On the eve of President Barack Obama's visit to Pittsburgh, U.S. Representative Tim Murphy (R-PA-18) blamed the president for the nation's sluggish economy. Murphy also introduced a first-generation American who said the American dream of upward mobility is no longer attainable.
Dan Garcia was born in Texas to Mexican parents. Garcia struggled in school, worked on a shrimp boat and eventually wound up in the military. After his time in the service he went back to school and in May graduated from the University of Pittsburgh Law School at the age of 35. He is now working in construction.
"On top of paying for loans, I'm also having to pay increasing taxes. I'm also seeing increases in health care payments," said Garcia. "I'm finding that upward social mobility is becoming increasingly more and more difficult."
Garcia lives with his wife in O'Hara Township and hopes to someday move his parents from Brownsville, Texas to the Pittsburgh area, but he said his finances do not allow for that at this time. He blames much of his financial problems on the Obama administration's lack of fiscal leadership.
"President Obama has set a bad example for our nation. His fiscal recklessness and desire to spend money we just don't have has not created any new jobs," said Garcia. "In fact, it has probably moved more jobs overseas."
Congressman Murphy agrees with Garcia's assessment of the increasing difficulty in moving up the socio-economic ladder. The Republican from Upper St. Clair said the White House and Congress need to find a way to cooperate on building new budgets that will lower the nation's debt and make other important changes to federal law.
"Put a hold on the job crushing and tax increases of the Obama Care plan. Also move forward on the Keystone pipeline," said Murphy. He wants to see more domestic energy production and less money for oil being shipped overseas.
"We then have to spend even more money on our Department of Defense… defending that oil," said Murphy.
Both men called on the President to grow the economy by offering a hand up, not a handout.
"What we need here is not more taxes, it's more taxpayers and more jobs," said Murphy.
Murphy said clean coal is key to the nation's and the region's future. He said the promise of clean coal is great, but the White House seems to be moving toward bankrupting coal companies faster than it is moving toward building new clean coal technologies.