Economy poised for ”breakthrough” this year: Obama

Washington: President Barack Obama today said that 2014 could be a “breakthrough” year for the US economy as he asked the Congress to complete the immigration reform process to boost economic growth.

The comprehensive immigration reform if passed by the Congress will provide a path to citizenship to some 11 million undocumented people, including 2.4 lakh Indians.

In his annual State of the Union Address, Obama said immigration reform is key to economic growth of the country.

“If we are serious about economic growth, it is time to heed the call of business leaders, labour leaders, faith leaders, and law enforcement and fix our broken immigration system,” Obama said.

“Republicans and Democrats in the Senate have acted. I know that members of both parties in the House want to do the same. Independent economists say immigration reform will grow our economy and shrink our deficits by almost USD 1 trillion in the next two decades,” he said.

“For good reason: when people come here to fulfil their dreams ? to study, invent, and contribute to our culture they make our country a more attractive place for businesses to locate and create jobs for everyone. So let’s get immigration reform done this year,” Obama said, outlining a series of measures to speed up growth and create more jobs.

The President argued that in a rapidly-changing economy it was important to make sure that every American has the skills to fill jobs that have been created.

With the economy back on track, Obama said he believes 2014 could be a breakthrough year for America.

“After five years of grit and determined effort, the United States is better-positioned for the 21st century than any other nation on Earth. That’s why I believe this can be a breakthrough year for America,” Obama said.

The US President pointed out that over more than three decades, even before the Great Recession hit, massive shifts in technology and global competition had eliminated a lot of good middle-class jobs and weakened the economic foundations that families depend on.

“Today, after four years of economic growth, corporate profits and stock prices have rarely been higher, and those at the top have never done better. But average wages have barely budged. Inequality has deepened. Upward mobility has stalled.

“The cold, hard fact is that even in the midst of recovery, too many Americans are working more than ever just to get by let alone get ahead. And too many still aren’t working at all,” Obama said, adding that his job is to reverse these trends.