Five years ago, the outdoor footwear company, Crocs, was started by a couple of entrepreneurs with a great idea, ingenuity and drive. This former small business now employs 600 people in Colorado alone, and sells over 50 percent of its products in 90 countries around the world. Building barriers to Crocs or any American company's access to foreign markets will have a devastating effect on our economy and jobs, and the prosperity of American families.
I understand free trade is not a positive for everyone. If a worker loses a job we must retrain them and prepare them for 21st Century jobs. That's why I have proposed a comprehensive reform of our unemployment insurance and worker retraining programs. We will use our community colleges to help train workers for specific opportunities in their communities. And for workers of a certain age who have lost a job that won't come back, we'll help make up the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one until they've completed retraining and found secure new employment at a decent wage.
We must also get government's fiscal house in order. American workers and families pay their bills and balance their budgets, and I will demand the same of the government. A government that spends wisely and balances its budget is a catalyst for economic growth and the creation of good and secure jobs.
This Congress and this Administration have failed to meet their responsibilities to manage the government. Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years. That is simply inexcusable. When I'm president, I will order a stem to stern review of government, modernize how it does business and save billions of dollars. I will veto every single bill with wasteful spending. We aren't going to continue mortgaging this country's future for things Americans don't want or need. My opponent has a very different record on this issue. He has sought millions upon millions of dollars in earmarks since his election to the Senate. In 2007 alone, Senator Obama requested nearly $100 million for earmark projects. I have never asked for a single earmark in my entire career. He supported the $300 billion pork laden agricultural subsidy bill. I opposed it. He voted for an energy bill stuffed with give-aways to oil compan ies at a time of record profits. I voted against it.
Let me give you a little bit of straight talk on energy. Our dangerous dependence on foreign oil has been thirty years in the making, and was caused by the failure of politicians in Washington to think long term about the future of the country. If we don't act now to break our strategic dependence on foreign oil, we are putting our national security, our economy and our environment at grave risk. By 2030, America's demand for energy will rise by nearly twenty percent. Our jobs and our very way of life depend on the next President beginning to solve this challenge.
Two weeks ago, I announced the Lexington Project to secure our energy future, named for the place where Americans first fought for their independence. We will begin by producing more of our own oil and gas. Increasing our own supply will send a message to the market and result in lower prices for oil and gas.
We will develop more clean energy. Nuclear power is the most dependable source of zero-emission energy we have. We will build at least 45 new nuclear plants that will create over 700,000 good jobs to construct and operate them.
The development of clean coal technology will create jobs in some of America's most economically disadvantaged areas. Our coal reserves are larger than Saudi Arabia's supply of oil. Clean coal demonstration projects alone will employ over 30,000 Americans. In the state of Colorado over 80 percent of the electricity comes from coal, and in Ohio it's over 90 percent.
My proposal to help automakers design and sell new generations of cars that don't depend on gasoline will re-invigorate that struggling industry. My plan to develop wind and solar power and renewable technologies will drive innovation and create high-tech jobs.
My opponent's answer to the Lexington Project is no; no to more drilling; no to more nuclear power; no to research prizes that help solve the problem of affordable electric cars. For a guy whose "official seal" carried the motto, "Yes, we can," Senator Obama's agenda sure has a whole lot of "No, we can't." The Lexington Project will create millions of jobs, help protect our environment, improve our security, and solve the nation's energy problems.
Americans are having a tough time. But we've been through worse, and beaten longer odds. Even in these difficult days, we must believe in ourselves. Nothing is inevitable in America. We've always been the captains of our fate. All you've ever asked of government is that it stand on your side, not in your way. I intend to do just that: to stand on your side; to help business and not government create jobs; to fight for your future and not the personal ambitions of politicians and bureaucrats.
We have much work to do if we are to end the self-interested partisanship that prevents us from fixing problems that need to be fixed and changing government to keep this country prosperous and at peace. I make you one promise I will always keep, no matter what.
In war and peace, I have been an imperfect servant of my country. But I have been her servant first, last and always. Whenever I faced an important choice between my country's interests or my own interests, party politics or any special interest, I chose my country. Nothing has ever mattered more to me than the honor of serving America, and nothing ever will. If you elect me President, I will always put our country first. I will put its greatness; its prosperity and peace; and the hopes and concerns of the people who make it great before any personal or partisan interest. I will keep that promise every hour of every day I am in office. And I will ask you to help me convince Congress, Republicans and Democrats, to keep that promise as well. There is nothing beyond our ability to achieve. We are Americans, and we don't hide from history. We make history. All we need is to believe in ourselves as we alway s have, and to cherish the beautiful country we are so blessed to call home."