President Obama's Speech to Business Roundtable

The White House has released the following excerpts of the President's 1 p.m. speech to the Business Roundtable...

So we have big challenges before us. And I think all of us know that we cannot meet them by returning to the pre-crisis status quo - an economy too dependent on a housing bubble, consumer debt, financial speculation, and growing deficits.

That's not sustainable for American workers, and it's not sustainable for American businesses. Instead, we need to build an economy where we borrow less and produce more. We need an economy where we generate more jobs here at home and send more products overseas.

We need to invest and nurture the industries of the future, and we need to train our workers to compete for those jobs. …We did not achieve global leadership in the last century by luck or happenstance.

We earned it by working together to define our own destiny and seize the opportunities of the future. And to maintain our leadership in this new century, we must summon that same resolve. Despite growing global competition, this country can continue to lead. A thriving, competitive America is within our reach.

But only if we move forward as one nation; only if we move past the old debates and crippling divides between left and right; business and labor; private enterprise and the public sector. Whatever differences we have in this country, all of us have a stake in meeting the an America in which a growing prosperity is shared widely by its people.

… Rather than hurling accusations about big government liberals or mean-spirited conservatives, we will have to answer these tough questions. And getting this balance right has less to do with big government or small government than it does smart government. It's not about being anti-business or pro-government; it's about being pro-growth and pro-jobs.

… On all of these issues - from education to health care to taxes - my first question can't be "Is this good for business?" or "Is this good for labor?" It can't be "Is this good politics?" or "Will this tag me as liberal or conservative?" It has to be, "Is this good for America? Does it help us compete? Does it grow our economy? Does it create jobs for the middle-class and those trying to join it?" That's my job as President.