So when you put it all together, what you need is a package that keeps taxes where they are for middle-class families; we make some tough spending cuts on things that we don’t need; and then we ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a slightly higher tax rate. And that’s a principle I won’t compromise on, because I’m not going to have a situation where the wealthiest among us, including folks like me, get to keep all our tax breaks, and then we’re asking students to pay higher student loans. Or suddenly, a school doesn’t have schoolbooks because the school district couldn’t afford it. Or some family that has a disabled kid isn’t getting the help that they need through Medicaid.
We’re not going to do that. We’re not going to make that tradeoff. That’s not going to help us to grow. Our economic success has never come from the top down; it comes from the middle out. It comes from the bottom up. It comes from folks like you working hard, and if you’re working hard and you’re successful, then you become customers and everybody does well.
Our success as a country in this new century will be defined by how well we educate our kids, how well we train our workers, how well we invent, how well we innovate, how well we build things like cars and engines -- all the things that helped create the greatest middle class the world has ever known. That’s how you bring new jobs back to Detroit. That’s how you bring good jobs back to America. That’s what I’m focused on. That’s what I will stay relentlessly focused on going forward.
Because when we focus on these things –- when we stay true to ourselves and our history, there’s nothing we can’t do. And if you don’t believe me, you need to come down to this plant and see all these outstanding workers.
In fact, as I was coming over here, I was hearing about a guy named Willie. Where’s Willie? There’s Willie right here. There’s Willie. Now, in case you haven’t heard of him, they actually call him “Pretty Willie.” (Laughter.) Now, I got to say you got to be pretty tough to have a nickname like “Pretty Willie.” (Laughter.) He’s tough.
On Wednesday, Willie will celebrate 60 years working at Detroit Diesel -- 60 years. Willie started back on December 12, 1952. I was not born yet. (Laughter.) Wasn’t even close to being born. He made $1.40 an hour. The only time he spent away from this plant was when he was serving our country in the Korean War. So three generations of Willie's family have passed through Detroit Diesel. One of his daughters works here with him right now -- is that right? There she is.
In all his years, Willie has been late to work only once. It was back in 1977. (Laughter.) It's been so long he can't remember why he was late -- (laughter and applause) -- but we're willing to give him a pass.
So Willie believes in hard work. You don’t keep a job for 60 years if you don’t work hard. Sooner or later, someone is going to fire you if you don’t work hard. He takes pride in being part of something bigger than himself. He's committed to family; he's committed to community; he's committed to country. That’s how Willie lives his life. That’s how all of you live your lives.
And that makes me hopeful about the future, because you're out there fighting every day for a better future for your family and your country. And when you do that, that means you're creating value all across this economy. You're inspiring people. You're being a good example for your kids. That’s what makes America great. That’s what we have to stay focused on.
And as long as I've got the privilege of serving as your President, I'm going to keep fighting for you. I'm going to keep fighting for your kids. I'm going to keep fighting for an America where anybody, no matter who you are, no matter what you look like, no matter where you come from, you can make it if you try here in America.
Thank you very much, everybody. God bless you.