Striking an optimistic tone about the latest jobs report, President Obama said that Democrats and Republicans cannot spend the next two years “mired in gridlock” over how to get the economy moving forward.
“The most important competition we face in this new century will not be between Democrats and Republicans. It’s the competition with countries around the world to lead the global economy,” the president said at the White House before departing for his trip to Asia. “Our success or failure in this race will depend on whether we can come together as a nation. Our future depends on putting politics aside to solve problems, to worry about the next generation instead of the next election.”
Obama said the jobs report – 159,000 new private sector jobs – was “encouraging news” but said it still “not good enough.”
“The unemployment rate is still unacceptably high and we’ve got a lot of work to do,” he said. “This recession caused a great deal of hardship and it put millions of people out of work. So in order to repair this damage, in order to create the jobs to meet the large need, we need to accelerate our economic growth so that we are producing jobs at a faster pace.”
The president said he was open to “any idea, any proposal, any way” to get the economy growing so people can find work.
He ticked off a familiar list of things including tax breaks for small businesses so they can expand and hire; new infrastructure; research and development and growing a clean energy economy.
Obama said that on his upcoming trip to Asia he will focus on opening up markets in places like India so American businesses can sell more products abroad and create jobs here.
“It’s also absolutely clear that one of the keys to creating jobs is to open markets to American goods made by American workers,” he said. “Our prosperity depends not just on consuming things, but also on being the maker of things.”