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Obama's Plans for Financial Security for All Americans

Social Security, College, Jobs, Pensions, Health Care


Obama's Plans for Financial Security for All Americans

Photo: Scott Morgan/ Getty Images

On November 7, 2007, Sen. Barack Obama delivered an unusual and inspiring campaign speech in which he outlined specific, outside-the-box plans to address the extreme financial challenges facing middle-class Americans.

Among the specific interesting points in Barack Obama's Agenda to Reclaim the American Dream were:

  • Middle class tax cuts of up to $1,000 for working families.
  • Guaranteed paid sick days for workers and expand the Family and Medical Leave Act.
  • Help Americans buy and keep their homes.
  • Reforming bankruptcy laws, predatory credit card policies, and abusive payday lending practices.
  • Reduce health care costs by $2,500 for a typical family.
  • Provide a $4,000 refundable tax credit for college tuition
(See Barack Obama in 2008 Info Hub and News Center.)

Also see American Middle-Class Rage Over Bush Economic, Spending Priorities.

The following is the text of Sen. Obama's speech.

Delivered on November 7, 2007 in Bettendorf, Iowa

If you spend time in Washington, you hear a lot about the divisions in our country. About how we're becoming more separated by geography and ideology; race and religion; wealth and opportunity.

And we've had plenty of politicians who try to take advantage of these divisions - pitting Americans against one another, or targeting different messages to different audiences.

But as I've traveled around Iowa and the rest of the country these last nine months, I haven't been struck by our differences - I've been impressed by the values and hopes that we share.

In big cities and small towns; among men and women; young and old; black, white, and brown - Americans share a faith in simple dreams:

  • A job with wages that can support a family.
  • Health care that we can count on and afford.
  • A retirement that is dignified and secure.
  • Education and opportunity for our kids.
Common hopes. American dreams.

These are dreams that drove my grandparents. After my grandfather served in World War II, the GI Bill gave him a chance to go to college, and the government gave them a chance to buy a home. They moved West, worked hard at different jobs, and were able to provide my mother with a decent education, to help raise me, and to save enough to retire.

These are dreams that drove my father-in-law. A city worker in Chicago, he was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis at the age of 30. But every day, even when he had to leave an hour earlier in the morning and rely on a walker to get him there, he went to work while his wife stayed home with the kids. And on that single salary, he provided for his family and sent my wife Michelle and her brother to college. His dream was to see them do better. And they have.

These are dreams that drove my mother. A single mom - even while relying on food stamps as she finished her education, she followed her passion for helping others, and raised my sister and me to believe that in America there are no barriers to success - no matter what color you are, no matter where you're from, no matter how much money you have.

And these are the dreams that led me to Chicago over two decades ago to become a community organizer. The salary - $12,000 a year - wasn't what my friends would make in the corporate world or at law firms.

I didn't know a single person in Chicago. But I knew there were folks who needed help. The steel plant had closed. Jobs were disappearing.

In a forgotten corner of America, the American dream was slipping away. And I knew dreams are worth fighting for.

(See Barack Obama in 2008 Info Hub and News Center.)

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