In a pivotal speech on Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., President Barack Obama challenged Republicans in Congress to stop “manufacturing crises” and to step up to the table to help the nation build a thriving middle-class.
President Obama stated that his top economic priority in his remaining time in office will be to focus on key issues necessary for a strong middle-class and a strong economy: job security, good wages, good education, home ownership, affordable health care, secure retirement for all, reductions in poverty and wealth inequity, and a greater access to the opportunity for everyone to succeed if they work hard.
Citing continually growing economic inequities within our society between the top 1% and everyone else, President Obama laid out his plan to help bolster the economy and help all Americans on every economic level by focusing on the middle class out.
President Obama noted, “Even though our businesses are creating new jobs and have broken record profits, nearly all the income gains of the past 10 years have continued to flow to the top 1 percent. The average CEO has gotten a raise of nearly 40 percent since 2009. The average American earns less than he or she did in 1999.
“This growing inequality is not just morally wrong, it’s bad economics.”
The President challenged republicans, stating that their constant obstruction to everything supported by the White House was devastating the country. He urged them, rather than oppose everything presented without making counter proposals they should offer their own ideas which will achieve the goal of strengthening the U.S. economy.
“I’m laying out my ideas to give the middle class a better shot. So now it’s time for you to lay out your ideas, the President stated. “You can’t just be against something. You got to be for something.
In a direct jab at House republicans who last week voted for the 39th time in the last two and a half years to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Obama said, “If you think you have a better plan for making sure that every American has the security of quality, affordable health care, then stop taking meaningless repeal votes, and share your concrete ideas with the country.
“Repealing Obamacare and cutting spending is not an economic plan,” he added.
The White House has made numerous attempts to work with the republican leadership in Congress in order to have various jobs-related bills passed by the House of Representatives only to have the congressional republicans refuse to allow a vote time and time again.
Obama stated a desire to work with all sides of the political spectrum, but warned, “I will not allow gridlock, or inaction, or willful indifference to get in our way.
“That means whatever executive authority I have to help the middle class, I’ll use it. Where I can’t act on my own and Congress isn’t cooperating, I’ll pick up the phone; I’ll call CEOs; I’ll call philanthropists; I’ll call college presidents; I’ll call labor leaders. I’ll call anybody who can help and enlist them in our efforts.”
Although the speech was primarily focused on the path which our nation should take regarding its economic strategy, the President also listed immigration reform, gun violence reduction, the withdrawal from Afghanistan, climate change, civil rights and women’s rights as vital issues also needing attention.
Predictably, Republican House Speaker John Boehner in his weekly address on Thursday called the President’s speech “All sizzle and no steak.” In an attempt to rewrite the history of the past two and a half years, he also said that “House Republicans have been focused on economic growth and jobs since day one.”
On Wednesday in a speech on the floor of the House, Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi attacked congressional republicans for their lack of jobs legislation and for their failed economic policies of the past and their attempts to return to them. She reminded all that in 2008 the GOP trickle-down policies almost destroyed our economy.
Pelosi said, “That is the place that these trickle down policies, this laissez-faire attitude toward no regulation, no supervision, took us in our economy, coming up five years ago in September.”
Near closing, the President emphasized, “I care about one thing and one thing only, and that’s how to use every minute — the only thing I care about is how to use every minute of the remaining 1,276 days of my term to make this country work for working Americans again. That’s all I care about. I don’t have another election.”