President Obama in Austin, Texas Talking Middle Class Jobs And Education

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President Obama was in Austin Thursday to kick off his nationwide “Middle Class Jobs and Opportunity Tour”, where he visited Manor New Tech High School and Applied Materials promoting tech jobs and his plan for a, “one-time $1 billion investment to create a network of 15 manufacturing institutes across the country.”

His overall theme was that working together we can reignite the true engine of America's economic growth: a rising, thriving, middle class.

To achieve this he said would require three things: making America a magnet for good jobs; helping people earn the education and develop the skills to do those jobs; and ensuring that people who are working hard are able to achieve a decent living.

As part of his visit he also issued an executive order, “to make government-held data more accessible to the public and to entrepreneurs and others as fuel for innovation and economic growth.”

“Corporate profits are at an alltime high, but thats not good enough, we have to make sure that middle-class wages are also going up, because most families haven't seen their take home pay rise for years now…There are a lot of reasons for us to feel optimistic about where we are going as a country, especially after all of the tough times we have been through the last several years. That should encourage us to roll up our sleeves and work even harder, and work together to take on the challenges that are holding back parts of our economy.”

Governor Perry and Senator Ted Cruz haven't missed the opportunity to have a field day mocking the President over job creation and promoting their pro-business-at-any-cost “Texas model”, in advance of his visit. Perry went as far as “greeting” President Obama at the airport with a letter and said that, “If the president is serious about creating jobs in this country, then Texas is the blueprint.”

Close but no cigar Governor, according to the White House the President is here, “Showcasing the Innovative Spirit of Austin as a Model for the Rest of the Country”.  Our Republican state leaders continue to promote the Texas mirage that low taxes, low services, and low regulation alone are the fuel for our economic success, but the White House sees something very different and so do the facts.

Not only does Texas rank near the bottom on important statistics relating to quality of life, income and savings, but the areas in our state that lead in job creation also happen to be the bluest. Cities like Austin, San Antonio, Houston and Dallas constantly top the growth and job markets for the US and all 4 of their respective counties rejected Rick Perry as Governor in 2010. According to Forbes Texas also has two top 10 cities for green jobs, Houston and Dallas.

More below the jump!At Manor Tech High School the President opened his remarks by thanking his hosts and reminding all that it is Teacher Appreciation Week and, “they don't do it for the money.”  He told the cheering crowd, “I chose Austin mostly because I love Austin, but also because there are some terrific things going on in this area.”  

The President then addressed the Manor Tech student body about the challenges faced by young people who are in increasing need of good primary, high school and secondary education to keep up with a fast developing world. He also spoke about his initiative to bring high quality pre-kindergarten to all children, citing that every dollar spent on early childhood education “equals $7 dollars we save down the road because of increased graduation rates” and rising incomes.

He cited with the creation of 6 million jobs over the last few years that the US has its lowest level of unemployment since 2008, but thats still not enough. “Now we have got to create even more good middle class jobs, and we have got to do it faster so that by the time you guys graduate from college the job market is strong.”

The President's next stop was at Applied Materials, a high-tech company that has helped Austin become a nation leader in chip manufacturing and related well-paying jobs. He toured the facility and spoke to workers about the exacting science that goes into all the electronic devices used around the world. According to the CEO almost every tech device on the market uses some technology that was developed by Applied Materials.  

The President said, “We want the next revolution in manufacturing to be in America.” He reiterated that we should help our workers get the training to compete, and they no job in America should go unfilled because workers don't have the skills they need. He spoke about achieving innovation through targeted investment and expanded educational opportunities including keeping college affordable and not saddling young people with debt. He used StormPulse, a start-up company at Austin's Capital Factory, as an example of how his new executive order making government data more accessible can be used by entrepreneurs to create jobs from good ideas.

“We don't want government to do everything for us but it does have a role to play in infrastructure and basic research”, he said, concluding, “That's what I want to keep promoting as President of the United States of America — thank you, God bless you.”


About Author

Joe Deshotel

Joe was born and raised in Beaumont, Tx, but live music and politics brought him to Austin. He has worked in and around government and elections for over a decade including for a member of US Congress, the Texas Legislature, the Mayor of Austin. He currently serves as Communications Director for the Travis County Democratic Party. He is most interested in transportation, energy and technology issues. He also likes Texas Hold'em and commuting on his electric skateboard. Follow me on Twitter at @joethepleb.

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