The White House sends its best wishes those who celebrated Passover and Easter this past weekend. The tradition of the White House Easter Egg Roll continues today with a celebration that is focused on the promotion of health and wellness with the theme, “Let’s Go, Let’s Play, Let’s Move!”
The Federal Taxpayer Receipt tool has just been updated to reflect current spending and lets Americans know how their tax dollars are spent on priorities like education, veterans’ benefits, or health care. For the first time, it also shows how many millionaires effectively paid $0 in taxes. That’s right. There are millionaires who didn’t pay a dime in taxes. That doesn’t make any sense and President Obama has proposed the Buffett Rule in response. It’s simple: if you make more than $1 million a year, you should pay at least the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle class families do. On the other hand, if you make under $250,000 a year – like 98 percent of American families do – your taxes shouldn’t go up.
Last Tuesday, the President spoke at the Associated Press Luncheon and discussed how his vision for the middle class differs with the radical vision laid out in the Ryan Republican Budget. The President’s approach to reducing our deficit is a balanced approach that asks the wealthiest to pay their fair share, achieves significant health savings and enacts sensible spending cuts while making the investments we need to have a strong middle class. The Ryan Republican budget gives every millionaire and billionaire a tax cut of at least $150,000, paid for by ending Medicare as we know it and gutting programs that help the middle class and our economy.
President Obama signed two important bills into law last week that will help move us toward an America Built to Last, where everybody has a fair shot, everybody pays their fair share, and everybody plays by the same set of rules. The STOCK Act makes it clear that if members of Congress use nonpublic information to gain an unfair advantage in the market, then they are breaking the law. The powerful shouldn’t get to create one set of rules for themselves and another set of rules for everybody else. The second law, the JOBS Act, will help encourage startups and support our nation’s small businesses.
On Friday, the White House Council on Women and Girls hosted a Forum on Women and the Economy in recognition that more than ever, women are a driving force behind the success of the American economy. Expanding economic opportunities for women and ending discriminatory practices is critical to building an economy that restores security for middle class families, one where hard work and responsibility are rewarded, and where everyone who wants to can find a good job. The President delivered remarks at the event, which are available here.
Champions of Change
The White House recognized twelve leaders last Wednesday as Champions of Change for their work to prevent youth violence within their communities as part of the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention. Launched at President Obama's direction in 2010, the National Forum on Youth Violence Prevention is a network of communities and federal agencies working together to share information and build local capacity to prevent and reduce youth violence and keep our kids safe.
The White House also recognized nine members of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community as Champions of Change who work to make a difference in their community, often without being formally recognized. The nine leaders and organizations have stood out as demonstrating exceptional leadership in civil rights, immigration, community empowerment, LGBT engagement, anti-bullying, health, and the arts. Their work has been an integral part of ensuring that the underserved among them are given a voice.
The Champions of Change series spotlights everyday heroes who are demonstrating a commitment to improving their own communities, their country, or the lives of their fellow citizens. We are looking for you to nominate someone who is doing extraordinary things to make a difference in your community as a “Champion of Change.”
For more information about ways to get involved, check out the Office of Public Engagement’s blog, which is updated daily with upcoming engagement opportunities. Be sure to participate in the online conversation by following @JonCarson44.
Three months ago, President Obama and Department of Labor Secretary Hilda Solis announced the Summer Jobs+ Initiative, a call-to-action for American business, nonprofits, and government to provide pathways to employment for low-income and disconnected youth in the summer of 2012. Our goal is to provide 250,000 summer job opportunities for America’s youth. We need your help to reach our goal. Employers can commit to offering employment opportunities for youth this summer by signing up HERE. Youth and communities can sign-up HERE to be alerted when the jobs bank goes live.
Finally, we invite you to join the White House’s Equal Pay App Challenge to develop an application that will educate and empower Americans by making information about the pay gap more accessible. This is another facet of the Administration’s bottom-up, open government initiative. To find out more about the initiative check out the Open Innovator’s Toolkit.
For more information, visit the White House Office of Public Engagement website and blog and sign up for additional opportunities.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org
Anne Filipic and Stephanie Valencia are Deputy Directors in the Office of Public Engagement.