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Posts Tagged ‘pres. obama’

Obama Targets Oil Speculators

Will GOP block enforcement efforts?

by on Apr.19, 2012

President Barack Obama wants to crack down on oil speculators.

Facing political pressure to drive down near-record prices for gasoline. President Barack Obama wants to take action against energy traders and speculators, who are potentially earning record profits from the upward movement in oil prices, by “putting more cops on the beat.”

Obama wants Congress to strengthen federal supervision of oil markets and empower regulators to increase the amount of money energy traders are required to put behind their transactions.  Energy analysts contend that the current system makes it far too easy for speculators to manipulate prices with little downside risk.

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“Even if we drilled every square inch of this country right now, we’d still have to rely disproportionately on other countries for their oil. That means we pay more at the pump every time there’s instability in the Middle East, or growing demand in countries like China and India,” Obama said during remarks in the White House Rose Garden.


“No Silver Bullet” to Solve Gas Crisis, Says Obama

But new, high-mileage vehicles will help, insists president.

by on Mar.05, 2012

The President checks out a Chevrolet Volt at this year's Washington Auto Show.

There’s “no silver bullet” for bringing down fuel prices that have now topped $4 a gallon in some parts of the country, warned Pres. Barack Obama during his weekly radio address – though he insisted that the new, higher-mileage models being built by a resurgent U.S. auto industry will ultimately save consumers money at the pump.

While signs of an improving economy may be playing to the President’s advantage in recent weeks, political observers warn that fuel prices could be a critical factor in determining the outcome of the 2012 election – especially if, as some now forecast, gas hits $5 a gallon.

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Obama’s GOP opponents have already picked up the cry.  Before dropping out of the presidential race last year, Cong. Michelle Bachmann insisted she’d bring gas prices down to $2 a gallon if elected.  Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich has made a similar claim in recent weeks – though, like Bachmann, he hasn’t discussed how.

Nonetheless, it is clear the Administration is concerned about the gas price issue – especially as it is facing the possibility that the cost of petroleum could surge if the war of words with Iran over that country’s nuclear program turns into a shooting war.


Obama Admin Presses Success of Auto Industry

President at D.C. Auto Show, VP Biden off to Michigan supplier.

by on Jan.31, 2012

The President checks out a Chevrolet Volt at the Washington Auto Show.

Barely a week after declaring “the U.S. Auto industry is back,” in the state-of-the-union message, President Barack Obama and VP Joe Biden took that message on the road,  the two men pressing for still more job growth – and for a political advantage in the upcoming election.

The President, who has had to defend his decision to bail out both General Motors and Chrysler, paid a visit to the annual Washington Auto Show to get a look at the latest models and to make it clear he will stand by his controversial decision.  Meanwhile, VP Biden  will be landing in Grand Rapids on Wednesday to visit an automotive supplier and promote the administration’s call for manufacturing jobs to return to the U.S.

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“It’s good to remember the fact that there were some folks who were willing to let this industry die,” Pres. Obama said during his tour of the auto show – a direct reference not only to the general position of the Republican party but specifically the stand taken by Mitt Romney, the apparent front-runner for the GOP’s presidential nomination.


American Auto Industry A Highlight in Obama State-of-the-Union

“The American auto industry is back.”

by on Jan.25, 2012

Pres. Obama giving the state-of-the-union address.

At a time when the American government appears all but paralyzed by partisanship, where concerns remain about the U.S. economy and an upcoming election raises questions about the fundamental direction the nation must take, President Barack Obama came out swinging as he began his state-of-the-union address on Tuesday night.

And the president put the spotlight on two key success stories as a highlight of both what the nation can achieve – and what he and his administration have accomplished.  Members of both parties quickly jumped to their feet as he praised the men and women of the American military.  But there were cheers yet again when he turned to manufacturing and, in particular, to revival of the auto industry.

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“We bet on American workers.  We bet on American ingenuity.  And tonight, the American auto industry is back,” the president proclaimed.

It was an in-your-face reference to the controversial, $85 billion bailout of General Motors and Chrysler, a move that still has many conservatives referring to the two manufacturers as “Government Motors,” nearly three years after they entered bankruptcy, and despite their collective recovery.


Obama Claims New Korean Trade Deal Will Create 70,000 New U.S. Jobs

President also says Detroit bailouts “worth it.”

by on Oct.14, 2011

South Korean President Lee Myung-bak reacts as U.S. President Barak Obama addressed workers at a GM plant in Michigan.

President Barack Obama outlined the promised benefits of the nation’s new trade pact with Korea during a trip to a suburban Detroit assembly plant, suggesting the agreement will generate 70,000 new U.S. jobs – but he drew an especially enthusiastic response from workers when he proclaimed the controversial federal bailout of General Motors and Chrysler “worth it.”

The president journeyed to the Lake Orion assembly plant where he was joined by both South Korean President Lee Myung-bak – who wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap for the occasion — and United Auto Workers Union President Bob King.  King broke with other national labor leaders this week by lending his support to the trade agreement.

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“The investment was worth it,” Obama said of the $85 billion spent on the domestic auto industry.  Speaking to a cheering throng of workers, the president added that, “This is a city where a great American industry is coming back — and a city where people are dreaming up ways to prove all the skeptics wrong and write the next proud chapter in the Motor City’s history.”

The decision to take his message to the Orion plant was a significant one considering that the factory is producing a small car – the Chevrolet Sonic – that was previously built in South Korea.  GM credits the labor cost reductions it was granted by the UAW in recent years for helping move that production back to the States.  Still, a worker advised the president during his half-hour tour, 27% of what was previously known as the Chevy Aveo still comes from Korea.

President Obama shakes hands with General Motors workers after touting a U.S. trade agreement with South Korea.

The president stressed, during his speech, that the new Korean trade pact – one of an assortment of similar agreements approved by Congress this week – will pay off in many ways.  Most significantly, however, the administration claims it will open up the long-restricted Korean market to U.S. automotive imports.

Late changes to the Korean trade agreement were designed to bolster exports to the Asian nation while preventing a flood of Korean vehicles into the U.S.  The so-called “chicken tax” on foreign-made light trucks, for example, will take 8 years to phase out and should prevent makers Hyundai and Kia from moving ahead with long-discussed plans to start building pickup trucks that could establish one of the most profitable market segments for Detroit’s Big Three.

Until now, automotive trade has been extremely lopsided.  Koreans bought just 7,500 American-made automobiles in 2010 while Korea shipped 562,000 vehicles to the States – a figure that does not include the rapidly-increasing number of vehicles produced at two Korean-owned assembly plants based in the U.S.

The opportunity to level that imbalance in trade helped convince UAW President King to give the agreement his backing, even as other American labor leaders sharply criticized its passage.  (Click Here for that full story.)

Speaking through an interpreter, the blue-and-white Tigers cap on his head, Lee told the GM workers, “I want to give this promise to you, and that is that the (trade pact) will not take away any of your jobs. Rather, it will create more jobs for you and your family, and it is going to protect your job. And that is the pledge that I give you today,”

Ironically, GM could benefit from any expansion in business for Korean automakers as it is that nation’s third-largest carmaker after having purchased the bankrupt Daewoo a decade ago.  A full 20% of the vehicles sold worldwide under the Chevrolet nameplate are produced by GM in Korea.