President Obama’s message during a visit Friday to The Boeing Co. plant in Everett was simple: work hard, play fair and share responsibility.
“We’re still recovering from one of the worst economic crises in our lifetime,” he told a large crowd at the plant where Boeing makes its 787 Dreamliner. “We’ve still got a long way to go. … But the tide is turning.”
Obama acknowledged that there are fewer jobs today, and that “we can’t bring every job back.” But instead of dwelling on the economic decline, the president’s remarks touched on what is going well in today’s economy, and on future goals.
"America is a place where we can always do something to create new jobs, and new opportunities, and new manufacturing, and new security for the middle class, and that’s why I’m here today. That’s our job," he said to applause.
“American workers have been more productive,” he said, adding that some jobs that previously required 1,000 people may now only need 100 to get the job done. It’s a reality that will likely lead to more service jobs, he said.
Obama also called for an increase in manufacturing.
“Manufacturing has a special place in America. When we make stuff, we’re selling stuff that creates jobs beyond just this plant. It raises standards of living for everybody.”
Boeing, which builds its 737 in Renton, is a perfect example of this. Increased production supports more than 400 local aerospace suppliers, King County Executive Dow Constantine said late last year. On Friday, Obama said Boeing impacts manufacturing across the country.
He called for Congress to pass tax reforms to encourage businesses to keep their jobs here instead of going overseas, and to invest in places that have been hard hit by factories leaving town.
"We can either settle for a country where a few people do really well, and everybody else is struggling, or we can restore an economy where everybody gets a fair shot, and everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules, from Washington to Wall Street to Main Street. Everybody is doing their part."
The president also congratulated the company in its 13,000 hires last year, including 5,000 people who work in Everett.
Obama opened his appearance by thanking employees for his "smooth ride."
"As some of you may know, Air Force One was built right here in Everett 25 years ago. In fact, I met--one of my guys that I met during the tour worked on the plane. So I told him he did a pretty good job."
A "couple thousand" people, including Boeing employees, VIPs, and local and state dignitaries, attended the event at the plant, according to Boeing Communications Manager Debbie Heathers.
After the event, the president took Marine One to Kirkland, where he boarded his motorcade for private fundraisers in Medina and Bellevue. Crowds were gathered outside both locations to get a look and voice support for a variety of causes.