You are entitled to nothing

Good evening.

For too long, we in Washington have been lying to you. We say we’re here to serve you, when in fact, we’re serving ourselves. And why? We are driven by our own desires to get reelected. Our need to stay in power eclipses our duty to govern. That ends tonight. Tonight, I give you the truth. And the truth is this: The American dream has failed you. Work hard? Play by the rules? You aren’t guaranteed success. Your children will not have a better life than you did. Ten million of you can’t even get a job, even though you desperately want one. We’ve been crippled by Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, by welfare, by entitlements. And that is the root of the problem: entitlements.

Let me be clear. You are entitled to nothing. You are entitled to nothing. America was built on the spirit of industry. You build your future. It isn’t handed to you. And the problem with Washington is that we haven’t given you the tools to build it. The only way for us to serve you is to give you the means to serve yourselves. Well, that’s exactly what I intend to do. Not handouts. Jobs. Real paying jobs.

In the next few weeks, the Democratic leadership will introduce a program called: “America Works.” It’s goal is simple: to put the ten million Americans who are unemployed to work. All of them. If you want a job, you get one. The cost is five hundred billion dollars. Now, that’s a lot of money. To pay for it, we’ll need to rethink Social Security, healthcare and benefits from the ground up. We can’t maintain the welfare state as we know it.

Now, that’s not a popular thing to say. Anyone running for office wouldn’t dare utter those words. Every advisor and consultant and staff member would beg a presidential candidate not to say them. But I can say them. Because I will not be seeking the Democratic nomination in 2016. Candidates are cautious. They must equivocate. They dodge and tiptoe. But I’d rather leave this office having accomplished something of value than secure another four years having done nothing at all.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt ushered in an era of hope and progress when he proposed the New Deal. And at the time, his reforms were considered radical. But he once said, “This country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it. And if it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something.” Roosevelt would have understood better than anyone the necessity for trying something different. The New Deal succeeded for many years, but we must now try something newer before it fails us.

If America Works succeeds, we will reinvent the American dream. If we fail in our attempt, we will admit it frankly and try another. But above all, we must try something.

Thank you, and God Bless the United States of America.

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