We do not begrudge wealth in this country. I want everybody here to do well. We aspire to financial success. But we also understand that we’re not successful just by ourselves. ... We’re successful because somebody made an investment in all the federal research labs that created the Internet. We’re successful because we have an outstanding military -- that costs money. We’re successful because somebody built roads and bridges and laid broadband lines. And these things didn’t just happen on their own.
And if we all understand that we’ve got to pay for this stuff, it makes sense for those of us who've done best to do our fair share. And to try to pass off that bill onto somebody else, that’s not right. That’s not who we are. That’s not what my grandparents' generation worked hard to pass down. That’s not what your grandparents and your great-grandparents worked hard to pass down. We’ve got a different idea of America, a more generous America.
Everybody here is only here because somebody somewhere down the road decided we’re going to think not just about ourselves, but about the future. We’ve got responsibilities, yes, to ourselves but also to each other. And now it’s our turn to be responsible. Now it’s our turn to leave an America that’s built to last. And I know we can do it. We’ve done it before and I know we can do it again because of you.
When I meet young people all across this country, with energy and drive and vision, despite the fact that you’ve come of age during a difficult, tumultuous time in this world, it gives me hope. You inspire me. ...You know that doing big things isn’t always easy, but you’re not giving up.
We do not shrink from challenges. We stand up to them. And we don’t leave people behind; we make sure everybody comes along with us on this journey that we’re on.
That’s the spirit right now that we need, Michigan. Here in America, we don’t give up. We look out for each other. We make sure everybody has a chance to get ahead. And if we work in common purpose, with common resolve, we can build an economy that gives everybody a fair shot. And we will remind the world just why it is that the United States of America is the greatest nation on Earth.
Friday, January 27, 2012
From President Obama's speech at the University of Michigan, January 27, 2012: