State Dining Room
10:56 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Today, we learned that in March, our economy created 431,000 jobs. Nice sound to it. And we also learned that in January and February, our economy created 100,000 more jobs than had — we previously had thought. That means that over the last three months, the economy has created more than a half million — more than 500,000 jobs a month.
Over the course of my presidency, our recovery has now created 7.9 million jobs — more jobs created over the first 14 months of any presidency in any term ever. And that’s striking.
But what’s even more striking is this: In March, the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent, down from 6.4 percent when I took office about 15 months ago — the fastest decline in unemployment to start a President’s term ever recorded.
In fact, there have been only three months in the last 50 years where the unemployment rate in America is lower than it is now.
And that me- — what it means is clear, is very clear: Americans are back to work. And that’s good news for millions of families who have a little more breathing room and the dignity that comes from earning a paycheck — just the dignity of having a job.
And more and more Americans get jobs — as they do, it’s going to help to ease the supply pressures we’ve seen. And that’s good news for fighting inflation, it’s good news for our economy, and it means that our economy has gone from being on the mend to being on the move.
You know, the American people, I think they — they’re beginning to understand that the American Rescue Plan — and there’s no reason why they should know the names of all these pieces of legislation that got passed — but the American Rescue Plan, with it, we were able to get Americans vaccinated, schools open, and businesses humming.
A leading financial firm, Moody’s, estimated that because of the Rescue Plan, 4 million more American jobs were created and unemployment is 2 percent lower than it would have been had we failed to move that legislation.
Thanks to our infrastructure law, we have more than 4,000 projects getting started this year — 4,000 — in every single state in America — a total of 4,000 in all 50 states, rebuilding America.
We’re building a recovery worth of — worthy of American workers: strong and resilient. And it’s going to be able to overcome the headwinds — and it has — of Delta, Omicron, and even war in Europe.
Our policies are working. And we’re getting results for the American people — which is what it’s all about, to state the obvious.
Record job creation. Record unemployment declines. Record wage gains. And, by the way, jobs and unemployment are not just another statistic. They go directly to the core of what the economy represents: the ability for hardworking Americans to live with dignity, support their families, and build a better life for their children.
People are making more money. They’re finding better jobs. And after decades of being mistreated and paid too little, more and more American workers have real power now to do get better wages and to do what’s best for themselves and their families.
Some people see that as a problem; we’ve had this discussion in the past. I don’t. I see it as long overdue.
So when you hear these numbers, they’re not statistics; it’s a statement of the type of economy we’re fighting for — an economy, as I’ve been saying from the beginning, built from the bottom up and the middle out — not from the top down. When we do it that way, everybody does well, everybody wins.
Even though we’ve created a record number of jobs, we know — I know — that this job is not finished. We need to do more to get prices under control.
Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has driven up gas prices and food prices all over the world. To help deal with that, yesterday I authorized the release of 1 million barrels per day for the next six months from our Strategic Petroleum Reserve.
I acknowledge this, by far, is the largest release from our national reserves in our history. It is a wartime bridge — is the way I look at it — to increase our oil supply as we work with our oil — U.S oil producers to ramp up their production to get us through this period.
I’ve coordinated this release with partners and allies around the world. This morning, over 30 countries from across the world convened an extraordinary meeting and agreed to the release of tens of millions of additional barrels of oil onto the market.
Hundreds of hours of meetings with key allies, keeping them together, is paying off. Nations are coming together to deny Putin the ability to weaponize his energy resources against American families — not only American families, but families in Europe and around the world.
I’ve also made it a priority to get America’s fiscal house in order. Under my predecessor, the federal budget deficit went up every single year — every year. As I committed when I was running and I got here, we’re going to turn that around.
In fact, last year, in 2021, we cut the federal deficit by more than $350 billion. And this year, in 2022, we’re on track to cut the deficit by more than $1.3 trillion — $1.3 trillion. That would be the largest one-year reduction in the deficit in U.S. history. And it’s particularly important now as we work to reduce pressures on inflation. That’s what happens when you reduce the deficit.
So here are the facts: It was the previous administration whose reckless policies and mismanagement led to the record budget deficits. In my administration, that’s getting the deficit under control.
In fact, I just released my budget this week, and it shows, going forward, we can cut the deficit by another $1 trillion over the next decade while still making prudent investments in economic growth, in climate, and other equitable economic decisions.
But to do that, we have to be willing to do something previous administrations and Republicans today refuse to do. We need to make sure corporations and the super wealthy begin to pay their fair share.
Here’s one example: Right now, billionaires — and there’s not a whole lot of them in the country; maybe I won’t give a number because I don’t know for sure. They — they average less than 1 percent. But my point is billionaires pay an average rate of only 8 percent on their total income.
A family led by a firefighter and a teacher can pay double that income tax rate — double what a — what a billionaire pays; double the 8 percent.
So my budget has a Billionaire Minimum Tax — a 20 percent minimum tax that applies only to the top one — one-hundredth of one — one-hundredth of 1 percent of American households.
The Billionaire Minimum Tax is fair. And here’s the deal: It raises $360 billion that can be used to lower costs for families and cut the deficit. It would add — it would — and I would add, nobody making less than four — and you’re tired of hearing me say it, but no one making less than $400,000 a year will pay a single penny more in federal taxes.
As I’ve said in the past, I’m a capitalist. I have no problem with people making as much money as they are capable of making. But I’m asking you one simple question: Just pay your fair share. Pay your fair share. That’s all. That’s it. Just your fair share.
And no one can argue that 20 percent for a billionaire is unfair.
Here’s what this adds up to: We’re going to continue to create jobs, bring down the cost for families, and rein in deficits left by my predecessor — all important steps in our pro- — to continue our historic progress to build a better America.
I said from the outset we’re the only country in the world that’s comes out of crises stronger than we went into them. That’s what we’re doing here.
I want to thank you all for showing up today. And we’ll have plenty of time to answer questions about other items other than the — the jobs report next week. Thank you. Appreciate it.
11:04 A.M. EDT