Muckraker: Grist on Politics

Obama spoke on Thursday to the Business Roundtable, whose members include the leaders of energy giants like ExxonMobil, Shell Oil, Southern Company, Peabody Energy Corporation, and Arch Coal.

Message: Yes, we’re serious about this green energy thing.

But the truth is that these problems in the financial markets, as acute and urgent as they are, are only a part of what threatens our economy. And we must not use the need to confront them as an excuse to keep ignoring the long-term threats to our prosperity: the cost of our health care and our oil addiction; our education deficit and our fiscal deficit.

I am not choosing to address these additional challenges just because I feel like it, or because I’m a glutton for punishment. I am doing so because they are fundamental to our economic growth, and to ensuring that we don’t have more crises like this in the future … Instead, we must build this recovery on a foundation that lasts — on a 21st century infrastructure and a green economy with lower health care costs that creates millions of new jobs and new industries; on schools that prepare our children to compete and thrive; on businesses that are free to invest in the next big idea or breakthrough discovery.

We cannot wait to build this foundation. Putting off these investments for another four years or eight years would be to continue the same irresponsibility that led us to this point. It would be doing exactly what Washington has done for decades. And it will make our recovery more fragile and our future less secure.