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Obama: Iraq Budget Surplus Highlights Need for Change In Washington

August 9, 2008

Embargoed until Saturday, August 9, 2008 at 7:00 a.m. EDT
Contact: Obama Press Office, (312) 819-2423

Obama: Iraq Budget Surplus Highlights Need for Change In Washington
Delivers The Weekly Democratic Radio Address

Chicago, IL – United States Senator Barack Obama delivered the Democratic Radio Address this week, his first as the presumptive nominee. In his address, Senator Obama discussed the stark contrast between America’s huge budget deficit and Iraq’s budget surplus, pointing out that while this Iraqi money sits in American banks, American taxpayers continue to spend $10 billion a month to defend and rebuild Iraq.

Obama also contrasts his commitment to ending the war in Iraq and offering tax cuts to middle class families with Bush administration policies, like staying in Iraq indefinitely and cutting taxes for the wealthy – policies McCain has embraced and promises to extend.

Click HERE to listen to the address.

Text of Radio Address:

This is Senator Barack Obama. This morning, I’d like to talk to you about why America needs to move in a new direction.

In recent days, we’ve seen two stark examples of exactly what’s wrong with Washington, and what’s at stake in this election.

First, we learned that the federal budget deficit could reach nearly half a trillion dollars next year.

Eight years after we had a record surplus, we’re now faced with record deficits. This mortgaging of our children’s future is a direct result of the Bush Administration’s dangerously failed fiscal policies.

Instead of helping Americans who are struggling, we’ve seen loopholes and lavish giveaways for corporations that ship jobs overseas, and tax cut after tax cut for the wealthiest Americans who don’t need them and didn’t even ask for them.

Now, Senator McCain proposes to continue these costly and unfair Bush tax policies. He would continue to put special interests ahead of Americans who are struggling, while short-changing the investments we need to get our economy moving again.

The second thing we learned this week was that the Iraqi government now has a $79 billion budget surplus thanks to their windfall oil profits. And while this Iraqi money sits in American banks, American taxpayers continue to spend $10 billion a month to defend and rebuild Iraq.

That’s right.  America faces a huge budget deficit.  Iraq has a surplus.

Now, Senator McCain promises to continue President Bush’s open-ended commitment to the war in Iraq, while refusing to pressure Iraqis to take responsibility for their own country.

Let me be clear: we are well over five years into a war in a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Our brave men and women in uniform have completed every mission they’ve been given. Our country has spent nearly a trillion dollars in Iraq, even as our schools are underfunded, our roads and bridges are crumbling, and the cost of everything from groceries to a gallon of gas is soaring.

Now think for a moment about what we could have done with the hundreds and hundreds of billions of dollars that we’ve spent in Iraq. We could have rebuilt American schools and roads and bridges. We could have made historic investments in alternative energy to create millions of American jobs. We could have headed-off $4 dollar a gallon gas and begun to end the tyranny of oil in our time.

Instead, the President decided to spend our money on tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, and a war in Iraq that has already lasted longer than World War II. And Senator McCain has fully embraced these Bush policies.

So the choice in this election could not be clearer.

The American people are worse off than they were eight years ago. Everywhere I go, I meet people who are working hard for their families – but are still falling behind. Our government has lost touch with the most fundamental American values – the belief that everyone should be able to live the American Dream; the sense that we are all in this together as Americans.

Senator McCain talks about putting our country first, but he is running for a third term of the very same policies that have set our country back. We can’t afford to take that chance. We can’t afford to keep running up record deficits while we favor the few over the many. We can’t prioritize a misguided war in Iraq over the urgent needs of the American people.

I believe that we need to move in a new direction.

It’s time to restore balance and fairness to our economy, and to give working people immediate and meaningful relief.

It’s time to stop giving tax cuts to corporations that ship jobs overseas, and to put a tax cut into the pocket of 95 percent of working Americans and their families.

It’s time to end the war in Iraq responsibly by asking the Iraqis to take responsibility for their future and to invest in their own country.

It’s time to make a historic effort to end our dependence on foreign oil by investing $150 billion over the next decade in alternative energy and more fuel efficient cars, even as we push oil companies to increase production. This will create millions of new green jobs – good jobs that lift up our families and communities.

This is a defining moment in our history. We can either continue down a failed course, or we can choose a better future. With your help, I know that we can come together as Americans to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to renew our common purpose, and to reclaim the American Dream for our children and grandchildren.

Thank you and God bless America.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Sean permalink
    February 9, 2010 10:16 am

    “even as we push oil companies to increase production”

    How is that pushing going?

  2. April 14, 2011 9:36 pm

    All the latest Federal Budget News

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