The President discussed an American economy that's turning around, comparing where the country was five years ago to today. Obama says the basic American bargain of hard work paying off is alive again because private sector job growth is at its strongest since 1999, healthcare costs are shrinking, and the U.S. is becoming self-sufficient when it comes to energy use.
"We've been able to clear away the rubble of the financial crisis," Obama said. "We're starting to lay a new foundation for more durable economic growth. And with the new revolutions in energy and technology and manufacturing and healthcare, we're actually poised, we're in a position to reverse all those forces that battered middle class families for too long."
But, President Obama says the turnaround of the American economy won't continue if Congress keeps not only ignoring the issues at hand, but making them worse.
"So where I can act on my own, I'm going to," Obama said. "I'm not going to wait for Congress, because the choices that we make now aren't just going to determine what happens to the young people here at this school. It's going to determine what happens to your kids and your grandkids."
The President says the best way to continue economic growth is to invest in education. He says education needs to start when children are pre-school age, and that the cost of higher education needs to stop increasing. He used the Missouri Innovation Campus, a program that UCM is involved in, as an example of how to cut the cost of higher education. In MIC, students begin taking college-level courses in their junior year of high school, graduating with not only a high school diploma, but also an associate's degree. The program also offers students an opportunity at paid internships and virtually no student debt. Obama says this should be a model for the rest of the nation.
"I want the entire country to notice it, and I want other colleges to take a look at what's being done here," he said.
The President says he will use the rest of his term as president to focus on making sure the American dream is available for all Americans.