Transforming the American Economy Through Innovation

Uploaded by USdepartmentofenergy on 25.08.2010

SECRETARY STEVEN CHU: Thank you for joining us today –
MR. : Sure.
SEC. CHU: – and when President Obama and Vice President Biden entered the White House,
they made a commitment to bringing science back to government. As a physicist, I was
inspired and honored to join them in this effort.
In fact, during the speech at the National Academy of Sciences last April, President
Obama pledged the largest commitment to scientific research and innovation in American history.
The reason for that’s simple: Both the president and the vice president understand that innovation
is directly tied to our nation’s future prosperity. It’s also hard-wired into our
DNA. Throughout our history, Americans have never been willing to accept that something
can’t be done. We refuse to accept that any challenge is impossible. No matter what
the challenge we’ll find a way. Fueled by our great universities, our unparalleled national
commitment to research, American ingenuity has helped us conquer the frontiers in science,
medicine and space that were long thought of as fantasy.
The spark of American innovation launched new industries, put millions of Americans
to work and raised their standard of living. The Obama administration understands that
this legacy must be renewed by each successive generation. That has never been more true
than today when tough economic times demand a continued focus on innovation to create
the next generation of jobs and industries for Americans’ economy.
In the field of energy, these game-changing breakthroughs will position the U.S. to be
a global leader in the clean energy economy. A new industrial revolution will help unlock
limitless potential: advanced batteries with perhaps a hundred times the current energy
storage capacity and three times less cost; solar panels, which now cost 3.50 (dollars),
$4 per watt – we’re aiming to get there within 10 years or less to $1 a watt so they
can be put up on many rooftops without subsidy; a Smart Grid that lets appliances talk to
the power grid, optimizing electricity use and saving consumers money.
These innovations are all closer to happening thanks to the investments made possible by
the recovery act. Perhaps most importantly, these breakthroughs are helping us create
tens of thousands of new jobs, allowing the U.S. to continue as a leader in the global
economy and help provide a better future for generations to come. Many people have helped
implement the recovery act to ensure its success and, with it, the success of the nation. But
few people have done more when it comes to fostering new innovative science and technology
than Vice President Biden. He understands our hopes for tomorrow are grounded in the
breakthroughs of today. And that’s why he’s such a tireless champion of these investments
in innovation, a forceful advocate of what American ingenuity can accomplish for the
American economy.
With that, it’s my pleasure to now introduce the vice president of the United States, Joe
VICE PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. (Applause.)
Thank you very much.
Mr. Secretary, let me begin by saying it’s an honor to serve with you. I – we not only
believe this administration to – bring back science, but we’ve brought back – we brought
into the administration one of the leading physicists in the world, a Nobel laureate,
a man who is – understands how we got to where we are and why we have to continue to
invest in innovation, providing the seed money for that. And I must say, I’ve held high
public office for a long time, but there’s few people I learn more from, and have learned
more from, than Secretary Chu. It’s been a genuine, literal education in being able
to work with him, and I thank you for being willing to serve, Mr. Secretary.
Folks, if you’ll forgive me, I’d like to start today with a few items that are worth
noting prior to getting to the meat of what I’m here for. First, as of today, we have
officially reduced the number of U.S. troops in Iraq to below 50,000, meeting a commitment
– (applause) – thank you – meeting a commitment President Obama made before taking
office and meeting it ahead of schedule. And next week, as you know, the United States
military will end its combat mission in Iraq while remaining troops will be there – 50,000
– advising, assisting and training Iraqi forces.
This, quite frankly, is a remarkable milestone in a war that began more than seven years
ago, the longest war – the second-longest war in American history, Afghanistan being
longer. And we owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the tens of thousands of American troops
that have sacrificed to get us to this place, and I might pay special tribute to our commanding
general, General Ray Odierno, who has done such a remarkable job in getting us to this
The second thing I want to respond to are remarks made this morning by the Republican
leader of the House, Mr. Boehner. After months of promising a look at his party’s agenda
for their plans for America, their economic agenda, he made what was billed this morning
as a major economic address, and his chief proposal, when you look at it, apparently
was that the president should fire his economic team: very constructive advice, and we thank
the leader for that. (Laughter.) But let’s take a look at the rest of the – a – his
advice. But first let’s review a little bit of history here.
For eight years before we arrived in the West Wing, Mr. Boehner and his party ran the economy
and the middle class literally into the ground. They took a $237 billion operating surplus,
inherited from the Clinton administration, and left us with a $1.3 trillion deficit and,
in the process, quadrupled the national debt, all before we literally turned on the lights
in the West Wing, before we did one single, solitary thing. They gave free rein to the
special interests to write their own rules at the expense of everybody else, not just
the middle class, and the sum total was the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression,
a crisis that wrecked havoc upon American families and businesses all across this country,
a crisis from which we are still digging out.
You know, the head of their campaign committee, Republican Representative Pete Sessions – a
fine guy, by the way; this has nothing to do with these people in terms of their character
and personality; just have fundamentally different views than they do – Representative Pete
Sessions, who heads their – heads their re-election committee, he said that if they
were to take control of the Congress this fall, which I tell you they will not – they
won’t take control – that they would go, and I quote, “back to the exact same agenda,”
end of quote, that they were pushing before President Obama took office. They think that
the policies that they had in place during the eight years of the Bush administration,
the ones that Mr. Boehner and his party helped craft themselves, were the right ones. I respect
them for their honesty; I respect them for stating what they think.
Well, let me tell you there are millions upon millions of Americans who saw their savings,
their paychecks shrink; lost their jobs, their homes. Mr. Boehner is nostalgic for those
good ol’ days, but the American people are not. They don’t want to go back; they want
to move forward. And so, folks, I’m still waiting for what it is that they are for.
And let me respond to a few specific points that Mr. Boehner raised. On taxes, let’s
be clear what the debate is about; you’re going to see it unfold in September and October.
The large tax cuts of the Bush years (over ?) the last decade were scheduled by law,
when they were passed, to expire this year. Put another way, unless the Congress affirmatively
reinstitutes those tax cuts, they go away, not because of anything we did, but because
of the way the law was passed 10 years ago.
President Obama says that the middle class can’t afford higher taxes in the midst of
this recession; they need expendable income, that they’ve borne the brunt of this recession.
So the president’s proposed to extend the tax cuts for 98 percent of the American people,
the middle class and those striving to be in the middle class. What Mr. Boehner wants
to do is to extend the tax cut to the remaining 2 percent, and that means going to have to
go out and borrow another $700 billion over the next 10 years to give an $100,000 tax
cuts (sic) to someone making a million dollars. This is not a populist argument.
I have no objection to cutting taxes for everyone. It would be wonderful if we could pay no taxes
at all – everyone. But the truth of the matter is, those making over a million dollars
a year are not in a position where they are not liquid enough to be able to spend on what
they need, and another $100,000 in liquidity is not going to have any impact on economic
growth or job creation, but a $700 billion further deficit will in the long term.
So to justify continuing the tax cut for the top 2 percent, he has created a myth that
tax cuts for millionaires actually cut taxes for small businesses. Let’s have a little
truth in advertising here: There aren’t 3 percent of the small businesses in America
that would qualify for that tax cut of the top 2 percent. It’s a Wall Street tax cut,
not a Main Street tax cut, and the irony is, at the same time they’re talking about small
business, they are blocking, by a filibuster in the Senate, a $12 billion tax cut for small
businesses, which we proposed. Also, they want to give U.S. companies that shift jobs
and profit overseas a tax credit for the taxes they don’t even pay. Again, this is not
a populist argument that, in fact, you know, there shouldn’t be any American business
overseas, but the tax credit is not needed.
We’ve seen this movie before, Mr. Boehner. We’ve seen it before, and we know how it
ends. The American people deserve something different and something better. The rest of
this so-called plan doesn’t offer any economic agenda. It’s merely a list of the things
that they think the president should not do. So after all this buildup and hype, all we
know is what John Boehner and his Republican colleagues are against. I know what they’re
against. What I don’t know, other than the tax cut for the top 2 percent of the taxpayers
in America, I don’t know what they’re for that’s going to change our economic
So let’s be clear about the kind of change that we support.
Today Secretary Duncan, the secretary of education, is going to announce an additional group of
grants to states in what we call the Race to the Top, which is our administration’s
plan to reward states, because we don’t control local education nor should we, but
rewarding states who are willing to take bold new steps to change the way we educate our
children. We cannot continue the same policy in the 21st century and expect to create the
jobs of the future and lead the world. We can’t continue to remain 12th in the world
in the percent of graduates that – relative to the population that we graduate from college,
and expect to lead the world.
My wife, who teaches full-time at a community college, Dr. Jill Biden, has a great phrase.
She said any country that out-educates us will out-compete us.
Look, it’s striking that Mr. Boehner’s economic address was devoid of any proposal
as to how to prove (sic) America’s schools. Yet, another key to our economic future that
Mr. Boehner has ignored is what we’re here to discuss today, innovation – not a word,
not a word from our opponents on how we’re going to spur innovation, change our energy
policy, reduce our dependence and, again, be able to lead the world in the 21st century.
I ask the rhetorical question, does anybody in this audience or anybody listening to me
think it’s possible to lead the world in the 21st century as we did in the 20th, the
same economic energy policy we had and the same education policy?
Let’s talk about the basic forming of – that our administration has adopted relative to
innovation. Government, as it has done historically I might add, plants the seed; the private
sector makes them grow. We, in the process, launch entire new industries and create hundreds
of thousands of jobs and spark new forms of Congress – commerce that were once unimaginable,
allowing us to do in the 21st century what we did in the 20th: dominate the world economically.
You know, Secretary Chu is really the perfect person to talk about innovation – with us
today. He should be the one spending the whole time talking to you. But from what I understand,
you don’t win a Nobel prize for repeating formulas of the past. I don’t know that
they’re often given for that. (Laughter.) You win Nobel prizes – (laughter) – you
win Nobel prizes for doing something that’s never been done before. You win one for innovating.
Now more than ever, the Americans – people need a policy of innovation. I’ve been all
over this country, literally – I’ve been told I’ve now traveled, according to the
AirOps (ph) – I’ve now traveled over 300,000 miles since being vice president, here and
abroad. I’ve spoken – an awful lot of people in the process, and I’ve yet to find
anyone here or abroad who suggests that America’s future can be built on the industries of the
21st century. Times have changed.
As my favorite poet, William Butler Yeats, would say in reference to his Ireland back
in a poem called, “Easter Sunday 1916” (sic), he said the world has “changed, changed
utterly: A terrible beauty has been born.” The world has changed utterly, and we believe
we have to change with it.
Just bring us back to where we were. Just bring the economy back to what it was before
the beginning of the recession and what do you have? Do you have a country in a position
to lead in the 21st century? Because not only were families struggling before the beginning
of this Great Recession; productivity rose 20 percent from 2000 to 2007; the middle class
fell behind. But America was stagnating, and it wasn’t just all Bush; it was our failure
to address a lot of problems, including energy, in the decade before as well.
We’re seeing big challenges getting bigger: climate change, our dependence on foreign
oil, our erosion of our manufacturing base. And at the same times (sic), Americans are
losing jobs and, even maybe more desperately, as my dad used to say, “A job, Joey, is
worth a lot more than a paycheck; it’s about your dignity; it’s about your respect.”
A lot of people have lost their dignity through no fault of their own and the consequence,
a lot are losing hope. So when we passed the recovery act, our goal was threefold. I might
note parenthetically: It was predicted by our opponents that there would be massive
waste, fraud and abuse; thus far, that dog hasn’t barked. Less than one – I think
it’s one – half of 1 percent, but under 1 percent of all the money spent has even
been questioned as to whether or not – is there any complaints made as to whether or
not it was being spent appropriately.
So we did this to rescue – for three reasons – to rescue a rapidly deteriorating economy
and tens of millions of people falling into a black void. We did it to put the economy
on the path of recovery, getting Americans back to work as quickly as we possibly could
and to invest in the country’s long-term economic future. On the first two counts,
we’re making progress. Nobody anymore argues whether or not there would be 3 million fewer
people working today than there are now working, but for the recovery act. No serious economist
is making that argument any longer. The economy has been growing for a full year. In the last
six months of the Bush administration, we lost 3 million private-sector jobs. In the
first seven months of this year, when our policies were fully in place, we’ve created
630,000 private-sector jobs. Not enough for the person still unemployed in my neighborhood
back home, but we’re turning this great ship of state around that was wandering out
to sea, and it’s heading back to port.
Now, look: Now, it’s not happening as fast as any of us would like and certainly not
fast enough for the millions of the folks who are still out of work, but there isn’t
any doubt we’re moving in the right direction. It’s the third part of our strategy that
we’re here to report on today.
As I just said, it’s not enough just to rebuild the industries of the 20th century.
We should rebuild those that are capable of being rebuilt. But we know we had to lay a
new foundation, a new more robust economic economy – American economy that was ready
to meet the challenges of the 21st century, to repeat myself, that are different than
the challenges of the 20th century. And like those before us, we know that the lay (sic)
in our innovative capacity.
Since its birth, the United States has been a nation built on discovering innovation and,
in fact, the very roots of our growth are in innovation. We are innovators; that’s
who we are. We’re tinkerers, we’re inventors, we’re explorers, we’re entrepreneurs.
It’s the spirit of taking bold steps forward amid daunting adversity. That’s why the
president signed the recovery act.
Today I’m proud to release a report – and I’d like to make sure you all get a copy
of the report because it’s quite good – entitled, “The Recovery Act: Transforming the American
Economy Through Innovation,” August 20th, 19 – 2010. And this is about how we are
making a down payment that we’ve made to entrepreneurs and to innovators through the
recovery act that are transforming the American economy, planting the seeds of transformation.
The report has a lot of details, but I’d like to summarize a few of them very briefly.
The first point I want to make is our investments, innovation are creating jobs, creating new
industries, making existing industries more competitive and, in the process, they’re
driving down the cost of new technologies that are so badly needed and are helping our
nation reset our place and reassert our place as the world’s center of innovation and
This report focuses on our investments in four main areas – think of them as seed
money – one, modernizing transportation, including advance vehicle technology and high
speed rail; second, jump-starting the renewable energy sector through wind, solar and energy;
thirdly, investing in groundbreaking medical research; and building a platform that will
enhance the private sector’s ability to continue to innovate and speed up geometrically
the innovation that they come up with through broadband and the Smart Grid by giving them
the tools they need to grow. In each of these areas, we’re seeking game-changing breakthroughs
and, in some areas, entire new American industries are being born, the very industries that are
going to allow whomever gets to them first to lead the world in the 21st century.
I’d like to highlight just a bit of what’s happening out there in each of these areas.
First, modernizing transportation: I know that we have several electric vehicle manufacturers,
battery makers and people working on changing infrastructure – the infrastructure of – of
the transportation here today. I was yesterday at a Jeep plant out in Indiana. Right now
we’re seeing that what we did was the right thing, when we stepped in to give the American
automobile industry a second chance. Our goal was not to rebuild the auto industry of the
past; it was to put them in a position – they had to go out and use their ingenuity to create
an auto industry for the next century that will allow us to once again dominate in the
decades to come.
By the way, I don’t know where it’s written, folks. It seems to me the business and economic
community sort of is buying into this notion of the inevitability of another country or
other countries. I don’t know where it’s written that says – maybe it’s because
I’m a son of an automobile man. Where is it written that says we can’t be – we
can’t lead the world in automobile manufacturing in the 21st century? And don’t talk to me
about labor cost and all the rest. How come Germany’s such a manufacturing giant relative
to their population?
Folks, I don’t buy it. I want to see the day when you can pop the hood of your electric
car, made in Smyrna, Tennessee; check out your advanced battery made in Holland, Michigan,
or Noblesville, Indiana, and an electric motor made in Longmont, Colorado, as you recharge
your vehicle at a charging station in San Diego. But we knew – we knew that day wouldn’t
come on its own. In the greatest automotive production country on earth, we were manufacturing
less than 2 percent of the world’s advanced vehicle batteries. And thanks to the recovery
act, that’s changed in a big way because we provided $2 billion in seed money, a decision
made by Energy as the 30 country – the 30 companies that would get the money and 30
advanced battery and electric – excuse me, electric drivetrain component factories, and
that brought in another $2 billion in private capital off the sidelines and, as a result,
America’s expected – have a capacity to produce 20 percent of the batteries – the
world’s advanced batteries of vehicles by 2012 and, by 2015, it could be as much as
40 percent because the private sector is going to continue to invest in these changes and,
in the process, as the secretary said, drive down – drive down the cost of these batteries.
I can take you back to the transistor radio and what it cost, the first cellphone. Just
go down – look at what we have done as a nation and the innovative changes we’ve
made, and the by-product has been, in every case, significantly driving down the cost,
reducing the cost of batteries for automobiles by 70 percent, we believe, by 2015, which
at that point would make electric vehicles cost-competitive with similar nonelectric
vehicles. When you put all this together, it means America will once again be able to
provide the wheels for the world, the most advanced, efficient, competitive cars found
anywhere, with the side benefit of having no longer to rely on as much oil.
Second, we’re jump-starting investment in renewable energy. Three decades ago, the United
States led the world in another arena: the development of renewable energy – wind,
solar, geothermal. Since that time, because of the failure of the past to invest in these
industries, we are no longer the leader in the world. Secretary Chu and President Obama
and I set a goal of doubling renewable energy generation capacity from wind, solar and geothermal
by 2012.
Now, look: I want you – and if you have this thing – if we don’t have it – have
we handed this out to the folks yet? If we haven’t, when you get it, on page 18 – this
is the best way to explain it; you all know this – it says, we – from what one gigawatt
of renewable energy can do, it can power 290,000 homes for a year, empower almost a million
electronic – electric vehicles for a year, saving 349 million gallons of gasoline for
a year. That’s what one gigawatt of renewable energy will do.
If we in fact do as we say, and we will, double renewable energy by 2012, that means we’ll
go from 28.8 gigawatts of solar, wind and geothermal to 57.6 (gigawatts), enough to
power 16.7 million homes for a year. That covers a lot of states; even big states like
New Jersey with 9 million people – probably, I’m guessing – have fewer than 3 million
homes and 3.5 million homes. Folks, this is groundbreaking.
We want to install as much renewable capacity in the next three years as we’ve done in
the past 30. But we’ve – we’re way ahead of the pace that – in order to meet that.
In Pensacola, Florida, we found – we funded the largest photovoltaic power plant in North
America with over 90,000 solar panels, enough just there to power 3,000 homes for a year
without any other help. The Department of Energy is processing – in the process of
supporting what will be the world’s largest solar thermal facility in the Mojave Desert
with 349,000 mirrors. Because of projects like these, we’re on pace to cut the cost
of solar energy use in half by 2015, leading us toward a day when solar power can be as
cheap or cheaper than electric from the grid, meaning that thousands and thousands of households
will save money by using solar, the air will be cleaner and, all told, the generating capacity
supported by the recovery act is going to power, as I said, 16.7 million homes.
But we knew that generating renewable power was only half the story. We had to reassert
ourselves in renewable manufacturing as well. So President Obama set a goal to double the
renewable manufacturing capacity as well by the end of 2011 – and, by the way, that
means American jobs. Wouldn’t it be ironic if we went from being dependent on foreign
fossil fuels and oil to be dependent upon renewable energy vehicles – not just the
vehicles, the windmills and everything else in order to generate that renewable energy?
We’re on track to meet that goal too. We’re using a tax credit – fancy phrase, you all
know it – 48C in the tax code to increase incentives for renewable energy manufacturers
to set up or relocate their businesses here in the United States. Already we have paid
out $346 million in tax credits for wind alone, resulting in 52 wind manufacturing projects
from scratch being set up here in America to build windmills. It means American jobs,
good-paying jobs.
And again, it’s not just government. It’s leveraged and private capital. All in all,
the $46 billion in clean energy funds with – that we provided the seed money alone,
has generated over $150 billion in investment, nonfederal dollars for new energy projects.
And mark my words: That will continue to increase geometrically if we stay on course because
the private sector is what’s going to ultimately deliver us to a state of some sense of energy
independence. As a result, we’re on pace to hit our target by – of doubling of America’s
renewable energy generation and manufacturing capacity by 2012.
The third point I’d like to raise is the recovery act is investing in groundbreaking
medical research with the goal of finding new ways to treat and prevent some of the
world’s most daunting and debilitating diseases, to develop powerful new medicines and even
define strategies that will prevent disease from occurring in the first place, saving
lives and tens of thousands of lives in the process and hundreds of billions of dollars
in the process. I love how our opponents have nitpicked some of the research money that
we’ve given to NIH: one, reflecting they know nothing about science – (laughter)
– and two, thinking that you can go out and cherry-pick and know exactly what scientific
breakthrough is going to pay off.
This disease-prevention work is happening all across the board. In the human genome
sequencing, cardiovascular disease, cancer, autism – the things that matter to American
people’s lives – thanks to the recovery act, researchers at our National Institutes
of Health are going to complete the sequencing on 50 times as many human genomes as were
– are sequenced today, not only increasing our understanding of disease but also bringing
down the cost of doing this work and opening the door to future – the future of personalized
medicine. Thanks to the recovery act, NIH will be able to sequence the genes of cancer
that affect 10 million Americans, again, with the potential to start – to start winning
the war on cancer, a war we declared in the 1970s.
The first human genome map cost an estimated $2.7 billion. It was worth every penny. Today’s
genome map stands at $48,000. Now we stand at the verge of bringing the cost of a human
genome map below $1,000, 50 times cheaper than what is currently possible with the potential
to completely transform health care in America and the world, I might add.
The National Institutes of Health have one of the greatest assemblages of doctors and
scientists in the world. I think the three greatest assets America has are our laboratories,
from which you came, Doc, number one; NIH; and our national park systems. They’re the
three pieces of heritage we leave to a generation that cannot be duplicated.
And through the recovery act, we’re giving them the tools to make the most profound innovation
of all: improving and expanding health and human life while bringing down the cost of
medicine in the process.
The fourth area of investment is what many of you in are involved is (sic) – in building
a platform for private-sector innovation. It’s not enough just to allow you and plant
the seeds and everyone from Abraham Lincoln did through Dwight D. Eisenhower, Republican
presidents who were pro-business. It’s not enough just to give you the seed money. As
we build the platform allowing you to geometrically increase the consequences of what you do rather
than arithmetically, we’re all better for it.
In all these areas, the president and I recognize the federal government’s role is limited,
is to provide the seeds, but it’s the private sector who’s going to make them grow. That’s
why we’re investing so heavily in broadband. Thanks to a $7 billion recovery act investment
in broadband – bringing in, I might add, $3 billion of private capital off the sidelines
– approximately 2 million rural American households, tens of thousands of community
institutions from libraries, colleges, junior colleges, are now going to have better access
to high – to high-speed access to Internet and to broadband. It makes a difference.
If you’re a farmer out in western Ohio deciding when to sell your cattle, you have to now
rely upon the broker, but you’ll be able to access in real time weather reports, water
condition, crop prices and the price of beef to make that rancher out in western Ohio,
or wherever he or she may be, much more competitive, getting the highest price at the most opportune
moment for their product.
As I said, we’re also investing more than $4 billion in the Smart Grid, bringing more
than $5 billion in capital off the sidelines, for a total of a $9 billion investment so
far. The Smart Grid provides real time information on electricity use so the consumers and businesses
can make efficient energy choices and truly, truly reliable network that doesn’t exist
now. The smart utility grid, the universal broadband – these are foundations upon which
innovative businesses can build what they go out and discover and innovate. They’re
able to open the doors everywhere, everywhere, and prosper everywhere. That’s what really
this is all about: giving American entrepreneurs and American businesses the tools to do what
you all do best.
I know that there are several representatives of ARPA-E here today. To the listening public,
ARPA-E sounds like some – I don’t know what is sounds like to you all – (laughter)
– but it was started by General Dwight D. Eisenhower, I believe in ’57, if I’m not
mistaken; could have been ’58, I’m not sure. It originally was called ARPA, and it
was started in response to the Russian Sputnik.
The goal of this new agency, set up by a Republican president who understood how to be business-friendly,
was to rejuvenate America’s military research and development capabilities. In 1962, under
a Democratic president, ARPA launched a nationwide effort to build a computer network. They called
it “ARPANET.” By 1975, after just spending $25 million, ARPA, the predecessor to ARPA-E,
ARPA researchers had done just that: They created a basic structure for the modern Internet.
And in the 1980s, private industry dove in; the seed money was provided; it started to
germinate; and private industry made it grow. By 2009, the Internet was being used by approximately
27 percent of the world’s population, over 1.8 billion people. It’s the engine of hundreds
of billions of dollars of commerce. That was a relatively modest federal investment that
allowed private industry to completely transform not only our economy, but the world’s economy.
That’s exactly what we have to do again. That’s what we are doing now. Our federal
investment is bringing money off the sidelines. For example, in scientific research, 2.9 billion
(dollars) in investment is being doubled by external investors. Or take clean energy,
as I said before: Forty-six billion dollars is supporting more than $3 of private money
for every one federal dollar spent. In fact, a hundred billion dollars of recovery act
investments thus far has brought $286 billion off the sidelines to invest in these new innovative
A couple months ago I visited a company called CREE in Durham, North Carolina, and we have
some folks from CREE here today. The CEO, Chuck, who’s a pretty young guy – when
I got down there, because sometimes we set these things up and sometimes it’s not always
exactly as it’s planned, and I had a national reporter with me and a friend of the reporter
was following that day. And I said to Chuck – I said, Chuck, tell me the truth: Has
this 48C – has this initiative that we have here, is it really the reason why you’re
expanding so much? And I was afraid that he was going to give the answer – (inaudible)
– he said no, and I’m thinking holy God! (Laughter.) He said it’s helped; he said,
it means I expanded here in the United States rather than my facility in China. But he said,
let me tell you what did happen – did happen. He said, it made a straight – when you guys
– when I heard President Obama make the straightforward decision to continue to invest
in the United States and our North Carolina facilities throughout the supply chain, our
partners across the country contacted me. They said, we’ve got to do business a different
way. When you committed to renewables, it fundamentally changed how – I think he said;
don’t hold me to this; if anyone at CREE – I think you have 700 outfits you supply;
I’m not sure that’s the number – but the truth of the matter is, he said, we got
calls from all. So I guess we got to do things differently.
Folks, part of this president’s – the last president, as my mother would say, “God
love him” – (laughter) – saw the future in the financial industry and growth of the
financial industry. Credit default swaps were not what I call a vision, though. Great presidents
always are able to set goals and provide a vision for the American people to which people
repair, once they are convinced that we are committed to it as a government and a people.
In his Nobel lecture, Dr. Chu said, “As scientists, we hope that others take note
of what we have done and use our work to go in directions that we never imagined,” end
of quote. He had it exactly right, and it brings me back to where I started. Government
plants the seeds; the private sector nourishes it and makes it grow; and, in the process,
if we are innovative as we’ve been in the past, we launch entire new industries, the
consequence of which, over time, that we create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the future
upon which people can live a middle-class life and raise their families. And in the
process, we spark new forms of commerce that were unimaginable before we started.
That’s how we’ve led the world in the past, and that’s how we’re going to have
to be again if we’re going to lead the world in the future. And looking at all of you,
I know that you’re already on your way. I want to thank you not only for your incredible
talent being put at the disposal of changing our economy, but your commitment and your
belief in the ability of us to change – change and make better the economy for the American
people who will benefit from all of your innovation.
So thank you all. Please take a look at this report. It is really a first-rate report,
and I want to thank you again. May God bless you all and may God protect our troops. Thank
you very, very much. (Applause.)