President Obama wants to help America write a “new future” where middle-class economics means giving everyone a fair shot at life — including free college, free childcare, free paid leave, free health care.
In his weekly address Saturday, the president reiterated some of his talking points from Tuesday’s State of the Union speech regarding the current state of the nation’s economy and its middle class. Touting the fastest job growth rate since 1999, Obama thanked his own “tough decisions” for that success as well as the “boom” in energy production, “shrinking” deficits, and bringing home the troops. For the rest of us, aka “Americans like you,” Obama offered his heart-felt thanks for our hard work and resilience. Because of that, he said, “We’ve risen from recession to freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.”
Obama said that we have a choice of what that future looks like:
Will we accept an economy where only a few of us do spectacularly well? Or will we commit ourselves to an economy that generates rising incomes and rising chances for everyone who makes the effort?
For the president, “the choice is clear” — “let’s do more.”
But in order to describe what “more” looks like, Obama first defined middle-class economics:
[T]he idea that this country does best when everyone gets their fair shot, everyone does their fair share, and everyone plays by the same set of rules.
Middle-class economics means helping workers feel more secure in a world of constant change – making it easier to afford childcare, college, paid leave, health care, a home, and retirement.
Middle-class economics means doing more to help Americans upgrade their skills through opportunities like apprenticeships and two years of free community college, so we can keep earning higher wages down the road.
Middle-class economics means building the most competitive economy in the world, by building the best infrastructure, opening new markets so we can sell our products around the world, and investing in research – so that businesses keep creating good jobs right here.
For those who might ask how all of this will be paid for, the president was answer-ready — closing tax loopholes for special interests and “the super rich.” “This is where we have to go if we’re going to succeed in the new economy,” Obama said.
For the first time in several months of weekly addresses, the president didn’t promise to “go it alone” to achieve this new future. This time, he acknowledged a Republican Congress that mostly disagrees with his approach and asked them for their ideas on how to pay to grow the middle class. But, he suggested, “we can’t…simply pretend that things like child care or college aren’t important, or pretend there’s nothing we can do to help middle class families get ahead.”
In closing, President Obama assured that America’s “new foundation” is firmly laid and a new future is yet unwritten. “And I’m eager to get to work,” he promised.