President Barack Obama stressed the importance of strengthening the national economy in an address to several thousand Intel employees and community members at Intel’s Chandler campus Wednesday.
Obama commended the company for building American manufacturing jobs. Intel’s Ocotillo campus in Chandler employs more than 10,000 people, with plans to add thousands of jobs with the construction of Fab 42, a semiconductor plant.
The partially constructed Fab 42 factory served as the backdrop to Obama’s speech.
“I’m here because the factory that’s being built behind me is an example of an America that is within our reach,” Obama said. “An America that attracts the next generation of engineering jobs, an America where we build stuff, and make stuff, and sell stuff all over the world.”
He used Intel as an example for why the tax system needs to be changed, because companies that choose to outsource to other countries receive tax breaks, while companies like Intel, which mostly employ Americans, pay high tax rates.
Obama urged those present to tell their representatives to send him a bill for tax reform, which he said he would sign immediately.
“We live in a global economy,” Obama said. “If a company wants to do business overseas, of course it’s their right, but we shouldn’t subsidize it.”
Instead, Obama proposed subsidizing and giving tax breaks to companies that invest in the American economy.
Along with corporate taxes, he discussed the “Buffett Rule,” named after billionaire Warren Buffett.
The rule advocates higher tax rates for the wealthy.
Obama said people like him and Buffett do not need to pay less in taxes than Buffett’s secretary, who he met at the State of the Union address Tuesday evening.
He said individuals with an annual income of more than $1 million should pay a tax rate of at least 30 percent, while the majority of Americans who make less than $250,000 a year should not see their taxes rise.
Obama said the proposed change to the tax system does not come from a place of envy toward the wealthy. Instead, he said everyone should strive for financial success.
“I want everybody here to be rich,” Obama said.
This statement was met with applause from the audience, as were his request for more funding for education and suggestion to the young people in the crowd to pursue careers in engineering.
Mesa High School student Marisol Sandoval came with her dad, an Intel employee.
Sandoval took a day off of school to see both Obama and the Secret Service. She wants to work in law enforcement and said she was really excited to see the Secret Service officers.
“It doesn’t look like I’ll actually be able to see the president,” Sandoval, who was near the back of the crowd, said before Obama’s speech. “But it’s cool to be in this environment and see all the people around.”
Thousands of people, primarily Intel employees, packed into the space around the stage. They stood, waiting several hours for Obama to deliver his speech.
Also present were local elected officials, leaders and workers from the Fab 42 construction site.
D1X Program Manager at Intel Corporation Preston McDaniel, who introduced Obama, said the new plant will bring thousands of construction jobs and permanent factory jobs to Arizona upon completion in 2013, as well as give jobs to workers in other states who manufactured some of the building materials.
“This is not just about investments in Arizona,” McDaniel said. “This is an investment in America.”
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