Obama's Weekly Address

WEEKLY ADDRESS: Focusing on the Economic Priorities for the Middle Class Nationwide


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Remarks of President Barack Obama
Weekly Address
The White House
June 28, 2014


Hi, everybody. This week, I spent a couple days in Minneapolis, talking with people about their lives C their concerns, their successes, and their hopes for the future.

I went because of a letter I received from a working mother named Rebekah, who shared with me the hardships her young family has faced since the financial crisis. She and her husband Ben were just newlyweds expecting their first child, Jack, when the housing crash dried up his contracting business. He took what jobs he could, and Rebekah took out student loans and retrained for a new career. They sacrificed C for their kids, and for each other. And five years later, theyve paid off debt, bought their first home, and had their second son, Henry.

In her letter to me, she wrote, We are a strong, tight-knit family who has made it through some very, very hard times. And in many ways, thats Americas story these past five years. We are a strong, tight-knit family thats made it through some very tough times.

Today, over the past 51 months, our businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs. By measure after measure, our economy is doing better than it was five years ago.

But as Rebekah also wrote in her letter, there are still too many middle-class families like hers who do everything right C who work hard and who sacrifice C but cant seem to get ahead. It feels like the odds are stacked against them. And with just a small change in our priorities, we could fix that.

The problem is, Republicans in Congress keep blocking or voting down almost every serious idea to strengthen the middle class. This year alone, theyve said no to raising the minimum wage, no to fair pay, no to student loan reform, no to extending unemployment insurance. And rather than invest in education that helps working families get ahead, they actually voted to give another massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans.

This obstruction keeps the system rigged for those at the top, and rigged against the middle class. And as long as they insist on doing it, Ill keep taking actions on my own C like the actions Ive taken already to attract new jobs, lift workers wages, and help students pay off their loans. Ill do my job. And if it makes Republicans in Congress mad that Im trying to help people out, they can join me, and well do it together.

The point is, we could do so much more as a country C as a strong, tight-knit family C if Republicans in Congress were less interested in stacking the deck for those at the top, and more interested in growing the economy for everybody.

So rather than more tax breaks for millionaires, lets give more tax breaks to help working families pay for child care or college. Rather than protect tax loopholes that let big corporations set up tax shelters overseas, lets put people to work rebuilding roads and bridges right here in America. Rather than stack the decks in favor of those whove already succeeded, lets realize that we are stronger as a nation when we offer a fair shot to every American.

Im going to spend some time talking about these very choices in the week ahead. Thats because we know from our history that our economy doesnt grow from the top-down, it grows from the middle-out. We do better when the middle class does better. Thats the American way. Thats what I believe in. And thats what Ill keep fighting for.

Have a great Fourth of July, everybody C and good luck to Team USA down in Brazil.

Thanks.