The following article appear in the Wall Street Journal on 3 November 2008, the day before the election.
The Change We Need
By BARACK OBAMA
This is a defining moment in our history. We face the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression — 760,000 workers have lost their jobs this year. Businesses and families can’t get credit. Home values are falling, and pensions are disappearing. Wages are lower than they’ve been in a decade, at a time when the costs of health care and college have never been higher.
At a moment like this, we can’t afford four more years of spending increases, poorly designed tax cuts, or the complete lack of regulatory oversight that even former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan now believes was a mistake. America needs a new direction. That’s why I’m running for president of the United States.
Tomorrow, you can give this country the change we need.
My opponent, Senator McCain, has served his country honorably. He can even point to a few moments in the past where he has broken from his party. But over the past eight years, he’s voted with President Bush 90% of the time. And when it comes to the economy, he still can’t tell the American people one major thing he’d do differently from George Bush.
It’s not change to come up with a tax plan that doesn’t give a penny of relief to more than 100 million middle-class Americans — a plan that even the National Review and other conservative organizations complain does far too little to benefit the middle class. It’s not change to add more than $5 trillion to the deficits we’ve run up in recent years. It’s not change to come up with a plan to address our housing crisis that puts another $300 billion of taxpayer money at risk — a plan that the editorial board of this newspaper said “raises more questions than it answers.”
If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this economic crisis, it’s that we are all in this together. From CEOs to shareholders, from financiers to factory workers, we all have a stake in each other’s success because the more Americans prosper, the more America prospers.
That’s why we’ve had titans of industry who’ve made it their mission to pay well enough that their employees could afford the products they made — businessmen like Warren Buffett, whose support I’m proud to have. That’s why our economy hasn’t just been the world’s greatest wealth creator — it’s been the world’s greatest job generator. It’s been the tide that has lifted the boats of the largest middle class in history.
To rebuild that middle class, I’ll give a tax break to 95% of workers and their families. If you work, pay taxes, and make less than $200,000, you’ll get a tax cut. If you make more than $250,000, you’ll still pay taxes at a lower rate than in the 1990s — and capital gains and dividend taxes one-third lower than they were under President Reagan.
We’ll create two million new jobs by rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure and laying broadband lines that reach every corner of the country. I’ll invest $15 billion a year over the next decade in renewable energy, creating five million new, green jobs that pay well, can’t be outsourced, and can help end our dependence on Middle East oil.
When it comes to health care, we don’t have to choose between a government-run system and the unaffordable one we have now. My opponent’s plan would make you pay taxes on your health-care benefits for the first time in history. My plan will make health care affordable and accessible for every American. If you already have health insurance, the only change you’ll see under my plan is lower premiums. If you don’t, you’ll be able to get the same kind of plan that members of Congress get for themselves.
To give every child a world-class education so they can compete in this global economy for the jobs of the 21st century, I’ll invest in early childhood education and recruit an army of new teachers. But I’ll also demand higher standards and more accountability. And we’ll make a deal with every young American: If you commit to serving your community or your country, we will make sure you can afford your tuition.
And when it comes to keeping this country safe, I’ll end the Iraq war responsibly so we stop spending $10 billion a month in Iraq while it sits on a huge surplus. For the sake of our economy, our military and the long-term stability of Iraq, it’s time for the Iraqis to step up. I’ll finally finish the fight against bin Laden and the al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us on 9/11, build new partnerships to defeat the threats of the 21st century, and restore our moral standing so that America remains the last, best hope of Earth.
None of this will be easy. It won’t happen overnight. But I believe we can do this because I believe in America. This is the country that allowed our parents and grandparents to believe that even if they couldn’t go to college, they could save a little bit each week so their child could; that even if they couldn’t have their own business, they could work hard enough so their child could open one of their own. And at every moment in our history, we’ve risen to meet our challenges because we’ve never forgotten the fundamental truth that in America, our destiny is not written for us, but by us.
So tomorrow, I ask you to write our nation’s next great chapter. I ask you to believe — not just in my ability to bring about change, but in yours. Tomorrow, you can choose policies that invest in our middle class, create new jobs, and grow this economy so that everyone has a chance to succeed. You can choose hope over fear, unity over division, the promise of change over the power of the status quo. If you give me your vote, we won’t just win this election — together, we will change this country and change the world.
Mr. Obama is the Democratic nominee for president.