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Weekly Address: Middle-Class Economics

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 at 6:06 pm

President Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the University of Kansas, Jan. 22, 2015

President Barack Obama tapes the Weekly Address at the Anschutz Sports Pavilion at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kan., Jan. 22, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

In this week’s address, the President shared his plan, outlined in his State of the Union address earlier this week, to give hardworking families the support they need to make ends meet by focusing on policies that benefit the middle class and those working to reach the middle class.

Through common-sense proposals like closing loopholes that benefit the wealthy and providing tax relief to the middle class, making two years of community college free for responsible students, strengthening paid leave policies and access to quality child care for working families, and raising the minimum wage, we can ensure that everyone benefits from, and contributes to, America’s success.

Middle-class economics is working, and we have laid a new foundation, but there is still progress to be made, and the President said he is eager to get to work.

Transcript | mp4 | mp3

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/24/weekly-address-middle-class-economics

West Wing Week: 1/23/15 or, "B is for Believe"

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 at 6:06 am

This week, the White House was a flurry of activity during the lead up to — and aftermath of — the President’s State of the Union Address, featuring follow up trips to Kansas and Idaho, the second annual “Big Block of Cheese Day,” and YouTube stars bringing their flair to the East Room to interview the President. That’s January 16th to January 22nd or, “B Is For Believe.”

Friday, January 16

  • The President hosted Prime Minister David Cameron.

Monday, January 19

  • The First Family participated in a community service project at the Boys Girls Club of Greater Washington.

Tuesday, January 20

  • The President delivered his sixth State of the Union address.

Wednesday, January 21

  • The White House hosted its annual virtual “Big Block of Cheese Day.”
  • The President traveled to Idaho, to Boise State University, to discuss some of the main themes in his State of the Union Address.

Thursday, January 22

  • The President spoke at the University of Kansas and sat down for interviews with three popular YouTube creators.

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/23/west-wing-week-12315-or-b-believe

Launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 at 6:06 am

We take it for granted that outdoor lights are there to help keep America moving after the sun goes down. But the outdoor lighting when you drive your car down the road at night, cheer for your favorite baseball team, or load groceries into your car after work uses energy and takes a bite out of budgets in cities and towns across the country.

Outdoor lighting in the U.S. will consume enough energy to power 6 million homes this year, costing cities about $10 billion annually.

That is why we are working with mayors to deploy the latest technologies to determine how best to light their cities while saving money. Using today’s new technologies, local governments can cut their outdoor lighting bills by 50 percent or more. Today we are launching the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting, and tripling the DOE Better Buildings program goal of upgrading 500,000 poles to 1.5 million, to encourage more mayors to lead their cities with this win-win solution.

Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, the Presidential Challenge for Advanced Outdoor Lighting will work with dozens of municipalities to accelerate the adoption and use of high-efficiency outdoor lighting, driving carbon pollution reductions in communities across the nation. Given that streetlight systems can account for up to 60 percent of a city’s electric utility bill, more are taking advantage of the savings that come with upgrading outdoor lighting.

LED light bulbs are an example of a lighting success story that, when taken to the streets, makes a lot of sense. The technology has rapidly improved over the past several years, and the price has dropped. As the technology advances, communities are installing LEDs, and showcasing market acceptance and satisfaction with the technology. Some communities are showing even greater energy savings — as much as 70 percent more with lighting controls. Together with new light bulbs, advanced lighting systems are paying off.

We are excited to recognize the cities stepping up to the President’s Outdoor Lighting Challenge. Through the Better Buildings Outdoor Lighting Accelerator, we are combining the technical expertise at the Energy Department with the shared experiences across a network of leading cities — which you can be a part of — to accelerate the deployment of highly efficient lighting, while helping you realize energy and cost savings for your communities.

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/23/launching-presidential-challenge-advanced-outdoor-lighting

Watch President Obama’s Interview with YouTube Stars

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 at 6:06 am

Watch on YouTube

The East Room was transformed yesterday as three YouTube stars recreated their libraries and living rooms for an interview with the President. Nearly 500,000 viewers tuned in live as YouTube creators Hank Green, GloZell, and Bethany Mota sat down for one-on-one interviews that covered topics from education and gridlock in Washington, to Cuba policy and how to get more young people engaged in politics.

During the event, President Obama signed something special for Hank Green: a picture of him holding a pharmacy receipt. “I have a chronic condition,” Hank said, “and it’s expensive to manage. But before I had insurance I could not take this medication. It’s about $1,100 a month. And that is a receipt showing the $5 a month. So Obamacare has worked for me. So thanks for that.”

Bethany Mota, a 19-year-old with a younger online audience, asked the President about why the younger generation should get involved in politics. Here’s what he said:

There is no decision in our lives basically that isn’t touched in some way by the laws that we have.  And we’re really lucky that we live in a democracy where our voice matters…It’s as simple as this:  You decide you guys want to go see a movie and you got a group of friends, and somehow you got to figure out which movie you’re going to go see, because not everybody is going to agree all the time. And you’re going to have to have a debate and you’re going to have to make an argument, and then eventually you’re going to have to compromise — otherwise you guys aren’t going to be hanging out together too much. Well, the same is true for our country.

We’ve got to make decisions about which direction we’re going to go on in, what we’re going to be doing, how we’re going to spend our money, how we’re going to treat each other. And you don’t want to be the person who just says, okay, whatever you guys want to do, I’ll just do that.

You want to express your voice and your values and what you care about. And that’s what politics is.

It’s not really that complicated, it’s just — it’s something that people do all the time with their friends and with their family. And they negotiate, they compromise, they try to figure out how do we live together. And this is just done at a national level. And some of the issues get pretty complicated, but usually the values are the same ones that you talk about all the time: how do we treat each other with kindness; how do we look after one another; how are we fair to each other. 

I think that young people usually have good instincts, but sometimes they just get turned off by all the noise and yelling on TV, and that’s not how politics has to be.

Watch the full interview here, and stay tuned for videos from Hank, GloZell, and Bethany about their interview with the President and trip to D.C.

We’re here! @glozell @hankgreen

Une photo publiée par Bethany Noel Mota (@bethanynoelm) le

Janv. 22, 2015 at 11:27 PST

It’s gettin’ real!! youtube.com/whitehouse in less than 2 hours!!

A photo posted by hankgreen (@hankgreen) on

Jan 22, 2015 at 12:18pm PST

Thank you for having us Mr. President! You guys can check out the interview on YouTube. It’s safe to say this is my favorite selfie ever

 

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/22/watch-president-obamas-interview-youtube-stars

The Week in Review: A Day of Service, A Speech for the Middle-Class, An Interview for You(tube)

In Uncategorized on January 24, 2015 at 6:06 am

From the President’s sixth State of the Union address to YouTube interviews live from the East Wing of the White House, this week was full of big moments. Here’s your White House week in review: 


On Monday, the President and the First Lady, the Vice President, Cabinet secretaries, and other senior Administration officials participated in a number of community service projects both in D.C. and throughout the nation. The President, First Lady, and their daughters volunteered at the Boys and Girls Club in D.C.

On Tuesday, the President delivered his sixth State of the Union Address to Congress and the nation. He explained why the country needs to commit to middle-class economics that will give every family a fair shot —  by instituting two free years of community college, creating paid sick leave programs, taking on climate change, and closing unfair tax loopholes. If you missed the President’s speech, you can catch the enhanced version here

It all started on February 22, 1837. President Jackson had a 1,400-pound block of cheese hauled into the main foyer of the White House for an open house with thousands of citizens and his staff, where they discussed the issues of the day while carving off slabs of cheddar. So on Wednesday, White House officials spent their day on social media to directly answer questions from the American people using the hashtag #AskTheWH for the second-annual Big Block of Cheese Day.

On Thursday, President Obama stepped onto the sets of YouTube stars GloZell Green, Bethany Mota, and Hank Green. Live from the East Wing of the White House, the stars each asked the President questions with the help of their viewers. From college affordability to the environment, the President was asked all of the tough questions. Check out the full YouTube interview and reaction here.


This Week In 3 Cities

Boise, Idaho

Lawrence, Kansas

Washington, DC


Middle Class Economics 

Paid Leave

Universal Child Care

Precision Medicine 

River of Content


For more top stories, photos, and the most important events of the President’s day, subscribe to the White House Snapshot to receive our daily newsletter. 

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/23/week-review-day-service-speech-middle-class-interview-youtube

The Faces of Health Care: Connie W.

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2015 at 6:01 am

“Thank you for taking the heat, mostly from folks who don’t have to pay for insurance. It literally means life or death to some of us.”


Connie W., who has hypertension and suffered a heart attack a few years ago, has to take several medications. Before the Affordable Care Act, her health insurance premium was $1,587 per month.

Working at a small nonprofit organization, she couldn’t afford to pay those premiums, and her insurance company canceled her coverage at the end of 2013.

But thanks to the Affordable Care Act, she was able to get the same insurance — from the very same carrier — for only $521 per month.

Need to get covered? Find a health plan that best fits your needs at HealthCare.gov.

Already covered? Commit to help someone you know get covered here.

And if you want to share your own story, contact us here.

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/22/faces-health-care-connie-w

An "Experiment" in Universal Child Care in the United States: Lessons from the Lanham Act

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2015 at 6:01 am

In Richmond, California in 1943, approximately 35 nursery school units opened up as part of a city-wide child care program. 

The country was mobilizing around World War II and increasing employment, particularly among women, had become a national priority. In the case of Richmond, the centers opened to help provide care for the children of women working in the nearby Kaiser shipyards.

And heres how they were funded: Congress had passed the Defense Housing and Community Facilities and Services Act of 1940 — popularly known as the Lanham Act.

The law was passed in order to fund public works, including child care, in communities with defense industries. Under it, all families (regardless of income) were eligible for child care for up to six days a week, including summers and holidays, and parents paid the equivalent of just $9-$10 a day in today’s dollars. In addition to being affordable, this care was also high-quality. Many centers had low student-teacher ratios, served meals and snacks, and taught children arts and educational enrichment activities. 

So, put quite simply: Most people don’t realize it, but we’ve done this before. And, it worked.

At a time when 60 percent of households with children do not have a stay-at-home parent — and center-based child care for an infant in three out of five states costs more than tuition and fees at four-year public universities — we’ve got to act again. 

In his 2015 State of the Union address, recognizing that child care is an economic imperative for families and for our economic future, President Obama announced a proposal to help working families make ends meet while investing more in our nation’s next generation. It’s a plan he elaborated on today with his remarks in Lawrence, Kansas.

The President’s proposal includes a landmark investment in the Child Care Development Fund that guarantees every single low- and moderate-income family with young children can access care. In addition, this proposal would simplify and triple existing child care tax credits to $3,000 a year for young children and ensure that most middle class families are eligible for the full benefit. In addition, he is proposing a new innovation fund that would enable states to better serve families who face unique challenges in securing access to child care. Combined, these proposals would serve more than 9 million children. Looking at the past experiences of the United States, as well as more modern experiences in other countries, these proposals would help parents work, while improving children’s long-term outcomes.

But, lets go back to the Lanham Act for a minute, because its outcome, and its long-term effects in particular, are telling.

Research finds that the Lanham Act’s provision of high-quality child care provided immediate benefits to parents, children, and families, and also improved outcomes for children in the long-run. In a 1947 study of two centers in Bellflower, California, all surveyed mothers responded that their child enjoyed child care, and 81 percent reported generally favorable opinions of the program. Mothers were particularly likely to note improvements in their children’s social behaviors, and researchers noted the program strengthened family bonds.

A recent study by Chris Herbst (2014) shows that the benefits of the Lanham Act for parents and children were much broader. The study compares young children and mothers who lived in states that received generous amounts of federal funding during the program with mothers and children in states that received relatively little funding, or with children who were older than 12 and therefore ineligible. Access to child care increased mothers’ employment, while also increasing the average work week for those already employed. Moreover, the program also improved children’s long-term outcomes through their working years: an additional $100 in Lanham Act funding increased high school graduation rates by 1.8 percentage points, college graduation rates by 1.9 percentage points, and employment at ages 44-59 by 0.7 percentage point. Overall, the Lanham Act increased participants’ annual earnings by an average of 1.8 percent. Using a summary index of adult outcomes, the per-dollar long-term benefits to children from the Lanham Act are comparable in magnitude to more recent early childhood investments, including Head Start and universal preschool in Georgia. 

The Lanham Act is just one example of how high-quality child care can benefit families and children. The Council of Economic Advisers’ report on early childhood investments highlights other work showing that affordable child care has increased maternal employment. Moreover, other studies echo the results of the Lanham Act and show that high-quality care can increase children’s educational attainment, labor force participation, and earnings as adults.

The President’s actions and proposals to make high-quality child care affordable and accessible to all low- and middle-income families aim to realize the success of the Lanham Act for a new generation. Research shows that the early years are particularly important to developing reasoning, language acquisition, and problem solving skills, and that a child’s environment can dramatically influence the degree and pace of these advances. By supporting development when children are very young, early childhood education programs can complement parental investments and produce large benefits to children, parents, and society. The experience of the Lanham Act suggests that while these investments can boost parental employment today, they can also increase children’s educational attainment and earnings in the future.

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/22/experiment-universal-child-care-united-states-lessons-lanham-act

How the President Will Help All Working Families with Young Kids Afford Child Care:

In Uncategorized on January 23, 2015 at 6:01 am

President Obama plays with children at Child Center

President Barack Obama gestures as he talks with Akira Cooper at the Community Children’s Center, one of the nation’s oldest Head Start providers, in Lawrence, Kan.

January 22, 2015.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


“If we knew how to do this back in 1943 and ’44, and here we are in 2015, what’s the holdup? It is time that we stop treating child care as a side issue or a ‘women’s issue.’ This is a family issue. This is a national economic priority for all of us. We can do better than we’re doing right now.”


Middle-class economics is the key to restoring the link between hard work and being able to get ahead. It’s about giving everyone the same set of rules so everyone has a fair shot of getting ahead. But, right now, one of the greatest obstacles for families with young children is the rising cost of of child care.   

Providing for child care is something we used to view as a national security. Read more about the lessons we need to learn from that time in our history here. 

Today, after delivering his State of the Union address this week, President Obama stopped by the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS to lay out his plan to help alleviate this burden for every middle-class family who is working and trying to raise young children.

Here’s what his plan will do for millions: 

1. Make a landmark investment in the Child Care and Development Fund that helps every eligible family with young children afford high-quality child care.

Here’s why:

2. Triple the maximum child care tax credit to $3,000 per young child.

Here’s why: 

 

3. Create a new innovation fund to help states design programs that better serve families that face unique challenges in finding quality care, such as those in rural areas or working non-traditional hours. 

Here’s why: 

Learn more about the President’s plan to help all working families with young children afford child care here. 

 

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/22/how-president-will-help-all-working-families-young-kids-afford-child-care

The Can’t-Miss Moments from the 2015 State of the Union Address

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

President Obama delivers the State of the Union address, Jan. 20, 2015.

President Barack Obama delivers the State of the Union address in the House Chamber at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2015.

(Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

“Fifteen years into this new century, we have picked ourselves up, dusted ourselves off, and begun again the work of remaking America. We have laid a new foundation. A brighter future is ours to write.”

 

Last night, President Obama stood on the House floor of the Capitol to deliver his sixth State of the Union Address to Congress and the American people.

It was a memorable night — with inspiring guests, important proposals, and a few irreverant quips here and there. It’s a must-see speech, so if you missed it, watch the enhanced version here. But if you’re looking to relive the highlights, here are a few of our favorite, can’t-miss moments from the evening. 


Middle-Class Economics: “It’s Time”

From raising the minimum wage and equal pay to child care and paid leave, there’s a lot that we can do in America to give hardworking, middle-class families a fair shot at getting ahead. 

So last night, the President outlined his plan to make quality child care more available and more affordable for millions middle-class family with young children in America; to help states adopt paid leave laws on their own.  And with the minimum wage worth less than it was under President Reagan and with women still making 78 cents for every a dollar a man earns, the President called on Congress — once again — to raise the minimum wage and pass equal pay legislation. After all, it’s 2015. It’s time. 

Learn more about the President’s efforts on behalf of working families


Climate Change: “Don’t Dodge the Evidence”

Rising oceans, hotter heat waves, dangeorus droughts, and massive environmental disruptions — it doesn’t take a scientist to see that we must act on climate change. So for those in Congress who are trying to “dodge the evidence by saying they’re not scientists,” the President noted, “Well, I’m not a scientist either.” But when the best scientists in the world — and the Pentagon — are saying that climate change poses immediate risks to our security, “we should act like it,” he said.  

Learn more about the President’s Climate Action plan. 


Cuba: Welcome Home, Alan Gross

The President announced that we are finally charting a new course in Cuba, because “when what you’re doing doesn’t work for 50 years, it’s time to try something new.” Part of that new strategy included securing the release of political prisoners like Alan Gross, an American who was wrongfully imprisoned for 5 years in Cuba. The President brought him home, and Alan joined him at the State of the Union last night as a guest of the First Lady. 

Read Alan’s story


Off-the-Cuff: “I Won Them Both”

For the first-time in history, the President made his remarks available to the public on Medium before he delivered his address. That way, Americans could follow along, like Members of Congress do, to see exactly what his plans are for the next two years. Those who were following along might have been surprised by an ad-libbed moment. 

“I have no more campaigns to run,” he said. But when a few Members of Congress teasingly began to applaud, he teased right back, “I know because I won them both.” 


Community College: Going to Take the Cost Down to Zero 

By the end of this decade, two out of three jobs will require higher education. And yet, too many Americans are priced out of the education they need to get ahead. “That’s why I’m sending this congress a bold new plan to lower the cost of Community College — to zero,” the President said. 

It’s a popular idea — with both Democrats and Republicans across the country.

Learn more about what the President is doing to ensure student debt doesn’t derail a student’s dreams. 


The Trust Fund Loophole: Paying Their Fair Share

The President outlined his plan to reform a tax code that is riddled with “giveaways that the super-rich don’t need, while denying a break to middle-class families that do.” One loophole he wants to close is the Trust Fund loophole, which allows the top one percent to avoid paying taxes on accumulated wealth, and invest that revenue to help families pay for child care and send their kids to college. 

See what else the President proposed in his plan to build a simpler, fairer tax code for middle-class families.


Moving Forward: “A Better Politics”

In a powerful moment last night, the President appealed to all Members of Congress — and to all of us — to move forward in a way that better reflects the future we want to see:

So the question for those of us here tonight is how we, all of us, can better reflect America’s hopes.  I’ve served in Congress with many of you. I know many of you well. There are a lot of good people here, on both sides of the aisle. And many of you have told me that this isn’t what you signed up for — arguing past each other on cable shows, the constant fundraising, always looking over your shoulder at how the base will react to every decision.

Imagine if we broke out of these tired old patterns. Imagine if we did something different. Understand, a better politics isn’t one where Democrats abandon their agenda or Republicans simply embrace mine. A better politics is one where we appeal to each other’s basic decency instead of our basest fears. A better politics is one where we debate without demonizing each other; where we talk issues and values, and principles and facts, rather than “gotcha” moments, or trivial gaffes, or fake controversies that have nothing to do with people’s daily lives.

Get the full download of what happened last night and more: www.whitehouse.gov/sotu

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/21/cant-miss-moments-2015-state-union-address

Happening Today: YouTube Creators Interview President Obama Live from the White House

In Uncategorized on January 22, 2015 at 5:52 pm

Watch on YouTube

This is a pretty big deal:

Each year, the President typically spends the days following a State of the Union address answering questions and elaborating on the plans he’s laid out for the year. That can mean interviews with reporters, speeches across the country, or even chatting with folks from their homes.

But because we’re constantly looking for ways to reach folks we don’t usually get to talk to, today we’re doing something different:

We’ve invited three of YouTube’s top content creators to the White House to interview the President about the issues they — and their audiences — care most about. 

You can watch it all live at 5 p.m. Eastern at WhiteHouse.gov/Live. And in the meantime, you can join the conversation online using #YouTubeAsksObama.

Here’s a little more information about who’s coming:

  • Hank Green — One of the main voices in YouTube’s vibrant education community, Hank and his brother John produce content on a variety of topics, ranging from science to the environment to current events.
  • Bethany Mota — An iconic young millenial creator, Bethany connects with her subscribers around life as a young woman growing up in America.
  • GloZell Green — The most-followed African American woman on YouTube, GloZell engages her audience in conversations about topics such as music, popular culture, and current events.

You might also like:

Article source: http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2015/01/22/happening-today-youtube-creators-interview-president-obama-live-white-house