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President Obama on Advanced Batteries in Michigan: "A Symbol of Where America is Going"

The President speaks at the groundbreaking of an advanced electric vehicle battery plant in Holland, Michigan.

If you missed our post earlier on the future of electric vehicles and advanced batteries that the Recovery Act has helped shape, it’s well worth a read. As the President said during his visit to the advanced battery plant in Holland, Michigan, today: “This is a symbol of where Michigan is going, this is a symbol of where Holland is going, this is a symbol of where America is going.”

In short, making America a player in emerging market for electric vehicles was one of dozens of examples of the Recovery Act not only putting people to work in the short term, but building a whole new foundation for America’s economy:

That means that by 2012, the batteries will be manufactured here in Holland, Michigan. So when you buy one of these vehicles, the battery could be stamped “Made in America” -– just like the car.

The President went on to put this plant in the broader perspective, and to remind everybody about the choice between moving forward toward recovery and this new foundation, or moving back to the time that led to this crisis:

The progress we’ve made so far is not nearly enough to undo the enormous damage that this recession caused.  And I’ve said since the first day I took office, it’s going to take time to reverse the toll of the deepest downturn in a generation.  I won’t be satisfied as long as even one person who needs a job and wants to work can’t find one.

But what I’m absolutely clear about and what this plant will prove is that we are headed in the right direction, and that the surest way out of the storms we’ve been in is to keep moving forward and not go backwards. 

There are some folks who want to go back –- who think that we should return to the policies that helped to lead to this recession.  Some of them made the political calculation that it’s better to obstruct than to lend a hand.  They said no to tax cuts, they said no to small business loans, they said no to clean energy projects.  Now, it doesn’t stop them from being at ribbon-cuttings -- (laughter) -- but that’s okay.  I just want to make sure that everybody understands that this country would not be better off if this plant hadn’t gotten built and if the clean energy package that made it possible wasn’t in place.  (Applause.) 

And when you head out to any of the two dozen battery technology plants coming online that are going to be able to be stamped “Made in America” on their products, I want folks who have been pushing against these economic policies to explain to these workers why it would be better for these things to be manufactured in other countries, or why the solar plants and wind turbines and biodiesel refineries that are being built shouldn’t have happened.