Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles In this country, broad-based prosperity has never trickled down from the success of a wealthy few. It has always come from the success of a strong and growing middle class. That's how a generation who went to college on the G.I. Bill, including my grandfather, helped build the most prosperous economy the world has ever known. That's why a CEO like Henry Ford made it his mission to pay his workers enough so they could buy the cars but they made. And yet for much of the last century, we have been having the same argument with folks who keeps peddling some version of trickle-down economics. They keep telling us that if we'd convert more of our investments in education and research and health care into tax cuts, especially for the wealthy, our economy will grow stronger. Now the problem for advocates of this theory is that we've tried their approach. At the beginning of the last decade, the wealthiest Americans received a huge tax cut in 2001 and another huge tax cut in two 2003. We were promised that these tax cuts would lead to faster job growth. They did not. The wealthy got wealthier, but prosperity sure didn't trickle down. Instead, during the last decade we had the slowest job growth in half a century. It was a period when insurance companies and mortgage lenders and financial institutions didn't have to abide by strong enough regulations. And what was the result: Profits for many of these companies soared. But so did people's health insurance premiums. Patients were routinely denied care, often when they needed it most. Families were enticed and sometimes just plain tricked into buying homes they couldn't afford. Huge, reckless bets were made with other people's money on the line. And our entire financial system was nearly destroyed. So we tried this theory out. And you would think that after the results of this experiment, that the proponents of this theory might show some humility. You'd think they'd say "You know what? Maybe some rules and regulations are necessary to protect the economy. Maybe just maybe, at a time of growing debt and widening inequality, we should hold off on giving the wealthiest Americans another round of big tax cuts. But that's exactly the opposite of what they've done. Instead of moderating their views even slightly, the republicans running congress right now have doubled down. This is what the rolling on! This larger debate that we'll be having about the size and role of government; this debate has been with us since our founding days. But no matter what we argue, or where we stand, We have always held certain beliefs as Americans: We believe that in order to preserve our own freedoms and pursue our own happiness, we can't just think about ourselves. We have to think about the country that made those liberties possible. We have to think about our fellow citizens, with whom we share a community. We have to think about what's required to preserve the American dream for future generations. And if we keep that in mind, and uphold our obligations to one another and to this larger enterprise that is America, then I have no doubt that we will continue our long and prosperous journey as the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, God bless you, God bless United States of America.