Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — In his weekly address, President Obama repeated calls for some of the programs he spoke of in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, such paid leave, greater access to child care, and two free years of community college.
“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,” Obama said.
The president also suggested tax reform in in “closing loopholes” in the tax code.
Obama said that he knows there are Republicans in the new Congress that disagree with his latest proposals, but that he looks forward to “hearing their ideas for how we can pay for what the middle class needs to grow.”
Read the full transcript of the president’s address:
Hi, everybody. This week, in my State of the Union Address, I talked about what we can do to make sure middle-class economics helps more Americans get ahead in the new economy.
See, after some tough years, and thanks to some tough decisions we made, our economy is creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999. Our deficits are shrinking. Our energy production is booming. Our troops are coming home. Thanks to the hard work and resilience of Americans like you, we’ve risen from recession freer to write our own future than any other nation on Earth.
Now we have to choose what we want that future to look 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?
I believe the choice is clear. Today, thanks to a growing economy, the recovery is touching more and more lives. Wages are finally starting to rise again. Let’s keep that going – let’s do more to restore the link between hard work and growing opportunity for every American.
That’s what middle-class economics is – the 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.
And we can afford to do these things by closing loopholes in our tax code that stack the decks for special interests and the superrich, and against responsible companies and the middle class.
This is where we have to go if we’re going to succeed in the new economy. I know that there are Republicans in Congress who disagree with my approach, and I look forward to hearing their ideas for how we can pay for what the middle class needs to grow. But what we can’t do is 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.
Because we’ve got work to do. As a country, we have made it through some hard times. But we’ve laid a new foundation. We’ve got a new future to write. And I’m eager to get to work.
Thanks, and have a great weekend.
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