to represent New Mexico on several environmental and conservation task forces and commissions, including the New Mexico State Game and Fish commission. After serving as a division manager for twenty years, Mr. Salazar retired from the City of Albuquerque Environmental Health Department in 1996. He has a B.S. in Biology from the University of New Mexico.
Statement from the President on Senate Republicans Blocking the Infrastructure Bill
For the third time in recent weeks, every single Republican in the United States Senate has chosen to obstruct a jobs bill that independent economists said would boost our economy and put Americans back to work. At a time when more than a million construction workers are looking for a job, they voted “no” to putting them back to work doing the work America needs done – rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports and transit systems. That makes no sense.
It makes no sense when you consider that this bill was made up of the same kinds of common-sense proposals that many of these Senators have fought for in the past. It was fully paid for. And even though it was supported by more than 70 percent of the American people – Republicans, Democrats, and independents – 100 percent of Senate Republicans said no. It’s more clear than ever that Republicans in Washington are out of touch with Americans from all ends of the political spectrum.
The American people deserve to know why their Republican representatives in Washington refuse to put some of the workers hit hardest by the economic downturn back on the job rebuilding America. They deserve an explanation as to why Republicans refuse to step up to the plate and do what’s necessary to create jobs and grow the economy right now. It’s time for Republicans in Congress to put country ahead of party and listen to the people they were elected to serve. It’s time for them to do their job and focus on Americans’ jobs. And until they do, I will continue to do everything in my power to move this country forward.
G-20: Fact Sheet on U.S. Financial Reform and the G-20 Leaders’ Agenda
Since the Pittsburgh Summit, the Group of Twenty (G-20) has responded decisively to the global financial crisis with an international financial regulatory reform agenda that is extraordinary both for its breadth and its level of heightened international cooperation. The agenda has strengthened the resilience of the world’s financial systems, expanded the perimeter of regulation, closed regulatory gaps, and transformed the global financial landscape. The United States and other G-20 members collectively have undertaken major financial sector reforms and strengthened the robustness of financial markets and institutions, while fostering a dynamic and innovative marketplace.
U.S. leadership has played a transformational role throughout by engaging others in a “race to the top” to raise the quality of regulation and level the playing field across major and emerging financial centers. U.S. financial reform, now in its second year of implementation since President Obama signed the historic Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in July 2010, is fully consistent with – and in a number of areas surpasses – our G-20 commitments. The G-20’s collective efforts will raise the bar on standards for financial stability, while avoiding fragmentation of markets and protectionism.
Many of the initiatives proposed in Pittsburgh in September 2009 have come to fruition at the Cannes Summit.
- Strengthen Bank Capital and Liquidity: G-20 Leaders committed in Pittsburgh to “improve both the quantity and quality of bank capital and to discourage excessive leverage.” In Seoul, new global capital standards agreed upon in record time – the so-called Basel III agreement – raised the quality and quantity of capital so that banks can withstand losses of the magnitude seen in the crisis. In addition, the new standards will strengthen liquidity requirements and limit banks from operating with excessive leverage. In Cannes, Leaders recommitted to implement Basel agreements along specified timelines.
- Reduce Risk Posed by Large Systemically Important Financial Institutions: G-20 Leaders committed in Pittsburgh to develop enhanced prudential standards for large, interconnected financial institutions and to develop the capacity to effectively resolve such institutions. In Cannes, G-20 Leaders endorsed a three-pronged framework for large, interconnected financial institutions that establishes: new international standards for resolution regimes so that large cross-border institutions can be resolved without the risk of severe disruption or taxpayer exposure to loss; enhanced supervisory regimes; and a capital surcharge for global systemically important banks.
- Make Derivatives Markets More Transparent and Safer: Pursuant to the commitments made at the Pittsburgh Summit, G-20 Leaders have adopted new principles to promote international convergence across derivatives markets. Moving derivatives trading onto exchanges and electronic platforms, and requiring them to be centrally-cleared and reported increases transparency and reduces risk. Leading the way, the United States is on track to meet the G-20’s end-2012 deadline for implementing new rules in an internationally consistent and nondiscriminatory way. In Cannes, U.S. leadership encouraged others to implement their G-20 commitments in an equally robust manner. The United States and the European Union are working closely together to help ensure that detailed aspects of our derivatives frameworks are aligned in order to eliminate the possibility of regulatory arbitrage.
President Obama’s leadership in Cannes also powered the launch of two new initiatives to further improve the G-20’s ability to strengthen the safety and soundness of our financial systems, and to identify potential risks to financial system stability.
- Establish Global Margin Standards on Non-Centrally Cleared Derivatives: G-20 Leaders in Cannes endorsed new work to establish global standards for margin requirements on non-centrally cleared derivatives trades that will incentivize central clearing. This U.S.-led initiative complements the Leaders’ call in Pittsburgh for higher capital requirements on non-centrally cleared contracts.
- Identify Parties to Financial Transactions: G-20 Leaders in Cannes endorsed new work, arising out of U.S. leadership, to establish one global system to uniquely identify parties to financial transactions. The Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) initiative will support better understanding of true exposures and interconnectedness among and across financial institutions. We need such understanding to assess and reduce risks to the financial system.
The G-20 has made extensive progress in transforming the financial regulatory landscape globally. Leaders now are focusing on implementation, at a pace that reduces risks to the economic recovery and ensures a level playing field around the world. U.S. leadership has been at the forefront of these efforts. The United States will continue to emphasize the critical role of the G-20 in developing a strong, collective response to overcome near-term vulnerabilities, and put in place the building blocks for more balanced and durable growth going forward.
G-20: Fact Sheet on Common Global Challenges
Today, at the Cannes Summit, G-20 Leaders reconfirmed their commitment to trade and development as important drivers for long-term global economic growth and stability as well as progress in energy, climate change, and anti-corruption efforts.
Doha Development Round: The G-20 Leaders made clear that they will not complete the Doha Development Agenda “if we continue to conduct negotiations as we have in the past” and committed “to pursue in 2012 fresh, credible approaches to furthering negotiations, including the issues of concern for Less Developed Countries.” The Leaders instructed Trade Ministers in Geneva to implement such approaches and to engage in discussions of challenges and opportunities to the multilateral trading system.
Infrastructure: The G-20’s infrastructure work has focused on ways to overcome obstacles to infrastructure investment in low-income countries (LICs), with a special emphasis on Sub-Saharan Africa. Leaders called for action to mobilize infrastructure investment in developing countries, particularly LICs, and received valuable input from the multilateral development banks (MDBs) and a High Level Panel on Infrastructure Investment, comprised of 17 private-sector infrastructure experts:
- · Both the High Level Panel and the MDBs stressed that a key bottleneck to financing for infrastructure projects is a gap in the project preparation that is required to attract private capital. In G-20 discussions, the G-20 called on the MDBs to lead efforts to prioritize project preparation financing, and pursue innovative approaches to financing including the use of cost recovery through returns on successful projects.
- · The High Level Panel’s other recommendations focused on the need for measures to improve procurement processes, better leverage multilateral development bank balance sheets, and build up human capital, most notably through a fellowship program proposed by James Harmon, which would engage LICs and private companies in public private partnerships.
- · The MDBs’ other recommendations included greater harmonization of procurement processes and practices, establishment of platforms for disclosing information on infrastructure gaps and opportunities and enhancement of MDB staff incentives for engaging in public private partnerships and regional infrastructure projects.
- · The High Level Panel and the MDBs also worked together to produce a set of criteria to help identify promising infrastructure investment projects. These include benefits to regional integration, political support, transformational impact (including sustainability), maturity, institutional capacity, and attractiveness to the private sector. The G-20 asked the MDBs, working with countries involved, to pursue the implementation of transformational regional infrastructure projects based on these criteria.
Food Security and Agriculture: Consistent with the MYAP, the L’Aquila Food Security Initiative and the U.S. global food security initiative, Feed the Future, the G-20 endorsed an ambitious agenda to promote food security and agricultural development that respects and leverages the expertise and comparative advantage of Ministries of Finance, Agriculture and Development to address the underlying causes of food insecurity:
- · As part of the G-20 Agriculture Ministers’ Action Plan on Food Price Volatility and Agriculture, the G-20 created an Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) to provide more accurate, frequent and timely information on markets for agricultural commodities. The United States supports efforts to improve the reliability of data as a critical element of overall efforts to improve the functioning of markets for agricultural commodities. Through the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the United States has a long history of making relevant data available at home and building the capacity of developing countries’ national agricultural statistics services.
- · The Agriculture Ministers’ Action Plan has also has emphasized increasing agricultural productivity through a joint research initiative with interested G-20 countries, universities and the private sector, aimed at sustainably increasing wheat production through the development of new seed strains. The G-20 action is consistent with and amplifies the impact of U.S. efforts through Feed the Future that apply a renewed focus on research and development to improving food security and long-term development of the agriculture sector. For example, in a public-private partnership to develop stress tolerant rice varieties for sub-Saharan Africa, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is engaging research institutions from Ghana, Uganda, Nigeria and other countries and building the capacity of their staff to use biotechnology tools for improving crops.
- · The Agriculture Ministers’ Action Plan is intended to ensure there are no bans or restrictions on exports of food and agricultural commodities, in line with the global consensus announced in the communiqué of the Rome World Food Summit in 2009. Export restrictions impede market function, distort price signals to farmers and are just bad policy. The G-20 has followed up on a request from agriculture ministers to bring this issue to the attention of the World Trade Organization with regard to food purchased for urgent humanitarian need, as export restrictions are particularly pernicious when they obstruct humanitarian assistance.
- · The G-20 has also taken steps to implement leaders’ commitment at the Toronto G-20 Summit, later reconfirmed in the Food Security Pillar of the G-20’s Multi-Year Action Plan on Development to explore innovative, results-based mechanisms to harness the private sector for agricultural innovation. The United States and Canada, with the support of the World Bank and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, are co-chairing a process known as the Agricultural Pull Mechanism Initiative (AGPM) to determine whether pull mechanisms such as advance market commitments could be used to address market failures in the agriculture sector; other participants include the United Kingdom, France and Brazil. The AGPM has vetted 38 proposals in four technical categories – production increase, post-harvest loss, livestock, and nutrition – winnowing them down to four pilot projects for consideration by G-20 leaders and other donors.
- · Leaders recognized the progress of the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program (GAFSP) housed at the World Bank, in providing additional resources for agricultural development in LICs and invite the participation of other interested public and private partners. The United States is a founding donor to the GAFSP, along with the governments of the Republic of Korea, Spain and Canada and the Gates Foundation. To date, GAFSP has awarded $505 million to 12 low-income countries, eight of which are Feed the Future focus countries.
Other Actions in Energy, Anti-Corruption, and Development: Leaders also agreed to:
- · Improve the functioning and transparency of energy markets through the JODI-oil database and through a continued dialogue annually between producers and consumers on short, medium, and long term outlook and forecasts for oil.
- · Call for the implementation of the Cancun agreements and further progress in all areas of negotiation, including the operationalization of the Green Climate Fund as part of a balanced outcome in Durban.
- · Continue to implement the Action Plan on Anti-Corruption by promoting national measures to combat corruption and bribery and other initiatives.
- · Adopt the previously agreed G8 goal to bring down the global average cost of remittances to 5% by 2014, which translates into an additional $15 billion per year for recipient populations.
- · Encourage members to explore ways of enhancing the disclosure of payments to governments by multinational entities (MNEs), particularly in the extractives sector.
- · Press countries to join the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes, a group which promotes the effective operations of international standards of transparency and exchange of information for tax purposes.
- · Support implementation or expansion of national social protection floors, defined by the countries themselves according to their individual circumstances.
- · Field test indicators developed by international organizations to measure the economic value added and job creation of private investment.
G-20: Fact Sheet on Cannes Action Plan for Growth and Jobs
G-20 Leaders today agreed to implement a comprehensive set of policies that will help reinvigorate global economic recovery. Under the “Cannes Action Plan for Jobs and Growth,” G-20 Leaders agreed that “strengthened international policy cooperation is needed now” and that their “ultimate objective is to provide more and better jobs for our citizens.”
Since the Seoul Summit in November 2010, financial stress has increased sharply and the pace of economic growth has slowed, most notably in the advanced economies. The most serious risk to the global recovery is the financial crisis in Europe. However, events in Europe are not the only risk; progress to rebalance global demand has stalled. In this regard, emerging markets must do more to bolster domestic demand and help sustain global growth.
With the Cannes Action Plan for Growth and Jobs, G-20 members agreed to implement “measures to secure the recovery” including:
- Europe’s Leaders agreed to restore debt sustainability in Greece, strengthen European banks, build firewalls to avoid contagion, and lay the foundations for robust economic governance reform in the Euro area and call for their swift implementation.
- To help support stronger and more self-sustaining growth, specific commitments include:
- The United States will implement a package of tax reforms and targeted jobs and investment measures to support the U.S. recovery, consistent with a credible plan for achieving fiscal sustainability in the medium-term;
- Japan will quickly implement reconstruction measures; and
- Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Korea, and Indonesia, where public finance are relatively strong, will let automatic stabilizers work and will take additional discretionary fiscal measures if economic conditions require it.
- Emerging market economies with external surpluses commit to implement policies that will support domestic demand-led growth and move more rapidly toward market-determined exchange rates.
- To take all actions necessary to preserve the stability of banking systems and financial markets, and to ensure that banks are adequately capitalized.
- To ensure that the IMF has adequate resources to fulfill its systemic responsibilities.
In addition to the emphasis on job creation and growth in the near-term, Leaders agreed to an action plan to strengthen the medium-term foundations for growth consisting of: sustainable public finances, open trade and investment markets, structural reforms to boost growth and enhance job creation, increased saving by countries with current account deficits and increased private demand by countries with current account surpluses, reforms to national and global financial systems, and actions to promote development.
Specific commitments include:
- China committed to rebalance demand toward domestic consumption, promote market-based interest rate reform, and move further toward capital account convertibility. The G-20 welcomes China’s determination to increase exchange rate flexibility consistent with underlying market fundamentals.
- Saudi Arabia commits to helping stabilize oil markets in support of the global economy.
- All G-20 members commit to keep global markets open and resist trade protectionism.
- Many G-20 members committed to implement structural reforms to boost long-term growth potential and enhance job growth prospects.
- Countries with large current account surpluses commit to boost domestic sources of growth by implementing measures to increase growth of consumption and investment as a share of GDP.
- All G-20 members committed to full and timely implementation of financial sector reforms, including Basel II, II.5, and III along the agreed timelines.
The commitments made today to pursue stronger and more balanced global growth, flexible exchange rates, financial and structural reforms, and sustainable public finances will lead to a stronger and more sustainable growth path globally and in the United States, and to the good jobs that our citizens need.